A Vision Splendid or Selective Myopia: Exploiting the Australia 2020 Summit

This is a guest post by Ian Longfield from Peak Oil Awareness Campaign.

The new Australian government has announced a giant talkfest in April [also discussed here] in which 1000 experts will be gathered for weekend to discuss the big ideas of our times which will be manifest between now and 2020.

2020 of course, is as catchy as Kevin07, and provides a curious timeline which gives an approximate outlook of twelve years, about the same lifetime of recent federal governments, and probably a reasonable expectation of this one.

The talkfest reminds me of Gough Whitlams approach when he first came to power, promising to consult widely and govern in partnership with the people. Of course Whitlam soon found out that giving everyone a say was the best way to paralyze any sort of decision making and at least Kevin Rudd has made it clear that his ministers will pick and choose the best ideas to come out of the summit.

The hand picked thousand people will be divided into ten areas as follows and will be charged with presenting the
government with great ideas.

  1. Future directions for the Australian economy – including education, skills, training, science and innovation as part of the nation’s productivity agenda
  2. Economic infrastructure, the digital economy and the future of our cities
  3. Population, sustainability, climate change, and water
  4. Future directions for rural industries and rural communities
  5. A long-term national health strategy – including the challenges of preventative health, workforce planning and the ageing population
  6. Strengthening communities, supporting families and social inclusion
  7. Options for the future of indigenous Australia
  8. Towards a creative Australia: the future of the arts, film and design
  9. The future of Australian governance: renewed democracy, a more open government (including the role of the media), the structure of the Federation and the rights and responsibilities of citizens
  10. Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world.

In addition to those participating in the Summit, all Australians will be invited to make submissions on each of the 10 future challenges. These will be submitted to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet which will act as the secretariat for the Summit. An Australia 2020 website will provide a digital forum for this purpose, which is an excellent way for TOD’ers to at least have a say.

Peak Oil touches nearly every one of these areas to a greater or lesser degree. Each one of them could be the subject of an individual essay but it is the first four and the last which really require the greatest revolution in public policy thinking through the paradigm of peak oil.

Despite the press release making all the right noises about seeking ideas, listening to the experts and being generally “open”, the explanatory background is rather prescriptive about what the government expects to hear. Take this gem under the Population, sustainability, climate change, and water heading.

“As the driest inhabited continent in the world, Australia is more vulnerable to climate change than almost any other developed nation and we need a comprehensive plan to facilitate population growth.”

Perhaps we need a comprehensive plan to limit population growth as the best response, but it seems that is not what the government wants to hear.

And this under the Future Directions of the Australian Economy:

“How we best prepare for a global economy that will increasingly be based upon advanced skills, advanced technology, low carbon energy sources and integration with global supply chains“

Some big assumptions here too, that the global economy will be increasing and will be based on virtuous skills rather than manufactured things. Of course the things that are made (in China) will magically materialize out of low carbon energy. Solar produced steel and plastics should be an interesting challenge.

The summit will also examine the design of our cities for maximum efficiency, rather than maximum livability, and will push the ubiquitous high speed broad band into every nook and cranny of our lives in the name of service delivery.

Pushing the Envelope

This summit presents peak oil activists with an opportunity to challenge some of the fundamental assumptions that policy makers rely on. Getting heard however is the first challenge.

The peak oil argument is not difficult to understand when you approach it with an open, but skeptical, mind. Skepticism is a useful scientific method for challenging assumptions that may be false and peak oil should be approached the same way. Peak Oil converts have mostly come to the realization that this is a serious issue because they have tested and challenged each piece of the puzzle and come to the logical conclusion that peak oil and its consequences are as real as it gets.

Many useful primers are available from TOD and elsewhere which explain clearly and succinctly the geological reasons an history of peak oil production in various fields and regions around the world. There is now also a weight of official reports from Hirsch, US GAO, Australia’s Senate Committee report from 2007, McNamara in Queensland, Energy Watch etc along with the guarded language from the International Energy Agency which is now trying to back away from its previous optimism. Even the oil majors such as Shell, Chevron, Total have all come out in recent years with veiled warnings that the easy oil is dwindling.

The challenge then is to prick the bubble firstly around two key assumptions that challenge the prickee to search for more information. Those two assumptions are:

  1. That oil and its finished products will always be plentiful
  2. That oil will always be relatively inexpensive

Think about your own experience in discovering peak oil. It is highly likely that the two assumptions were an intrinsic part of your belief system. It was only when you read, heard or were presented with something that challenged that belief, which made you sit up and say “Hey that can’t be right. That doesn’t gel with my plans for a consumer driven life. I better find out about this so I can dismiss it and go back to sleep”. But as you peeled back every layer and discovered more, you became more convinced (and probably a little depressed) that peak oil was real, and your whole world suddenly turned upside down.

Getting to that tipping point can be a lengthy process, and a journey that many people are unwilling to take. Policy makers however do not have the right to remain uninformed simply because it threatens their agenda or position. That our elected leaders, and the non-elected but equally influential lobby groups that advise them, choose to remain ignorant or silent about long term oil supply is a failure of the democratic system, to fulfill its promise of long term relative peace, stability and economic benefit for the participants.

The Australia 2020 Summit, while flawed, is an opportunity for the Australian Peak Oil community to rediscover our democratic voice and speak up about the crazy assumptions upon which Mr Rudd wants to launch us into the future with.

My proposal for action therefore revolves around three things:

  1. Nomination of prominent peak oilers who can form a cadre of experts from which the selection committee can invite delegates.
  2. Grassroots campaign to flood the 2020 Summit Website when it is launched with Peak Oil information that specifically addresses the areas of concern.
  3. Creation of a Peak Oil briefing paper for distribution to all delegates to the summit if indeed that is possible.

Having an event like this summit to focus on is a great opportunity and can deliver both the embryonic stages of a concerted unified lobby group, among those peak oilers who are not yet ready to abandon all hope, and maybe, just maybe, we can prick a few bubbles and gain some influential new comrades in the process.

Your comments will be appreciated.

Unfortunately the conventional wisdom amongst TPTB is that Peak Oil is some kind of doomsday cult. They simply don't take it seriously. That is unlikely to change while politicians continue to take their advice from the likes of CERA, ABARE the IEA and the EIA.

As Brian Fisher, former director of ABARE, famously said:

If the price of eggs is high enough, even the roosters will start to lay

They actually believe this nonsense in Canberra.

This post by economist Stephen Kirchner epitomises the mainstream view:

Not everyone believes it. The Senate Committe Report last year concluded that Peak Oil is something that should be investigated much more deeply than there own limited resources allowed. The Howard government was pretty well represented by some senior senators as was the Labor opposition.

Brian Fisher says "If the price of eggs is high enough, even the roosters will start to lay."

Steven Kirchner says "I’m with chicken suit guy."

Oxford University educated physicist and oil industry executive Jim Buckee says "peak oil is here or hereabouts."

Well, I'm with the Oxford University educated physicist and oil industry executive!

Stephen Kirchner is having another go at Peak Oilers...

A group of Peak Oilers put their money where their mouth is...
While it’s scary to think the peak oilers have this much money to throw around, their willingness to back their view with an Ehrlich-Simon type bet is praiseworthy. Having said that, the criticism of peak oil does not necessarily turn on specific outcomes for oil production, but on whether a prospective peak in production has any long-term relevance.

Anyone care to comment?

I can't believe he manually approves registrations - and that it doesn't tell you that registration is compulsory until after you've tried to comment.

Anyway - he's clearly a fool - even little fry like me have bet more than that on (peak driven) oil price rises over the past 4 years - with great success.

The big banks (I think Goldman's in particular) who bought up big in the futures market 4 years ago must have made a fortune.

Reading some of the comments from the WSJ site was instructive and refreshing in understanding some of the deeply ingrained assumptions that exist outside TOD.

Most here would think the ASPO bet a pretty sure thing and it could be a great way to get publicity on the issue. CERA on the other hand is unlikely to respond or will dismiss it as a silly prank not worthy of their corporate status.

Ian Longfield

Brian Fisher says "If the price of eggs is high enough, even the roosters will start to lay."

My guess is that Brian Fisher regretted saying that about a nanosecond after it came out of his mouth.

Ian Longfield

Phil I back your comments 100%

While it is readily apparent Kevin07 doesn't want any inconvenient truths floating around about liquid fuel availability - it should be possible to subvert the process as it looks as though it will be transparent.

Once your programme of action is fully underway - AND IF nothing much seems to be happening by way of official invitation -

THEN we should have at hand one or two "experts" from ANZ TOD, SYDNEY PEAK OIL, ASPO AUSTRALIA etc. who would be inverviewed by the press and get wide coverage, TO ASK WHY!!

There seems to be a few top notch journos that are interested in Peak Oil - these could be contacted beforehand to grow the network of "Journos for Peak Truth", prior to plan implementation.

I would be willing to be a contact point through my PM at sydneypeakoil.com

Just to remind you about the huge problem Australia has with its low and falling production - we would need 6 giant GTL plants in the next ten years or so, like Shell was going to do in Qatar, just to keep pace with current production. Now thats impossible due to the long lead times involved, especially with green field developments.

So a technological fix won't do it - in a hurry anyway...

The imperative is THAT WE BE HEARD

Just to remind you about the huge problem Australia has with its low and falling production

Its true that we will have to import huge amounts of oil in coming years, and its true that our trade deficit will blow out even further when this happens, but the question is: Does anyone care?

The trade deficit was a huge issue a decade ago but its all but forgotten now. Australia's exporters are being crushed by a rampaging Aussie dollar but it hardly rates a mention in the media these days. Every month the RBA cranks up interest rates another notch which pushes the dollar higher still, making manufactured goods from China cheaper, imported oil cheaper, and Australian-produced goods uncompetitive overseas and at home.

Australia 2020 is a place where we don't make anything, don't export anything (unless its dug out of the ground), and almost completely reliant on imported oil.

Thanks for your support Sololeum.

I have started the Peak Oil Awareness Camapign to concentrate on the issue of publicity and spreading the word. I am not an oil professional by any means but I have been a very willing consumer of the stuff and all it's benefits and can see us having to change our way of life to adjust.

My philosophy is that adjusting incrementally, rather than monumentally, will be much easier to achieve and far more durable in the long term. I have observed that many peak oilers already feel defeated and discouraged and are even quite cynical about trying to bring this issue to a more mainstream awareness level. I think this is largely because their own paradigm has shifted but reality for the rest of the world is businsses as usual. This can be quite frustrating. Talking about PO to friends, family and associates is also taking some risk of being branded a doomer and losing the plot, particularly when you sell of the family car, boat etc and dig up the lan to grow corn!

The aim of the campaign is therefore to give people who have seen the light, some simple but effective tools, as well as giving an organisational focus and a database of contacts who can swing into action when events such as the 2020 Summit arise.

So much for the theory but only action gets results. I have created a dedicated email address 2020summit at peakaware dot net for communication dedicated to this event. First action is to collect a list of names of prominent peak oilers who my be willing to participate. If you have suggestions and contact details, let me know and we can drop them line to see if they would like our support to put forward their names.

Ian Longfield


The problem with this gabfest is that advocates of bigger coal terminals and six line freeways will come across as hairy chested. Peak oilers will come across as dweeby and pathetic. They will however get the last laugh. Perhaps someone should fly the flag without investing too much emotional energy. As Monbiot points out people don't like the obvious being pointed to them so let the message seep in quietly.

I have to concur that our new feds seem to have their own agenda. Looking at the website http://www.garnautreview.org.au/CA25734E0016A131/pages/about
from which will spring our carbon trading system I get more of an impression of an academic junket than a planetary emergency. With possible apologies to Carbonsink I could point out they while they bring out a Kiwi to lecture publicly on tree planting offsets, they could equally have brought out someone from the EU to argue the opposite.

It might take a while for this new love interest Bureaucrats heart Kevin to lose its shine.

Our greatest problem is the innumeracy of politicians who think that our reserves of 750.6 billion cubic metres is a lot of gas. If you took an informal poll of our pollies and gave them the number and asked what percentage of global reserves it represents I wager that the answer would be between 25% and 50%!! Well ye know it's a bloody big number!!!

None would think that the new field found in Iran represents a little under half of our proven gas reserves and certainly none would understand we have so little gas that it represents only .43 of ONE PERCENT of global gas reserves - and I understand about half is already contracted to China. By the way the CIA factbook recently has downgraded our gas reserves a little over 8.5%!!!!

Governance for the good of the nation? Well I suppose I ask too much! Arn't they there to just ride the election cycle??

We may only have 0.43% of world gas reserves - but we're on our way to be the world's second largest gas exporter.

For a short while...

Solo, agree on this point. STCWA & ASPO have directly briefed Premier Gallop and then-Resources Minister Carpenter & Treasurer Ripper in the past 3 years and NONE realised our gas reserves were less than 1% of world reserves- and they are running Western Australia!

I think getting oil depletion or any energy resources onto 2020 agenda would be a good thing (energy only mentioned in context of infrastructure or low-carbon) and its worth the effort trying, with Boofs rider that 'Perhaps someone should fly the flag without investing too much emotional energy'. If its not rude to start throwing names around here i think Ian Dunlop would have to be a starter, and alot of ground might also be made by canvassing/push-polling those delegates likely to be victim both to oil prices and to pre-peak thinking.

I couldn't find any frontend for the event, http://www.pm.gov.au/news/releases/2008/media_release_00020.cfm
is the press release and prob the place to watch for updates. Naturally the same idea has occurred to others..http://2020summit.org/

Yeah - I think it will be a week or two until the site appears.

Ian Dunlop is a good suggestion. Bruce Robinson is another obvious candidate.

Anyone else spring to mind ?

Maybe we should send Phil - he's pretty presentable - and the train journey from Melbourne isn't too onerous :-)

Hmmm - are you saying there isn't a Canberra - Melbourne rail link ?

I thought there was one from Sydney - Melbourne - so presumably it doesn't go via Canberra ?

I quite like the idea of building one of those new French AGV train lines between Melbourne and the Sunshine Coast - a diabolically expensive concept perhaps, but I still find it enticing...

The 'fast' XPT to Sydney is not popular in regional Vic, its introduction has seen much cheaper all-stops services reduced.

Anyone know of plans to extend rail service to Canberra? I can't see it soon, a) it'll be a cold day in Alice Springs before politicians choose to give up Qantas Club for rail and $5 pies, & b) who else wants to go to Canberra.

Obviously I'd love to go but I doubt I'll get an invite :-)

The 'XPT' is pretty third world in terms of the express part of XPT. The line from Sydney to Brisbane is even worse. And yes it requires a bus to get to Canberra.

I'd settle for a lot less than the TGV. The current trains could travel a lot faster if the track was brought up to a slightly more modern standard.


Sharp eyes Liam. the 2020summit.org website is thick on the cynicism, which I tend to regard as the appropriate expectation of this gathering. We should seize the opportunity however to blow some smoke, prick some bubbles and generally try to spoil the party and the crazy ideas that will come from it.

Ian Longfield

Hello Ian Longfield,

Thxs for this keypost. I suggest that much could be accomplished quickly: if this 1,000 were first helicoptered into the deep Outback and had to walk 30 miles to get back to food, water, A/C, their cars, etc. This sudden and steep emotional exposure to basic non-FF living would rapidly enlighten them on what really needs to be accomplished in the remaining time ahead.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Thanks Bob.

I think your suggestion of a taster for the non FF living is great. But we can probably do this without sending them into the desert. Just making them walk from their hotels to the meeting at Paliament house would do it.

You see Canberra is a city built entirely after the advent of the motor car. It was designed by one of your lot, an American named Walter Burley-Griffin and so impressed were they with his design that they named Canberra's central (artificial)lake after him.

The first building in Canberra was the old parliament house which opened in 1927. Not much happened in Canberra after that, for obvious reasons, until after WWII, when the development of the capital was resumed along Burley-Griffins original design.

The result has been a city often described as being without a soul. It is an invented place rather than having evolved organically from some other reason for being. It is sited on a cold, windswept plain arbitrarily between Sydney and Melbourne, as we couldn't agree that either of them could do the job. And so it was written into our constitution that our capital sould be the best possible compromise that could be agreed upon.

Canberra has been built for the car. It is basically a city of planned sprawl with plenty of open space allowed between the sprawl suburbs. Each of the major "towns" in Canberra are a collection of spaceship shopping malls, concrete box government offices, big box retailers and car dealers. The towns are connected by 4 lane freeways which never jam up as they were designed for a population ten times as big.

As a result you can live a long way from your job and still get there in reasonable time. Parking is no problem as land is so cheap that parking lots were just designed into everything and they are typically free. Friends can live in suburbs many kilometres away and you can just pop in and visit, in your car of course.

The whole place lives and dies by motor car transport. The public transport system is buses and the train only comes in from Sydney and terminates in an outerish Canberra Suburb.

No doubt the delegates to the summit will be staying in hotels some distance from the conference itself. If they had to walk they would soon realise how reliant the whole place is on cheap petrol.

Ian Longfield

Don't forget item 7- Indigenous Australia. ASPO made a Senate submission on the impact high fuel prices are having on remote and rural indigenous communities, where diesel is used for power as well as transport. Same thing is unfolding in Canada with their first nation people and in places like PNG where diesel has gone to Aus$4 per litre.

Hello everyone.
The talk of XPT's bought back memories I have 2 months ago on my way to Lake Cargelligo in the N.S.W mid west for bird photography. It left Sydney central & was diverted south through Wollongong & then west due to track work. We slowly made our way past my house where I'd left an hour before to catch this thing in Sydney. We stopped at Moss Vale for pick ups. A young couple got on heading to Melbourne (where they were told they would have to catch a bus from Albury to Melbourne. The young lady said they caught the XPT as it was more environmentally friendly than an aircraft) They came from Strathfield not far from Central yet countrylink bused them 2 hours to catch the same train they could have caught a few km from home!! We got to Cootamundra 1 & a half hours late. This service goes via Yass Junction, a fair hike to the A.C.T BTW.
Then the 3 hour bus trip to the Lake.
The trip back was interesting when we hit something on the line which cut a brake line & thus the brakes were automatically applied. We sat for some time staring at old tree stumps, sad looking cattle & eroded earth.
The train was full of Europeans also who are used to 400 km/h trains & here they were stuck in a wheezing old diesel trying to get up to Sydney.
Would I do it again? You bet!!!!!!
I met some wonderful people with amazing stories to tell about their lives & how they feel about this world & what's happening to it. Alot of folk are struggling on the land & as I spoke to more & more people in the country I began to feel they are no different than city folk. Most cannot see what is happening due to deeply ingrained conditioning & fear.
Country folk don't embrace nature as the core of their existence anymore than city folk & herein lies our collective undoing as we hang on to the apron strings of an indusrial twilight.
Birdsong is far more valuable than the verbal ramblings of a culture disconnected from its source.
Thank you for your time.

Thanks great sothern. Any ideas on if there is an indigenous body speaking up on this issue?

Funnel Tunnel Decimation

From the step-backed view of this enterprise, the first 20/20 mistake is to subdivide the future into 10 tunnel vision specialties.
The future doesn't unfold as independent tunnels of achievement in:
(1) Education, science, innovation & national productivity agendas;
(2) Economic infrastructure, digital economy and future cities;
(3) Population, sustainability, climate change, water;
(4) Future rural industries/ communities
(5) Preventative health, workforce planning and the aging population;
(6) Strong communities, families and social inclusion
(7) Options ???
(8) Creative future arts, film, design
(9) Governance: democracy, open government (good MSM media), and the rights and responsibilities of citizens
(10)Security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world.

Everything intertwines.
But the "specialists" can't see it. They are blinded by their tunnel visions. And that's why they keep driving faithfully towards the cliff's edge.

The "Economist" can't see the geology.
The "Geologist" can't see the human psychology angle.
The "Politician" can't see the science.
And so on.

We are decimated by our own decimation of the world problem into 10 separate avenues of thought.
Oh Magoo, you've done it again.

Yep. Narrow thinking - particularly our inability to really see the interconnectedness of things - is often one of our great failings.

Perhaps a good example is the raft of ACCC enquiries going on (or proposed) in this country into Petrol, Supermarkets (food) and now Fertiliser...
With surprisingly few being able to see the common link.

Might be a great opportunity to put in a submssion to the ACC on what the links are.
cc: to the Reserve Bank

The headings above have a lot of overlap with those of the Senate Enquiry of last year.
Once delegates are known, perhaps 1000 thousand copies of this report could be delivered to them... with instructions to consider the "big picture".

I should have linked to the Official Senate Enquiry page... which has a more limited set of chapter headings.

Least anyone is confused about how these government talking shops work.

  1. Government sets a constrained problem space
  2. Government seeds 'their' people to control discussion direction
  3. Output is generally in the form of multiple options
  4. Government picks the option they were already planning
  5. Government claims its 'listening'

As such the only way you have to shape anything is to suggest something that they already want to do, which isn't really shaping anything. You might get to tinker around the edges.

  1. First off, its no good suggesting anything that minimises or impacts economic growth. Not a hope in hell of getting anywhere
  2. Second, the feel good words are the same as it ever was. "highly skilled workforce", "broadband infrastructure", "climate change" - they mean nothing, but you can hang concepts off them.
  3. So, as a practical measure, I think you could suggest certain concepts within the summit, pre worked out and worded to create acceptance, preferably with numbers, plans, etc. already worked out:
    • "Australia should focus its energies on becoming the world leader in the practical low carbon revolution. From the lab to the marketplace, Australia should aggressively research and develop new technologies to reduce carbon intensity and energy use - first at home, and then selling that to the rest of the world." - hot button CO2 issue, economic growth, high tech
    • "Exporting bulk resources exports value production to other countries, and with it opportunities. Australia should target specific resources and move its exports up the value chain whilst controlling their CO2 intensity to deliver to the 'green' materials sector." - economic growth, skill development, hot button CO2 issue
    • "Australia should use its enticing and friendly environment to gather to itself the best brains from around the world, funding and supporting targeted research environments to steal a march on the rest of the world." - high tech, good for economy, positive action on positioning for global leadership
    • "Australia's unique urban population structure provides the ideal environment for developing automated public transport solutions that halve its dependence on foreign oil and at the same time substantially reduce its CO2 emissions. Australia should focus on supporting and developing new solutions targeted on reducing the car culture in a cost effective manner - developing industries that can see these novel solutions to the world." - hot button CO2 issue, economic growth, high tech
  4. The aim is to foster the types of developments that are likely to already be on the politician's lists, playing up the advantages, without once mentioning peak oil.
  5. At the same time, utilising the summit as an opportunity to engage the press is a worthwhile tack. Reporters are always looking for an alternative PoV so a canned alternative scenario that points up the failings of the government assumptions could find traction. Messages need to be simple and already worked out with camera ready graphics. Having 5-10 of these ready for the type of thing you expect to see allows you to get maximum impact with the press (particularly if you have troubling numbers included)

In short, play both ends, but play them smart and don't expect much uptake unless its a palatable solution (from the internal axis), or its a good story (from the external).

Agree with your framing of whats possible from government and media, but think the value of being heard by the hundreds of nongovt & nonmedia attendees shouldn't be overlooked.

They will hopefully be people of some influence in whatever sector sent them/they were chosen to speak for, and getting a few clear points across to some of them has to be worthwhile. Maybe more worthwhile than just conserving notional credibility in order to concur with what government probably going to do regardless. Theres plenty of intelligent people who have yet to give any attention to resource limits, this could be an ideal occasion to spark their interest.


Agree that the strategy has to fit the predefined expectations of the government and Ilike the way you ahve phrased it as positive action oriented ideas. Peak Oil as a label is not very well understood and the risk is certainly there that you can be labelled as a nut if all you talk about is the downside rather than the positive ideas of what the solutions are (I use the that term very loosley).

Ian Longfield


How much does the average Pollie know? In last year's election campaign I raised Peak Oil in an interview I got with my local MP (a Liberal backbencher who'd been in parliament 11 years) along with a few issues pertinent to my field of expertise (medicine).

He had never heard of Peak Oil.

As I explained it, his eyes widened and it was evident that he had never heard or thought of the concept of peaking or dwindling or finite oil supplies at all.

How can someone be part of the government and privy to Liberal-National Party meetings of all shapes and sizes outside of cabinet itself and not have any inkling of Peak Oil in October 2007?

Does Garrett, Wong, Rudd etc know?

You hear that "Of course governments know all about Peak Oil but for political reasons can't spook their electorates" or words to that effect. But is that true??

I doubt its true.

I imagine the Greens would all know (as its part of their platform) but regular Liberal and Labor MPs have a million other issues they know and care about.

The profile of peak oil is low, and when it occurs is contested by the industry and various government agencies like ABARE.

So its something you are likely to surprise them with when you mention it.

The more apocalyptic you sound when you talk about it, the easier it is for them to dismiss you as a nut - so its best to keep it simple and focus on the issue, not extrapolate out to derelict suburbs and a second great depression etc...

How much does the average Pollie know?

How much does the average human know?

As individuals, we are all incredibly limited in our knowledge bases.

Please don't feel smug that you know about PO and the pollie never heard of it.

The human brain is designed to filter out massive amounts of what it considers "background noise" and to home in on what appears to be crucial to survival.

For a pollie, survival means winning the next election.

Does Garrett, Wong, Rudd etc know?

Garrett knows. I handed over peak oil papers twice to him personally. Other luminaries, who got PO papers from me directly are:
Bob Carr, Knowles, Sartor, Refshauge, Bob Debus, Ian MacFarlane, Kim Beazley, Steven Smith, Clover Moore, Alan Evans (NRMA) and - lately - Maxine McKew, Tony Jones (ABC TV) plus many others.

Howard was well informed by me via his Gladesville office in Bennelong with professional 10 page long updates every 1/2 year or thereabouts.
4 response letters in full denial mode as advised by MacFarlane who possibly thought PO was also entertainment, just like global warming.

I have no doubt that he will have to bear a lot of responsibility of not having prepared Australia for PO. When PO manifests itself as petrol lines at filling stations, motorists will cry out for alternative fuels, e.g. compressed natural gas. They will then discover, bit by bit, that there are no gas pipelines, no facilities at filling stations, not even enough licensed gas mechanics and that anyway the easy gas from shallow waters along the West coast has been squandered away in long term LNG projects.

As this topic winds down...
And for Australian readers...
I nominate Chris Berg for Fatuous Argumentation of the Year award for his recent Age articles.
The most recent being Rudd's super summit puts the con into consensus
The previous being Isn't all this talk of an apocalypse getting a bit boring?"

Let's create an "Institute", you can get any old bollocks published it seems.