Heads in the sand of the Great Barrier Reef

Everybody with a functioning brain knows that the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is in trouble, with scientific papers demonstrating that coral bleaching due to global warming is an existential threat to it. The senior author on these papers is Professor Terry Hughes, the director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, and these were published in perhaps the top two peer-reviewed science journals on the planet, Nature and Science1,2,3.

If the GBR declines dramatically, especially in the north where the damage is already very severe, it will badly affect the huge tourism industry which delivers a concomitantly huge injection of $6.4 billion into the economy, and employs some 64,000 people. Currently, tour operators can find places where bleaching is non-existent or very limited, to give their clients what they expect4. Given the likelihood that the bleaching will get worse, it is staggering that Col McKenzie, Executive Director of the Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators (AMPTO), a group that represents more than 100 businesses on the Great Barrier Reef, called Terry Hughes, “a dick” which, as Crispin Hull stated, is an indication of the sophistication of his argument. McKenzie also wrote to the government, asking it to stop funding the work of Hughes because the science was “harming the tourism industry”4,5. This is an archetypal instance of ‘shooting the messenger’. Instead of calling people names, the idiotic McKenzie should be agitating, for all he is worth, for something to be done about climate change, not just in Australia, but around the world.

McKenzie seems to have had a change of heart since 2007 when he set up a new political party in November 2006, the Save our Great Barrier Reef Party, because of the Howard Government’s inaction on global warming6. Given this, one would expect there to be a position statement about global warming on the AMPTO website. Indeed, there is not even a mention of the word ‘climate’ among the position statements7. I wonder why that would be. In addition, in 2016, McKenzie stated that a planned rally in support of action on global warming, was all part of an “anti-coal agenda”8. That seems like a rather dramatic volte-face in opinion. I wonder what could have caused that.

In addition to McKenzie’s stupidity, Warren Entsch, the federal member for Leichhardt, also seems less than impressed with Hughes’ work, stating that: “He’ll be having an absolute ball”9 as if Hughes would be enjoying watching the demise of the reef. I wonder why Entsch thinks Hughes puts himself in the firing line, leaving himself open to opprobrium by halfwits like McKenzie and Entsch; could it be that Hughes wants people to take the possible demise of the reef seriously? That is probably because nobody in the federal government seems to be.


  1. Hughes, T.P., Kerry, J.T. et al., 2017. Global warming and recurrent mass bleaching of corals. Nature 543, 373-377. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-018-0041-2
  2. Hughes, T.P., Anderson, K.D. et al. 2018. Spatial and temporal patterns of mass bleaching of corals in the Anthropocene. Science 359, 80-83. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/359/6371/80
  3. http://www.blotreport.com/australian-politics/pissing-in-the-ocean/
  4. https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/tourism-industry-idiots-try-to-hide-great-barrier-reefs-death-20180202-h0sbyr.html
  5. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/13/great-barrier-reef-tourism-spokesman-attacks-scientist-over-slump-in-visitors
  6. http://www.wildsingapore.com/news/20070506/070628-3.htm
  7. http://www.ampto.org/position-statements2.html
  8. https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/tourism-operator-says-its-time-for-industry-to-admit-great-barrier-reef-has-problems/news-story/6ff52a2d24fc4973c8f8c3e6e51408b4
  9. https://www.smh.com.au/opinion/coral-crisis-the-great-barrier-reef-needs-us-to-speak-up-20170322-gv3qlt.html


  • Yes Minister says:

    Barely a day passes without yet another revelation of bastardry and inanity on the part of government. Given the impossibility of the masses revolting, one must seriously consider a move offshore. Personally I doubt that any other country, even North Korea, could be as corrupt as this one. I’ve never been one to stick my head in the sand like most Australians but its getting to the point of heavy duty tranquilizers or bye bye Australia.

    • admin says:

      It is tempting to drown my rage in shiraz, but I have children, and cannot bear the thought that my generation may have lived the best lives possible in this country, and that it will only get worse from here, which is where this government is taking us. I will do everything within my power to try to prevent that for as long as I am capable. Until age or infirmity overtake me, I will never give up.

  • Yes Minister says:

    I’m not proposing to give up, however in view of the increasing obsession on the part of bloodsucking parasitic scum to make themselves totally unaccountable and to prevent any voice of dissent from making waves, I believe the time is not far away when dissent will need to be made where the scum have no jurisdiction. My photo is already used as a dartboard by more than a few bureaucrats and I have no doubt they would love to roll out the fixated persons trick.

    My living arrangements are somewhat better than most, with stuff-all reliance on the establishment, and I had planned on staying put indefinitely however. the latest round of bullshit has me considering options. BTW I am partial to a good shiraz.

    • admin says:

      I knew you’d like shiraz! The best people do! I have a fairly low profile, but have a facility with words, so I thought I’d try that before I go out to buy a pitchfork.

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