The entire trip from August 3 to August 18 was busy, productive, and exciting.
I agreed to give as many as three lectures a day, and on a number of days the organizers–who included Leon Ashby of the fledgling Climate Sceptics political party and Max Rheese of the Climate Science Coalition–succeeded in booking that many, with other days with two talks and some with one but none with none … except in our brief stay in New Zealand where green censorship blocked us out but the top-rated TV and radio shows invited us on for effective presentations.
Our first day in Australia had us lecturing in Melbourne and two suburbs with crowds averaging 30 people of substantial positions. Morning found us at Melbourne University, afternoon at the home of a prominent sceptic (Des Moore), and evening in Ringwood, an upscale suburb. Radio and TV interviews were squeezed in between trips.
The next day we were a couple of hours from Melbourne in Geelong in the afternoon and Ballarat in the evening, again averaging 30 in each audience, and TV shows and radio along the way.
We then had a travel day to Perth with four talks the next two days and two radio shows and a major tv interview. These talks again averaged 30 people in each audience. Then off to Sydney, where we had three talks the first day and two the second with audiences dropping to 20, then off to Brisbane for three more talks and two radio shows.
On the way to one of our Sydney talks we did a drive-by of the famous Opera House, which really is spectacular, and took a picture with it in the background holding the latest issue of Parachute Magazine because in each issue they run a page of pictures of people holding the magazine in interesting places around the world.
In Brisbane we had 150 at the Brisbane Institute, 50 on the Gold Coast two hours south, and 35 on the Sun Coast two hours north.
We had no days off but Janet took one day to visit an old friend and one day to hike a mountain range and visit an animal park with kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas. We both hiked a rain forest for a day before driving to our Gold Coast lecture outside of Brisbane that evening.
Mostly we ate on the run or not at all but had about six terrific sort-of State Dinners with VIPs and the food coming and going on Air New Zealand was incredible, so any weight we lost along the way we put back on on the way home.
While they worked us hard, they did as we requested, put us in fine hotels with excellent exercise equipment so most days we got in our workouts between 5 am and 8 am before going to work, and Janet ran every morning, getting lost in Perth one day finding herself 14 miles from the hotel and had to get a cab back in order not to miss a major luncheon. A nice lady took us for a two-hour drive around Perth after the luncheon speech and it is indeed a beautiful city.
Both New Zealand and Australia are far more controlled by green zealots than is the U.S. so far. I was asked at each speech by Dan [Miller] or Joe [Bast] to honor my anonymous donor by saying I thought Australia was an Island of Sanity amidst a sea of insanity, but that was impossible as everyone in my audiences knew Australia had long since lost its mind.
Eighty percent of the audiences were sceptical of what their country was doing and the greens in the audience were generally polite except two at the Brisbane Institute who screamed obscenities at me during the question period and stormed out to the applause of the 148 people remaining. It was a great moment when one of them said I was not a scientist but just an actor like Ronald Reagan. I thought it was one of the greatest compliments I have ever received and it was in fact in many ways the finest presentation I have ever made, likely because my voice was going and I had to deliver it with exceptional calm, normally foreign to me.
Following the talk the Institute served fabulous hors d’oeuvres and all stayed with wonderful compliments for the presentation. This group took away 400 of my Heartland cards. Everyone wanted three. Afterward we were whisked off for one of those State dinners.
A green in one audience had to admit that the Australian cap and trade bill, called here the Emissions Trading Scheme, which was defeated two days before the end of our visit, would not change the climate or CO2 content over Australia but would in fact set an example for China and India to follow suit. I wanted to ask him what he was smoking but as always I was polite and simply disagreed.
We had tremendous newspaper exposure with many articles about my visit or Bob Carter’s talks, which went on either separately or with me at times. I received a few emails from admirers giving me credit for the legislative defeat of the greens after 11 days of my lectures, but of course there was far more afoot though perhaps I helped.
A number of my tv appearances and radio spots were rebroadcast, I am told. Live radio is great because no talk jockey can divert me from telling the real story for all to hear as I never take a breath.
The legislation will likely pass in some form when it comes up again in three months because the opposition, led by a former head of Goldman Saks (think carbon trading), will waffle and give in to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a carbon copy of our Mr. Obama.
In a nutshell, Australia and New Zealand are nanny states far beyond where the U.S. stands. They are fed daily blue pills described in Brave New World by Huxley, but here it is in the form of a daily battering from the media and science shills. But as in Brave New World, there are many many misfits who can still in time overturn the evil that lurks in the minds of men.
In every talk I made it clear that the battle will go on and on and they can win if they never give in. I believe that when public opinion shifts strongly in Australia the politicians who do not read but certainly count will shift along with it. We have the science on our side, the Earth’s temperature on our side, and the benefits of carbon dioxide working for us. I was very realistic in telling them that winning over the public in three years was optimistic and it could take eight years, but none of them and none of us is going anywhere and their job was to spend a few minutes everyday spreading the information I had provided them with to their family friends and coworkers. I firmly believe the message got through to nearly everyone I spoke with.
Jay Lehr, Ph.D. ([email protected]) is science director of The Heartland Institute.