News Corp journalists haven’t been too fond of the electric car over the last few years. “First they came for coal fired power, now the net-zeroists are coming for the family car”, declared Peta Credlin, channelling German pastor Martin Niemöller on Sky News last year. “Who’s got the guts to stand up to all of that?” Alan Jones, that’s who. “This is another hoax, another hoax,” he told her. Vikki Campion, partner of ex-deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, this week used her News Corp column to describe the federal government’s new electric vehicle subsidy as a “socialist tax on large families”.
Interesting, then, to cast one’s eye over the new board members at the Electric Vehicle Council. Who could that be sitting next to Sam McLean from Tesla? My, it’s John Lehmann, managing director of The Australian and the Daily Telegraph. The council’s mission: “We aim to accelerate the electrification of road transport.”
“Alternative fuel vehicles are the future of the family car and our association will help ensure our audiences are fully informed about this once-in-a century transformation in motoring so they can make an affordable transition at the time of their choosing,” Lehmann said in an emailed statement. “Our news and opinion coverage will continue to reflect the healthy debate about motoring’s future.”
Respectful scientific debate
One of Australia’s most-controversial pandemic experts has had quite the month. First, the ANU’s Professor Peter Collignon told The Australian the “worst is over” for the pandemic, and the virus was likely to cause only low-grade illness from now on. That drew a stern rebuke from NSW Scientist of the Year Eddie Holmes – Australia’s leading expert in virus evolution – who told us there was “no real scientific basis to say the worst is over,” Holmes said. “Every prediction I have made about the evolution of this virus has been wrong.”
Collignon wasn’t done disagreeing with Holmes. He took to Twitter – which has, against all good advice, become the scientific discussion board of choice – this month to let his followers know that he personally remained unconvinced COVID-19 really had come from an animal at the Huanan Market. “The Wuhan market in Dec was a super-spreading event, but I don’t see how that completely rules out the lab leak possibility,” he wrote. “We still just don’t know.”
CBD suspects that will be news to Holmes, who just published a very long paper in Science showing the market was just about the least-likely super-spreader site in all Wuhan. “It’s like going to Coles in Bendigo on a wet Wednesday afternoon,” he told The Age.
RoCo rolls on… to the Essendon board?
Former Age sports journalist Rohan ‘RoCo’ Connolly has done quite well for himself since he left the mothership. He’s now managing director of ‘sport and lifestyle brand’ Footyology, while his self-described “uncouth, rude and abusive” style on Twitter has endeared him to almost 60,000 followers. But is a higher calling in store?
While RoCo’s career has been on the up, his beloved Bombers have hit serious turbulence, losing a coach, president, CEO, football manager and two board members in the space of a couple of weeks (as Oscar Wilde noted, to lose one board member is misfortune, to lose two is carelessness). Connolly had been dissecting the bleeding on an Essendon podcast when the topic of the vacant board spots came up. Might he apply?
“I don’t want to come off sounding like a tosser,” began RoCo, “Who am I? I’m a journo. A bit of a bogan I guess at heart, and an abusive you-know-what on Twitter. Do I think I could contribute to a board?” RoCo paused, “Well, I actually do.”
After some more discussion about what he might contribute – particularly on the media relations front – RoCo told the hosts he was “talking myself into putting in a bid.”
“One of my greatest fears in life is coming across as a tosser. Yeah, I’ve got a blue tick on Twitter, so what,” he said. “One thing I can promise you, I’m not an idiot.” Over to you, new Dons president David Barham.
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