Hurricane Anon: The hurricane you have when (officially), you are not having a hurricane.

p1-eye-of-storm

[Source: The Advertiser, Page 1. 28th September 2016]

A storm of hurricane force intensity but the word ‘hurricane’ was never mentioned and consequently, people never knew the deadly peril that about to hit them in just a few hours time.

p4-so-much-damage-so-quick[Source: The Advertiser, page 2. 30th September 2016]

On 28th September 2016, South Australia was blasted by a super-storm of hurricane force that, officially, was not a hurricane and therefore no hurricane warning was issued. It was only by LUCK, or the grace of God, that no-one was killed. The text that follows is a copy of my report to South Australian politicians expressing my viewpoint that both the Weatherill Government and the Turnbull Government need to held accountable for the failure to issue a warning that would have clearly indicated the extent of the danger that the people in South Australia were facing. [Note that the text is unformatted for this web page at the moment.]

[Note: The short link URL for this posting is: http://wp.me/p1n8TZ-Fq ]

“Hurricane Anon”: The Super-stormp1-winds-of-fury

[Source: The Advertiser, Page 1, 30th September 2016. Parks and businesses may have been closed, but in a criminal act of reckless endangerment, schools remained open during this super-storm/hurricane. I kid you not. ]

 

 “It’s taken a super-storm in South Australia for the federal government to discover the need for energy security.”

Bill Shorten MP Federal Leader of the Opposition, Channel 7 News, 6.00 PM,   7th October 2016

p5-tower-down

 [Source: The Advertiser, page 5. 6th October 2016]

Meteorologists definition of a hurricane:

Technically, hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones are all “Tropical Cyclones” that form in tropical regions under very specific hydro-thermal conditions.

The Emcott Public Safety Hurricane Definition:  [EPSHD]

Any storm with wind strength that is directly comparable to the Siffer-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, i.e. 119 Km/hour or faster, that may pose a clear and present danger to life. Specific characteristics of an EPSHD hurricane include:

  1. Formation anywhere at any time, under any conditions and/or;

  2. Injury or death to people, domestic pets and livestock or wildlife, and/or;

  3. Damage or destroy man-made structures such as homes, commercial or public buildings, or infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and power lines, and/or;

  4. Cause widespread, damaging flooding over a wide region, state, or nation, and/or;

  5. Can cause foreseeable economic loss from any, and all of the above.

RISK CANNOT BE ABROGATED: An EPSHD classified hurricane is a severe weather event that poses a clearly identifiable public danger that is inconsistent with the duty of care obligations that any government agency, Federal, State or Territory, owes to the general public as per Section 14.7.3.2 of the Report of the Home Insulation Program Royal Commission, aka the Hanger Royal Commission.

 14.7.3.2  RISK CANNOT BE ABROGATED  [Capitals and underlining used  for added emphasis.]

  • Government must recognize that as much as it might seek to do so, risk cannot be abrogated.
  • The responsibility of Government is to care for its citizens and;
  • To exercise care and diligence to do everything reasonable to ensure that its citizens are not placed in danger by its actions, particularly risk of death and serious injury.

 

14.7.3.2.1  The Australian Government should not seek to abrogate responsibility for identified risk.  [Underlining used  for added emphasis.]

  • If another party (for example a State or Territory Government) is identified as being able to mitigate an identified risk, this does not remove the Department’s responsibility to take the necessary steps to manage the risk and to ensure that others are doing the same.
  • The Australian government should engage with the identified risk manager to ensure the adequacy of those arrangements for the new circumstance, and consider whether there are additional steps that it could take to complement that action.

 

An Emcott Classified Hurricane is therefore also any storm of 119Km/hour wind speed that is a threat to the welfare and safety of the public and as such, creates a significant public risk that cannot be abrogated by any government agency through reliance upon meteorological or other technical terms or departmental policies, practices or procedures.

 

PUBLIC SAFETY COMES FIRST: Regardless of how or where it was formed, if a storm has wind speeds of 119 Km/hour or greater and can foreseeably injure or kill people or animals and/or, destroy man-made structures or cause serious economic harm, then it is an EPSHD Hurricane and a state of emergency should be declared in order to ensure Government’s public safety obligations are met.

 

 

SOUTH AUSTRALIA WAS LUCKY; THIS TIME!

 

Hurricane Matthew live:

Landfalls and massive flooding batter USA as raging storms wreak havoc UPDATED 21:25, 8 OCT 2016 BY STEPHEN JONES

The United States is braced as the first Atlantic hurricane to hit since 2007 brings tornadoes and a 12ft storm surge.

  • More than three million people have been evacuated from Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolinaas Hurricane Matthew hits. The biggest storm in a century is set to hit around 26 million people with President Obama declaring a state of emergency and mobilizing thousands of National Guard troops.
  • At least 842 people have already been killed as Matthew swept through Haiti, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas – and deaths are being reported in the USA this morning.
  • North Carolina Governor reveals there are three reported deaths so far in the state. The news comes as the death toll in Haiti almost hits 900.
  • Cholera outbreaks have killed at least 13 people in southwest Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, government officials told Reuters on Saturday, voicing concern that the disease was spreading.
  • Six people died of Cholera in a hospital in the southern town of Randel, while another seven died in the western coastal town of Anse-dAinault, the officials said, likely as flood waters mixed with sewage.
  • Hurricane Matthew slammed into South Carolina on Saturday, packing a diminished yet still powerful punch after killing almost 900 people in Haiti and causing major flooding and widespread power outages as it skirted Florida and Georgia.
  • The most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007 left flooding and wind damage in Florida before moving north to soak coastal Georgia and the Carolinas. Earlier on Saturday, wind speeds had dropped below 85 miles per hour (135 kph), making it a Category 1 hurricane, the weakest on the Saffir-Simpson scale of 1 to 5.

[Source: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/hurricane-matthew-live-landfalls-massive-8995023]

 

‘[HURRICANE ANON’ was an EPSHD Category 1 hurricane.]

 

A Royal Commission or a judicial inquiry is needed to investigate the following issues which are matters of fact:

 

  1. Regardless of the name used, any storm of hurricane force can foreseeably injure and kill people, and/or cause widespread property damage due to wind strength and/or flooding.
  2. The “super-storm” that hit South Australia on 28th September 2016 and destroyed more than 20 power transmission towers was of Category One Hurricane-Wind-Strength and was a foreseeable risk or peril to the residents of South Australia.
  3. The Weatherill Government endangered life by failing to issue a timely, pro-active warning and declaring a State of Emergency before the storm struck the State.
  4. The Turnbull Government also failed to act to protect South Australians by recommending to the Weatherill Government declare a State of Emergency before the Super-storm arrived.
  5. On the 29th September 2016, Prime Minister Turnbull criticized Labour State Governments for setting “unrealistic goals” for reliance upon renewable energy sources to generate electricity.
  6. A report released on 30th September 2016 by a United States federal government agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reveals that Carbon Dioxide greenhouse gas levels now exceed 400 parts per million due to the extremely high global usage of fossil fuels.
  7. Reliance on fossil fuels for not less than 76.5% of national electricity requirements may now be an environmentally dangerous and recklessly irresponsible demand by the Turnbull Government for it has the potential to increase both the frequency and intensity of ‘Super-storm’ activity globally.


‘Hurricane Anon’

(The Clayton’s Hurricane that you have when you are [technically] not having a hurricane.)

The Weatherill and Turnbull Governments both took a criminally reckless risk with public safety by deciding not to declare a state of emergency and, by a stroke of luck, ‘Hurricane Anon’ missed the Adelaide urban area by about 150 kilometres. However, as the Siffer-Simpson Scale below indicates, had this “super-storm” impacted directly on Adelaide’s densely populated metropolitan area, thousands of people may have been seriously injured or killed as has just happened with the Hurricane Matthew in the Caribbean and the United States .

Siffer-Simpson Scale: Category One Hurricane:

[NOTE: This information has been bullet-pointed for clarity and emphasis.]

  1. Sustained winds – 119-153 km/hr.
  2. Damaging winds…primarily to unanchored structures (such as school portables).
  3. Some damage is likely to poorly constructed signs. Loose outdoor items will become projectiles, causing additional damage.
  4. Persons struck by windborne debris risk injury and possible death.
  5. Numerous large branches of healthy trees will snap… trees will be uprooted, especially where the ground is saturated. Many areas will experience power outages with some downed power poles.  

 

Hurricane Iwa (passing just northwest of Kauai in 1982) and Hurricane Dot (landfall on Kauai in 1959) are examples of Category One hurricanes that directly impacted Hawaii. Source: http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/pages/aboutsshs.php

 

 

SANTA NEVER MADE INTO DARWIN:

Santa never made it into Darwin on Christmas Day in 1974 because a big wind named Cyclone Tracy had blown the town away. On the 28th September 2016, electricity never made it into Adelaide because another big wind, Hurricane Anon, a category 1 hurricane  blew away South Australia’s  electricity infrastructure. In both cases, many people who should have known better, failed to act because they did not comprehend scale of the approaching danger. In 1974 that failure to act placed 100,000 lives in danger; in 2016 the failure to act placed 1.7 million people in similar life threatening peril. One unconfirmed leak stated that SAPOL internal documents used the word “hurricane” when describing the approaching storm. A Royal Commission or a judicial inquiry is required to determine why both the Turnbull Government and the Weatherill Government failed to pro-actively  declare a state of emergency before the Super-storm, i.e. ‘Hurricane Anon’ battered the state on the 28th September 2016.

 

In the USA hurricanes kill an average of 80 people a year and as I draft this report [30-9-16] Jamaica is battening down and preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Matthew, a deadly category 4 hurricane, is reported to have already killed 100 people.  However, despite the known danger to life posed by hurricanes, such was the state of unpreparedness in South Australia for the destruction that ‘Hurricane Anon’ would inflict upon South Australia that no hurricane force storm alert was issued, or a proactive State of Emergency  issued. As a direct consequence, the lives of 1.7 million people were recklessly placed in life threatening peril.

 

It is a matter of fact that the lives of literally hundreds of thousands school children, were casually placed at risk. In Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, hurricanes are a common occurrence and the dangers are clearly recognized. Consequently, when a severe storm of hurricane force is detected, steps are implemented to pro-actively protect lives and property. Such was the ‘slack-whacker’ approach by state and federal authorities to ‘Hurricane Anon’ that children as young as 5-years-old were sent to school whilst the state was being battered by a super-storm!. As is pointed out in information sourced from a US Government agency, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, (NOAA) some classrooms are especially vulnerable to damage or even total destruction by these storms. If the cyclonic ‘Micro-bursts’ embedded in Hurricane Anon had occurred in the Adelaide’s metropolitan area, school children and school staff could have been killed or seriously injured. [A matter or WorkSafe?]

 

As a school teacher and as a grand-parent of school-aged children, I demand to know why, when commercial businesses were closed due to the extreme weather, young children were allowed to attend school during a super-storm of hurricane force when there was an easily foreseeable risk of serious or fatal injury by flying debris or cyclonic windstorm impact.

 

It is manifestly evident that evaluating the causes and responses to the Great Wednesday Blackout and the responses to the widespread damage that occurred will not be adequate. The far more serious issue was, and still is the reasons for the total lack of preparedness by the general public for the foreseeable life-threatening dangers posed by violent storm. It is glaringly obvious that there was a catastrophic systems failure with no appropriate warnings being issued and no timely declaration of a State of Emergency as the super-storm approached. Another glaring system failure was the lack of statutory authority that would have enabled emergency services to deal more effectively with the known risks associated with hurricane force storms, e.g. “unnecessary travel” that increased exposure to flying debris, falling trees, aqua-planning and other storm hazards,

 

There are literally hundreds of issues that a royal commission must consider including:

 

  1. Why did this lack of adequate warning occur, i.e. why did the nation’s extensive (and expensive) public and private meteorology services all fail to provide a public warning that a ‘storm’ of Category One hurricane force was about to slam into South Australia and that damage to the state’s power lines was very likely to occur?
  2. What other systemic factors increased the overall danger and risks to the general public, e.g. the lack of public awareness that word ‘storm’ includes hurricane strength storms?
  3. What were the foreseeable risks to the public that eventuated as a consequence?
  4. What short-term, intermediate-term and longer-term factors prevented or reduced the capability of emergency services to pro-actively prevent damage, e.g. crop losses?
  5. Why was it that at least 48 hours before Hurricane Anon slammed into South Australia, the ADF failed to give timely advice to both the South Australian Government and the Federal Government that the “severe storm” was, according to the Siffer-Simpson Wind Scale, of hurricane force and therefore both an appropriate alert and safety instructions should be issued to the South Australian public, e.g. evacuation instructions?
  6. How effective were the initial public safety responses of the Weatherill Government in addressing the perceived life-threatening dangers posed by the super-storm?
  7. How effective were the disaster relief responses of the Turnbull Government on 29th September 2016 in addressing the immediate dangers to South Australian residents, e.g. the substantial infrastructure damage and the widespread flood problems caused by the still on-going super-storm?
  8. What is the likelihood that hurricane force storms will become a far more occurrence than a “once-in-fifty-years” event? The claim made by Prime Minister Turnbull that labour state governments were setting “unrealistic goals” in the setting of renewable energy targets were inconsistent with scientific information issued by NOAA 24 hours later.
  • Implicit in the NOAA information is the very real possibility that the “once-in-50 years” hurricane force super-storms that strike South Australia may now become a more frequent, annual danger the South Australian community.
  • The matters raised in this NOAA warning have profound ramifications that need to acknowledged and addressed in an impartial judicial inquiry rather than being a matter for political debate where ideology, vested interest and the gaining or retaining of political power may be issues that hinder or totally prevent the objective decision making now required as a result of ‘Hurricane Anon’s impact upon our state.
  • John Howard wrongly claimed to have “irrefutable evidence” that Iraq was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction. As a direct consequence of that ‘error’, 250,000 are dead, the world is facing its worst refugee crisis since World War 2, and in the last year alone, Islamic terrorists have conducted more than 40 attacks that have claimed the lives of over 700 people.
  • An important issue for any public inquiry is the question as to whether or not Prime Minister Turnbull, or his Ministers for Environment and Energy, were aware of the NOAA research findings, what their appraisal of these finding were, and what was the scientific basis for ignoring these alarming findings.
  • The last point above is relevant to the terms of reference of a public inquiry because empirical evidence based decision-making was one of the key recommendations contained in the Home Insulation Program Report of the Hanger Commission of Inquiry and it is imperative that the public be made aware if lives were again being placed in danger by politicians and public servants who may still be making policy decisions based on assumptions and ideology rather than upon irrefutable empirical scientific evidence.

 

NOAA: GLOBAL WARMING FINDINGS HAVE SUPER-STORM IMPLICATIONS:

Hurricane Anon may have been formed due to global warming and if this was the case, South Australia can expect such storms to increase in both frequency and strength.

 

NOAA is a US federal government agency that is one of the world’s leading scientific research agencies in the field of oceanic and atmospheric research. It is tasked with protecting 250 million US residents and with issuing timely warning to the global maritime and aviation industries. Any published scientific concerns expressed by NOAA that may have implication for the health, welfare and safety of South Australians should therefore be given very serious consideration by any judicial inquiry into the systemic failures exposed by the super-storm. One of the issues that requires serious consideration is this Hurricane force storm, i.e. ‘Hurricane Anon’ may well be the first hurricane in what may prove to be South Australia’s first ‘hurricane season’. Just 48 hours after the super-storm struck South Australia, NOAA published a report summary on the Internet titled Carbon dioxide levels race past troubling milestone.”

NOAA Internet publication:

http://www.noaa.gov/stories/carbon-dioxide-levels-race-past-troubling-milestone

 

The NOAA media publication contained very sobering empirical statements that may have a direct bearing upon why ‘Hurricane Anon’ was formed so far south of the Tropics and consequently these statements need to be impartially evaluated by a public inquiry:

 

  • Carbon dioxide levels in Earth’s atmosphere passed a troubling milestone for good this summer and locked in levels of the heat-trapping gas not seen for millions of years.
  • It’s unlikely we’ll ever see CO2below 400 ppm during our lifetime and probably much longer, says Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.
  • Measurements taken at NOAA’s atmospheric observatories on Mauna Loa and at the South Pole both indicate thatCO2has passed 400 ppm for good
  • “Four hundred parts per million is an arbitrary milestone, but it also may be a window on our future.
  • The last time CO2levels were this high was the mid-Pliocene warm period — about three million years ago. Paleoclimate research suggests that there was a lot less ice to cool the planet then. The extent of the Greenland Ice Sheet and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet were severely reduced. Ditto for the Arctic. 
  • Three million years ago, sea levels were up to 65 feet higher than today [Underline emphasis added]
  • What’s more troubling is that the rate of CO2increase is more than 100 times faster than anything observed in the ice core record that goes back 800,000 years. This will continue as long as fossil fuel consumption remains at its current high level worldwide.” [Underline emphasis added].
  • For most of human evolution, CO2levels hovered around 278 ppm, helping to maintain the global climate in a relatively stable state conducive to agriculture and the growth of human populations. That all changed starting in the 1850s with massive deforestation around the world.
  • Then in the 1950s, a dramatic increase in the burning of fossil fuels — coal to make electricity and steel, oil for vehicles and manufacturing — vastly accelerated the rate of CO2being pumped into the atmosphere.
  • About 85% of all fossil fuel consumption since the start of the industrial revolution took place during my lifetime,” said Tans. [Underline emphasis added]

 

These statements by NOAA scientist, which are based upon empirical evidence rather than politically driven ideological beliefs, clearly express the view that Carbon Dioxide (greenhouse gas) levels are far too high and must be reduced. The viewpoint of NOAA experts thus contradict the “unrealistic goals – security of supply is the most important issue” statements made by Prime Minister Turnbull on 29th September.

 

 

If the views expressed by Prime Minister Turnbull are as scientifically flawed as John Howard’s erroneous belief that “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction’,  then South Australia faces a future in which severe storms of hurricane force may become a persistent danger. If this is the case, then any delay in disaster-proofing South Australia may only serve to decrease the time available in which to upgrade older buildings to the Category 5 building standards, or implement other engineering safety measures.

 

Political procrastination, or any other cause of delay in recognizing the current real-world impact of CO2 levels of 400ppm+ will also reduce the time needed to educate the public about how to prepare and survive a high intensity hurricane such as Hurricane Matthew which is pounding the Caribbean even as I draft this report. This lack of public aware of the dangers posed by such dangerous weather was demonstrated by people driving on submerged roads and even irresponsibly rubber-canoeing in raging river torrents. Any public education program also needs to be supported by “State of Emergency” powers if loss of life is to be minimized when a storm of hurricane force passes through a high-density urban areas and rapidly destroys buildings.

 

COMPLACENCY:

Are state and federal politicians so narrow-minded and ideologically driven and out of touch with the reality of Carbon Dioxide pollution that they choose to ignore the reason why “Santa never made into Darwin Christmas Day” in 1974. The ‘big picture’ reality of CO2 at 400ppm+ is that global warming is just as real as the super-storm that I call Hurricane Anon, i.e. the Category One  hurricane force storm that blew away South Australia’s electricity supply on 28th September 2016.

 

In raising these issues, I stress the point that these are just a few of the issues that need to consider with the primary issue being why it was that on 28th September 2016, because of criminally reckless acts of omission by the Weatherill and Turnbull administrations,  South Australia’s population was caught totally unprepared when a “severe storm” of Category One hurricane wind strength struck the state.  Although there were no human fatalities, this is not grounds for complacency; we need to knows why no hurricane force storm warnings were issued and why no pro-active State of Emergency was declared.

 

TECHNICAL STUFF FOR ‘NIT-PICKERS’; WHAT EXACTLY IS A ‘SUPER-STORM?”

The following information, which expands on that provided on previously in this report was sourced from the United States National Hurricane Centre. The internationally recognized Siffer-Simpson Scale underscores the fact that South Australian residents were the victims of a massive system failure that failed to protect them from a potentially lethal super-storm. For example, if an urgent evacuation had been required:

  • What would the public know about when and where to go, and how would those without transport be evacuated with the trams and trains shut down?

 

Adelaide Bureau of Meteorology and other meteorological experts across the nation, e.g. Defence Force meteorologists, university lecturers and the ‘talking-head-weather-experts’ employed by national television networks, all failed to warn the residents of South Australian that on Wednesday 28th 2016, the state would be pummeled by a dangerous  “super-storm” of Category 1 hurricane strength. To the best of my knowledge, no government agency provided specific details of the following potentially lethal dangers:

 

  1. Wind speed: 119 – 153 Km/h. [Wind-speeds of up to 140 km/hr were recorded]
  2. Very dangerous winds will produce some damage, even well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, (tiles)  vinyl siding and gutters.
  3. Large branches of trees will snap and shallow rooted trees may be toppled.
  4. Extensive damage to power lines and poles will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.

 [Source:  http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/aboutsshws.php ]

 

CHILDREN DELIBERATELY PLACED AT-RISK: “…damage to portable school buildings”:

To understand just how serious was the danger posed by ‘Hurricane Anon’ to school children in South Australia,  please consider again the following NOAA sourced information, especially the reference to damage to portable school buildings and the danger from falling trees and flying debris. This information further highlights the failure of politicians, public servants, defence force personnel and SAPOL to take steps to protect thousands of school students, some as young as five, from being exposed to the risk of serious injury or death. The following information was sourced from http://www.prh.noaa.gov/cphc/pages/aboutsshs.php

 

Category One Hurricane:

  1. Some damage to building structures could occur, primarily to unanchored structures (such as school portables). 
  1. Some damage is likely to poorly constructed signs.
  2. Loose outdoor items will become projectiles, causing additional damage. Persons struck by windborne debris risk injury and possible death.
  3. Numerous large branches of healthy trees will snap.
  4. Some trees will be uprooted, especially where the ground is saturated.
  5. Many areas will experience power outages with some downed power poles.  

 

Hurricane Dot in 1959, Hurricane Iwa in 1982 and Hurricane Matthew on the US Atlantic seaboard in 2016 are examples of Category One hurricanes that either caused massive damage or have high death tolls despite their low ranking on the Siffer-Simpson Scale. [Hurricane Iwa was the 23rd storm and the 12th hurricane to hit Hawaii in 1982 and, despite its relatively low intensity, embedded super-cells or downbursts made it the most costly hurricane to ever hit Hawaii.

Any public inquiry needs to study Hurricanes Iwa, Dot and Matthew, [which has killed at least 19 people in the USA],  very carefully for these storms were Category 1 comparable to ‘Hurricane Anon’. Embedded ‘cyclones’ within Iwa caused similar damage to that experienced in the South Australian mid-northern regions. Had embedded cyclones struck when students were present, the death toll amongst school children could have been absolutely horrific.

 

Ones of the factors that need to be addressed is the cause of the systemic failure of the Australian Meteorology profession to issue public warnings about the dangers posed by ‘Hurricane Anon’. Did a narrow focus on technical definitions hinder government actions by masking the inherent danger, i.e. it was perceived and presented to politicians as a ‘storm’ rather than as a storm of hurricane intensity, which to all practical intents and purposes was exactly what the super-storm was. Lessons can be learnt from both the Home Insulation Program Inquiry and the English Parliament’s Privy Council Report on the Invasion of Iraq about professional advisors failing to adequately advice on risks.

 

LESSONS FROM THE HIP ROYAL COMMISSION: “…brief  Ministers on the inherent risks”.

Key recommendations were contained in Section 14 of Commissioner Ian Hanger’s report into the Home Insulation Program (HIP) disaster that now underscore the need for a royal commission with wide ranging “think outside the box” powers of inquiry into the ‘Hurricane Anon’ disaster. In order to further aid clarity and emphasis to the relevance of these recommendations I have added additional bullet-pointing to the recommendations below:

 

14.6.7 The APS ought to brief Ministers on the risks inherent in a recommended approach or advise on how the proposed approach might contain faults in the design or otherwise fail to work.

  • Such a concerted focus on assessing the negatives associated with a proposal is a core component of the modes of thinking promoted by Edward De Bono—he refers to this manner of thinking as ‘black hat’ thinking, and asserts that it should never be seen as an attempt to be obstructionist or argumentative, but instead should be seen as an opportunity to consider negative elements alongside the positives, and to make a decision informed by the balance of each.
  • As a practical measure, there should be a requirement to provide advice of this nature to Ministers at the same time as presenting a brief or proposal for a Minister’s consideration.
  • This could be done by including a section in the briefing template which requires the author to air risks relevant to the proposal (a ‘devil’s advocate’ section)—this would provide Ministers with an opportunity to make decisions fully informed about the implications and consequences thereof.
  • Officers must be supported to engage with personal risk when giving advice, rather than to remain complicit with a particular approach thought to be favoured by the Minister or a political adviser.
  • Senior officials must likewise satisfy themselves that advice concerning risks is accurate, independent, and comprehensive.
  • Additionally, advice on risk, whether delivered in a written submission or verbally, should not be pitched at such a high level that it is impossible for the Minister to discern real tangible risks therein.
  • Ministers and their advisers must not, by subtle suggestion or otherwise, dictate what advice they receive.

 

14.6.8   Advice must be multifaceted.

  • It must look at issues beyond the Department’s primary objective. For example, in the case of the HIP, advice on the economic impacts should have focused not only on the macro-economic stimulus impacts, but also on the likely impact on the industry itself in both the short and long term.
  • For example a relevant consideration should have been the fact that at the end of the HIP (had it been successful) there would have been a lack of employment for those involved.

 

14.6.9  As explained in Chapter 2 of the APSC Guide: The APS works within, and to implement, the elected government’s policies and outcomes.

  • Good advice from the APS is unbiased and objective. It is politically neutral but not naïve, and is developed and offered with an understanding of its implications and of the broader policy directions set by government.

 

14.6.10  It is also said: Responsive advice is frank, honest, comprehensive, accurate and timely. The advice should be evidence-based, well-argued and creative, anticipate issues and appreciate the underlying intent of government policy. Responsive advice is also forthright and direct and does not withhold or gloss over important known facts or ‘bad news’.

  • Responsiveness demands a close and cooperative relationship with Ministers and their employees. The policy advisory process is an iterative one, which may involve frequent feedback between the APS and the Minister and his or her office.
  • Responsive implementation of the government’s policies and programmes (APS Values (f)) is achieved through a close and cooperative relationship with Ministers and their employees. Ministers may make decisions, and issue policy guidelines with which decisions made by APS employees must comply.

14.6.11 “It is a shame that those entrusted with the implementation of the HIP did not adhere to these principles.”

 

In 14.7 of his report, Commission Hanger addressed the issue of Risk and his comments should be given careful consideration by any inquiry tasked with looking at the failure of both the Weatherill Government and the Turnbull government to issue a hurricane alert to South Australian residents:

 

14.7.1 The identification and management of risks under the HIP was serious deficient.

  • The risk of death and injury to installers, amongst the most serious of all the risks that might eventuate, was identified in working groups, and in the risk identification process, but not recorded in the Risk Register and did not appear there until a death had occurred.
  • This is the polar opposite of how risk management is supposed to work.

 

14.7.3.2  RISK CANNOT BE ABROGATED  [Capitals and underlining used  for added emphasis.]

  • Government must recognize that as much as it might seek to do so, risk cannot be abrogated.
  • The responsibility of Government is to care for its citizens and;
  • To exercise care and diligence to do everything reasonable to ensure that its citizens are not placed in danger by its actions, particularly risk of death and serious injury.

 

14.7.3.2.1  The Australian government should not seek to abrogate responsibility for identified risk.  [Underlining used  for added emphasis.]

  • If another party (for example a State or Territory Government) is identified as being able to mitigate an identified risk, this does not remove the Department’s responsibility to take the necessary steps to manage the risk and to ensure that others are doing the same.
  • The Australian government should engage with the identified risk manager to ensure the adequacy of those arrangements for the new circumstance, and consider whether there are additional steps that it could take to complement that action.

 

Commissioner Hanger’s finding in 14.7.3.2 and 14.7.3.2.1, make it quite clear that a key responsibility of both the Federal and SA Governments was a duty of care to South Australian residents to inform them that they were about to face life-threatening danger posed by an approaching super-storm of hurricane force intensity In addition, efforts should have been made to use RAAF or other aircraft assets to ‘hurricane hunt’ the approaching storm to ascertain what unseen dangers may have been hidden within the storm so that advice about specific safety measures could be provided to residents, e.g. the sand-bagging of homes, or even the need to evacuate homes if it was deemed necessary to do so.

The failure of either the Weatherill Government or the Turnbull Government to issue an informative, plain-language alert are, in Law, matters of fact that are totally inconsistent with Commissioner Hanger’s definitive statement that “The responsibility of Government is to care for its citizens and ensure that that its citizens are not placed in danger by its actions, particularly risk of death and serious injury.Other relevant points raised by Commissioner Hanger that an Inquiry should consider include the following:

 

14.11.4 “…that much of the work of the officials in DEWHA was directed at process”

  • It is apparent to me from much the documents produced to the Commission by the
  • Commonwealth of Australia (Commonwealth) that much of the work of the officials in DEWHA in particular was directed at process, and process which came at the expense of substance.
  • Endless emails were exchanged, and meetings and committees were convened.
  • Very many officials (probably too many) attended the meetings with industry.
  • Yet no-one, despite this, was able to see that the Risk register had omitted an important risk, or that Mr. Peter Ruz’s warning had not come to the attention of the relevant people and had not been acted upon or given any serious consideration.

 

Clearly evident in the above comments from 14.11.4 is the problem of experts focusing upon “Process” and in do so, losing sight of their purpose or role in performing those functions. For meteorologists, “process” dictated that any storm, no matter how violent, is not a “hurricane” unless it was formed in the tropics. This definition apparently over-rode the “Function” of meteorologists to provide information, in an understandable form, that would alert the public to any dangers that a storm of hurricane force intensity may present to life and/or property.

 

“The failure to heed the warning of Mr. Peter Ruz.” This may be a relevant precedent to consider as I do not believe that every one of the meteorologists in  Australia who was aware of just how potentially dangerous ‘Hurricane Anon’ could be, decided to keep silent and not raise concerns with their superiors. Such a scenario is inconceivable! The issue of bureaucratic pecking order, i.e. persons of higher rank or authority, actively hindering or blocking the flow of ‘Need to know’ information to Ministers or Parliament is considered in the July 6th 2016 Report of the Privy Council to the English Parliament. Commonly known as ‘The Chilcot Report’, this report provides invaluable insight into why warnings about the dangers posed by the super-storm that hit South Australia on September 28th may not have been provided to the responsible Ministers in both the Weatherill government and the Turnbull Government until it was too late, and therefore politically too sensitive, to issue any informative public alerts. This storm could easily have injured or killed many people, and yet at no time was that fact explicitly stated and the question as to why this was so must be addressed in a public inquiry.

THE CHILCOT REPORT – OOPS! WE MADE A MISTAKE:

The executive summary of the Chilcot Report contains matters of fact concerning the unsanctioned invasion of Iraq in March 2003 that may be useful in understanding why timely, informative warnings about the approaching super-storm were not issued to the public.

 

Paragraph 573: the [US] Intelligence Community was dead wrong in almost all of its pre-war judgments about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. This was a major intelligence failure.”

 

  • Paragraph 574: The evidence in Section 4.4 shows that, after the invasion, the UK Government, including the intelligence community, was reluctant to admit, and to recognise publicly, the mounting evidence that there had been failings in the UK’s pre-conflict collection, validation, analysis and presentation of intelligence on Iraq’s WMD.
  • Paragraph 576: Almost immediately after the start of the invasion, UK Ministers and officials sought to lower public expectations of immediate or significant finds of WMD in Iraq.
  • Paragraph 577: The lack of evidence to support pre-conflict claims about Iraq’s WMD challenged the credibility of the Government and the intelligence community, and the legitimacy of the war.
  • Paragraph 578: The Government and the intelligence community were both concerned about the consequences of the presentational aspects of their pre-war assessments being discredited.
  • Paragraph 858: Although the UK expected to be involved in Iraq for a lengthy period after the conflict, the Government was unprepared for the role in which the UK found itself from April 2003. Much of what went wrong stemmed from that lack of preparation.
  • Paragraph 859: In any undertaking of this kind, certain fundamental elements are of vital importance:
  • the best possible appreciation of the theatre of operations, including the political, cultural and ethnic background, and the state of society, the economy and infrastructure;
  • a hard-headed assessment of risks;
  • Paragraph 863: Ground truth is vital. Over-optimistic assessments lead to bad decisions. Senior decision-makers – Ministers, Chiefs of Staff, senior officials – must have a flow of accurate and frank reporting.

 

There are clear parallels between the issues raised in this report,  the issues raised in the extracts from the Commissioner Ian Hanger’s report and the Chilcot Report. These include:

  1. Government policy making based upon perceptions and beliefs rather than facts;
  2. Poor flow of ‘on-the-ground’ empirical information, especially if it was evidence or facts that contradicted the political intentions, goals or beliefs of the Government;
  3. Rejection of empirical evidence if it contradicted the status quo or beliefs of those responsible for passing the information higher up the organizational chain.
  4. This rejection of the facts or credible information resulting in a serious lack of lack of preparedness for the actual reality of the situation;
  5. Attempts by those responsible for the incorrect decisions to either ignore or actively cover-up mistakes and/or the consequences of theses errors of judgement.

 

Many public statements have already issued by vested interests entities, e.g. Federal and South Australian politicians, government advisors and ‘independent’ agencies such as the Australian Energy Market Operator. In addition, representatives of energy producer organizations that have billions of dollars-worth of vested interest in ensuring favourable vested-interest outcomes from the various inquiries into the damage caused by the super-storm have also issued statements that may not be in the public interest if NOAA’s statements about CO2 levels and global warming risks are true. Consequently, no statements or ‘findings’ by any of these entities can be deemed to be impartial.

 

The High Court’s decision in Minister for Immigration & Cultural Affairs v Bhardwaj [2002] 209 CLR 597, at 53 that “if there is no jurisdiction for a determination, in law, is no decision at all”. Only a judicial inquiry or a Royal Commission can issue findings of fact, a legal point that is clearly stated in ASIV v Hellicar [2012] HCA 17 at 141 and 143. At 141, the High Court ruled “…that the public interest can only be served if the case advanced on behalf of [a] regulatory agency does in fact represent the truth in the sense that the facts relied upon as primary facts actually occurred.” In paragraph 143, the Court ruled that “The proposition that the public interest requires that the facts upon which a regulatory authority relies must be facts that “actually occurred” appears to require that regulatory agency to make some final judgement about what “actually occurred” before it adduces evidence. Deciding the facts of a case is a court’s task, not a task for a regulatory authority.”

 

The failure of the federal APS to provide empirical, impartial information was a major factor in the HIP disaster and the possibility that this has also occurred with the various disasters or problems caused by ‘Hurricane Anon’ is a potential issue that cannot be ignored given the clearly identifiable  vested interests of so many of the parties involved. Who knew that the “storm” approaching South Australia was a dangerous storm of hurricane force intensity and what were the ‘Best Endeavours’ of these people reduce risks to the public is a critical issue to consider. However, the ‘big picture’ has substantial implications for the even more substantial issue of who knew about the NOAA reports, some of which were issued in June 2016, that revealed that CO2 greenhouse emission levels were at levels not experienced in 3 million years and were rising at a rate that was 100 times greater than the long-term overage of 800,000 years? The question as to whether or not CO2 levels triggered the development of this storm is extremely complex and no politician, public servant or vested-interest entity is capable of, or has the jurisdiction, to make and issue any findings in regard to this critical issue.

Energy industry entities have billions of dollars invested in fossil fuel generation of electricity and the NOAA report may be the environmental equivalent of the 1960s medical reports that smoking was a major case of many health problems including cancer. The NOAA Report is therefore evidence that these entities do not want to hear. The refusal to accept unpleasant truths can also be likened to the refusal of the US, British and Australian Governments to accept reports that Iraq did NOT have weapons of mass destruction, i.e. regardless of the facts, it was simply unacceptable. It is possible that unless fossil-fuel usage is totally abandoned as a major source of electricity generation, that the current levels of greenhouse gases will rise to unstoppable levels of global warning that will trigger irreversible global warning with rapid rises in sea levels and climate changes that include hurricanes in areas that rarely, if ever, are affected by such storms.

 

“UNREALISTIC”: Prime Minister Turnbull’s “unrealistic” statements re renewal energy.

This logic also apply to the claim made by Prime Minister Turnbull that the Labour states were applying “unrealistic” targets to renewable energy. If Mr. Turnbull’s statement is correct, then the Weatherill Government has been pursuing “unrealistic” goals with renewable energy targets and was therefore negligent in placing the state’s power supply system at risk. However,  if the goals are realistic, (or even too low), then Prime Minister Turnbull may have engaged in  ‘political grandstanding’ during this natural disaster instead of ensuring that Commonwealth was meeting its obligations in assisting with disaster recovery efforts.

 

ASYNCHRONOUS SUPPLY: Both the problems associated with asynchronous power supply systems and the potential destruction of power lines by hurricanes were well-known and therefore the likelihood that a severe storm of hurricane force could cause a catastrophic failure was foreseeable. This foreseeability therefore raises a number of questions concerning the failure of federal government to take preventative measures, both engineering and administrative, to minimize or totally eliminate the possibility of such a disaster:

 

  1. What preventative engineering measures could have been put in place to prevent a catastrophic failure of a state or territory power grid, or the national power grid?
  2. What preventative administrative measures could have been put in place to prevent a catastrophic failure of a state or territory power grid, or the national power grid?
  3. Of the engineering and administrative preventative measured that could have been implemented by the Federal Government, what measures were not in place?
  4. If preventative engineering or administrative measures that could have prevented catastrophic failure of the power supply network were not in place, why was this so?
  5. If measures that could have prevented the catastrophic failure of the power supply network were in place, were they implemented?
  6. If so, why did they fail to prevent the catastrophic failure that occurred whilst South Australia was being hammered by a super-storm of Category 1 hurricane intensity?
  7. If preventative engineering or administrative measures that could have prevented catastrophic failure were not implemented, why was this so?

 

Both Prime Minister Turnbull and the Minister for Defence, Senator Payne, need to explain why the nation’s defence forces responded to the approaching super-storm by allegedly moving aircraft out of harm’s way, i.e. by allegedly aircraft at the Edinburgh RAAF base interstate. If this was the case, then by acts of omission, the Australian Defence Force failed to assist the people of South Australia to prepare for the foresee damaging impact that a super-storm of  hurricane intensity could cause. The primary function of the ADF is to defend and protect Australians from harm, whatever the cause, and by not raising public concerns about the storm’s potential strength, the ADF failed to adequately perform its primary function. Why was this so?

 

HURRICANES DO NOT PLAY POLITICS WITH POLITICIANS:

Just as hurricanes do not ‘play politics with politicians’, politicians should not play politics with hurricanes. Regardless of the ideological beliefs of politicians and their advisors, when a severe storm of potentially hurricane force intensity approaches Australian territory, the lessons to be learnt from Cyclone Tracy, Hurricane Katrina is that objective risk assessment is required if fatalities are to be minimized and damage from winds and floods are to be minimized. Public risk assessment requires facts and that requires real-time research resources.

 

BREAK POINTS: Early warning is only the first step in pro-active disaster management.

NOAA uses “Break Points”, i.e. dozens of coastal meteorological stations  which, upon detecting a “severe storm” of hurricane force, inform NOAA which then issues an alert that sets in motion a series pre-planned responses to the perceived threat posed by the approaching hurricane. To plagiarize Commissioner Hanger, “It is a shame that those entrusted with the implementation of the hurricane warnings in Australia did not adhere to these principles.”

 

Would Jay Weatherill have kept schools open if he had been officially apprised of the potentially life threatening risks to children that was posed by the hurricane force storm that was battering the state? Would parents and teachers have ignored the open-the-schools-no-matter-what-the-circumstances-decision if they too were aware that the “severe storm” battering the state was in reality an extremely dangerous storm hurricane force intensity? Jay Weatherill was aware that at least 22 transmission line towers had been “ripped out of the ground”,  so why didn’t he realize that the “severe storm” was in point of fact a very dangerous storm that could endanger the lives of people, especially young children?

Did Premier Weatherill request a briefing on the potential threat to life posed by the super-storm, or did his decision to open schools indicate a willingness to ignore risks to the public? As Commissioner Hanger pointed out in the HIP Report, governments cannot abrogate public risk.

 

14.7.3.2  RISK CANNOT BE ABROGATED : Government must recognize that as much as it might seek to do so, risk cannot be abrogated.

If Jay Weatherill ignored the public dangers posed by the  super-storm in order to preserve his job as the Premier of South Australia, then he should face criminal charges for placing his career ahead of the welfare and safety of 1.7 million South Australians. In the High Court’s 1986 Boughey decision, the Court ruled that Dr. Boughey “ought to have known” that he was placing a life in danger and held him accountable for strangling a woman to death. No politician, federal or state, should play Russian roulette with the lives of the people that they represent. The decision to place the lives of school children in peril by not ordering the closure of schools until the dangerous storm had cleared the state was incredibly risky and there must be some form of public accountability for all of the people involved in that critical decision.

 

CRITICAL DECISIONS REQUIRE CRITICAL INFORMATION:

It is a basic management principle that good decisions require good information. When the lives of 1.7 million people are placed in unavoidable danger, it is axiomatic that every effort is made to ensure that critical decisions are based upon the most relevant and credible information that can be obtained. Satellites and maritime reports do provide some information, but when the population of a state is at risk, decisions should be based on empirical facts, not assumptions.

 

The RAAF may have played a far more pro-active role in mitigating the scope of the disaster but did not do so. Was this because the Turnbull Government, following in the steps of every previous federal government since 1946, has failed to adequately equip the RAAF with ‘hurricane hunter’ strengthened aircraft and skilled meteorological staff who could have flown  into the approaching storm and obtained empirical data that would have enabled  meteorologists to more accurately assess the dangers and provide informed advice to both the federal and state governments about the dangers posed by the approaching storm threat?

 

HURRICANE HUNTER RESOURCES:

In the Unites States, the US Air Force and NOAA use Orion and Hercules aircraft on “hurricane hunter” missions These aircraft which are in the RAAF aircraft inventory, have proved to be extremely safe and reliable aircraft, even under the most extreme and dangerous of conditions.  This was evidenced by NOAA 42, an Orion “hurricane hunter” aircraft that suffered an engine failure whilst flying into a category 4 hurricane. Despite the loss of an engine, NOAA 42 was able to fly into and out of the hurricane eye-wall and return safely to base.

 

From an aircraft resource perspective, Australia had the capability to ‘hurricane hunt’ the super-storm that hit South Australia on September 28th but this vital storm research did not apparently occur and the question is yet again, why was this so?

 

In making the above points, I would point out that if the community was aware that the “severe storm” was in fact a effectively a hurricane with embedded “cyclones”, a far higher state of preparedness would have been in place and critical emergency infrastructure such as the emergency generators at Flinders Medical Centre and Port Lincoln may have been more rigorously tested to ensure their availability if required. Because there was no adequate warning, full-load testing of back-up generator systems may have been less than optimal.

 

Due to the failure to pro-actively issue an appropriate (hurricane force) storm warnings and to declare a state of emergency, businesses could not prepare for the super-storm or anticipate the easily foreseeable crippling loss of power. As a direct consequence of these omissions, many businesses suffered substantial, avoidable financial losses, e.g. loss of frozen food could have been prevented by hiring an emergency generator. Many households, including my own, were left in the dark and forced to rely on candle power instead of torches. At least one home was destroyed when a candle ignited curtains. Again, this was a foreseeable risk that could have been prevented if the public had been properly informed that the forecast “storm” was in fact a ‘defacto-hurricane’ that could cause extended blackouts. Instead, 1.7 million people were literally ‘left in the dark’.  Why was this so?

 

  1. Widespread flooding is also a feature of super-storms of hurricane force intensity and many local councils, SES teams, local disaster coordinators and home owners may have been more proactive in taking anti-flood measures such as the installation of sandbag barriers, or have ploughed contour banks, well before crisis situation flooding occurred.
  2. Prevention is better than cure: fewer people may have driven into flooded creeks or canoed in flood rapids if the real risks were both known and perhaps more importantly, state of emergency laws, made such actions unlawful and thus empowered police or emergency workers to actively prevent such dangerous conduct.

 

How would a Royal Australian Navy vessel, confronted with a hurricane, deal with that danger. Would the captain and crew blithely attempt to sail through that tempest without first ensuring that ALL SYSTEMS, both primary and back-up, were fully functional? The answer to that rhetorical question is that if forced to sail through such tempestuous conditions, every system would be thoroughly tested long before the storm arrived.

  1. It’s Not My Job Syndrome: Was this why the RAAF reportedly protected aircraft by redeploying them to a safer area but then failed its obligation to the people of South Australia by not issuing a timely alert that a very dangerous storm was approaching?
  2. Does Australia have a national equivalent of NOAA, i.e. an organization tasked with issuing super-storm/hurricane warnings? If so, why didn’t this organization issue a timely public warning. If no equivalent of NOAA exists, why is this so?

 

MAGGIE THE ION LADY: John Howard and South Australia’s non-existent back-up systems.

A timely warning of the approaching super-storm/hurricane would have enabled emergency back-up generator systems to be tested and repaired or replaced if found to be non-functional. However, the question arises as to what could be done to ensure emergency power supplies if the state’s supply grid failed and back-up systems are non-operational? A spare back-up generator could be brought in and placed on stand-by but this assumes that the financial resources needed to finance these back-up systems exist. Emergency resource back-up in depth is technically possible, e.g. a company that locally manufactures powerful emergency generators is located at Dudley Park, so the potential sourcing of such back-up resources is not a problem. What is a massive barrier to doing so is the very substantial cost of purchasing, maintaining and deploying these generators. Given the parlous state of the South Australian budget, this is not possible and yet, if some 20 years ago the Howard Government had not violated sections 171 and 172 of the South Australian criminal code, the financial resources required to maintain very substantial emergency back-up systems, including personnel, may have been available. More details of the alleged criminal conduct are contained in Appendix 2 of this report but are raised here to emphasize the point that a wide-ranging inquiry is required if all factors that are significant, credible and relevant are to be considered.

 

PHOTOVOLTAIC PANELS: a totally wasted resource at a very critical time.

For more than two hours after the electricity grid failure, tens of thousands of photovoltaic panels continued to generate electricity; however, not one milli-watt was available to home and business owners or to hospitals and government departments that had these resources.

 

  1. Was the technical inability of home owners and businesses to access solar energy made impossible because of Invested interest views that had resulted in political decisions that benefited commercial electricity producers and the energy supply corporations, i.e. coal and gas suppliers who supply fossil fuels to power companies?
  2. Redirection, via inverters to a 12 volt battery backup lighting system is possible. However, this relatively inexpensive capability is not part of a standard installation and the question for consideration is yet again, why is this so?

 

Commissioner Ian Hanger’s finding in 14.6.7 of his report contained a number of perceptive  recommendations that are precedents for any inquiry into the  ‘Hurricane Anon’ fiasco.

  1. “Officers must be supported to engage with personal risk when giving advice, rather than to remain complicit with a particular approach thought to be favoured by the Minister or a political adviser. Senior officials must likewise satisfy themselves that advice concerning risks is accurate, independent, and comprehensive. Additionally, advice on risk, whether delivered in a written submission or verbally, should not be pitched at such a high level that it is impossible for the Minister to discern real tangible risks ther Ministers and their advisers must not, by subtle suggestion or otherwise, dictate what advice they receive.”
  2. “Such a concerted focus on assessing the negatives associated with a proposal is a core component of the modes of thinking promoted by Edward De Bono—he refers to this manner of thinking as ‘black hat’ thinking, and asserts that it should never be seen as an attempt to be obstructionist or argumentative, but instead should be seen as an opportunity to consider negative elements alongside the positives, and to make a decision informed by the balance of each.

 

When it comes all possible uses of solar panels, was comprehensive advice given?

Was advice about the dangers posed by the approaching super-storm, accurate, comprehensive and presented in an understandable manner and were all foreseeable negative issues thoroughly examined and considered, e.g. the possibility of a catastrophic failure of the electrical grid?  Did this happen or were public servants and political advisors telling the Premier and the Prime Minister  only telling them what they wanted to hear?

 

That Commissioner Hanger found it necessary to recommend reading the works of Edward De Bono  about [lateral] ‘black hat’  thinking implies that it is possible that there is a systemic problem with public servants who may lack vision when giving advice and are thus limiting the range of options that they need to consider when advising Ministers. Was a lack of vision one of the reasons why (12 volt DC) solar power was not available to photovoltaic system owners during the power failure that occurred on 28th September. That this was not a feature of these systems implies a lack of ‘black hat’ thinking when considering the full range of potential uses of  photovoltaic systems when the design specifications were first determined? With CO2 levels now exceeding 400ppm and not expected to drop below this level for decades, no matter how much Ministers and their advisors may not wish to hear the truths implicit in that fact, they need to be told the negative consequences of continued reliance upon fossil fuels for electricity generation and all other options, No matter how ideologically or commercially unacceptable, and unwanted advice to Ministers may be, the advice of public servants must be “…accurate, independent, comprehensive….balanced” if disastrous political decisions that may have lethal consequences are to be avoided.

There is a very possibility that super-storms like ‘Hurricane Anon’, with their embedded swarms of cyclones, may now rapidly  become far  more frequent due to the high levels of CO 2 in the atmosphere. Since a common problem with hurricane force storms is the destruction of power lines, black-outs may become a far more frequent occurrence and therefore optimizing ways to utilize photovoltaic energy during these power outages is an issue that must be addressed. Even 12 volt DC emergency lighting using solar energy is far better than reliance on primitive, ‘Dark Ages’  old technology, i.e. candles, which are a very dangerous lighting system.

 

SMOKING IS A HEALTH HAZARD; SO IS BURNING FOSSIL FUELS:

Despite knowing for decades that smoking caused a broad range of potentially fatal health hazards  such as Cancer, for decades, tobacco companies actively denied any knowledge of the health risks caused by smoking. In the wake of ‘Hurricane Anon’, vested-interest energy producers who wish to protect the billions of dollars invested in fossil-fuel systems may have actively supported Prime Minister Turnbull’s unsubstantiated environmental claim that renewable energy goals are “unrealistic” in order to protect long-term profitability. It may well be that an impartial judicial assessment of the implications of atmospheric CO2 levels in excess of 400 ppm may result in a finding that the use of fossil fuels as a power needs to be prohibited as a matter of the utmost urgency. Such an impartial endorsement would have serious financial implications for the fossil fuel powered electricity producers, whilst opening the door to substantial growth and development in the renewable energy generation industry.

 

PEOPLE DIE WHEN POLITICIANS GET IT WRONG:

John Howard’s belief that Iraq was manufacturing weapons of mass destruction has been a significant precipitating factor in the deaths of approximately 250,000 people. The Rudd Government’s HIP program claimed 4 lives whilst in South Australia, the belief of Mike Rann and Jay Weatherill that run-away trucks on the South-Eastern Freeway were not an urgent safety issue resulted in the deaths of John Posnakidis, James Venning, Jacqui Quinn and Tom Spiess. Adherence to Form rather than Function by Families SA child care workers resulted in the deaths of 4-month-old Ebony Payne and 4-year-old Chloe Valentine. On a larger scale, the failure of South Australian politicians to pay heed to a 1938 court decision that ruled that asbestos was a health hazard may be the primary underlying reason why so many South Australians are dead, dying, or will die, from an asbestos related disease. In November 2005, Nick Xenophon MLC stated on Radio 891 that “On a pro-rata basis, South Australia is the asbestos capital of the world.”

 

With SA Health estimating that as many as 20,000 may be dead before the asbestos epidemic is over, the failure of politicians to delay banning ban the use of asbestos until 2003, i.e. 65 years after the 1938 court decision is reprehensible.

The lesson to be learnt from the “Devil’s Dust” deaths and the other examples mentioned in the preceding paragraphs is very simple; when politicians get it wrong, people can die.

 

Both the Weatherill Government and the Turnbull Government may have been very fortunate that the full force of ‘Hurricane Anon’ did not make a direct hit on Adelaide. Totally unprepared for what was to come, it was business as usual for most South Australians as the danger moved closer. Consider again the risks implicit in the previously mentioned Siffer-Simpson definition of hurricane force winds. Which of these statements does not indicate a serious risk to the public and  by extension, a taxpayer-funded legal liability when politicians and bureaucrats stuff-up?

 

  1. Damaging winds are expected; Sustained winds [of] 119-153 km/hr;
  2. Some damage to building structures could occur…such as school portables; 
  3. Loose outdoor items will become projectiles, causing additional damage;
  4. Persons struck by windborne debris risk injury and possible death.

 

A ‘CLAYTON’S HURRICANE ALERT: WHY WAS IT NECESSARY?

On the 29th September, I warned the Assistant Principal of the school where I was relief teaching, that winds of hurricane force were forecast and that the force of the wind should be carefully monitored to ensure that students were safe when outside of classrooms.

  1. Given the damage already inflicted and wind speeds of up to 150 km/hr being forecast on ABC radio 891, why did Jay Weatherill and the Education Minister keep schools open when they “ought to have known” that weather conditions were extremely dangerous?
  2. Why also did SAPOL, the SES, and even the Federal Minister of Education, not advise against playing Russian roulette with the lives of children?
  3. In the absence of an official hurricane force winds alert, was leaving the go-to-school decision up to parents a reckless act of criminal negligence by an act of omission?
  4. Why was the decision to open or close schools left to school principals who had not been briefed  about the danger to life both from flying objects and from the destruction of classrooms by a violent storm that had reduced transmission towers to scrap metal?

 

From my own perspective, why was I issuing a warning about winds of hurricane force intensity to an Assistant Principal instead of the Adelaide Weather Bureau issuing this warning via the Education Minister? Surely, the answer to that question is also a matter for a judicial inquiry?

 

HISTORY WILL BE KIND TO ME: (Winston Churchill)

“History will be kind to me because I intend to write it” said Winston Churchill. In a similar manner, even as the wind battered my home and drenching rain swamped my garden, whilst my laptops had battery power, I typed up my thoughts on issues related to ‘Hurricane Anon.’ The text of the two appendix documents are my ‘from-the-battlefield’ views as a very irate ‘Hurricane Anon’ survivor.  [I use that word in its literal sense.] These documents were in part written as a personal history and also as a public record to be posted in my WordPress journal. However, perhaps most importantly of all, should I not survive a future not-a-hurricane hurricane that hits South Australia, these thoughts and this Emcott Report will leave a written public record of my strongly-held belief that the politicians, public servants and senior police officers who fail to provide adequate warning of hurricane strength storms need to be held fully accountable for any harm caused. Those who abuse public office and chose to play Russian roulette with the lives of South Australians need to held fully accountable for such crimes. Accountability should not be at the polls, but in a court of law for as an English Royal Commission determined in 1839, ‘it is the placing of life in peril that constitutes the crime’.

 

Whatever Jay Weatherill and Malcolm Turnbull provided to the people of South Australia when ‘Hurricane Anon’ battered our homes, it most definitely was not responsible leadership. What they provided was irresponsible and flagrantly stupid. Why they did what they did is in the first instance a matter for a public inquiry. Beyond that, it may eventually prove to be a matter for the courts. Whilst no-one died, there were far too many instances of ‘near-misses’ that could have had fatal consequences. Great economic harm was also caused that could have been mitigated or totally avoided, e.g. the lost of perishable foods by supermarkets and cold stores and the failure to give market gardeners the time needed to create low but effective  contour-ploughed-flood-levies that might have prevented flooding on some properties and therefore those who suffered significant financial losses should be compensated. Not only does justice require this; it may be a powerful incentive for ensuring that when the next hurricane roars into South Australia, the public will not have their lives placed at-risk by those who believe that the ‘mushroom-tunnel-syndrome’ is the best response.

 

As Commission Hanger so aptly stated, “The Australian government should not seek to abrogate responsibility for identified risk.  If another party (for example a State or Territory Government) is identified as being able to mitigate an identified risk, this does not remove the Department’s responsibility to take the necessary steps to manage the risk and to ensure that others are doing the same.” Just as a rose by any other name is still a rose, a hurricane by any other name is still a hurricane. We the people, have a right to know when an identified risk such as a hurricane force ‘storm’ may place our lives are in danger. Those who seek to downplay or ignore such dangers need to be held fully accountable for their decisions and the flow-on consequences.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s