By Australian correspondents Erica Quarterbee and Jennie Drimmof.
Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott MP BEc LLB MA has instructed the Minister for the Environment, Greg Hunt MP BA LLB MA to form the best possible team to represent Australia at the IPCC Olympics later this year, culminating in the COP21 Games in Paris.
A total budget allocation of $412,786.24 means that the Minister has had to cut some corners in terms of team numbers, travel and accommodation arrangements. The budget has to stretch to 2 sets of games, the 4-day UN-FCCC ADP preliminaries in Bonn, Germany in mid-October and then the 14-day finals in Paris, France starting at the end of November.
A maximum of 24 delegates and staff will travel by (premium) economy flights only, unless they pay for their own upgrades and accompanying partners, etc.. Seven bunk rooms at a central Paris hostel have been pre-reserved for the major COP21 Games with one of them to be used for meetings and press briefings. Delegates will be provided with a daily cash living allowance equivalent to $100 Australian per day for local transport, meals and refreshments.
After 3 months, only 8 public servants and 3 parliamentarians had nominated for the team so the Minister scoured Australia for multidisciplinary experts who could hit the ground running and not cost Australian taxpayers a small fortune. Thanks to expert referral services such as DesmogBlog, it took just 2 weeks to identify and to vet possible team members for suitability and willingness to take on the games at short notice.
Australia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon Julie Bishop MP LLB will act as team manager as she is unable to take part in the main game-play due to other commitments.
Security concerns due to her position unfortunately precludes her from sharing accommodation with the rest of the team at the hostel, so she will be bunking down at the Australian Embassy whenever she stops by in Paris to provide both guidance for the team and the heavy hitting in the big games.
Team Captain will be the federal member for Tangney, Dr Dennis Jensen MP BAppSc MSc PhD. Dr Jensen has used time on the back bench to actively train for events just such as the IPCC Olympics. Running in Canberra’s chilly mornings has been excellent preparation for what promises to be a chilling reception for the team when it arrives for COP21 in late November.
Senator David Leyonhjelm BVSc LLB MBA has been nominated as Vice-Captain, leading the team at split events; an area in which he has gained substantial experience in recent months; sitting on the Senate’s cross-benches.
Although his medical experience is primarily veterinary, he will also be the team medic; looking after the occasional slipped tongue, noses pulled out of joint and tensile follicular displacements.
Semi-retired, former Member of Parliament and former Minister for Resources and Energy, Martin Ferguson, AM BEc(Hons) rounds off the management team and the multi-party, quasi-parliamentary leadership of Team Aussie-COP21. Never afraid of a good scuffle or just good-humoured banter, Martin Ferguson brings excellent negotiation and distraction skills to the field, giving Australia’s team a psychological edge over its competitors.
The Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Tasmania, Prof. Dr Stewart Franks, BSc(Hons), PhD appeared as if by magic from behind a puff of smoke to dismantle a running Suzuki, live on national TV, using only his bare hands and wit. Stewart Franks’ tenacity cannot be questioned. It should indeed be feared by the other teams, especially those who’ve skimped on their training before the IPCC Olympics.
His perception of gaps in the skills of his opponents is legendary and he doesn’t pause to take advantage
Somewhat unlike Stewart Franks, Dr Bob Carter, B.Sc. (Hons), PhD and Emeritus Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs brings a steady and irresistable force to the field, pushing his team ever closer to the win. Bob Carter’s comprehension of the opponent’s weaknesses, weaknesses that the opponents don’t even understand, allows him to direct team play for maximum effectiveness, with minimum energy.
Dr Carter’s apparently relaxed pace will set the pace for the whole team because to win at the IPCC Olympics, one must run many more marathons than sprints
Cycle champion David Archibald BSc, currently teaching in Washington DC. He will not be there for every game due to teaching commitments, though the tactical help that he brings to the team will be valuable in every game. David Archibald’s insights into the inconsistent performance over geological time spans combine with the respective strengths of Bob Carter and Stewart Franks, allowing Team Aussie-COP21 to push hardest when and where the other teams are weakest, and to conserve resources when others are stronger.
Dr David Evans PhD(EE) MS(EE) MS(Stats) BE(Hons) MA(Applied Math) BSc has a lot of runs on the board, as anybody can see. His dedication to the task at hand is legendary. When the coach of a team that he used to play for told David Evans to count all the grains of sand in Australia, Dr Evans didn’t grumble, but just did it. Even when he puts a foot wrong, he’s quick to pivot on the other foot and to find new ground to move forward.
Dr Jennifer Marohasy BSc PhD has a talent for putting the wind right up the opponent just when they don’t like it. A methodical, meticulous player, she’s right there to catch the opponents when they slip or drop the ball. Constantly thinking and alert; Dr Marohasy relishes deploying her own novel tactics; even while the rules seem to keep changing and the umpires are turning a blind eye to dirty play by the other teams. She remains focused on the objective, even when the tide seems to be turning the wrong way.
Dr. Ian Plimer BSc (Hons) PhD is Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne and Professor of Mining Geology at the University of Adelaide. Opposing teams would like to pretend that Ian Plimer is a fictional hero but he is a man of the Earth, deeply grounded. He understands the game very, very well which is why other teams try to avoid games in which Dr Plimer is playing.
Joanne Nova BSc (Hons) is a hard hitter. She pulls no punches and doesn’t care if the opponent is whimpering, scuttling into a corner or trying to change the rules to make her back off. Many will run at the mention of her name. Her team compatriots are unanimously thankful that Joanne Nova is no longer playing for an opposing team as it would be difficult to beat such a clever, tenacious player even if every other opponent were a totally useless drongo.
John Smeed D.Mech.E FIEAust CPEng is capable of bringing a puff of fresh air, no matter what the conditions or the venue. He is that good. John Smeed also brings untapped power to the game; not in bulk; but by helping the whole team make best use of what they bring. His not-the-captain persona meshes well with the rest of the team.
Anton Lang ADip(EE) joins the team as an outstanding player from the minor leagues. His electrifying character combines with common sense, humour and a head for numbers so he can easily tell when the opposing team will run out of steam; even before they’ve entered the field.
Warwick Hughes is a bit of a dark horse. Also from the minor leagues, he plays a straight, fair game and tries to hold other players (and umpires) strictly to the rules. Mr Hughes has played a number of different types of games in the past and hankers to apply those multidisciplinary skills in the IPCC Olympics.
Ken Stewart (not pictured) tried to umpire before becoming an independent player, honing his skills and playing when it suits his busy schedule. He spends a lot of time with umpires when he sees them turn a blind eye to mischief on the field. His mere presence is expected to improve the performance of the umpires on the field. Umpiring umpires, so to speak.
Environment Minister Greg Hunt stated that he deeply regrets that both he and his Parliamentary Secretary, Bob Baldwin MP would be unable to actively participate in the IPCC games this time but their portfolio demands are diverse and intense, so as the Minister, he must prioritise according to substantive issues affecting the people of Australia.