ABC reply to my complaint

I was expecting to wait four  weeks, but I received a reply to my complaint about the “worst drought in 80 years” news item in less than 24 hours.  Here it is:

Dear Ken,
Thank you for taking the time to email us regarding a story on the 7pm television news.

The information in our report was based on an interview with climatologist Mr Jeff Sabburg from the Bureau of Meteorology. He was also interviewed by the ABC Country Hour the same day as the annual climate statement was released and said:

“In terms of rainfall deficiencies the comparison is we haven’t seen this across Queensland at least since the 1927- 1929 depression drought. These heat waves we’re getting a number of days in a row above 30- 40 degrees Celsius and then not getting reprieve at night time that’s certainly contributing to the point where there’s nothing much to evaporate away.”

In the 2014 climate statement it also states:

Prolonged rainfall deficiencies continued for inland and south-eastern Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales.

Rainfall was below to very much below average across the South West Land Division and coastal Gascoyne in Western Australia, the majority of Victoria, southeast South Australia, all of Tasmania and a large area covering northeast New South Wales and southeast Queensland.

The story was written based on this information provided.

Thank you for your feedback.


Genevieve Hussey
Queensland News Editor

Journalists obviously do not have the time (or, probably, the ability) to check data for themselves.  If they did, they would have seen that this claim is absolutely without foundation, as I showed in yesterday’s post.  However, such a claim must surely have raised some query, some (dare I say) skepticism, as basically Jeff Sabburg has claimed last year saw the worst drought in living memory.  Surely someone at the ABC can remember as far back as 11 or 12 years ago when rainfall deficiencies were demonstrably worse than they have been last year.

The ball now is in the court of the Bureau of Meteorology, who also received feedback from me.

But thanks to Genevieve Hussey for the unexpectedly swift response.

And because I respect and admire any journalists ready to criticise blind faith, whether it be Islam, Christianity, or Global Warming, despite threats,



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11 Responses to “ABC reply to my complaint”

  1. Ian George Says:

    You would think that a journalist could quickly check the BoM’s own site (as you have) and see there were problems with Sabburg’s assertions.
    The easily accessible ‘Time series graphs’ shows that there have been many such dry periods for Qld, and as recently as ten years ago.

  2. DaveR Says:

    I agree with Ian G: its not good enough for an ABC journalist simply to repeat statements given in an interview without attempting some basic fact checking of publicly available data. This is the mechanism often used by green sympathisers to spread false claims. Will the head of ABC Queensland or the ABC Science unit investigate this shoddy journalism?

    As for the BOM, its inquiry into Mr Jeff Sabburg and his false public statements should be under investigation already. If he deliberately misled the ABC he should be fired from BOM immediately, with public apology. If he does not understand his own data, he should be fired from the BOM, with public apology.

  3. gnome Says:

    Or in other words ” what we published stands and the record won’t be corrected”.

    It goes into the same collective consciousness as all the other “hottest year ever” , hottest decade etc hyperbole, and pretty soon warmists will be quoting it back to us with the same great arrogance the ABC offered to you.

  4. Ted O'Brien. Says:

    Thanks, Ken. The ABC must be told that it needs to be accountable.
    This certainly helps.

  5. Nick Says:

    I’ve just sent this to ABC fact check. I don’t expect this ‘fact’ to be checked though.

  6. teacher fails BoM, ABC … again | pindanpost Says:

    […] Ken Stewarts post: Not the Worst Drought in 80 Years and ABC reply to my complaint. […]

  7. Ian George Says:

    ‘37.3% of the state was covered by the lowest rainfall on record.’
    Another map which shows that there is a problem with this statement.

    Deficiency maybe, but not ‘lowest on record’.

  8. Brad Says:

    Hey Ken,
    Get ABC FactCheck to take up the cudgels for you. Link just above^
    I’ll be interested to learn if they take the matter up for you.

    • kenskingdom Says:

      I don’t have much faith in FactCheck either. Nick above has already sent it. I’m hoping for a more direct reply from the Bureau, then I’ll decide from there.

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