Late yesterday the heavens opened. The torrential rain that followed beat in through partially open windows, overflowed gutters and ran down inside the glass. Water on power boards blew the circuit breakers. We put new boards in and got the power back on, but the internet connection was not properly restored until this morning. Sigh.
Yesterday the carbon tax legislation passed the Senate. In Sydney today's Daily Telegraph carries the banner headline "Just who's going to pay our bills?" An editorial is headed Heaven-sent tax for the select few and begins: "THIS government never learns."
To my mind, the debate is a bit silly.
One side says the sky will fall, costs will sky rocket. The other side and especially the Greens talk in almost millennial terms about a bright new future. Nice atmospherics within the political theatre perhaps, but in a way it all misses the point.
Now that the legislation is through, the final political results will be determined by what actually happens over the next few years as a consequence of the legislation. I don't think that we really know that yet. We just have to wait and see.
The Government is talking about an advertising campaign to promote the legislation. Why bother? It's not going to have any real impact on public opinion, other than perpetuating current debate.
In an apparent segue, the popularity of geography and geology in Australia has declined somewhat since I was a kid. That's a pity, for it helps understand some current political issues in this country.
Australia is often described as an ancient continent in geological terms with the western two thirds of the continent having a basement of Precambrian rocks between 570 and over 3,000 million years old. Eastern Australia is much more recent, although "recent" is a relative concept.
At the risk of gross simplification, I am still writing up my own notes in this area, the eastern seaboard of what is now Australia lay well to the west of the current coastline.
Deposition into the eastern sea occurred. In places, the water was shallow enough for corals to form. Subsequent folding and faulting, the break-up of the giant continent now called Gondwana and volcanic activity all worked on the geology. One result was the creation of a large basin - the Sydney, Gunnedah, Bowen Basin - flanked on one side by the Lachlan Fold Belt, the New England Fold belt on the other. That Basin reflects the old sea. The original deposition resulted in the creation of huge coal deposits that run from south of Sydney well into Queensland.
Coal mining and especially the extraction of coal seam gas has become a major political issue. Initially the discontent was a little below the main media horizon, although I did write about it on the New England Australia blog as one element in New England's environmental wars. The possible extraction of coal seam gas from coal seams under urban Sydney then brought the issue within the metro purview. We now have a 3,200 kilometre arc of political discontent.
The issue has now become politically significant to three Governments, Queensland, NSW and the Commonwealth. Key parts of the Gunnedah portion of the Basin - the Liverpool Plains - fall within Tony Windsor's New England electorate. The Government depends upon Tony Windsor for its survival in general and for the prospective passage of the proposed mining tax legislation in particular. Mr Windsor has made it clear that some form of action on coal seam gas will be the price of that support.
The disputes over mining and coal seam gas raise some quite complicated and in some ways intractable issues. The domination of political discussion by refugees, the carbon tax and Labor's leadership issues as well as the country nature of the protests means that main stream reporting of the coal and coal seam gas imbroglio has been quite superficial. You can expect to hear a lot more about it over the next two months.