We’ve seen it all before, when the Sydney Morning Herald ignored the facts to promote a green group’s propaganda. We’ve also seen how the Kangaroo Island Council spreads misinformation and how the SA Greens attempt to misinform Parliament and the Community.

The article entitled “Battle for the Bight” by Miles Kemp in the Advertiser on 16 March 2018 is another typical attempt by green groups, supported by the media, to misinform the community in their attempts to change the course of elections.

As Mark Twain said over 100 years ago “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you read the newspaper, you’re mis-informed.

Let’s look at a few points in Miles Kemp’s article to see how it misinforms:

1. The title “Battle for the Bight” is suspect, especially as battles must have at least two combatants. Miles Kemp has included some claims from the likes of Sarah Hansen-Young and Peter Clements but has not bothered to check their technical/scientific validity by reporting from anyone on the “other side”. Hence, how can this be termed a “battle”? Perhaps a more apt title would have been “Bight misinformation abounds in political battle”?

2. In his article, Miles Kemp implies that seismic surveys in the Bight are a new feature as he states: “since prospecting began in 2014“. Not correct! The records show that prospecting began in the 1970’s and, up to 2011, a total of 122,000 line km of seismic transect had been acquired (some much closer to coast than the current seismic surveys) and 12 wells drilled. In fact, during late 2011 to 2015, 44000 sq km of seismic coverage was acquired in the latest round of exploration.

3. Greens Senator for SA Sarah Hansen-Young claims that “The testing involves sound blasting at 260 decibels“. Not correct! 260 decibels is a theoretical value based on the assumption that all 20-30 compressed air elements in a seismic array occupy the same point when they are actually spread over a 15m x 15m area. It is physically impossible for all elements to occupy the same point. Hence physically impossible to achieve the sound levels quoted by the Senator. Actual sound levels in the vicinity of the array will be no more than about 248 decibels, which means that the Senator has overstated the sound level by a factor of 4 (decibels being a logarithmic scale). For more about sound levels in water, the interested reader could access articles showing typical sounds in air and water as well as articles discussing attenuation of sound in water on this same website.

4. Further, the Senator Sarah Hansen-Young claims “The testing can injure or kill whales if carried out too close to them“. Given there are no credible cases, in over 5 decades of conducting seismic surveys around the globe, of whales being killed or injured by seismic sounds, this claim is deliberately designed to misinform. If the Senator’s claims were credible, the humpback population on the NW Shelf of Australia would not have grown at close to biological maximum when that area developed into an important Australian petroleum province (point 3 in the article entitled “The right to protest or lobby should not be abused“). Similarly, a clear example of the manner in which the Senator’s claims are far moved from reality can be seen in the following photo and the article “How loud is the sound of a breaching whale?”:

Humpback whale and seismic array
Humpback whale and seismic array

As can be seen from the above examples, the Senator has deliberately set out to misinform the public and the biased article in the Advertiser has effectively aided and abetted her.

It is pleasing to see, given the SA election results on 17 March 2018 and the Batman by-election result in Victoria on the same day, that the community is increasingly able to see through the outlandish claims from the likes of the Greens and SA Best.