Chains of shield volcanoes in eastern Australia define a broad north-south trend that roughly parallels the Tasmantid and Lord Howe seamount chains in the Tasman Sea. Both the seamount chains and the shield volcanoes young to the south, and both have been interpreted as hotspot volcanoes on a north-drifting Australian plate (Wellman and McDougall, 1974; McDougall and Duncan, 1988; Cohen et al., 2007; Sutherland et al., 2012; Davies et al., 2015). A change in the age distribution of the shield volcanoes during the early Miocene and a corresponding deflection in the trends of the seamount chains were attributed by Knesel et al. (2008) to a reduction in the rate and a change in the direction of Australian plate motion caused by its collision with the Ontong Java Plateau. In their paper, Jones et al. (2017) examined changes in the significance of the age and direction trends of the eastern Australian shield volcanoes by comparing them to predictions for the absolute motion of the Australian plate defined by two competing apparent polar wander paths (APWPs) and the global moving hotspot reference frame (GMHRF) of Doubrovine et al. (2012). We believe that significant errors have been made in the plate motion analysis, expressed as inconsistencies within and between their figures 10 through 13, which also invalidate the second of their two animated reconstructions for Australian plate motion. Our concern that these invalid reconstructions might form the basis for future studies motivates our commentary on their paper. Jones et al. also contributed new 40Ar/39Ar ages for shield volcanoes and lava fields in Queensland, and we raise no issues with these data or their interpretation.

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