The Choice

Australia — 2019 Federal Election.

So often novelist, Richard Flanagan, speaks for me on matters close to my heart.  He is spot on when he says the fight to stop the Adani Carmichael mine is not just about Adani.  (Read Richard Flanagan’s speech to the Stop Adani rally by clicking on the above link.)

The Adani mine infrastructure is needed to make other prospective mines in Galilee basin viable.  Political power broker, Clive Palmer, also has mining interests in the Galilee basin.  Mr Palmer’s political party, United Australia Party. has just signed a deal to direct preferences to the Liberal and National parties.  The tag line for the United Australia Party is “Make Australia Great”.  Seriously!  In addition, the family of Matt Canavan, the Minister for Resources in the Morrison Government, also has interests in the Australian coal industry.

Several years ago, I attended an event where the Australian Council of Trade Unions had an information and merchandise stand.  They were selling T-Shirts advocating for wind power.  I remarked to the woman on the stand that there was an inconsistency between what she was selling and the views of then leader of the Australian Workers Union (AWU), who was concerned about the how the shift to renewable energy would affect his members.  She said to me that the AWU does not represent the views of her union or the union movement as a whole.  The Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (rivals to the AWU), has recently been applying pressure to the Australian Labor Party to support the Carmichael mine.  It should be noted that the PM-in-waiting, Mr Bill Shorten, was once head of the AWU.

Do I need to remind Mr Shorten and his party that the AWU and the CFMEU do not represent the views of the entire Australian labor movement?  Voters, if you come across representatives of the ALP door-knocking, remind them of this and send them a strong message that the Adani coal mine must be stopped and our environmental legislation amended immediately to ensure that the carbon footprint impact of projects is taken into account.  Carbon neutrality must be a minimum for project approval. Read more

We Won’t Fade Away

 

A post for the environmentally-conscious and chocolate-mad.

chocolate

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got Friday on my mind.  I’ve been waiting for this event all year.  For many years it has kept me going — my National Folk Festival.  It is a magnet for extremists.  I say extremists because that is the language that is now being used by some members of government to describe the environmentally and socially-conscious. In the wake of the Christchurch terrorist attack, you would think that our leaders would have learned that scare-mongering can have dire repercussions.  It legitimises the warped views of those who would seek to achieve their aims through violent action.  It is the responsibility of our leaders not to characterise peaceful, concerned citizens as extremists.  Instead, let’s have a reasoned debate on solutions given the evidence.  In other words, let’s have some evidence-based policy making without the histrionics, and then we can vote on it. Read more

The Changing Seasons – February (Part 1)

My February Changing Seasons post will be divided into two parts.  Part 1 covers the serious stuff.  Part 2 will be more lighthearted.

February – in the dying days of summer, danger lurks.
The shrill wind blew of the calamity to come.
But no one was listening.

swish.jpg

Did you know that the UN declared 2010 to 2020 the Decade for Deserts and has called for urgent action to fight against desertification?  The main reasons are land-clearing for agriculture, over-grazing and other land uses (eg. mining), unsustainable land management practices and climate change.  In a vicious cycle, degraded lands hold less carbon and less surface moisture.  It is estimated that it takes 1000 years to generate 3 cm of topsoil and if the current rate of soil degradation continues, all the world’s topsoil could be gone within 60 years.  No topsoil.  No life. Read more

All Kinds of Awful

The Queensland Resources Council has just announced that Queensland (Australia) coal exports have reached a record high.  The Australian government must be jumping for joy, with the resources sector once again contributing substantial growth in federal revenues (and the election war-chest).  Apparently two thirds of our coal is destined for steel making, while the remainder will be used for power generation.

Maybe it is just sour grapes, but the news does not lighten my current mood or temperature, which can best be described as volcanic.  Why?  Because short-term gains are being put before long-term national interests, and because I am sweltering in my lounge room through yet another extended extreme heatwave.  My phone tells me it is 41º celcius (105º F) outside. Read more

Fry-day

It is warming up in Australia.  Today we had a big fry up on the outskirts of Canberra.  The Pierces Creek Bushfire is believed to have been started from a burnt-out car.  With temperatures in the mid-30s (celcius) and gale force winds, the fire quickly spread and has now burnt out 147 hectares of bush and farmland.  The fire is not yet under control. Read more