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A chink of light in the darkness

In a recent Letter to the Editor of the NT News, I mentioned my weekly sessions outside NT Parliament House.

[As an aside, it never ceases to surprise me that most of my letters get published in a Murdoch paper, and it is interesting to see how the resulting complaints about my views on the need for climate change action are slowly reducing, as the reality becomes more and more widely accepted.]

On another contentious issue, Alan Kohler’s Insight in today’s paper (21/10/20) drew attention to the tacit acceptance by international authorities of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) while, in the same article, reporting ‘“I don’t subscribe to MMT,” Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said last week.”

Anyway – back to the chink of light – our youth!

On session 38 today, I had a visit from a very articulate 20 year old who had noted mention of my sessions and came to see me – expecting a 20 – 30 something year old!

He still stayed, and we had a very lively conversation!

We had a long chat, during which he asked me how I saw us making progress. When I mentioned the need to persuade governments to act, he countered with a plan for people power.

He drew attention to the idea that if everyone with bank accounts with the Big Four, or with superannuation and/or other investments, including shares, in dirty fossil fuel industries, and who wanted change, were to move out into clean investments, the pressure against the fossil fuel entities would be sufficient to completely change the viability of fossil fuels.

That is crudely worded, but I am sure you can see that if shareholders sensed that the winds of change were blowing, they would dis-invest in fossil fuels and – BINGO!

I am sure we overlook the potency of people power – it is the power of many individuals, acting in unison to achieve a common good.

Although not recommended as a perfect model, and I am not a promoter of violence, but the French Revolution worked, because enough people had had enough of being downtrodden and impoverished.

I am not normally a fan of the dirt file mentality but there comes a time when exasperation at people’s ignorance of the deception and downright evil behaviour of those in power has to be highlighted.

Many of us are convinced by science that global warming is really happening, that we must take action on it, but those currently in power appear to have no concern about anything which adversely affects their god – the economy.

Many of us are aware that the longer we wait to take effective action, the less likely it is that rising global temperatures and the resulting and increasingly adverse climate events, will be consistent with a truly acceptable lifestyle for future inhabitants of the planet.

We are, I am sure, all aware that climate disasters to date have done massive damage which is far from having been remedied. And please note – THAT HAS DAMAGED THE ECONOMY!

Those made homeless or having their livelihoods destroyed by last southern summers’ fires are yet to get back on their feet, despite promises from on high!

(I stress the ‘southern summers’ because in the tropics we have the ‘Wet’ – which is not always wet enough to replenish the dams and the groundwater – and the ‘Dry’ – which has been getting both hotter and more humid.)

Does your bank have shares in fossil fuels? What sort of interest rates does it pay? I suspect that for most of them it is next to nothing unless you have really large amounts invested. How about a local credit union? How does it compare?

Many of us have shares in Telstra – suckers! – but if you or your superannuation or pension fund have shares in other investments, do they include fossil fuels?

If we personally cannot be bothered to do our own due diligence, then we are being hypocritical if we complain about others failing to act appropriately.

Perhaps the finance advisers in some of the charity organisations could assist in this one, by doing some research and providing the resulting information to the public.

But – to return to the dirt file – we have all listened to members of the Coalition throw accusation after accusation at the ALP. And we are all resigned to the fact that politics is a dirty game and many politicians are out and out sleazy.

But have you checked this out?

It is a long read, and might have been better constructed, but it reminds us of much that we have – and should not have – forgotten.

Before I close – a reminder: sun and wind and hydro are far from being the only sources of renewable energy. So much of the Australian population live on or near the shore line, yet how much use do we make of tidal power – particularly in the NW of Australia where the tidal range is really significant?

Stop talking about piping water and gas about the continent and start thinking seriously about piping renewable energy!

Start by looking at some of this guy’s ideas and let your imaginations roam freely! And then act to save the only planet we already have!

Please remember – ‘time is of the essence’ is a good legal saying which is very pertinent as we near the end of another year without action!


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  1. John Hanna

    The problem with the theory is that prospective home buyers think they are taking out a ‘mortgage’ but are instead signing a promissory note. The so called ‘mortgages’ are then sold off in tranches to offshore and other investors. Accordingly the bank receives payment equal to the value of the ‘mortgage’ so the books balance with REAL money thus money is created from a persons signature. The value of this trade is counted in GDP and far exceeds the amount held by depositors, it is also the main reason the govt is going out of it’s way to prop up the banking system to avert another GFC type collapse when ‘mortgagees’ default on their loans because of covid and consequential job losses and the Ponzi scheme that is the banking system collapses. The banks have trillions in ‘mortgages’ well in excess of deposit accounts hence their focus is more attuned to protecting that enterprise.
    Since the GFC, govt’s around the world have enacted legislation (Greece was first) to steal deposits to prop up a failing bank when mortgagees default, they call the action ‘Bail in’ in such cicumstances the banks deem your deposit to be an investment to be treated similarly to a shareholder in a failing company. Ergo no leverage with bank deposits.

  2. Josephus

    All this the Greens have long espoused Rosemary36, and now more than ever fight for; yet lack of education, fear, the control of mass media, corruption of officials and politicians who accept bribes from miners, developers, and corporations , or who are promised fat jobs post their time in Parliament; all this means that the Greens find it hard to win many seats outright. Read their policies, as thousands are doing now as the evidence for global warming, floods, fires , etc mounts.

    Some Labor supporters I have encountered recently admitted that they would consider volunteering for, joining, standing as candidates for the Greens because they regretted Labor’s shifting policies on fracking or their weakness regarding refugees, but that if they did so their ambition would never be realised , ie a parliamentary seat or a job as advisor etc. This is not true, but it did strike me how ambition trumps principles among some young Laborites, led as they are by a party that sometimes puts expediency before principle .

    This is not new. In despair , a century ago Rosa Luxemburg wrote as the then political Left mostly joined the call to Europe-wide war :

    “The world is so beautiful in spite of all the misery, and would be even more beautiful if there were no half-wits and cowards in it.”

  3. B Sullivan


    Labor abandoned its principles long ago when Bob Hawke declared that the party was over. They fell into step with Reaganism and Thatcherism and embraced economic rationalism with Treasurer Paul Keating insinuating that there was no alternative except economic irrationalism. According to Hawke, Labor had never been a socialist party anyway. Thus like Reagan and Thatcher they won support from the nouveau riche and privileged portion of the huge post war baby boom demographic known at the time as yuppies.

    Despite their rhetoric they supported private health and private education with public funding to the detriment of the public sector. They abolished free tertiary education turning it into a commodity instead of a community service. They privatised public assets like the Commonwealth Bank and cut the public service at every opportunity. They made the unemployed dependent on a private sector that regarded them as surplus to requirements and called them welfare dependent implying that they were to blame for their predicament and not the Labor government for its neglect in providing alternative employment opportunities in the public sector. They introduced enterprise bargaining which they only renounced when the Liberals took over but failed to bring in a regressive consumption tax and compulsory identity card. (By the way, note that compulsory ID cards are no longer on any party’s political agenda now that smart phones allow not only tracking of peoples’ movements but also permit accurate personality profiling by collecting their metadata).

    It was Labor’s utter contempt for and inaction on environmental concerns that brought about the creation of the Greens in the first place. Contempt and inaction that still lingers to this day despite all the evidence of imminent environmental collapse.

    If the Liberal Party did not exist there would be no dispute that the Labor Party is a right wing supporter of privilege. It is only by comparison that it comes across as more left leaning. It’s like in the US where a right wing party like the Democrats is portrayed as a left wing political party because it is not quite so extreme as the Republicans.

  4. RosemaryJ36

    B Sullivan is right. Somehow we have to drag the ALP back to being the guardian of human rights and climate change!

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