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An Open Letter to “The Left”

I am writing this letter to anyone who considers themselves as part of the left movement. Excuse my lack of salutation. I was going to address everyone with Dear Comrades; however, that only poses my first problem. I don’t know if comrades is even a fitting greeting anymore. I don’t even know where I fit in anymore.

I am almost 50 years old and since I was a young girl of about 12 years of age, through the words of the great Bob Hawke, I have felt a belonging and an affiliation with the labour movement. Through the greatness of Hawke and many other great Labor leaders, be they Prime Ministers, Party Leaders, Union Leaders, MPs or Senators, I have felt seen and understood by the labour movement. My whole life, regardless of paid membership, I have always identified as a member of Labor. Therefore, I have always considered myself as a member of “The Left”.

Until recent times, the majority of people on the left of politics, shared an affiliation and predominantly that affiliation was the heart felt desire to protect and progress the workers in this great country. Yes, there are variations of ‘the left’ however, the dominant strand of leftism in Australia has always been grounded in Marxist thought. That is, that a worker’s labour has value and progress was centered around the advancement of workers and anyone who could not work for whatever reason. Progressive ideas were and are still centered around egalitarianism and fairness. Progress has always been made for the worker-centric left through democratic socialism and pragmatism.

The reason I am writing this letter is that I see comments all the time that the Labor party has abandoned them. However, I hold a growing fear that people are abandoning the worker centric left. There appears to be an increasing demand that Labor also abandons the worker centric left and focus on major issues from a radical perspective, with no consideration for workers.

A few years ago, I started penning articles regarding the anti-worker approach of the Stop Adani movement. As someone who is very grounded in Marxist thought that labour has value and workers should have agency in the means of their work; I very wrongly assumed that these articles would be well received. I thought that there were more people who were like-minded and they too would raise their voices and insist workers be the focus of this looming urgent change. Sadly, not so.

The opposite of my intent occurred. Instead of being seen as someone standing up for workers in regional Australia, I have been frankly, targeted, abused, ridiculed, you name it for years now, by those on ‘the left.’ The spaces where this has occurred has been on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and also up close and personal. I am not talking about a one off instance, it has been constant for years.

Even today, someone who I don’t engage with that often, randomly tagged me in something about Adani and why there will be no jobs at all in coal. Because you know, I’m obviously the first person some people think of on Twitter when they feel relief that they have found something that really shoves the point back to me that coal workers no longer matter in the whole scheme of things, probably three months after the original discussion.

The sad thing is, this vindication they feel is not being vindicated for a left wing ideal at all. It is something that John Howard would be proud of. To increase profit with no human labour input costs at all. People are literally welcoming and rejoicing in automation that puts workers out of work, because it suits their key political issue of climate change.

At first, these attacks were highly distressing and very, very confusing. Because all my life I found where workers issues were raised, there was camaraderie, support and an engagement of how to ‘win that battle.’ I am writing this letter because in my view, that has died. It no longer exists. If workers are an inconvenience in addressing a challenge, the advocates are fine with workers being the negative consequence of action they demand. I have for about a year now, really tried to clarify that what I interpret is what is meant by really pushing people to clarify on Twitter.

Responses go from anything to the environmental leftists praising Margaret Thatcher for shutting down the mines and insisting that that didn’t cause any problems. Or that coal workers will just have to move to where jobs are. Or the most common, the stance that coal workers need to ‘have the guts’ to give up their jobs for the greater good.

Other comments centre around the ‘greed’ of coal workers for not giving up their jobs, or the laziness of coal workers for not pulling themselves up and thinking ahead and retraining themselves. And then of course the indignant ‘there are no jobs in this dying industry anyway and everything will be automated.’

And for others, the fact that Abbott shut down Car Manufacturing and ‘it didn’t affect anything and we all survived’ is a point made that coal can shut down and ‘coal workers will find other jobs, just like Holden workers did.’

By far the most damaging impact by the left on the left, is their top down authoritarian approach of demanding change. That is, targeting a particular region in Australia and then without any consultation or understanding of what that area is about, demanding that they close down their industry and give up their jobs. This movement is literally denying affected people the agency to be participants of change. Instead they take the approach that ‘they know what is best for them.’ I don’t know about others, but this is new to me. I’ve never known or understood the wider left movement in years gone by to deny affected people the agency to be participants in change. It goes against the grain of democratic socialism. And that is a huge fear and a driver for me writing this letter.

Not only are so many of these beliefs simply so ill informed, it is a very dangerous ideological territory that people are venturing into and embracing.

Every single example above is not a worker-centric left wing narrative. It is the language of John Howard and Tony Abbott. These ideas resonate with the ideology of the Australian Liberal party, that workers are a disposable commodity. It also centres on the Liberals key ideology of Individualism or ‘anti-socialism.’ The key ideology since Menzies, that it is the Individual’s responsibility for himself and the rejection of socialist intervention to assist those who can’t fend for themselves.

The examples above are also anti-community and are far from egalitarian. This movement is not advocating for everyone to do their fair share and abolish a range of practices and industries that may impact on climate change. They are placing the entire burden on regional Australians. When this burden was rejected the environmental left were shocked! Instead of understanding why this burden was rejected, they vilified regional QLDers as bogan, as a disgrace and a demand for a ‘Qexit’. Simply because these people still wanted food on their table, as no tangible, solution they can see, exists.

When there are thousands and thousands of people online everyday and thousands marching in the streets demanding to shut down jobs, this opens up the political opportunism of the right to take over this space. The right wing parties, took over this space and campaigned that they would protect jobs and workers. There is nowhere to go for Labor when that type of opportunity is allowed to occur and is in a context as such that it is believed. At the last election, that is what the left allowed to happen. Including the people with the decision making powers within the Labor party itself.

The key working class issues of the Change the Rules movement, around precarious employment, labour hire, dodgy contracting, unfair wages, penalty rates, protections for workers locked out or mine companies shutting down and opening and hiring more ‘compliant’ staff, and worker safety etc., etc., etc., were suffocated with Stop Adani and the convoy in QLD. These issues simply were not heard and were not given the respect and interest they would have been given in years gone by because they were simply drowned out – by ‘the left’.

In fact, within the Change the Rules movement with the Greens heavily involved, I felt awkward and out of place, listening to people in that movement sprout their hatred for the Labor party. I also felt it strange with not having the inclusiveness of unions and Labor at the booths. This is because it was seen as a ‘separate’ movement to the Labor party – that is separate to the only party who was able to legislate any of these demands being fought for. I’m not sure if this was nationwide, or just in my area of Capricornia, where our Labor candidate was a coal miner and the CFMEU were insisting upon protection of jobs and this made the Greens uncomfortable.

In addition to the above, further divisiveness and moving away from worker centric left, is the demands of radical action, over pragmatism. Also the demands and the ‘wedging’ of Labor on issues, by very vocal champions of the environmental left, that are impossible to act upon in opposition. Issues that require power, pragmatism and democratic leadership, giving affected people actual agency as participants in change.

The purist demands of radical action over pragmatism, are on the increase and fly in the face of how the left has overcome struggle for over a century. Labor has always led the way with great national reforms and have always either achieved progress through incremental change, or through the democratic leadership style of inclusiveness and listening to all voices.

However, in the modern day, affected individuals (i.e. coal workers and people in regional communities) are being increasingly voiced as a problem, rather than hearing or even wanting to hear their voices, because many on ‘the left’ don’t want to confront the ugly truths of what some of their demands mean to real people. These advocates, in abundance are applying great pressure to Labor to do the same.

When Labor finally after the election, came out and said they will stand by coal workers (remembering workers are a traditional ingrained reason for being Labor) this stance has been largely ridiculed online as ‘Right Wing!’ and ‘abandoning the base!”

When people like me who raise concerns about the affect on workers in the midst of great challenges and change are repeatedly attacked by a great number of people, there is a serious issue with the survival of ‘the left’.

When the Labor party stands by workers and this is shunned as being right wing, there is an even greater serious issue with survival of ‘the left’.

I’m not sure who ‘the left’ think the base is now, but the idea that you attack one worker you attack us all, is obviously also dead.

When standing up for workers is seen as ‘shifting to the right and bowing to the right’ I don’t just fear for the death of the left movement, I grieve the loss of our history, our common sense and most of all our compassion.

To me, these are the greatest challenges for the survival of the left of politics in Australia.

The rise of the environmental left is a key concern and a challenge for the left movement as a whole. Climate change is a major challenge for every single country and every individual on this planet. However, it is not the only issue.

People still live out their everyday lives on a daily basis. A challenge as great as climate change is a complex issue and approaches to address climate change, must respect the here and now of individuals and communities. To achieve progress and balance, a worker centric approach to climate change, must be taken. A fair and equal view of everyone sharing the burden, not just a few regional communities, also must be taken.

The current demands of the environmental left, are suffocating the issues of the working class left and every single vulnerable person in society. When workers perceive the choice of no job, or precarious employment, the chants of the union movement against precarious employment are insignificant and ‘the left’ is seen as the enemy.

This is the enabling environment we are currently building for the political opportunism on the right of politics and that means an enabling environment is built for them to win elections and hold power.

In a democracy, people will voice their opinions and we have great platforms now to do so. People will also be very passionate about their key issues. However, in a democracy it is also up to people to voice concerns and challenge others where approaches to change – climate or otherwise – place the worker second, vilify workers, or see workers as an inconvenient consequence and any negative impacts should just be accepted.

The Labor party also has a huge challenge in this democracy. They need to find a way to put forward very strong worker centric arguments and enable workable solutions to change that are acceptable to all. They need to find a way to rise above the purist demands and convince thousands of radical and unhappy voices that incremental change and democratic leadership, and the protection of all workers and is what has built this country in the face of some monumental challenges in the past. They need to find the right words and the right approach that Labor, will continue to do so in the future.

The Labor party are currently reviewing their policies and approach from the last election. I feel very strongly, that we no longer just need to counter the right wing of politics, but there are equal challenges on the left of politics to address. Labor needs to come up with innovative ways to ensure people feel included in decisions about change. The town halls were great, but there is an overwhelming amount of technology that bring people together and these are not being utilized. A new approach using modern technology could be used to make landmark changes to democratic action and progressive policy ideas. I urge Labor to think hard about this.

The result of the the divisiveness of ‘the left’ and pushing the workers secondary, we are living everyday. A paternalistic, degrading regime, with a hatred of unions and workers and a mass dehumanisation of the jobless. The fight against that is why Labor exists and we have three more years to watch this contempt on society by the Liberals from the sidelines.

The left of politics created the enabling environment for this to happen. It is time people looked at themselves and how they engage in politics and seriously ask themselves if their approach is actually helpful or harmful.

So thanks for reading. This is why, at almost 50 years old and a political awakening instigated by Hawke, I no longer know where I fit and I no longer feel a camaraderie with ‘the left.’ I am hoping that people will give me some hope after reading this, rather than reinforce my fears.

Trish.

p.s. Please do not respond with any but, but, buts about a just transition. Thousands of people day in day out targeting regional communities, angry contorted faces all over the internet demanding to shut down industry, gluing themselves to the footpath or chaining themselves to railway tracks, devising ways to ‘birddog’ Labor, creating a campaign that QLD Labor is corrupt, and taking a convoy to a small country town to protest their very existence, announcing a policy in an election to shut down all coal, causing a huge amount of fear in regional communities – is not a just transition. The intent has certainly not been displayed in the behaviour and when people vote, that is what counts.

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33 comments

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  1. Kaye Lee

    When the dangers of mining and working with asbestos were realised, it was the trade union movement who were at the forefront of the push to close down the industry. They brought together government, industry, NGOs and unions to manage a phase-out that would protect employment opportunities. Just as with coal, there were alternatives that could be used. You don’t start a phase-out by opening big new mines. Coal must go – the longer we pretend that isn’t the case, the longer we delay helping those whose jobs will likely disappear. There are economic advantages of moving to a renewable economy. Affected communities should be offered assistance to retrain and transition. It isn’t just regional Australia who must bear the brunt of taking action on climate change – we ALL must do whatever we can for the sake of the generations to come. Unless we halt global warming, farmers are stuffed.

  2. Denis Bright in Brisbane

    Thanks for your viewpoint Trish. ALP Branches should be centres for open discussion on the way forward particularly in regional areas where opportunities for social activities are limited. Even in the Leichhardt federal electorate in North Queensland in the early 1970s branches had been allowed to run-down and Labor lost the seat in 1975 after the Dismissal and regained it on and off over the next 40 years.

    In the Yes Minister Traditions, many insiders would prefer a small factionalized branch membership which is irrelevant to the needs of local communities.

    Keep working to Change the Rules, Trish. Thatcherite Values permeate Australian politics. A new critical mass is needed in our Labor branches. Labor hearland booths in sections of Leichhardt and Kennedy in NQ have envolved into far-right enclaves as trade union membership also declines.

    In the Sugar Mill town of South Johnstone in Kennedy where voters also come in from adjacent rural areas, Labor improved its primary vote by 3 per cent but only to 19.51 per cent. on 18 May 2019. The LNP still polled 28.54 per cent and KAP 44.63 per cent.

    Preparing for the next state and federal elections should commence with a revival of regional branches to make these seats marginal again.

    This voting pattern is repeated in larger towns like Mareeba in Kennedy where the Labor vote improved by 2.43 per cent which was still far behind the LNP’s 26.32 per cent and the KAP’s 37.72 per cent.

    Lots of teachers on transfer and local trade union members can and should revive Labor’s traditions in the Far North where social activities are relatively easy to organise.

  3. Keith Davis

    You raise many interesting points in your article Trish. It is a good read. It brings up some thoughts

    I often wonder why I have now ended up as a partial supporter of the ALP. Such an end result runs counter to where I have politically stood for the last fifty years or so. For most of my life I have been a rusted on supporter of the ALP, a supporter of the Union Movement, a True Believer in the cause, a safe and secured voter for the Party.

    Since like tends to attract like in some matters, a lot of my friends express similar views to mine. And yes, we are of the older generation of ALP supporters.

    Inevitably, as soon as you mention the words older generation, the harping types write you off as someone mired in the past, as someone desperate to re-live and hang on to past glories, as someone who never quite managed to move on from the Whitlam, Hawke, or Keating years. All we can do is send a polite smile back when we hear such nonsense descriptions of ourselves.

    The reality is we are here now, alive in the present moment, observing the activities of the ALP in real-time, and we have long memories of what once was, but is not now.

    What is interesting is the fact that we have never seen ourselves as ‘leftist’, we saw ourselves as ‘workers’. We chose to support the broad Labor movement because, as workers, we wanted representation on the floors of our parliaments, and while there are certainly many decent employers out there, we also wanted protection from the employers who were not so good. We also supported the ALP because the drive for social justice for the disadvantaged was woven into their political DNA, and woven into ours.

    We are part of the base of the ALP, and we always have been, and unless the world turns upside down tomorrow we possibly always will be. But our love for the cause is now conditional, and we had never expected that, it is something new for us to deal with.

    When we look at this Party now we see a political movement that is consumed by the notion that gaining and retaining votes is the only thing of value. We see the hollowness of the strategy of ‘mirroring’ that almost ensures that in the drive to garner a small number of swinging votes you are guaranteed to lose a percentage of the rusted-on votes that you already have.

    My friends and I are not ALP Insiders, we are ALP Outsiders, we do not get to sit in private meetings where highly paid strategists work out the glib lines for the talking heads to sprout. We are not there when policy directions are decided, and we are not there when all and sundry desperately try to come up with a strategic suite of policies that will hopefully not scare off a small number of swinging voters who are only interested in the amount of dosh that will be directed into their wallets.

    Our concern is that the ALP has lost it’s Spirit. And our hope is that the loss is only temporary.

    The most salient point that can be made about all of that is that Spirit, the who you are and the principles that you stand for, should not be watered down for temporary strategic gain.

    In our opinion Spirit is something real, it cannot be bought, sold, or traded away. It is the essence of who you are and the principles that you stand on. So while policies are important, and leadership personalities within the Party can be important, neither of those things amounts to zip when they aren’t backed up by determination, independence, spirit, and guts.

    Of course we want the Party to continue to represent workers, however we would like the Party to understand that what constitutes a ‘worker’ these days is rapidly changing. AI and Automation are here now, and more and more they will encroach upon the workplace. Humans currently might still work in reasonable numbers on factory floors etc … but for how much longer? Who, or what, will constitute the ‘working class’ in a couple of decades time? Who will the ALP seek to represent in the future? Robots don’t vote.

    Where the Adani matter is concerned we very much doubt that an incredible landslide of jobs is about to hit Central Queensland. In the MONA Museum in Hobart there is a video, supplied by the mining industry, on re-loop. In that video a young woman explains why her job in that industry was just the best job in the world. With a hand paddle and monitor screen she controlled the operations of the automated diggers, the automated trucks, and the automated trains that serviced the mine. The seat that she sat on, in air-conditioned comfort, was over one thousand kilometres away from the mine site.

    What she is doing is nothing new, it is here now, and done now. The need for human drivers or diggers in the mining industry is on the way out. Even our conservative politicians know these hard facts, yet they still persist in selling a lie to people in Central Queensland who are desperate to pick up a job. The politicians are only desperate to pick up or retain votes, and unfortunately even the Queensland ALP has joined the conservatives, and has joined the parade of that cynical ‘jobs for all’ in the mining industry delusion.

    We have no idea how long the Coal Industry will remain viable, but what is pretty obvious is that automation will take over. There will be no deluge of Adani jobs, no new wondrous markets opening up for the product, and there was never going to be. But disappointed workers in the near future in Central Queensland, there will be a deluge of them.

    Which brings things back to the Spirit of the ALP. If they truly wish to continue representing ‘the worker’ then it is incumbent on them to be truthful to the workers. It is incumbent on them to be truthful to us. They need to understand that being anti-Adani doesn’t automatically make one anti-worker.

    As part of the base of the ALP we feel that our opinions on matters such as Adani, Refugees, and the raising of Newstart are simply not listened to by the Party. We would rather that they stood on social justice principles in such matters and showed some Spirit, even if it cost them votes and kept them on the Opposition Benches for a bit longer.

    Of course there is a thought that does apply here … ‘If something once was, but is not now, it does not mean that it can never be again.’

    Where the ALP is concerned … we live in hope!

  4. Goff Kyle

    Howzit Trish … After a lifetime of union membership and belief in the struggle, at 69, I cannot but agree wholeheartedly with you. I was a “True Believer” after Whitlam. And remained so After Hawke. And was only slightly disillusioned after Keating. But my enthusiasm for the Labor agenda has shrivelled since then. However, as I tell people who say unionism is forever dead, unions arose out of necessity, when half-starved 12 year old children were pulling coal carts underground. Relatively better times have convinced many that the need for unions has passed, and that it is time to shout and act for self, rather than the unwashed masses. I’ll be dead, but the greedy, heartless, god-bothering clique that is running Australia these days will ensure that the need arises again … Before retirement, I was an environmental chemist in the mining industry, working in remote places. Preserving our environment for future generations is the main game for everyone, but we must be careful and considerate of others when we act. To be cynical, the “Me” generation has lost the plot. But Gaia never loses the plot … Pax tecum … Dr. Wu.

  5. New England Cocky

    Sadly, there is considerable evidence that egalitarianism in Australia is too long dead and buried … until something like the recent bushfire emergencies demonstrate that Australians do care about others when disaster hits ‘some’ and the lucky ‘others’ freely and generously pitch in to provide sustenance plus material and emotional support to commence the return to ‘normal’.

    When enough Australian voters recognise that the USA (United States of Apartheid) is a seething melting pot of social disadvantage and maldistributed wealth, that foreign owned multinational corporations are being allowed to financially pillage Australian natural resources and processing overseas to provide jobs for foreign workers rather than our own, when Australian politicians almost across the political spectrum have lost the incentive of building a better Australia for all Australians rather building the worst third world export economy in the OECD while wrapping the Australian aspiring metropolitan middle class in overt government subsidies to buy votes at the next triennial election, then, and only then, might we see our county become the world power that is currently only pretended by happy clapping hypocrites.

  6. andrino apolloni

    i too have been left in limbo. I now subscribe to labor as the better of two evils. I dont agree or disagree with “leftist” ideas. I have my own ideas about where we are heading and where we need to head and it doesnt conform with either side.
    What i find discouraging is that otherwise intelligent people devote their whole existence to trying to prove science is wrong on climate change. “Scientists are cynical in their analysis, therefore my cynicism is justified”. “science has been wrong before so therefore they are probably wrong here too”. A durr? What hope of an intellectual rigor in debates? there are 7billion people on this planet, we need action on an industrial scale not micro hippy ideas that are fine at the bottom but have no consequence on the big picture.
    The ” left ” seems to be a where true christianity centers. But as one can see, christianity is anything you want it to be. I would prefer to debunk all the assumptions we make and start again with no illusions.

  7. andrino apolloni

    I talked to my brother the other day, street smart he thinks. “I dont like the liberals but i would never vote for that shifty shorten. i always vote labor but this time i voted liberal.”
    How does one combat the dissonance in people’s minds? “ah durr, this must be good policy, i will vote it down.” Its obvious that the great masses have been conned by neoliberalism to think its better for them when quite clearly its the reason for the perfect storm approaching.
    To attain a great democratic institution, we need to weed out the stupid and narcissists from the electoral process. Then you can truely run government by opinion poll. until then we have to put up with these two types ruling over us and all the shit baggage they enforce onto us.
    And all we get is left and right sparing. Give me an idea and lets reason it out, just dont assume its perfect.

  8. Kathryn

    The justifiable outcry against ADANI is for very good reasons. Adani remains an internationally notorious predator whose insatiable greed and self-serving corruption has been the cause of countless deaths (from black lung disease) suffered by his army of slave labour (including the use and diabolical abuse of child labour) in his filthy mines in India and around the world and the absolute obliteration of fresh water and environments in every place he has ruthlessly and remorselessly vandalised! Adani has a long, long history of raping and pillaging environments, importing cheap third-world labour and exporting profits to tax-free havens and, we all know, that the BEST way to judge the behaviour of someone is to have a long, hard look at the way they have behaved in the past – NOT A GOOD OMEN for the fragile environment of northern Queensland. The fact that the short-sighted State Labor premiuer, Annastacia Palaszczuk, has given the monstrous Adani free reign over our environment, unlimited access to precious (and increasingly rare) sources of fresh water, endangering our Great Barrier Reef, endangering the Great Artesian Basin and, what for? So she can claw back a few votes by climate-change-denying red-necks in the regressive backwater of northern Queensland? Palaszczuk will go down in history as the worst, most short-sighted fool in history placing her own self-interests ahead of our nation’s precious environment and our increasingly rare fresh water in a time when we are suffering from the one of the worst, most prolonged droughts in our nation’s history!

    Sadly, Labor’s proud and illustrious left-wing socialist ideals died the nano-second the great foresightful leader, Gough Whitlam was criminally sacked by the unholy alliance between Fraser (who was, then, an arrogant ambitious conservative) and a drunken traitorous governor general (Kerr) who has remained a despised pariah ever since. History has judgged the fascist Fraser/Kerr take-over of a democratically elected Whitlam government very, very harshly. It was decades later, that Fraser was finally forgiven by the compassionate Whitlam until such time (after the election of the notoriously evil Abbott regime) that Malcolm Fraser had the sense to turn against the current vile pack of fascists in the Abbott government declaring that Tony Abbott was possibly the most dangerous PM in our history – of course, he was certainly right on that issue but even Abbott isn’t as criminally depraved as the current Morrison/Dutton callously inhumane and inept mismanagement of our country!

    IMO, Bob Hawke could never fill the shoes of Whitlam and, in fact, started dismantling Whitlam’s fully-subsidised tertiary education system the second he got into power! Paul Keating proved to be the most right-wing neoliberal Labor PM in history. The minute Keating made the horrific mistake of deregulating the banks in Australia was the beginning of wholesale corruption and unbridled greed by a banking industry who quickly sunk into self-serving depravity. Whilst I admire Keating’s strong, articulate criticisms of the current pack of political parasites that are running our economy into the ground and helping multinational corporate predators obliterate our environment, Hawke and Keating were NEVER the committed compassionate left-wing socialists that Gough Whitlam was. The ALP have changed radically and deteriorated when the ultra-conservative autocratic Queenslander, Kevin Rudd, came into power. Yes, Rudd was marginally better than the notoriously despicable little war criminal, John Howard, but he wasn’t a patch on the articulate, left-wing socialist, Julia Gillard, who was by far and wide the BEST, most compassionate and high achieving Labor Prime Minister since Gough Whitlam!

    Sadly, Trish Corry may be too young to remember the heady, high achieving days of the brilliant Gough Whitlam. Sadly, Mr Whitlam was surrounded by a few very unsavoury people in his party that assisted in his undoing. Whitlam’s only mistake was that he tried to do too much too quickly in a stagnate, regressive country filled with ultra-conservative people who hang on to EVERY word printed in the lying, malevolent Murdoch media. The fact that these same fools voted for Fraser after a fascist take-over and then went on to vote for the LNP (again) in 2019 after six years of unspeakable self-serving corruption, diabolical ongoing deception, lies, unending broken promises, NO policies, NO plans, horrendous callous inhumanity, blatant nepotism, misogyny, callous disregard for the poor, xenophobic racism, an ignominous history of environmental vandalism (eg the complete destruction of the Murray/Darling river basin thanks to Barnyard Joyce) and ruling by hatred, division and fear just proves how easily fooled and manipulated the tiny majority of brainwashed, mindless conservatives really are!

    I love this country but I detest and loathe this evil, fascist regime who are destroying absolutely EVERYTHING we love. The fact is that studies have shown that left-wing socialists are more intelligent than people who support racist, ultra-conservative right-wing ideology!

    The fact that misinformed conservatives who follow the mean-spirited, hate-filled agenda of selfish plutocratic neoliberalism keep referring to socialists as “lefties” whilst falsely stating that it is THEY who champion the rights of the INDIVIDUALS (provided they are not socialists, communists, muslims, blacks, jews, Catholics or gays – have I missed anyone?) just PROVES that they are bloated on propaganda, up to their eyebrows in hypocrisy, haven’t got a shred of credibility nor an ounce of insight! Still cheering on the TRICKLE DOWN MODEL economic model that remorselessly STEALS from the poor whilst feeding the obscenely rich … just the sort of environment for a Capitalist sociopath like Donald Trump!

    Do they actually KNOW what a SOCIALIST is? SOCIALISM is NOT communism … as much as the ultra-conservative LNP (in Australia) and their supporters, try to draw parallels with communism, socialism is a COMPLETELY different ideology.

    A SOCIALIST is defined by its very description: someone who CARES ABOUT SOCIETY, who CARES about the rights, independence and egalitarianism of others.
    A SOCIALIST has EMPATHY for the poor, the unemployed, the mentally ill, the homeless, the disabled and the vulnerable.
    A SOCIALIST cares about the future education and employment prospects of our children and grandchildren;
    A SOCIALIST really CARES about the environment and the type of world we LEAVE to our children (as opposed to the rampant, unending greed of capitalists and cold blooded fascists who know the COST of everything and VALUE nothing).
    To be a SOCIALIST is to be kind, generous and compassionate.
    To be a SOCIALIST is to be intelligent, progressive and in tune with our environment and QUALITY OF LIFE.
    To be a SOCIALIST is to have a great respect for democratic process, freedom of speech and the equality of ALL people no matter their race, colour, religion or ideology. We may not agree with what RECLAIM AUSTRALIA says but we respect their RIGHT to say it and they must respect our right to refute it!
    To be a SOCIALIST is to understand that civil, decent societies are JUDGED by the way they treat their poorest citizens and their children (Abbott FAILS on all accounts).
    To be SOCIALIST is a GOOD THING, an honourable thing. SOCIALISTS despise war mongering neoliberal fascism and despicable LIARS and racists who hide behind flag waving FALSE patriotism which they use to divide communities and spread their hatred and vile ideologies (as is the current situation in the woefully deluded Land of Neoliberalism and hate-filled Capitalism, Trump’s USA).

    I wonder if CONSERVATIVES know what ALL the following illustrious people have in common?

    George Orwell, Helen Keller, Albert Einstein, Bertrand Russell, Pablo Picasso, Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde, Gough Whitlam (in Australia) ???

    = THEY WERE ALL HIGH ACHIEVING SOCIALISTS.

    I would like to challenge right wing neoliberals to name ONE SINGLE person who was an ultra right wing Oligarchical neoliberal fascist who did a SINGLE thing to benefit mankind. ONE neoliberal who achieved ANYTHING that could, in any way, be construed as altruistic or philanthropic! The names that pop up on THIS side of the political fence care NOTHING about democracy, free speech or the rights of others. Many of them are notorious war criminals, cruel self entitled CAPITALISTS and/or horrendous authoritarian dictators who couldn’t care two hoots about ordinary citizens, were/are callously inhumane without a shred of compassion often hiding their unspeakable cruelty behind a facade of sanctimonious, bible bashing hypocrisy (like Scott Morrison, George W Bush and Tony Abbott). When you look back through the ignominious history of the LNP, one realises that there isn’t a single LNP PM or Republican President worth a dime. Every commitment made to a vile, nasty off-shore war (such as Korea, Vietnam and the horrendous genocidal Iraqi war) has been under a LNP PM who relentlessly use war, terror and are prepared to sacrifice millions of lives and spend BILLIONS to distract focus from their horrendous policies and/or use hatred and division for their own political agenda.

    Conservative Capitalism and Plutocracy vs SOCIALISM ??? Give me SOCIALISM every time!

  9. Paul Davis

    Well said Kathryn.

  10. eefteeuu

    Kathryn. wonderful words and so true.

  11. Keitha Granville

    Yes Kathryn, yes.

    My husband and I were just wondering yesterday who we would vote for next time. Labor seems to be hell bent on becoming Liberal, or close to it. WHat do we do ?
    It seems to me a major part of the problem seems to be the preoccupation with the leader – who the hell cares if you don’t like Bill, or Albo, or anyone. It’s about POLICY !!! The voters who changed because they didn’t like Bill threw the baby out with the bathwater. How mindlessly stupid.

    Who do we vote for now? How do we fix it?

  12. Baby Jewels

    Thank you Kathryn. Awesome post.

  13. Aortic

    Kathryn, every word a truthful gem. I was born in a small village in Scotland, relying solely for a long period for its prosperity on the local coal mine. Coal mines for years were privately owned and many miners died from ” miners disease” collapsing shafts and other hazards due to the relentless pursuit of profits and neglect of even basic safety measures. Once union pressure and several major strikes persuaded the government to finally nationalise the industry things improved markedly. I am not saying unions at times go beyond their charter, but particularly in the area of health and safety more lives would be put unnecessarily at risk, without their justifiable actions. As you say, witness the banks and their disgusting behaviour. I well remember we, as a company, had what I would call fair dinkum bank contacts whose primary task, was to provide finance if the project survived valid scrutiny. In latter days in business I stood and listened to a bunch of young turks babble on for half an hour without understanding one word they said. I thought at the time ” this does not bode well if this is privatisation writ large” ergo the findings of Royal Commission. Socialism is for the majority surely but as long as Mutdoch and his acolytes have sway in the MSM, it will remain a frightener to those who swallow his lies without sufficient thought.

  14. totaram

    ” and taking a convoy to a small country town to protest their very existence,”

    Really? I thought it was to protest the opening of a new very large coal mine (Adani), and at the invitation of (at least some of) the traditional owners of the land which will be destroyed by the mine, whose land rights have now been extinguished by the very same Queensland Labor government.

    “announcing a policy in an election to shut down all coal,”

    I am not aware that anyone announced such a policy but I am prepared to be corrected. If you say “by 2030”, that is a different issue, and it does imply a transition, with time and money to ensure a reasonable transition. That was a Greens policy announcement. However, what has that got to do with Labor voters? Does that make them turn to the LNP? I have heard this strange logic before and fail to understand it.

    On the other hand, I understand clearly that 50 million dollars (or more) was spent by Clive Palmer alone on spreading misinformation, so perhaps you are looking in the wrong direction for sheeting home the blame for Labor’s loss. As Kaye Lee has explained, some work is no longer viable for a number of reasons and will need to be closed down. What happened to all the workers in the car industry? Did “the loonies on the left” close it down?
    The coalition closed it down, wilfully. Why would coal workers vote for this party that obviously doesn’t care about workers anyway? Do these workers really understand that the people who want this mine don’t care about jobs anyway? There won’t be many, but the benefits to the “donors” of the LNP will be huge, and that is the motivation.
    Keith Davis can tell you all about “jobs in mining”.

    Perhaps you need to ask the 3.5% primary voters for Palmer’s party what they hoped to achieve. All that happened was their preferences were “harvested”, thank you very much. And so were many preferences of PHON etc.

    So having found the inaccuracies at the tail end of this rant, I wouldn’t bother to read the rest. I really can’t make out what it might be about. I’ll just go with what others have written in response.

  15. Leonie Saunders

    As a radical lefty feminist, I had to concentrate to keep my internal dialogue to a whisper. Boyo boy I thought to myself, how typical it is of disillusioned lefties to eat their young. Fancy cherry picking Marxist thinking without comprehending the broader issues facing the working class that Marx addressed in his writings. I think the link I have shared contradicts the authors understanding of Marx apropos her views on workers digging up filthy planet polluting coal for Adani. We should never allow revolutionary thinking to be hobbled to capitalism. The problems with workers mining coal is they are complicit as the mercenaries to capitalist power and that is in direct conflict to safeguarding their children and my grandchildren’s future. I live for the day my working class comrades grasp the fact that human accelerated Climate Change is the primary battleground. The irony of human accelerated climate change is that it has handed us one last opportunity to be the vanguard of much needed structural change. If we face up to the challenge we can create a better more equitable world. If not we are doomed.
    https://marxistleftreview.org/articles/marxism-and-the-natural-world/?fbclid=IwAR1HzDnB2z3SOpq4ZER3ZI_dFHH-8oL7NJO2FHs85tONmULP3DKaQacmmSg

  16. Leonie Saunders

    P.S. Notwithstanding my critique, I thank you Trish Cory. Your well articulated letter certainly stimulated my brain cells, and for that I am always grateful.

  17. Max Gross

    Party politics has failed. Perhaps even parliamentary democracy has failed. We are through the Looking Glass. I have no answers.

  18. Phil

    Good reading however for mine a couple of glaring mistakes. The ‘ Great Bob Hawke ‘ is a myth. Hawke was never a friend of the working class. Even his character left a lot to be desired. Not only a drunk but, a serial philanderer. His treatment of his first wife Hazel was even for a knock about yob like me, disgusting. The working class went backwards under his tenure in Canberra. His indifference to the original owners of this land was well known and his shafting of Bill Hayden was unforgivable. I was around when Gough Whitlam was dismissed Bob Hawke got up and shouted a few platitudes and went to use that old expression ‘ Went to water’ and did nothing. Knowing full well to get the job he really wanted he had to sell his soul. For a real expose on Hawke read John Pilgers ‘ A Secret Country ‘ A scathing attack on Hawke with Hawkes penchant for suing people writing things about him he didn’t like . No legal action against Pilger was taken.

    The left are leaving the party in droves. It has become obvious to even ‘ Blind Freddie ‘ that a lot of the Labor party luminaries have used politics via the ALP to enrich themselves into opulent luxury. With the ultimate insult from the Gillard government and of Gillard herself voting down a pay rise for pensioners and sticking it to single mothers. Calling Gillard a ‘ Socialist ‘ is quite laughable. With the latest utterances from Albanese ref Adani to say there are not a lot of confused lefties out there would be an understatement.

    Global warming is the greatest ever pressing threat to mankind now exceeding the possibility of even a nuclear war. Any other problems that plague humanity pale into insignificance. We are about to see starvation on a mass scale, the movement of people not seen since the second world war as people have to abandon their homes sinking into the sea. Fires are cooking the planet and the extinction of flora and fauna, not experienced since the extinction of the dinosaurs. Not to mention the depression that is looming because the rich want it all.

    Yes I’m am a ‘ Socialist ‘ and proud of it. There is no confusion for me capitalism, free markets, call it what you like is destroying the planet we live on. And unlike a lot of fake lefties I know, I put my time and money where my mouth is.

  19. Matters Not

    RE:

    Labor … innovative ways to ensure people feel included in decisions about change. … an overwhelming amount of technology … not being utilized. … modern technology … to make landmark changes to democratic action and progressive policy ideas. … urge Labor to think hard about this.

    Can only agree. Pressing need to have more inside the tent pissing out but a membership base dependent on physical branch attendance is just an historical hang-over. Time for Online Branches. Let a hundred flowers bloom.

    At the last election, Shorten proceeded on the assumption that a truly terrible government would surely lose and the luxury of promoting what he saw as good (economic) public policy was in the offing. Albo won’t make that mistake. He will wait for Morrison to lose. And that might take more than one election.

    In the meantime, it’s time for Labor to engage in structural change – become a party of the masses.

    Speaking of encouraging developments. At a small gathering of MPs and social scientists in Canberra on Tuesday, (organised by ALP’s sidelined Andrew Leigh) Ken Henry warned that deliberate ignorance is risking the nation’s social and economic future.

    cited Australia’s “truly terrible” broadband service, the deterioration in housing affordability and “extraordinary” low rates of productivity growth that had underpinned “stagnant real wages for several years” as examples of substantial issues that needed to be addressed.

    … governments over the past decade had claimed to have fixed many of these problems when the truth was the opposite.

    “In fact every one of them provides a case study in government failure,” he said. “All of these case studies reveal a refusal to heed the advice of experts. In some cases things are worse than that. In some of those cases … the advice of experts has been ridiculed by politicians interested only in their own personal advancement.”

    Leigh out to be congratulated.

    https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/a-case-study-in-government-failure-ken-henry-excoriates-politicians-warns-future-jobs-at-risk-20190910-p52pri.html

  20. John Hanna

    Re the discussion about Adani, to give you some insight I was working a few years ago for an engineering consultant when they were engaged by Adani to undertake some design. We received their preliminary drawings which hasd been completed using academic software (student free download) which is illegal when used for commercial purposes. Their requirement was for the consultant to do the preliminary desin in accordance with Aus standards then send that to India where the design would be completed under Aus supervision then returned to Aus for sign off (because engineers are required to be registered in Qld) The entire concept was cheap from the beginning, they are corner cutters and charlatans, make no mistake the project will be a shitter.

  21. New England Cocky

    From the above comments perhaps it may be time for us to initiate the fresh political idea of “neo-egalitarianism”, where the community returns to the ideology of “from each according to their worth, to each according to their needs” that built Australia in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.

    This radical movement would abolish free, gratis and for nothing government gifts to the undeserving wealthy and corporates, saving about $9 BILLION PER YEAR, legislate that private schools and private training ‘colleges’ become the full fee paying institution that neo-capitalism requires, remove fuel subsidies from mining corporations that send Australian natural resources overseas for processing by foreign workers, grandfather real estate investment reforms and cap the number of investment properties that a natural person taxpayer, including shares in residential investment corporations, may benefit from before that income is considered the tax equivalent to earned wages, impose an income equalisation tax on corporate executives receiving more than five multiples of the lowest paid staff member, abolish labour hire companies, legislate for all oil and gas producers to quarantine ten percent (10%) of production for domestic Australian use at a discount rate compared to the world market price.

    That will do as a few starter ideas ….. what are your ideas?

  22. andy56

    Max, I concur. Democracy, one vote one value, anyone can get elected are all fine in theory. The electorate is always right is another fruitloop saying that reinforces the status quo. Its all based on the assumption those in power will do the right thing. Clearly, Tony Abbott has single handedly destroyed that notion.
    Now that its all been laid bare, its time to reassess what democracy means and what its supposed to deliver. What i see now is a power struggle for control with nothing off the table, the most base conduct is condoned. Society and the economy is slowly sinking while these clowns are worried about the political “cred” of a surplus. Nero and Caligula are in control.

  23. totaram

    Matters Not: Perhaps Leigh is a better person than I thought. He refuses to recognise or acknowledge the 3 sector financial accounting identity, which as I keep pointing out is simple arithmetic and algebra and nothing to do with fiat currencies etc.
    He could at least acknowledge the truth of it and then say that it is hard to get his colleagues to understand simple accounting, but he ignored all my emails, messages etc. I wonder how these people’s minds work.

    I can understand that Wayne Swan doesn’t get it. He would probably swoon if he was shown a summation sign written as a capital greek sigma. But not Andrew Leigh. The fellow is supposed to have a Ph. D. in economics and I am sure he was taught basic algebra. These neoliberal/neoclassical economists base everything on optimisation theory, which requires a fair bit of maths – even calculus for heaven’s sake – both differential and integral!

    But never mind. It’s all too hard.

  24. Anon E Mouse

    I have some hope in Albo. He is taking on the likes of Setka. When the CFMEU were putting out the fake death tax memes on facebook, it reminded me how certain unions delivered Campbell newman to Queensland. I don’t know what the back story is, where left unions are batting for the Libs, but can only guess there are some unholy deals going on the background.

    Re Adani, it really is all about freehold land title – that they got. Coal mining is not going anywhere in a hurry but it makes no economic sense to open mega mines and flood the market – so I figure that the freehold and water rights are the real end game. Now, if Adani goes bust I wonder who will be grabbing the deal of a lifetime. It won’t be the workers.

    From observing over the years, I am not a fan of Shorten and Gillard was the only time I did not vote labor – I voted independent, greens … Labor with Nats and Libs last. Shorten should have fallen on his sword early in the piece when it was clear that punters did not like or trust him.
    Somehow I believe that Albo will be a uniting factor, he was trusted by Rudd and Gillard and many of his colleagues. He is doing the hard yards and taking out the rubbish, like Setka, early in the electoral cycle.

    As for people having a go at you, I continue to be amazed at how many people are so willfully ignorant of politics and how it directly affects them.

  25. totaram

    andy56: The electorate is always right – PROVIDED it has the right information. If all the sources of information have been “captured” by one side, that assertion becomes meaningless, in fact untrue.

  26. Matters Not

    totaram re Andrew Leigh:

    is supposed to have a Ph. D. in economics

    His PhD is real enough (nothing supposed about it) as is his other impressive credentials and work history across a broad spectrum. Becoming a fully tenured Professor at the ANU (at such a young age) is almost unheard of.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Leigh#Professional_career

    Leigh tends to downplay MMT as does Quiggin et al and they do so for economic theory reasons apparently. Me – I wouldn’t know. Nevertheless, for any politician to advocate MMT in the current climate would be political suicide – as evidenced by every member distancing themselves when questioned.

    Leigh’s political problem comes from his refusal to join a faction and for that he deserves congratulations. (Factions are a boil of the backside of the body politic. Years ago, I worked for a Minister who also refused to be factionalised but ‘merit’ won the day due a sympathetic Premier.) Not suggesting that Leigh is right about everything – having clashed with him re curriculum policy in times past. But he should be in the Shadow Cabinet – and would be if merit was the measuring stick.

  27. Stephengb

    Wow, such a lot of disappointment from traditional Labor voters.

    Sorry but

    Me Too!

    RepresentUs
    is a possible alternative or even
    the Australian Workers Party.

    Meanwhile let’s not forget that there is a long way to go before the next Federal election.

    Albo may be turfed out, as indeed Morrison may be turfed.

    World events may see us into another global war, or see us plunge into a new Great Depression.

  28. wam

    What a load of bullshit we spout:
    ‘heart felt desire to protect and progress the workers in this great country’ The workers elect all governments by the numbers.
    Have you heard the voice and sentiments of union bosses like cameron sound alone absolutely terrifying to apprentices or school leavers. Speak to gen X 50-55 year old worker rabbottians
    Governments have always been elected by the workers and scummo is no different the workers saw plenty to support little billy in 2006 and we waited 6 years for a sign of an ember from beaconsfield but effall he was a wimp, a squib and ditherer. He listened to slimey frightened white-anters like fitsamonkey(he is still at it) and whining curs like husic and dumped gillard after letting the rabbott lie his arse off 7 days a week.
    This is the first phrase that fits the major reason for labors loss:
    “affected individuals (i.e. coal workers and people in regional communities) are being increasingly voiced as a problem, rather than hearing or even wanting to hear their voices, because many on ‘the left’ don’t want to confront the ugly truths of what some of their demands mean to real people”
    The timing of the caravan and the confrontation, the msm description, by dole-bludging vegan loonies(were they workers or welfare??) in townsville was unbelievable stupid by senile booby for the election of labor and unbelievably successful for narrownose who laughed all the way to the bank but lost any influence in canberra. Why is it still unanswered by labor.

    ‘wondering who to vote for?’
    A no brainer attitude that will forget 2022 unless Albo shapes up to attitudes like that or ships out.

  29. David Bruce

    I was hoping the bashing of the Australian Banking System would do to the lnp what the union bashing did to Labour.

    Now we are facing a major disruption in the workplace with the introduction of automation, AI and robotics.

    The recent McKinsey Report forecasts:

    Automation technologies offer the promise of better customer and citizen outcomes, new business ventures and more efficient operations. We estimate that between 25 and 46 percent of current work activities in Australia could be automated by 2030, helping to drive a renaissance in productivity, income and economic growth. If seized, this opportunity could add $1.1 trillion to $4 trillion to the economy over the next 15 years, providing every Australian with $4,000 to $15,000 in additional income per year by 2030. Achieving these benefits depends on ensuring displaced workers can get new jobs.

    Automation technologies will disrupt workforces across the economy. We estimate that 3.5 million to 6.5 million full-time equivalent positions could be affected, with 1.8 million to 5.0 million workers needing to change professions. At a mid-point pace of adoption, disruption by industry could range from 16 percent of jobs in the education sector up to 33 percent of jobs in transport. Across regions, the impact could vary from 21 percent in city centres dominated by professional services to over 30 percent in mining regions like the Pilbara.

    The executive summary and full report (PDF) can be located here:

    https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/future-of-work/australias-automation-opportunity-reigniting-productivity-and-inclusive-income-growth

    Don’t hold your breathe waiting for the lnp to grasp this! I hope labour and the left will !

  30. Miriam English

    Trish, you might be surprised to hear that I agree with most of your feelings.

    The problem is that you believe what Murdoch is telling you. Your focus on Adani is why Labor has been wedged and tripped up so effectively by the LNP.

    Adani is a distraction. There are virtually no jobs there. It was always a lie that even their own economists have acknowledged. Gautama Adani himself proudly proclaimed it would be the most automated mine in the world, and he has made no secret of his penchant for flying in cheap workers from overseas for what few positions will be available. Add to this the fact that the coal industry is dying — around the world new coal stations are not being built and existing ones are being forced to close. India (one of the biggest coal markets) announced they will close their borders to imported coal in a year or so.

    This blind insistence on fighting for non-existent jobs is playing right into the hands of the LNP strategists. This is how they kill off Labor.

    You’d be much better off championing those currently employed and potentially employed by renewable energy in your electorates — their numbers already overshadow Adani’s most florid lies. And let’s not forget all the tourism jobs that are threatened by coal-driven climate change, not to mention the encroachment of climate-driven diseases (dengue, malaria, yellow fever and many more).

    Why is Labor trying to get a giant climate-destroying mine built that will wipe out vast numbers of jobs in tourism and agriculture? Why does Labor continually weasel out of discussions about the approaching climate catastrophe? Why is Labor appeasing private schools to the disadvantage of public schools? When Rudd turned the not-for-profit Medibank into a for-profit enterprise it was ripe to be fully privatised by the LNP soon after, and we can all see LNP knives out for Medicare, which thankfully Labor has continued to protect… though for how much longer is anyone’s guess in this new corporate-leaning Labor.

    Trish, your heart is in the right place.

    Please do protect the workers — actual workers, not pretend workers which crooked industrialist Adani and master propagandist Murdoch dangle before you.

    Protect REAL long-term workers, not a few greedy people hopeful for quick, big bucks in a flash-in-the-pan mine.

  31. Keith

    Australia is a huge exporter of fossil fuels, it is pure sophistry to claim on one hand that Australia will meet its emission target and ignore the export of fossil fuels. Whether those fossil fuels are utilised in India, China or elsewhere; they will come back and bite us ultimately.
    The biosphere of which we are a part; requires clean water, clean air and quality food; they are being destroyed.

    We were warned decades ago about how climate change was about to hit hard. In sorting our home library I’ve refound books published in the late 1980s about what could be expected from climate change. Those books were published just prior to the odious denier movement began to develop. We are now seeing what had been predicted by scientists decades ago happening. Scientists working for ExxonMobil predicted Earth would reach an increase in temperature of 1.5C by 2030 over pre-Industrial times; till so far those scientists have been too close for comfort in predicting the 1C we have reached.

    Ignore climate change and we will creating a dystopian world; maybe its already too late, numerous jobs will be lost. Creating new coal mines is a temporary measure, the result being feeding a changing climate which is already creating havoc. The costs of climate change will continue to escalate, those warnings have also been made years ago, ignored by politicians. The plain ignorance displayed by Littleproud and his colleagues is extremely disheartening. He ignores science in portfolios he is responsible for which require an understanding of science to make decisions.

  32. Ken Fabian

    It is a good thing to care about workers with jobs on the line but it takes facing up to the climate problem head on with eyes open to even begin to develop that just transition for the workers affected – and get them to understand why it is necessary. It seems to me it is the persistent failures from both Left and Right, Labor and LNP, to really face up to the climate problem that makes for growing climate activism and allows and encourages the kind of denial that coal workers are finding so attractive.

    Mainstream politics has persistently abrogated responsibility on what decades of consistent expert advice says is a grave global threat to enduring human prosperity – an utterly unforgivable negligence – and passed the podium to Environmentalists in a “you care so much, you fix it” manner. Or perhaps as the passing of a poisoned chalice – raising them up in order to tear them down. Whatever the metaphor, it has been an effective strategy to link the climate issue to fringe and extremist politics – and Labor has not been blameless. Much easier to rally opposition to extremist ideologues than to the consistent science based expert advice from the world’s most trusted science institutions.

    Climate activism is not going to sit easily within the Left side of the battle lines of Left vs Right politics; the social justice and common good elements may continue to give a Leftish lean but it is not about Left vs Right but about responsibility and accountability or ethical vs unethical. Faced with workers in affected industries taking up the climate science and climate responsibility denial views most strongly promoted by the Right, climate activism will not, cannot and should not look aside and allow it to go unconfronted. But if Labor continues to put coal worker jobs ahead of the necessary commitment, in keeping with the consistent expert advice, to phasing out coal then climate activism will not stand by and let it pass without criticism.

    No matter that climate protesters get so much attention they are not the most significant sort of climate activist – and maintaining the focus on them is more distraction than anything else.

  33. John McKay

    Oh wake up. Climate Change will be and is already becoming the defining issue of this century. We live in the driest continent on earth. This world is changing fast, unfortunately we all have adapt including getting new careers. It’s no longer about the worker, it’s about the survival of the human species while governments around the world twiddle their thumbs on the payroll of the fossil fuel industry. The average person is being attacked from all sides, inequality is rising exponentially. In the coming decades there will be mass migration due to climate change. A bunch of older Australians musing about past politicians is not going to solve anything. Sorry if sound harsh But the world as we knew it no longer exists. Losing jobs is just the beginning.

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