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Drilling The Great Barrier Reef For Oil…

One of my pet hates is people who respond to the headline and don’t actually read what I’ve written. Yes, yes, I know that one can argue that headlines should actually reflect what one is writing but I have three problems with this:

  1. Often the headline isn’t chosen by the person writing.
  2. I’ve found that people tend to read headlines that they disagree with more often than ones they agree with. For example, “Why Tony Abbott Was Australia’s Greatest PM” will get more views than “Why Tony Abbott Overachieved Given He Became PM With A Total Lack Of Charm Or Intelligence!”
  3. I’m often writing satire.

So, just to annoy people who don’t read beyond the title, I’ve decided to call this one “Drilling The Great Barrier Reef For Oil”.

As far as I know, there is neither oil anywhere near the Great Barrier Reef nor any proposal to look for any potential drill sites…

Of course, we are talking Northern Queensland so before you know it, we may be having a debate about how many jobs drilling for oil would create. Never mind that there’s none there. It’s all about jobs and if some company can be convinced to look for some, why it may even create more jobs than Adani. After all, there’s no prospect of finding any so they could be looking forever, unlike Adani who’ll either leave after they’ve run out of coal, or leave when they’ve sucked all the underground water and sold it for more than they can get for coal.

However, mythical oil deposits aren’t my reason for writing.

I was just wondering how nuclear power is suddenly on the agenda and the media is more concerned with John Setka…

Now, I can see that John Setka is part of what’s wrong with Australia. But not because he’s head of a union. It’s interesting that if a politician was accused of saying and doing the same sorts of things that Setka is alleged to have done, we’d hear one of two things: “It’s personal and we shouldn’t be commenting because it’s nothing to do with the party” OR “This an attempt to shut down freedom of speech by the PC brigade”.

How Setka’s behaviour is an excuse to attack the union movement, I’m yet to understand. After all, it’s not like the ACTU came out in support.

Whatever, I’m more concerned about the nuclear power thing.

And not because of the nuclear power. I’m quite happy to put a nuclear power plant in Townsville. They need the jobs. And one in Rockhampton. Cairns. Mackay. Cardwell.

In fact, we can put so many nuclear plants up there that we can shut down all the coal fired plants in the southern states and the electorate of Dickson can store all the toxic waste… I mean, if they’re happy to re-elect Dutton…

No, it’s the fact that Scott Morrison and various journalists suggested that talk of nuclear power was a “scare campaign” by the Labor Party.

Ok, that lovable rascal ScoMo did tell us that nuclear power was “not not on the table”. When some people interpreted that double negative as meaning that it was on the table, Morrison cleared it up by saying that they Liberals had no plans to change the legislation and that nuclear power wasn’t legal and they had no plans to change that but if someone came along they’d listen but he doubted that would happen because it just wasn’t viable…

Somehow this seems to have changed since the election.

Mm, I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on Scottie. Nobody can predict the future, after all. Predicting the past or present is equally impossible, because of the nature of the word “predict”. However, one would hope that the PM would have a little bit more of a handle on what was likely to happen, should he and his band of merry men win the election…

Sorry, I shouldn’t have called them “merry men”. And not just because it’s sexist. No, it suggests they’re like Robin Hood’s gang who stole from the rich and gave to the poor. There’s no way our current government would do that.


If there’s suddenly a proposal to drill for oil in the Great Barrier Reef, I may have to have a long hard look at what I write.


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  1. David Bruce

    Many years ago when I was working with mining companies to develop coal mines in the Galilee Basin in response to the 1970’s energy crisis, I asked why so many mines (Utah, CSR, Curragh, CapCoal etc) in the Basin. It may have been BS when the geologists told me they wanted to get the coal out before they took the oil?

  2. Geoff Andrews

    But he DOES have a mandate after such a massive vote of confidence, They’ve got, what, a ten seat majority in the HOR? And such was the the public response to their carefully crafted, cantering into the future policies that there will be no need to negotiate with PHON or any of the other remora hanging from their belly.

  3. Judith

    Queensland is a perfect place for a nuclear power plant – they’ll already have plenty of holes dug for the nuclear waste!

  4. Matters Not

    In the Joh era (50 years ago) – mining, drilling the Reef (for oil, lime etc) was certainly on the table. Remember it well. Just listen to the man in question.

  5. Keitha Granville

    Now look what you’ve done, you’ve suggested it so someone is bound to investigate the possibility of a feasibility study to present to a committee to determine whether there should be a proposal floated to look into your suggestion.

    Or they could just fling some cash randomly at anyone they can find who will nip out there and start next week. Perhaps the reef people who got the millions from Malcolm might be interested ?

  6. Kaye Lee

    Truth is often stranger than fiction….

    Between Esperance and Albany there’s a natural reef that’s bigger and brighter than Australia’s most famous marine ecosystem, The Great Barrier Reef.

    It’s called the Great Southern Reef. The reef system sits within the Great Australian Bight and spans more than 8000km across five States from Brisbane, along the south coast up to Kalbarri. It also surrounds the coast of Tasmania.

    Unlike the Great Barrier Reef, The Great Southern Reef is in cold water, and as well as coral, it has massive kelp forests and seaweed that grows so tall it looks like an underwater rainforest. It’s teeming with marine life, some of which doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world. The Bremer Canyon, off the coast of Bremer Bay, 500km south-east of Perth, is home to the biggest colony of orcas in the southern hemisphere.

    The Great Australian Bight is home to a unique array of marine life. More than 85% of species in this remote stretch of rocky coastline are not found anywhere else in the world. It’s also potentially one of “Australia’s largest untapped oil reserves”, according to Norwegian energy company Equinor.

    Equinor has proposed to drill a deepwater oil well 370km offshore to a depth of more than two kilometres in search of oil.

    The Coalition government argues the project will improve energy security and bring money and jobs to the region.

    Reports from Norwegian regulators, compiled by Greenpeace, reveal Equinor had more than 50 safety and control breaches, including ten oil leaks, in the last three-and-a-half years. Each incident occurred in regulatory environments with stricter conditions than in Australia.

    The Great Australian Bight is home to Australia’s most productive fishery, which directly employs 3,900 locals. An oil spill would threaten 9,000 jobs in South Australia alone.

    By comparison, Equinor claim that the construction phase of the project would create 1,361 jobs, most of which require experience that would not be found in local communities.

  7. Paul Davis

    Kaye Lee, yes, Straya’s southern oceans are a treasure trove of wonders. Sustainable management and harvesting of the numerous varieties of kelp in itself is potentially more valuable for food and pharmaceuticals than any risky oil extraction. There are many problems currently with ocean based fish farming due mainly to corruption and industry self regulation which hopefully could be resolved without bloodshed… Maybe Straya needs to enlist New Zealand, Argentine, Chile, Namibia and South Africa to jointly tackle the protection of the southern oceans around Antartica. No forget that, all except NZ have governments who couldn’t give a rats eg Japan whale science nonsense.

  8. Bronte ALLAN

    Yet another great article Rossleigh! Typical of just how bloody stupid this COALition is when they (naturally!) attribute blame to the Labor mob re nuclear power! Whilst I personally think that nuclear power would be a logical way we could–perhaps–have no more “need” for any more coal mines, it will probably never happen. Although we happily mine the uranium & sell it overseas,we do not even want to store the waste product here, when it could be a very lucrative source of millions of dollars in extra revenue, & in the outback we would have huge areas of unoccupied territory where it could be safely stored, this mob of lying, right wing, flat earth, happy clapper idiots willl never entertain anything to do with storage, or construction of nuclear power etc.And even if thy did decide, they would find some way to “blame” Labor for something to do with it!

  9. Peter F

    Dixon can’t handle the toxic waste they already have.

  10. johno

    And then there is all the SEISMIC testing that goes on well before any drilling does or does not happen. Yes, we are such wonderful custodians of the natural environment, NOT. The New Zealand parliament (back in early November 2018) passed the Crown Minerals Amendment Bill, putting an end to new offshore oil and gas exploration. Well done kiwi’s.

  11. Phil

    The problem with nuclear power is not nuclear power – the problem is with the entire corrupt politico-corporate system of governance in which nuclear power would operate. Coalition governments exist solely to consolidate and further the interests of corporate and financial power which in order to prevail requires a corrupt system such as we have today with the Morrison Tea party.

    If the we must have nuclear then locating nuclear plants and toxic waste dumps in North Queensland cities is a brilliant idea.

  12. Alan Nosworthy

    Plenty of holes in the ground and soon to be redundant coal miners in the Hunter region. With the advantage of a newly re-elected right wing state government idealogically primed to revamp Howards brainfart of uranium leasing and accept the worlds radioactive waste for private profit..
    It will be a novelty to see N.S.W. deal with its own waste products rather than consistently trying to export them northwards.

  13. Jack Russell

    If the LNP are saying they’re doing something, then they’re not.
    If the LNP are saying they’re not doing something, then they are.
    If the LNP are saying nothing at all, what are they hiding?
    If the LNP are saying way too much, what are they hiding?

    It’s a remarkably good filter …

  14. Ken Fabian

    The LNP would have to take the climate problem seriously to commit to nuclear (beyond perhaps a vanity plant as a raised finger to environmentalists) – they don’t and they haven’t and as long as they don’t they won’t. Any raising of nuclear is pure theatre – perhaps in the hope the uglier varieties of protester will do something offensively newsworthy. Or more likely as a kind of backhanded and misleading message (dog whistles and blame shifting being amongst their greatest skills) to those within the LNP itself, who are inclined to take climate seriously, that somehow it is a bunch of fringe activists (and not the mining dominated corporate sector) – that is blocking them from taking the effective emissions reduction actions they would do so much better, if only green-pinkos weren’t stopping them. The belief that it is fringe extremist ideology out to wreck our coal industry rather than decades of top level expert advice about a problem of extraordinary significance and urgency has been promoted very successfully; the last thing the pro-fossil fuels LNP leadership want is for Australians who lean Right to realise that it is about responsibility and accountability and not extremist ideology, and worse that they might understand that the principle policy responses are entirely compatible with (responsible taking rather than responsibility avoiding) free enterprise, democracy and the rule of law – and much less economically damaging than pretending the problem doesn’t exist or doesn’t matter and letting things progressively get worse.

    My own view is that nuclear’s biggest political problem is not unthinking anti-nuclear sentiment but climate responsibility (and thus climate science) denial. The entrenched climate denial of the conservative right prevents the very people like captains of commerce and industry who mostly like nuclear – from being induced into supporting the strong climate ambitions. Those are not optional – they are needed to justify and make sense and build popular support for a pro-nuclear position.

    I remain a bit sanguine about how deep the widespread opposition to nuclear really is in Australia – I don’t think most think or care that much. In the face of a bipartisan acceptance of the climate problem and if strongly and sincerely promoted – like they really want to address emissions – it might gain acceptance within middle Australia. Of course nuclear looks a lot less like a cost effective and viable emissions solution when viewed with real intent to reduce emissions rather than as anti-environmentalist theatre.

    Whatever the LNP’s annual raising of the pro-nuclear flag is really about it is not an intention for the steering of Australia onto the path to low to below zero emissions. One more plank in an anti-environmentalist platform I am thinking, that most of all wants the loudest voices calling for strong action on global warming to be silenced.

    As an aside I think any “but nuclear is illegal” argument looks a bit infantile and should be avoided – it was political theatre to make it illegal and any real change of heart by Australians is able to overturn it. I don’t see that happening but the climate issue will only keep growing in significance – and LNP commitment to denial is almost sure to crumble in the face of it… later rather than sooner perhaps but I can’t see how it can go forever. Of course that would also grow Right support for RE but likely they would spend some real effort of the sort they have not shown so far, pushing nuclear.

  15. New England Cocky

    @Matters Not: Indeed, Joh wanted to drill the GBR but public opinion was stirred up and prevented this vandalism. One man stood up in the Queensland Mining Warden’s Court and the GBR was saved by his actions inspiring others.

    Doubtless this Lazy Nasty People misgovernment will be told to allow drilling on the GBR so that the overseas shareholders of foreign owned multinational corporations can benefit from the nice financial profits and leave Australian voters with all the cleanup expenses, as has happened in too many similar mining ventures.

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