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Pushing the boat out a bit …

By Allan Richardson

Few would disagree that right now the world is a pressure cooker of aggression, despair, discontent, bitter disappointment and fear.

Australia, being geographically isolated, is at least free from cross-border incursions by hostile forces, but as we’ll soon discover in Ukraine, hand-to-hand combat has become yesterday’s war-mongering, and adolescent gamers may become the silent aggressors with the most sophisticated toys ever!

But Australia’s security won’t be determined by surveilling 34,000km of mostly irregular coastline, boasting over 1,000 estuaries. We’d quickly spot attackers should they attempt an incursion in a populated area, and for those choosing less hospitable entry points, may the desert take the hindmost.

Like so many other politically polarised nation States, the danger is in internal conflict. Not only do we seem unable to respectfully recognise our original inhabitants (despite the comforting assurances by bigoted racists), we seem unable to agree to implement policies of mutual benefit to warring political parties. And there’s the rub.

What potential we have here in Australia! Our moderate climate makes for comfortable living conditions, yet we enjoy the enviably ideal environment for generating renewable energy. First, this can make us potentially energy self-sufficient, a critical factor in mitigating global warming. As well, we can create a timely energy export hub without resorting to the extraction of fossil fuels!

But we currently have an insurmountable problem! Our national conversation is monopolised by two major political parties, both in thrall to the fossil fuel industry.

Despite the removal of the party responsible for the decade of neglect, we are not seeing Labor’s reforms in energy policy, central to their last Federal election campaign.

It’s not drawing too long a bow to suggest that the only long-term solution is to eschew the two-party system. The LNP makes no secret of promoting continued steaming coal and gas extraction, with the highly questionable prospect of building our first nuclear energy plant. Expected to be completed at about the same time as the non-arrival of our third-of-a-billion-dollar virtual submarine joint defense agreement. Labor does make a secret of continuing to approve fossil fuel projects but does it anyway! How can this even be a possibility in the face of international scientific condemnation?

The surveys I’ve seen indicate that the majority of Australians want to see an orderly energy transition from fossil fuels to renewables. Regardless of the influence exerted by the Greens, they’re not going to be able to radically change Labor’s platform in time to abate the existential threat of climate collapse. Timing is everything.

No political party in power is ever going to sacrifice the status quo and ‘void’ itself, but we do need political parties to be dissolved sooner rather than later, and Independents to be elected to represent the views of their constituents. You know. Like in a democracy.

The world is in extremis. Yesterday’s solutions just won’t cut it. Everything is at stake and we’re sleepwalking into extinction.

As Metallica would say:

Never cared for what they say
Never cared for games they play
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
And I know …


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  1. Douglas Pritchard

    Spend any more than 5 minutes checking out “question Time” on ABC, and you may be excused from wondering if humans have ceased to progress as a species.
    This is the pinnacle, democracy at its best.
    There is something incredibly Lemming like in our “advanced” culture, and if AI cant fix it, well, its curtains for us all.

  2. Patricia

    “No political party in power is ever going to sacrifice the status quo and ‘void’ itself, but we do need political parties to be dissolved sooner rather than later, and Independents to be elected to represent the views of their constituents. You know. Like in a democracy.”

    Everyone seems to think that politics is about democracy and representing the people.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Politics is about gaining and holding onto power, to what end you might ask, I am convinced that there is no end game, the game itself is the game.

    When was the last time anyone heard a politician talking about what the people of their electorate tells them that they need from their “representative”?

    In my almost 60 years as a voter I have never had a sitting politician or candidate knock on my door and ask what I need them to do for me and my community.

    Politics is about power and that is why we see career politicians instead of people from the community representing the people of their community. The Teals come close but the game is against them. The reason you know that politics is about power is that politicians hold themselves to be higher than those who pay their salaries, PM’s and Presidents have security details, why would that be, I wonder. If they were really about representing the people of their communities they could and would walk among those whose hard work pays for that representation without a care or concern about their safety.

  3. Ankisip


    If only someone with the courage (with or without balls) of Whitlam was our PM in our time of need.

    ALP/LNP; two political parties scratching each others backs to keep good governance out of federal and state politics in Australia.

  4. Clakka

    Just more of the same old claptrap about ‘political duopolies’. Just another thought-bubble phrase devised by MSM desperate for sensation rather than research and nuance. A phrase backed and funded by vested-interest lunatics hell-bent on destabilising the democratic project come what may.

    Regarding essential parliamentary compromises and government processes and efforts to balance policies, frameworks, decisions and budgets for all of their constituents, thought ought be given to the guile of MSM and their destabilising vested-interest backer / funders distorting or omitting research and nuance, opting selfishly to promulgate fear and destructive mind-bending sensation.

    No longer able to be deemed the ‘fourth estate’, those irresponsible MSM have now imported ‘culture war’ cooker processes from mainly the USA and inserted them into the intellectual void of parties here with no tangible alternatives to offer.

    Faith and trust are the victims in this maddening post-truth environment. Neither whinging nor complacency nor fleeing to absolutism will provide answers, only incessant research, careful questioning and due consideration.

    No thought appears to be given in the article and comments above to the fact that citizens can and do contact MPs to voice their views, and receive replies. Nor that any citizen or group can mount a petition to parliament, and frequently do. Other than that, of course there is our wonderful voting system.

  5. Harry Lime

    Like a cure for baldness or a surefire weight loss program,all we need to fix the political malaise in this country is to kill off the garbage media,ban all lobbyists and sack all career politicians.Unfortunately, we aren’t going to get to that point before the fully loaded goods train, with cataclysmic climate change as it’s destination piles through the station called earth.Albo was never going to be the messiah…just temporary relief from the hideous rabble that is now misled by a bigoted clown masquerading as a human.

  6. Terence Mills

    Interesting and somewhat perplexing to see how vocal the coalition have been about adopting nuclear energy as our primary power source into the future and how delinquent Labor have been for not adopting nuclear in favour of ugly windfarms and solar installations.

    After close to ten years in office, supporting the coal industry, all of sudden they can’t stop talking about small modular reactors or SMR’s as they like to call them. Listening to Barnaby Joyce [not recommended] you would think it’s just like installing a new water tank on the farm : put down a concrete slab, buy an off-the-shelf SMR from China, get your local sparky to connect it to the grid and Bob’s your uncle.

    When did this become coalition policy ? As far as I can see there are no SMR’s operating around the world and they are in no sense cheap or easily available.

  7. Andrew J. Smith

    This ‘What potential we have here in Australia! Our moderate climate makes for comfortable living conditions, yet we enjoy the enviably ideal environment for generating renewable energy’

    By the early ’80s it was acknowledged that Australia was a leader in solar technology, 12th year or HSC English (Vic & NSW) included ‘critical or clear thinking’ etc., then….. climate science denial, delay and deflection….

    Since then solar would receive media attention once or twice a year, no questions about low/no fuel & emission standards, Howard allegedly based on Northern Beaches focus group feedback started dog whistling ‘Asian immigrants’ and refugees (esp. targeting Labor oldies & boomers too, for more Anglo/Irish cohort) and later exaggerated impacts on environment of ‘immigration’ were used as a foil to deflect on carbon pricing.

    IPA founded by Keith Murdoch et al. was re-energised with US investment and inclusion in US fossil fueled Koch ‘Atlas’ Network informing LNP & indirectly Labor, imported Tanton fossil fueled ZPG nativism on immigration & population, while Murdoch started breaking free of and diluting media regulations to run PR & protection.

    ‘Architecture of influence’ (same around Brexit & Trump GOP) that has gridlocked Australian policy development, legislation, innovation and progress for the 21stC by looking back to the 19-20thC…. good news is, even if The Voice does not pass (due to old white Oz eugenics sentiments & BS), it will totally destroy the Liberal Party’s future chances of election and ‘the last w*nk of the skipocracy’; hanging onto relevance via LNP in regions and QLD……

  8. New England Cocky

    @ Patricia: Your description of ”the politics game” is too close to reality, but expecting ”a sitting politician or candidate knock on my door and ask what I need them to do for me and my community.” ….. C’mon, that is not a requirement for any COALition pre-selected candidate before an election.

    Here in New England where the NOtional$ are represented ferally by Beetrooter Joyce and in NSW by Adam (Destroy Public Schools) Marshall, the ration of candidate involvement with the constituents is a quick afternoon beer at a local pub ….. before the workers knock off. One past feral NOtional$ MP was known as ”the Guyra Ghost” because he was never seen in Armidale. However, he had the backing of the about 1250 local party members in Guyra (population about 2,000 including kids and working dogs).
    The continual boundary changes to expand the land area of the electorates westward to allow for population loss due to inadequate job prospects in manufacturing industries, has meant there are more ”political donations” available out west where MDB water theft has actually been reported in metropolitan media.
    With the high water demand for CSG extraction, this water market will thrive, unlike the food & fibre primary industries growing either side of the Northern Inland Railway that Beetrooter organised to transport the reported CSG from under his two ”grazing properties” in the Pilliga Scrub to the export Port Gladestone in Queensland. All at the expense of Australian taxpayers rather than the gas corporations that pay/little no taxation due to lax Australian tax laws.

  9. Douglas Pritchard

    While I can enjoy spectating on the game of politics, I cant help thinking that when compared to F1, or AFL, or soccer, the price of the season ticket is appalling.
    And the opt out clause could very disturbing to my everyday life.
    It has stopped being funny, but rather sad of late.
    I have grown to expect very little reward for my buck, and it is simply not suited to sort out the big issues of the day like how are we going to breath, and how much plastic can we ingest and stay alive, and has anyone noticed some alarming weather events.
    No, we need a new form of “government” with balls, clout, and a guillotine in the corner.

  10. Canguro

    Just as a visit to the dentist often involves a couple of jabs into the gums along with the comment that ‘it’s just a little prick, after this you won’t feel anything’, so it may well be with the vexed question of climate change, though I expect that the wretched survivors of the recent Libyan disaster might disagree, or those living in other similarly struck locations, whether in the USA or Europe or Asia. I cannot imagine the terror of being helpless as fires or floods or rivers of mud sweep away villages or raze towns to their foundations. Nor the sense of fuming anger and inchoate rage aimed at those whose putative responsibilities were to protect the citizenry… as it becomes more & more clear that most municipal and federal authorities are as impotent in the face of these massive onslaughts as the people they posit to protect from these ravages.

    I’m inclined, fatalistically, to suggest [Irony Alert] Don’t worry folks, it’ll be over soon‘. Cold comfort, but the laws of nature – physics, chemistry, biology, – are inviolable, and better to be disillusioned than the obverse of the issue.

  11. Fred

    TM: Analysis from the CSIRO and the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released in 2018 found the capital costs for a small modular reactor would be $16,000 per kilowatt hour, one-and-a-half times more than previous estimates for large-scale nuclear. It’s almost twice as expensive as solar thermal and storage, which is $7000 per kilowatt hour and is also expected to halve by 2050. Nuclear is not expected to get any cheaper. And most Australians are not keen on having a nuclear reactor in their patch.

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