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The hazard of heedless politicians

By Ad astra

No, ‘heedless’ is not a misprint; nor should it have been ‘headless’, although some might prefer that descriptor with poultry overtones! ‘Heedless’ signifies an alarming propensity so many politicians exhibit – the capacity to ignore evidence that does not align with their entrenched beliefs, their unshakable ideological position. And it matters not how important, or how alarming the evidence might be.

You will have seen the evidence to which I refer – the incontrovertible data that global warming is irreversibly destroying our planetary home. It has convinced the world’s climate scientists, countless millions of young people, now participating in protests here and worldwide, and the majority of the nation’s voters. Last year’s Lowy Institute Poll on Australian attitudes to the world and global issues for 2018 made one thing abundantly clear: support for climate action and renewable energy continue to grow.

In response to the survey’s questions on climate and energy, 59% of respondents agreed with the statement: “climate change is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.”

But public opinion has not impacted our decision makers, the very ones who are in a position to counter this existential threat to us all, indeed to every form of life on this planet.

Politicians are not unintelligent, nor have they been deprived of the vast flow of information on global warming that every day fills the columns of our newspapers, our online news services, and our radio and TV programs. Indeed, it would be a feat deliberately to avoid the tsunami of facts and figures about global warming that assails us continuously.

An editorial in The Conversation of 6 September begins: ”On a sunny day in Sydney last Sunday Tim Flannery, former Australian of the Year, appeared on a panel of international journalists convened to discuss the reporting of climate science. Kerry O’Brien kicked things off by asking about the prognosis. Flannery said he wouldn’t answer until the young people at the Sydney Opera House had been given a chance to leave. Things were so dire he feared for their mental health.”

Yet a cluster of federal politicians is able to ignore these facts, and their significance, even although attention has been directed to them continuously.

Who are they? Why is it so?

Let’s start with the one minister who ought to be best informed and most concerned, Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, who said in a recent interview that he ‘doesn’t know if climate change is manmade’. Questioned about the possible link between the unprecedented spring bushfires raging in SE Queensland and Northern New South Wales, he retorted that ‘the question is irrelevant’, and that ‘he was unsure about the causes of the climate crisis but wanted to give the country the tools to adapt’.

His position was supported by the Nationals’ deputy leader and minister for Agriculture, Bridget McKenzie, Matt Canavan, minister for Resources and Northern Australia, and Sussan Ley, the Environment Minister, all of whom denied the link, or downplayed it. What a collection of heedless politicians!

Yet the latest Newspoll shows that in the view of voters ‘climate change’ is now second only to ‘cost of living’ in their list of concerns. Writing earlier this year in The Guardian: Climate change is a burning issue (again) in voters’ minds, Katherine Murphy says:

This piece of backroom intelligence shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the summer we are all still enduring. Record high temperatures, the hottest January on record; floods in some places droughts in others; and mass fish kills in ailing rivers.

She continues:

Climate change is back as a vote-changing issue – top of mind for many Australian voters. Private polling conducted for the environment movement and for the major parties suggests community concern about climate change is currently sitting at levels not seen since the federal election cycle in 2007.

Since then unprecedented spring fires have devastated SE Queensland and Northern NSW. Fire fighters have never seen the like.

The drought that is killing agriculture and the livestock industry continues unabated. Farmers cannot grow crops, and are selling their animals.

Yet the Morrison government turns a blind eye to the prime cause of these tragedies: unremitting global warming resulting from continually rising CO2 emissions. Our PM keeps telling us that Australia will meet its emissions targets ‘in a canter’. That is blatant fraud.

The Morrison government has the largest collection of heedless politicians in living memory.

And it’s not only global warming to which they are heedless. The parlous state of our economy is another blind spot. In July we wrote The economy is sinking but where is the lifebuoy and again in August Better economic managers, both of which documented the mess our economy is in, but all we got from our PM and Treasurer was that ”The fundamentals of the economy are strong”, a pathetic excuse for doing almost nothing to stimulate the flagging economy, despite repeated urging from the Reserve Bank Governor to use the abundance of cheap money to invest in large infrastructure developments to kick-start recovery. Of course Morrison and Frydenberg insisted that they were doing just that, but as we all know their ‘investments’ are decades away. These heedless men sit on their hands hoping their rhetoric will convince the plebs. Now, Frydenberg believes the most recent budget figures have given him licence to embellish his self-serving rhetoric, now redolent with ‘aren’t we marvellous’ smugness.

I could go on and on exposing the listlessness, indeed the torpidity of the Morrison government, but need I say any more? To a minister they are heedless to the existential threats to this nation, both from climate change and from our listless economy, which is aggravating a longstanding impediment – inequality in all its dimensions, about which we wrote in mid September in: The yoke of inequality burdens us all.

There are no more significant issues that threaten our existence in the land we occupy than climate change and inequality. Yet our heedless ministers ignore them and watch us perish. The planet burns, the economy sinks, yet they find time for political games, sit on their hands, and talk themselves into doing nothing.

In 64 A.D. Rome’s emperor Nero is reputed to have ‘fiddled while Rome burned’. Morrison channels him today while we watch helplessly. The expression has a double meaning: not only did Nero fiddle while his people suffered; he demonstrated what an ineffectual leader he was in a time of crisis. Can you invoke an image more befitting PM Morrison?

Image from https://phys.org

This article was originally published on The Political Sword

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  1. Phil Pryor

    While politics here is open to all, a career, a racket, then the most vile manipulators, grabbers, liars and scoundrels will try for a spot. The money, the posing, the ejaculatory relief, the networking, the sheer scale of the pickings, the rigged roles, the press parade, the organised afterlife like Pyne and J Bishop, the meat market, it’s all there like the biggest effing talent quest a nohoper could imagine!! No qualifications, ability, experience or decency required.., So we get the bowel ejection level, Anning, Hanson, Roberts, Joyce, Abbott, and now, Morrison, so unless somehow we can do the impossible and get citizen participation, by a jury type draw, of limited terms, rotating chair, commitee declarations, a fully qualified public service controlled actuation system, we will coninue to get droppings, oozings, stools, pellets and plops instead of real political action initiators.

  2. Stephengb

    The word is Corporatocracy!

  3. andy56

    Hey Phil, welcome to my point of view. To make democracy truly work for us, we need to weed out the stupid and narcissists from controlling us. Its a well worn line that we need to reflect society in parliament, but i say that we need to get people with a minimal ability to understand and think. We need real engineers and architects, not more bloody lawyers and economic dickheads. This chinese lady everyone is digging into should never have been put up as a candidate. Yes she can raise money but has been found to lie when under pressure. Another dipstick apparatchik. Barnie really has shown himself to be sub-par as an expert on anything. I mean the list of incompetent is an arm long.

  4. pierre wilkinson

    yet we still hear of opinion polls which rate the liar from the shire as preferred PM due to his honesty and genuineness,
    instead of acknowledging that he is honestly out of his depth and genuine only in that he believes his delusions

  5. Wayne Turner

    Just like the idiots that voted for this lot.

    Ultimately most of the public are the problem.Stubborn,ignorant,gullible,and very stupid.

  6. Matters Not


    Lowy Institute Poll on Australian attitudes to the world and global issues for 2018 made one thing abundantly clear: support for climate action and renewable energy continue to grow.

    While support for climate action and renewable energy continue to grow, such support does not necessarily translate to voting outcomes. It’s a bit like education, motherhood and apple pie – while no-one is agin them, they are not vote changers. The evidence abounds. Vote changers are more selfish, More base.

    Science as a discipline does not proceed on the basis of a popularity contest. Science has no regard for the politics. As far as possible, science demands that the truth be out.

    Perhaps science and democracy are like oil and water – just not a good mix. Maybe we need to debate whether democracy itself is fit for purpose. Some already are:

    Right-wing populist politicians have taken power or threatened to in Poland, Hungary, France, Britain, Italy, Brazil and the United States. As Rosenberg notes, “by some metrics, the right wing populist share of the popular vote in Europe overall has more than tripled from 4% in 1998 to approximately 13% in 2018.” In Germany, the right-wing populist vote increased even after the end of the Great Recession and after an influx of immigrants entering the country subsided.

    Democracy is hard work and requires a lot from those who participate in it. It requires people to respect those with different views from theirs and people who don’t look like them. It asks citizens to be able to sift through large amounts of information and process the good from the bad, the true from the false. It requires thoughtfulness, discipline and logic.

    … Biases of various kinds skew our brains at the most fundamental level. … . We discount evidence when it doesn’t square up with our goals while we embrace information that confirms our biases. Sometimes hearing we’re wrong makes us double down. And so on and so forth.


  7. Andrew Smith

    DeSmog explains well

    ‘DeSmogBlog opposes what it describes as “a well-funded and highly organized public relations campaign” that it says is “poisoning” the climate change debate.’

    Also names the usual suspects in Australia, along with Koch’s networks


    Any MP and public figure in Australia can be easily and unethically smeared through NewsCorp and others e.g. Bolt’s attempt on Thurnburg.

    Seems transnational PR machinery is about creating doubt, confusion, deflection or outright opposition amongst electorates holding the keys to power ….

  8. mark delmege

    Oh dear …. If you actually listen and understand the scientists its already too late. We have set in motion (that is if you believe the scientists) a process that will get even worse even if all human life ended yesterday. All we can realistically do now is look at means to adapt to our changing climatic conditions.
    FWIW (given the above) greenwashing is not enough. Swapping one product for another marginally less destructive wont change anything Nada zilch not one iota.
    And your idea to boost the economy for more growth is bizarre – don’t you see that that is the problem?
    (BTW CO2 is not the only molecule in the atmosphere)

  9. Aortic

    Even if you weren’t totally convinced of the overwhelming evidence that the vast majority of scientists attest is the evidential truth, would you not, for the sake of our children, grandchildren and future generations come down on the side of action to reverse the situation and ensure the planets survivability? Obviously not in Queensland, probably because the planet they live on is ruled by the likes of Matt King Coal Canavan and George when’s the next plane to Manila, Christensen. Pauline would be too busy with her Senate Enquiry to participate, but we alawys have the ” men are hard done by” Roberts to take up the slack.

  10. RosemaryJ36

    mark delmege – it IS too late to ensure that we can keep temperatures from rising to levels which will make life very unpleasant and ensure more frequent and severe weather events, but it is generations which follow us which will suffer most. Not that that let’s us off the hook for allowing this to happen!

  11. wam

    My memory tells me that some estimated 80% pf Australians wanted action on climate change that was xmas 2009 thank senile booby.
    No federal government can refuse the fossil fuel lobby, it has too much power. Until it controls renewables and lets the msm support global warming governments are handcuffed. (thanks booby)
    What a great start, ‘to the stars’.
    Everyone can understand global warming!
    Everyone can understand billions of tons of greenhouse gases being returned to the atmosphere.
    Everyone can understand a hothouse increases the temperature in the atmosphere.
    Everyone can see greenland glaciers melting, arctic ice floes breaking up with skinny polar bears, Pacific Islands being inundated
    Everyone one sees fires in Borneo and Brazil?
    Boomers remember the fogs of 55 years ago both real and through films
    The politician cannot go against the establishment.
    ‘No matter’ how people here wriggle, pontificate and moan about the 50% of below average intelligence you can rest assured we have the people elected who now rule. They and 100% of science agree that climate change is a natural occurrence and has been so for billions of years.QED try to explain climate to people who have a problem with weather?
    Read a piece about the 60 seconds Wooley, in the rupert rag in my town. He had criticised qantas with a tirade of almost 100% bullshit and got a rough greeting on the next flight. The rabbottian local journalist finished with an hilarious throw away line
    “price of speaking out” Wearisome wooley is no whistler just an lnp warbler.

    pps looks like pratt has a better chance with prices in america?

  12. johno

    Fakmo is such a moron. Now he is lecturing China on carbon emissions, while here in Oz we are amongst the leading emission contributors.

    Morrison’s comments signal that Australia has shifted its policy on global responsibility for combating the climate emergency.

    With the UN climate action summit under way in New York, Morrison is arguing that China needs to contribute more to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – to make a developed economy contribution rather than be given more leniency as a developing economy – a stance Beijing rejects.

  13. whatever

    The Coalition once known as the “LNP” is now actually the L(OneNation)NP.

  14. totaram

    Matters Not: “.. It asks citizens to be able to sift through large amounts of information and process the good from the bad, the true from the false. It requires thoughtfulness, discipline and logic…”

    I have been saying for some time now, that this task has become impossible because of the technological sophistication of our civilisation. People cannot even use simple school algebra, once they leave school. Ergo we are doomed as a species.

  15. Robin Alexander

    I have been saying for some time one can see worrying signsbad government descions will have detrimental affect on our North West NSW drought ridsen areas?allowing 5 mining Co to draw water from Namoi?now bone dryas is 2 dams that feed it? Far toomany allo ations of excessive amountscannot be sustained in dryer continent? Now the are getting water from.Artisian bores?precious water to WASH COAL spray dust on roads in mines! We have giant open cut mine Maules Creek mine using bores? Just reD report in Northern daily Leader farmer top Maules Creek saying Maukes Ck is now dry? It is,a stream feed by underground springs nevercever stops running? Farmers knew if flow,wS low those higher up refuced there take from stream which is used in householdsand farms for stock etc! The lady says they now fear for these dry springs may never rejuvinate again? Is it coincedence mine next door useing huge amounts underground water? I dont think so? We here alsosent 24000 0bjections toSantos drilling for Gas in pilliga Scrub near NarraBri? The Pilliga is a rejuvinating water area for Artisian water in this,area? Santos talk as if they have go ahead to start 840 wells by Xmas (these will be start of plan to eventually have over 4000 between Qld border & Scone) no such permission yet has been given? Yet they are confident?water is our most precious thing we have? Narrabri Gunnedah.Moree depend on this underground water! we lose it towns are finished? Can.we trust this LNP state government?doubt it? no more than.one can trust Federal government? they and there members blinded by Money?

  16. Ad Astra


    I enjoyed reading your comments, although in some cases they made depressing reading.

    Is there any escape from the awfulness of the global warming problem? Can Greta Thunberg spark a change of heart among deniers, who are dragging us and the planet down the path of destruction?

    The world needs a climate messiah to show us how to rescue the planet from the effects of unabated global warming, as described so frighteningly in The World Meteorological Organization’s Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2018, which highlights record sea level rise, as well as exceptionally high land and ocean temperatures over the past four years, a warming trend that has lasted since the start of this century and is expected to continue.

    The five-year period ending 2019 is predicted to be the hottest on record. If greenhouse gas emissions don’t soon start falling there will be ‘hell to pay’, researchers warn.

    You can read the terrifying details here: https://library.wmo.int/doc_num.php?explnum_id=5789

    Despite these dire warnings of the approaching catastrophe, our heedless PM, already in the US, has decided not to attend the UN climate action summit, instead sending Foreign Minister, Marise Payne, and the Australian ambassador for the environment, Patrick Suckling.

    Morrison prefers to hobnob with Donald Trump rather than pay attention to the most serious existential threat to our planet and all that lives on it. That says it all.

  17. RomeoCharlie29

    Memo Scomo, you want China to do more to reduce its emissions? How about they stop buying our coal? Win win, they reduce emissions we get to stop flogging our pollutants overseas.

    Memo Scomo, how about you take a look at your own hypocrisy on matters of climate change? A good start would be to sit down and watch the contributions of Greta Thunburg and Sir David Attenborough, profound comments from opposite ends of the age spectrum but relevant and, more importantly, true.

    Meanwhile, a thought on the percentages supporting action on climate change. If the supposedly vast majority already live and vote in Labor/Green electorates, which seems likely, how will we ever get the political action this issue demands? Only when those most negatively affected realise they are being fed porkies by those THEY elect.

    This requires both education and truthful reporting, not the sort that buries a story about the climate action rally in Perth on P30 in that journal of record, the Trump-groveller Kerry Stokes owned “West Australian”. How proud that August organ’s journos must be.

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