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The last year has highlighted how paltry our government is

Whether it is reef bleaching, mass fish kills, drought, the bushfires, the urgent need for emissions reduction, the need for fiscal stimulus, or the response to the corona virus, our government has been found lacking.

So used are they to playing the game of “brutal retail politics”, they are completely unprepared to do what is needed.

The opposition to carbon pricing was madness. Everybody agrees it is the cheapest way to reduce emissions and the best way to encourage research and development. We had a system in place that was working to reduce emissions with no negative impact on the economy – we kept growing at a better rate than recent years.

Now, instead, we are throwing money at lifelines for the fossil fuel industry with research into producing dirty hydrogen using brown coal with unproven carbon capture and storage technology. We are looking into new coal-fired power plants and to ramp up gas mining. And we stubbornly persist in handing over billions in fossil fuel subsidies.

Likewise, the opposition to renewable energy has been hugely irresponsible. Installing Angus Taylor as energy minister showed what little regard the government has for this evolving industry.

As reported at the time,

“Taylor has been a trenchant opponent of the federal Renewable Energy Target and wind farms ever since one was built next door to his family property near Cooma in the rich farmlands of southern NSW. He helped spill Malcolm Turnbull and kill the National Energy Guarantee and its emissions target, just as he helped kill former Chief Scientist Alan Finkel’s Clean Energy Target.”

Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef, Warren Entsch, submitted a report in December last year (unlike our Special Envoy for Drought, who was too busy trying to get a pay rise to bother).

“Climate Change continues to be the biggest threat to the Reef and while people are entitled to a different opinion on the topic, there are fundamental facts that we must acknowledge and grapple with. There is broad consensus that human induced warming presents significant challenges to ecosystems and economies alike. Australia has a significant role to play from a global perspective. Many continue to argue that we represent only roughly 1.5 per cent share of global emissions. While that is indeed the case, if we use this metric as a rationale for reduced action on domestic emissions and other countries who have a similar share of emissions (less than 2 per cent) take the same view—it is equivalent to abdicating responsibility of roughly 40 per cent of global emissions. While everyone loves to point the finger at China and other large emitters, the reality is that we all have a role to play in addressing this issue.”

Needless to say, it received no coverage.

As for Barnaby, the former chair of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority said “it was my observation and impression that the MDBA’s direction changed when Barnaby Joyce became minister for agriculture and water resources. At that time it appeared to me that the MDBA shifted its approach further towards irrigation interests.”

He also slammed the authority’s decision not to take account of the 2012 Barwon-Darling water-sharing plan put in place by ex NSW minister and failed Nationals candidate for Gilmore, Katrina Hodgkinson, which has allowed irrigators to pump environmental flows travelling down the river during low flows.

The ongoing investigation by the Auditor-General into some very dubious water buyback decisions, and by police into the fraudulent rorting of the Healthy Headwaters program, promise to reveal just how disastrous it was putting someone like Barnaby in charge.

We have heard for months now how the government ignored urgent warnings about the upcoming catastrophic bushfire season and we watched in horror the consequences of their inaction and the ham-fisted inadequacy of their belated reaction.

And then the corona virus hit.

We don’t need fiscal stimulus. Oops, yes we do.

We won’t give cash handouts. Hang on, yes we will.

I’m going to the football. Ok, maybe not.

I don’t need to self-isolate or get tested despite having been sitting next to a guy who has a confirmed case. I don’t need to stop shaking hands. That’s just for other people.

Photo opportunities and cosy chats on 2GB and Sky After Dark do not equate to governing.

Going on their record so far, does anyone trust this government to handle this situation?

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  1. Arthur Tarry

    Kaye Lee asks: Going on their record so far, does anyone trust this government to handle this situation?

    Answer: No, emphatically.

  2. DrakeN

    Arthur Tarry,

    We may not trust this government, but there are many trusting, gullible souls in our communities – otherwise why ‘religions’, why commercial advertising, why Pauline Hanson etc.?

    So many voluntarily ignorant people who need a “strong leader” to show them the way – like the “good shepherd” who fleeces his flock at every opportunity before transporting them to an abbatoir.

    The “Sheeple” walk amongst us.

  3. pierre wilkinson

    just maybe he has corona and can share it with the happyclappers at his pentecostal party, and his cabinet when they meet to discuss what they can announce they will do about whatever current crisis occurs, mentioning at least $2 billion available

  4. New England Cocky

    Well, KL, why did you expect anything different from Barnyard Joke? Of 168 MDB irrigation licences, about 4 licensees hold about 75% of the water allocations. Likely these entities/farmers are staunch financial supporters of the Nazianal$ Party and are quite willing to betray other agricultural enterprises to maintain their position in the water market that will continue to be dominated by mining interests.

    Barnyard talks about damming the Apsley River east of Walcha and directing the water westward over the range to the MacDonald river thence onto Gunnedah coal fields ….. for use by the local mining corporations!!!

    Never forget that since former Nazianal$ leader Mark Vaille abandoned politics to take up a more lucrative position in the mining industry, the Nazianal$ Party have become reliant upon the financial political donations from those entities while the traditional support base of farmers and graziers has simply lost the ability to keep the unelected political hacks who control pre-selection in the manner to which they wish to remain accustomed.

  5. TuffGuy

    Perhaps I have some sort of weird logic but IMO our first response to the rapid escalation of the corona virus, given that we live on an island, should have been simply to just shut down all air travel into the country (and passengers by sea). Anyone who wants to leave can go nuts but if you stop people flying in then no virus comes in and the entire country can just go about their business as normal with no virus except for the initial few.
    Ships can come and go with cargo which can be left on the wharf for a couple of weeks, prevent crews from coming ashore, all is good.
    To me this option just sounds so simple and CHEAP and would have been fantastic PR for any current government.

  6. Terence Mills

    We have Tom Hanks who came from the USA to Australia and we have Spud Dutton who returned from the USA, both with coronavirus : political pandering has so far stopped us blacklisting USA arrivals.

    Funny that !

  7. Michael Taylor

    The PM has banned shaking hands.

    I that because nobody wants to shake hands with him, or because of the coronavirus threat?

  8. Pingback: The last year has highlighted how paltry our government is #newsoz.org #auspol - News Oz

  9. LambsFry Simplex.

  10. wam

    Beauty , Kaye, wonder if anyone in labor has asked Warren E, which bank or investment house the $440million for the reef is?

    Dear liver,
    There is a house in canberra
    They call the thoughtless run
    And it’s been the ruin of many ideas
    global warming is but one

  11. johno

    February 2020 brought the hottest month of sea temperatures on the Great Barrier Reef on record.

    Would like to know what they are doing with that $440 million ??

  12. crypt0

    “does anyone trust this government to handle this situation?”
    I know it’s hard to believe, given all that has gone on over the last year or two, but yes they do.
    “Scott Morrison is the preferred PM: Newspoll”
    and … “Labor still hold a 51-to-49 lead in the two-party-preferred vote ”
    Which is I believe within the margin of error … hmmm … I remember how that worked out last time.
    It seems that the ‘strayan people cannot be saved from themselves.

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