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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