Israel/oPt: UN experts appalled by reported human rights…

United Nations Media Release UN experts* today expressed alarm over credible allegations of…

Identifying Imperial Venality: Day One of Julian Assange’s…

On February 20, it was clear that things were not going to…

Urgent call for Australian Centre for Disease Control…

Public Health Association of Australia Media Release Public health experts are calling for…

The Hero Haunted World

By James Moore I do not understand. Perhaps, I never will. Does anyone? As…

Swiftie Nonsense Down Under

Gaza. Palestinians. Israel. Genocide. Taylor Swift? This odd cobbling of words is…

New research highlights the growing prevalence and economic…

New research by the e61 Institute presents five facts on the use…

Ok, So This Is A Boring Post... Or…

Gloria Sty, bud Iyam riting this coz I wanna mayk sum poynts…

Border Paranoia in Fortress Australia

The imaginative faculties of standard Australian politicians retreat to some strange, deathly…


Trending Issues: Growing Support for Pragmatic Emission Control from the Streets to the Ballot Box

Responsible commitment to both economic development and pragmatic action on carbon emissions may arrest the volatility evident in recent Newspolls in the week after Labor’s election launch.

While Labor is still ahead after preferences on both the latest Ipsos and Newspolls, the trendlines are less predictable in some of the most marginal metropolitan and regional seats.

In other marginal seats like Leichhardt in North Queensland, Labor’s chances are boosted by a complex electoral geography, concern about global warming and the likely retirement of LNP member Warren Entsch who enters his seventieth year later this month. The challenges posed by the final vote after preferences are well captured in the current Newspoll (The Australian Online 6 May 2019):


In Leichhardt, the federal LNP hopes that its scare campaign to a more conservative support base in parts of Cairns and adjacent country towns might work yet again. Warren Entsch is trying hard to hold back the mood for change (4CA Online 11 April 2019):

“Labor, the unions and southern activist groups will run a campaign based on lies in a bid to scare you into voting for them. “This is nothing new – they do it every election – don’t be a mug and fall for their lies.”

“Bill Shorten and the Labor Party pose a very real risk to our way of life here in Far North Queensland – I fear we will lose our identity, as a nation and region, if they are elected.”

A newer generation of scriptwriters who maintain 4CA’s web site for Cairns on behalf of the 56 station strong Grant Broadcasters’ Network across metropolitan and regional Australia do acknowledge the importance of environmental issues for the maintenance of a sustainable economy in the wet tropics and savanna landscapes of North Queensland (4CA Online 17 April 2019):

New polling finds Queenslanders are just as concerned about environmental issues as their southern counterparts, dispelling a political divide as Australians prepare to cast their vote.

The Australia Institute survey found 60 per cent of Victorians and 57 per cent of Queenslanders believe Australia is facing a climate change emergency.

The polling comes after internal struggles within the coalition over federal approvals for the Adani coal mine, with Victorian MPs reportedly concerned about the impact on their vote while their Queensland counterparts said their state strongly supported the project.

The survey found more people in Queensland (56 per cent) than Victoria (51 per cent) support the government mobilising climate efforts, as they mobilised people during world wars.

Just over three in five Australians across all states support a rapid transition to renewable energy, while a similar number support the switch to an electric transport system.

Positive Outcomes from the BAE’s Report on Labor’s Carbon Emissions Strategies

As Bill Shorten claimed in the first Leaders’ Debate, pragmatic and bipartisan action on climate change is hardly an economic cost in the long-term. Recent discussion of this report can be beneficial in seats like Leichhardt with the Barrier Reef under threat from market economics and so many fragile wet tropical and savanna ecosystems to be protected between Cairns and the remotest Torres Strait islands.

Quantifying pragmatic commitment to climate change was never a defining cornerstone in the well-publicized report from Dr Brian Fisher at the Bureau of Agricultural Economics (BAE) released on 1 May 2019.

Sensationalizing these costings has been part of the fear campaign by Australian conservatives and the mainstream media on Dr Fisher’s report. Four scenario options are compared with the costs of doing nothing about climate change:

The worst environmental consequences would surely eventuate if a pragmatic coalition emerged between the federal LNP and the far-right of Australian politics after 18 May through the vast financial resources available to Clive Palmer’s UAP in the allocation of preferences in marginal seats and the possibility of winning one or more senate spots (The West Australian Online 6 May 2019):

Analysis by The West Australian shows that less than two months of royalties from CITIC Pacific’s Sino Iron project in the Pilbara could cover the reported $50 million advertising spend that has secured his United Australia Party 5 per cent of the national vote in Newspoll and may make Mr Palmer a major Canberra player.

Mr Palmer last month revealed he had spent $50 million on election advertising and claimed his United Australia Party would win government.

“We’ve spent $50 million, and just three weeks ago everyone said: ‘Why is Mr Palmer doing this, it’s all for nothing, he won’t get any votes’,” he said.

Legal action by Clive Palmer is also attempting to delay the release of preference flows from the UAP until polling closes in the Cocos Islands at 21.30 AEST on election night (ABC News Online 6 May 2019). Even if this legal action fails, it gives added publicity to Clive Palmer and the UAP in marginal seats.

Diversionary attention-seeking by sections of the mainstream media has allowed market ideology to intrude on growing support for climate change as an election agenda in marginal seats like Dawson and Leichhardt.

Doing less than Labor’s 45 per cent emission reduction target over the next decade simply magnifies the threat posed by greenhouse emissions as shown by the trendlines from the existing Reference Group data in the BAE Report.

There are a range of cost estimates for Scenarios 1-4 during the forthcoming decade (2021-2030) which continue to protect Emission Intensive Trade Exposed Industries (EITEs) to maintain Australia’s international trading competitiveness (The Australian Online 2 May 2019):

Estimating the costs of emission controls for the entire decade ahead is a near impossible task with enormous variables in the costs of electricity generation and the purchase of carbon credits alone. No one defining cost estimate is really possible as requested by sections of the mainstream media.

Added to these variables are the costs of direct action by governments at all levels especially through transport initiatives, tree-clearing barriers and development planning controls in both regional and urban areas.

The Far North Queensland Regional Plan (2009-2031) covers environmental sustainability options for the Cairns Region in the federal electorates that include just parts of Leichhardt and Kennedy. Other Regional Plans extends to Cape York and Torres Strait.

Preparation to control the effects of Climate Change are embedded into all the State Regional Plans for North Queensland but are inadequately funded by the federal government. The financial resources available to the state government from federal grants and GFC sharing are beyond the capacity needed for effective implementation of the options which are well-documented in the planning documents.

Skewing development from greenfield to urban infill near existing urban centres is crucial for the protection of fragile ecosystems across North Queensland. The different options available are well canvassed in the development plans but need more supportive federal government funding.

Dissipating federal revenues through tax concessions to the wealthiest families is a Lose-Lose Scenario that helps neither the environment nor the householders themselves in the longer-term.

In desperation, local authorities tolerate more clearing of forests on vegetated slopes to bring metropolitan cul-de-sacs to the fringes of pristine ecosystems. Greenfield subdivisions promote sites with views of the ranges and coastlines when environmentally aware home-makers should be more discriminating about preferred locations. Personal lifestyles and food consumption patterns are also vitally important as Bill Shorten has demonstrated in his commitment to electric cars and the need for restraint in the compulsive eating of high energy fatty foods.

Personal Choice and Environmental Emissions

Personal initiatives can be extended to a more critical analysis of news sources which seek to promote emission controls as a cost rather than a long-term solution to global warming. As the BAE Report itself shows, there is no real price tag available for pragmatic emission control through a complex array of carbon purchase options, electricity generation plans, direct government action and lifestyle choices.

Thanks to the students who supported the School Strike 4 Climate on 3 May to bring some utopian hope back into national politics. Hopefully, there will be more such events before election day like the assembly outside Warren Entsch’s office in Mulgrave Road in support of North Queensland’s fragile tropical and reef ecosystems.

Campaigning in the next ten days might still see Labor’s Elida Faith off to Canberra when preference allocations are finally resolved after 18 May.

Denis Bright is a member of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA). Denis has qualifications in journalism, public policy and international relations. He is committed to citizens’ journalism by promoting discussion of topical issues from a critical structuralist perspective. Readers are encouraged to continue the discussions in this current series of Trending Issues for Australians in this election year.

Like what we do at The AIMN?

You’ll like it even more knowing that your donation will help us to keep up the good fight.

Chuck in a few bucks and see just how far it goes!

Donate Button


Login here Register here
  1. Mia

    On the inland highways of NSW,, heavy interstate traffic makes a real contribution to greenhouse emissions. Rehabilitation of disused regional railways is necessary to supplement the Inland Railway which will take freight to road carriers at Beaudesert, south of Brisbane. This is such a long way short of the port of Brisbane which is served by a single rail track from the current Acacia Ridge Freight terminal through densely populated inner-suburbs of Brisbane’s Southside. The federal LNP is offering nothing to support Cross River Rail in Brisbane: Meticulous research appropriate for Labor Day in Brisbane. Great insights Denis.

  2. Keitha Granville

    Not much point in working out the cost of the various options – the cost of doing nothing is NO PLANET. So whatever the cost, we MUST do something.

  3. Leila

    The people have decided & have either cast their vote, or are just waiting for Election Day. It will be like the Queensland State election when people held their anger till they had a chance to vote and set Campbell Newman adrift and elected a Labour Government. That is provided no major disaster occurs.
    Great work Denis

  4. Stella

    Denis, thank you for an interesting article. Climate politics is certainly an important issue for the coming election.

  5. Tessa_M

    Definitely too many rural cul de sacs across our Page Electorate which like Leichhardt has its share of pristine environments on the fringes of the rainforests.

  6. James Robo

    Motorways make a major contribution to greenhouse emissions and heavy vehicle traffic as most freight comes by road on the Brisbane-Melbourne coastal corridors.

  7. MöbiusEcko

    James Robo, read up on how Lindsay Fox and other transport magnates of the time through extensive lobbying and party political donations neutered the East Coast freight rail system. Strangely, in 2009 Lindsay Fox lobbied for an expansion of freight rail even though this was against his financial interests, but it was probably a ruse to make him sound magnanimous at that time.

    In the end, gradually over time he and others destroyed the freight rail system in this country.

  8. rubio@coast

    The cost of doing nothing or making token responses to emission controls is immense as stated by Denis in his article with support from Keitha Granville. Pity that news commentators on 4CA cannot understand the consequences of building more housing estates for higher income earners on the northern beaches and the slopes of the ranges near Cairns. Hopefully, Elida Faith will be encouraged by everyone’s concerns about the sustainability of the wet tropics and the savanna lands from Cairns to the shores of PNG which are all part of this incredible Leichhardt electorate

  9. Terence Mills

    For some time now there has been a pop-up ad appearing on my laptop screen encouraging me to sign a petition opposing the Labor policy of eliminating cash refunds on franking credits.

    The ad says that they are aiming at getting 100,000 signatures but evidently, so far without much luck.

    If they can’t rally 100,000 signatures over a period of what must be a couple of months, maybe they’re flogging a dead horse.

    Personally I agree with Labor that this was a Howard era anomaly with unintended consequences i.e. no tax gets paid by anybody, the corporation or the shareholder, with these tax refunds. This anomaly initially wasn’t costing too much but as investment advisors got onto it and recommended it to their clients, the cost to tax revenues rapidly got up to six billion dollars and are projected to cost $8 billion a year in the near future – more than we spend on public schools, or child care.

    It just doesn’t make any sense to be gifting that sort of money to generally well off retirees.

  10. Reef & Forest

    Hope that Elida Faith can deliver Change in Leichhardt as recommended by Denis’ article

  11. Paul

    Great article Denis! Thank you so much for the insights. It should be a very interesting election.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 MB. You can upload: image, audio, video, document, spreadsheet, interactive, text, archive, code, other. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop file here

Return to home page