The Xmas attack on climate change

Human-caused global warming is the single biggest threat facing humanity today. Solving it requires a rapid worldwide transition to renewable energy economies, leaving the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground. Preserving a habitable climate depends on decisions made in this decade. At less than 1°C of global warming, we’re already experiencing impacts costing human lives, including worsening heatwaves, floods, droughts, and bushfires. Under current policies we’re headed for 4°C warming or greater, a temperature unprecedented for the human species. Civilization has flourished over the past 10,000 years because a stable climate sustained us (global temperature varied but less than 1°C). An increase of 4°C would be an unimaginable catastrophe, probably beyond our capacity to adapt. 

Yet over the Xmas break while you were distracted with seasonal festivities and summer sports, the Abbott government quietly progressed policies which will exacerbate the problem, following a long-standing tradition of avoiding scrutiny by making announcements during the holidays.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt (who would be more appropriately titled the Anti-Environment Minister) approved Adani’s proposed coal export terminal, and dredging for two other new terminals, at the (appropriately named) Abbot Point. Abbot Point will be the world’s biggest coal port and open up the Galilee Basin, whose nine proposed mega-mines would export enough coal to produce potentially 700 million tonnes of CO2 emissions per year, almost twice Australias domestic emissions and greater than the emissions of all but six countries. Hunt also approved four other fossil fuel projects: an Arrow coal seam gas processing facility on Curtis Island; a transmission pipeline to supply it; billionaire politician Clive Palmer’s China First mine; and the Surat Gas Expansion (the last two on the Friday before Xmas).

They joined two previously approved Galilee coal projects: GVK’s and Hancock’s Kevin’s Corner mine (approved in November), and GVK’s Alpha mine (approved by the former government in 2012).

In his press release approving the Abbot Point expansion, Hunt had the gall to say: ‘Today I am announcing new plans to protect the long-term future of the Great Barrier Reef. His plan consists of ensuring dredging occurs close to the shore — never mind that global warming is killing coral reefs as well as endangering humans. The approval process ignores climate change because emissions from burning the coal will occur overseas. But denying responsibility for those emissions is like believing we won’t be harmed by cigarettes we sell to a chain-smoker in our lounge room.

The industry department released an energy issues paper early in December. Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane has accused the former Labor government of having ‘bungled its Energy White Paper process [by introducing] the carbon tax and mining tax, and new layers of regulation and red tape’ — code for saying it wasn’t fossil-fuel-friendly enough. Macfarlane’s issues paper outlines the Government’s energy policy priorities: fossil fuel industry growth, productivity, environmental deregulation, and marketing fossil fuels to the public. It foreshadows possible consideration of investing in nuclear power and dividing up the Renewable Energy Target (RET) into bands including emerging technologies, reinforcing the Government’s incorrect belief that existing renewables cannot provide 100% of Australia’s energy. It says the major contributor to electricity prices, network costs, will continue rising, revealing the Government’s hypocrisy in complaining about the relatively small price impacts of climate policies. Instead we should invest in energy efficiency and renewables, where prices are falling rapidly as technologies and scale improve. It seems the Government really wants higher electricity prices because that means greater profits for fossil-fuel-fired generators.

Also in December, the prime minister’s department released terms of reference for an agriculture white paper which failed to mention climate change. It is not clear how the Government expects Australian agriculture to prosper in the face of the impacts of the greenhouse gas emissions and coal seam gas development promoted by the Energy White Paper. The Government has since announced a drought policy which also fails to account for climate change.

The Government’s budget update, MYEFO, cut funding to the Australian network of Environmental Defender’s Offices (which provide expert legal advice on environmental issues and are thus opposed by mining companies) and the Energy Efficiencies Opportunities Program (which actually raises public income, but is opposed by generators because reducing energy demand lowers their profits). There were no cuts to fossil fuel subsidies. The document contained no mention of the Emissions Reduction Fund, the centrepiece of the climate Direct Action Plan. The only fully costed climate policy was $800 million over five years for the ‘Green Army’, which would employ 15,000 young people to take feel-good actions like re-vegetation and clearing rivers, which fail to target the main cause of global warming, the fossil fuel industry.

In an interview, Tony Abbott indicated the RET may be scrapped or weakened by an upcoming review, claiming it causes ‘pretty significant price pressures’ and he would consult with his business advisor Maurice Newman, a climate change denier who opposes the RET. In fact, the RET has reduced wholesale electricity prices: a 2012 review found the cost impact of the RET was minuscule, and the major factor in rising retail electricity prices was over-investment in poles and wires. Again, Abbott’s real concern is that the RET reduces profits for coal-fired generators. The RET review will be conducted by a panel including several climate change deniers. It looks like history is going to repeat itself: the last time the Liberals were in government, they colluded with the fossil fuel industry to sabotage their own Renewable Energy Target.

In the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade talks, Australia offered to agree to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in exchange for greater access to sugar markets, while Trade Minister Andrew Robb announced a Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement also including ISDS. Investor-state dispute settlement would give multinational corporations the power to sue a government for any policy that hurts their profits in an unaccountable tribunal with unlimited powers. Any effective climate policy would threaten corporate profits, and hence could be overturned through ISDS. This represents an attack on national sovereignty and democracy at a time when we need accountable government more than ever.

The Government has refused to publically release the text of either agreement, even after the Senate passed a Greens motion ordering them to release the text of the TPP.* Robb says ISDS will not apply to ‘public welfare, health and the environment’, but similar safeguards in the Peru-US Free Trade Agreement failed to be implemented. It looks like free trade talks are being used as an opaque avenue to sneak through policies advancing corporate power which can’t be achieved through democratic domestic political processes. An Australia Institute survey found that only 11% of Australians know about the TPP, almost 90% want the details of such deals made public before they are signed, and 75% oppose allowing American corporations to sue Australian governments.

At the Council of Australian Governments, all states and territories signed up to take on responsibility for federal environmental assessment powers within 12 months (including Labor governments, despite federal Labor claiming to now oppose the policy). This made official what began in September as a secret agreement between the federal Government and the coal state Queensland. State governments are notoriously pro-development: that is, even more so than federal ones. As Greens Senator Larissa Waters pointed out, "If states had this power in the past, the Franklin River would be dammed, cattle would be grazing in the Alpine National Park and there would be oil rigs on the Great Barrier Reef.’

In Parliament, Labor helped the Government pass legislation through the lower house preventing Australians from legally challenging projects approved before 1 January 2014 on environmental grounds. (The bill is now before the Senate.) This effectively allowed the Government to dodge accountability for ignoring expert advice on the environmental impacts of any project approved prior to 2014.

Attorney-General George Brandis appointed the IPA’s Tim Wilson as ‘freedom commissioner’ at the Human Rights Commission (which the IPA want abolished). Unlike other commissioners, Wilson did not have to apply for the job; Brandis just rang him up and asked if he wanted it. Wilson argues he is qualified because ‘Private property is in itself a human right, and one of the things that I have always focused on is free trade which is ultimately an extension of private property’ and suggests that critics of his appointment ‘look at human rights as some sort of legal gift from government’. Wilson’s comment on Occupy Melbourne was ‘send in the water cannons‘. Brandis also announced a law reform inquirywhich will focus largely on the supposed infringement of corporate rights by environmental regulations. Destroying the environment we depend on apparently does not count as an infringement of freedom.

Finally, on 20 December the environment department released the Emissions Reduction Fund Green Paper, which essentially remains the ineffective voluntary climate policy the government took to the election. Also announced was an Expert Reference Group to advise on the Fund’s design, whose members are almost all corporate lobbyists who oppose strong climate action. And of course Abbott continues to push legislation to repeal the carbon price, Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and Climate Change Authority.

With no remaining legal avenue to challenge approved mining projects, protestors blocked construction at Whitehaven’s Maules Creek coal mine in NSW. Simon Copland from 350.org: wrote about it afterwards:

It is unfortunate that it has to come to this, but we have no choice. When the Government fails, as it has so drastically with this mine and with so many other coal and gas mines around the country, it is up for [sic] the community to take a stand.

This government is only a few months old and already its level of secrecy, deception, misdirection, and irresponsibility on climate policy is staggering. Abbott says, ‘Happy is the country which is more interested in sport than in politics.’ But the game our future depends on is being played out in Canberra, as far from a public audience as Tony Abbott can get.

* The details of the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement (KAFTA) were finally released on 17 February and it does include the ISDS.
 


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TPS Team

27/02/2014We welcome a new writer to TPS today. James Wight is a Macquarie University undergraduate who blogs at http://precariousclimate.com about climate change politics in Australia. He has also written for Skeptical Science, Climate Code Red, Shaping Tomorrow’s World, Independent Australia, and Online Opinion. You can follow him on Twitter @350ppmJames. His focus is on climate change and his piece outlines all the changes relating to climate that the Abbott government rushed through in December when, as James says, people ‘were distracted with seasonal festivities and summer sports’. It is no more than we expect from this so-called ‘grown-up’ government but enjoy James’ detailed account of all that happened, in case you too missed it.

Catching up

27/02/2014At least Wong and Faulkner gave the department a hard time in senate hearings today. Many things not explained. Carbon emissions and climate change is not going to go away. Maybe it is time for Shorten to allow the so called tax to be dismantled, but leave the rest of CEF in place. After all, Abbott keeps saying he will axe the tax. Let him do so. The other eight or so bills should be allowed to stay in place. Make Abbott debate each one fully. With the tax out of the way, the focus can then be kept on the rest of the CEF suite of bills. It would leave Abbott no where to go. He would have no more excuses.

Catching up

27/02/2014We need to get the focus back on carbon emissions and the harm being done to the environment by this government. Getting that tax out of the way is a good beginning. Turning back the boats has not got Abbott the credit and glory he expected. Dismantling that tax will not either. It would be a hollow victory for him.

Casablanca

28/02/2014 [b]CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Friday, 28 February 2014: 38 items[/b] NEW GROWTH INDUSTRIES: ROYAL COMMISSIONS + INQUIRIES + REVIEWS 1. Consultant investigating Manus Island unrest insists he is independent Paul Farrell Robert Cornall says ‘payment of a fee for professional services does not affect independent judgment’. The immigration minister, Scott Morrison, is relying increasingly on the prospect of an independent review into the disturbances to assuage critics. But concerns have been raised about whether the review as it stands will be able to get to the bottom of events.... Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said she was concerned about the prospect of immigration officials being present during interviews for the current review. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/consultant-investigating-manus-insists-independent?CMP=soc_568 ENTITLEMENTS + FIDDLES +RORTS + RESPONSIBILITY 2. Tony Blair: from New Labour hero to political embarrassment Andy Beckett Intimate friend of the Murdochs, apologist for rightwing interests and supporter of the super-rich – the former prime minister's reputation is on a downward spiral http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=7b9a4d0aa11e5e782caafe57bc030b83847c877f17bbb00fff12df2a91b19207 3. Fiona Nash has been poor, the PM must be worried Mark Kenny Labor's pursuit of conflict of interest allegations against Assistant Health Minister Fiona Nash has been a patchy, faltering affair, at times brilliant, and at others, limp. Senator Nash's performance as the minister in the gun, has been consistently dismal, and yet strangely resolute. Her approach, from what is an extremely weak position, has been orthodox tuck-and-roll politics, no doubt urged on her by a nervous prime ministerial office eager to keep its man out of it. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/fiona-nash-has-been-poor-the-pm-must-be-worried-20140226-33il1.html 4. Tony Abbott and axed man at Cadbury photo op Mark Kenny and Amy Corderoy The claim came as fresh questions arose as to how chocolate maker Cadbury came to receive a $16 million pledge from the Coalition before last year's federal election and it was reported that a food lobby group contacted Senator Nash's office to raise concerns about the site the day it was pulled down. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-and-axed-man-at-cadbury-photo-op-20140226-33inb.html CULTURE WARS + INEQUALITY 5. Mapping global social footprints joins the dots from rich to poor Joy Murray and Ali Alsamawi The Conversation is running a series, Class in Australia, to identify, illuminate and debate its many manifestations. Here, Joy Murray and Ali Alsamawi examine how social footprints can add to our understanding… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pdkfld-trhltityg-m/ 6. Education policy is failing to fix the biggest problem: inequality John Smyth The most urgent educational issue facing us as a nation is that of inequality. The problem with inequality is that it remains hidden - and nothing that went on in the election campaign did anything to alleviate the underlying problem. Nobody openly admits to living in a society that deliberately and wilfully sets out to produce inequality. But, as long as we fail to ask questions, then the yawning chasm between groups in our society will continue to grow. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pdkfld-trhltityg-f/ 7. Cross-curriculum priorities are options, not orders Barry McGaw The creation and implementation of the Australian Curriculum in schools across the country is a significant moment in Australian education history. Discussion on curriculum is always lively and stirs the passions. Recently much of the discussion on the Australian Curriculum has focused on the three cross-curriculum priorities and how they are embedded in the learning areas. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/crosscurriculum-priorities-are-options-not-orders-20140226-33iae.html#ixzz2uUGVQIKc 8. West cashes in on resources boom, but inequality also up Kylar Loussikian The mining boom has left the average Western Australian family nearly twice as well off since it began. But skyrocketing prices in some parts of the state have led to a faster escalation of inequality than anywhere else in Australia, a Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre study has concluded. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pdkfld-trhltityg-s/&utm_source=campaign_monitor&utm_term=West%20cashes%20in%20on%20resources%20boom%20but%20inequality%20also%20up 9. How to survive in the Age of Empire Dr Matt Mitchell (7 November 2013) George Monbiot believes the world is being battered by a "full frontal assault on democracy" by a "class of global elites". Dr Matthew Mitchell says it’s [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/how-to-survive-in-the-age-of-empire,5874 10. Poll: what should the British flag look like if Scotland goes independent? Jonathan Jones The UK's national flag charity has released a series of possible designs for use if Scotland votes for independence. The new flags, designed by the public and members of the Flag Institute, are intended 'to facilitate and inform the debate' on whether the flag would have to change. Which one gets your vote? http://www.theguardian.com/politics/shortcuts/2014/feb/26/union-jack-how-can-redesign-do-justice ETHICAL REFLECTION 11. Robber bands in Parliament Andrew Hamilton Augustine wrote of the Roman Empire, 'Without justice, states are robber bands.' His mordant comment aimed to strip away the self-congratulatory rhetoric of empire from the reality of a Rome concerned purely with asking how to achieve desired goals uncontrolled by respect for human dignity. If we appreciate how robber bands work we can better understand what states do, including Australia. So the mere fact that governments have no commitment to ethical principles in their pursuit of security or to preventing people from enjoying protection from persecution does not ensure that they will decline and fall. They may grow in esteem among the people and the commentariat, as happened in the Roman Empire. http://www.eurekastreet.com.au/article.aspx?aeid=39005#.Uw754IAQ9ZY 12. On love stories and Reza Barati Richard Flanagan Humankind prospers through a terrible paradox, says Richard Flanagan in his closing address to the Perth writers’ festival. As groups we sanction the most terrible crimes. It is love stories that remind us of a better idea of us, a larger idea of our humanity http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=82c70f180bc0ff7845e4585862495fed1f0e30f5788d5bf151951eae0a217031 13. The Reza Barati vigils could be a tipping point for Australia – but what next? Wendy Bacon Holding vigils might not be enough to shift politicians' minds, but it's important to place on the record our opposition to crimes committed in our name. We need to keep the pressure on... Last week won’t be a tipping point if we don’t make it one. We need to turn from witness and sorrow with a resolve that matches our government’s determination to punish and deceive. It’s up to us. http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=8e272d8a60d01112e26d519432b84f084de33d2f2e567d649fb5cdf671c2e074 POLITICS, SECRECY, HYPOCRISY, DECEPTION 14. Audit cold on Abbott’s parent leave Phillip Coorey and Jacob Greber "The Commission of Audit has criticised the government’s proposed paid parental leave scheme as excessive at a time when fiscal restraint is needed. The Australian Financial Review understands the commission’s interim report, delivered to the government 13 days ago, supports the concept of paid parental leave but finds that Mr Abbott’s scheme is too generous given the state of budget." http://www.afr.com/p/national/audit_cold_on_abbott_parent_leave_WRMrop9MjDcE0wNogTLxIN 15. Consumers rule where politicians fail Mark Latham "Cashed-up shoppers are exercising greater purchasing muscle than the feeble industry plans of union hand-maidens like Carr. Consumerism has finally beaten interventionism. The political class does not want to hear this, but we have entered an era of marginalised government. Each day, the big news in the Australian economy is the strength of millions of consumer decisions, but this is essentially unreported in the electronic media." http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/consumers_rule_where_politicians_qP8onOO0SmoeXgXQg7ys3N 16. Labor defence spokesman Conroy has been routed by the generals Michelle Grattan Conroy's lack of discipline overshadows Labor's attack on a vulnerable minister. Before the election Stephen Conroy inflicted severe damage on his own side with his ill-fated media reforms. Now his badly judged attack on Angus Campbell, the military man in charge of Operation Sovereign Borders, has derailed the opposition’s parliamentary week. http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pdkfld-trhltityg-jl/ ECONOMICS + BUSINESS 17. Treasurer's agenda running out of truth Warwick Smith Tony Abbott has said similar things, including repeating lines such as ''no country has ever taxed or subsidised its way to prosperity''. Those of us who know anything about tax economics know Hockey and Abbott are talking rubbish. Fortunately for them, most people don't know much about tax economics and don't want to know. Have countries subsidised their way to prosperity? Do higher taxes mean fewer jobs? If we look at the 20 countries with the highest GDP per capita we find quite a few have much higher rates of tax as a proportion of GDP. Sweden, for example, has similar GDP per capita to Australia and takes 54 per cent of GDP in tax (compared with 31 per cent in Australia). http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/treasurers-agenda-running-out-of-truth-20140226-33i9p.html 18. On being treated well: reforming Medicare after 30 years Anthony Harris Treasurer Joe Hockey and health minister Peter Dutton have been in overdrive this past week lowering expectations for the May budget and reminding Australians that its 30-year-old Medicare system is “unsustainable… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pdkfld-trhltityg-w/ ECONOMIC RATIONALISM Vs LONG-TERM ECONOMIC PROSPECTS 19. Women disappearing from corporate workforce 'due to childcare cost' Anne Barrowclough The Australian chief executive of Goldman Sachs has called for a national debate on childcare costs to stem a flood of women leaving the corporate workforce. Simon Rothery is one of a number of senior executives and CEOs who are so concerned at the number of women fleeing the corporate world that they have changed employment policies to halt the drain of talent. But he admits that a major reason for the disappearance of women is the cost of childcare, which averages $7.60 an hour, according to a government report. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/25/women-disappearing-corporate-workforce-childcare-cost 20. Qantas to axe 5,000 jobs in $2bn cost-cutting drive Daniel Hurst and Bridie Jabour Wages will be frozen across the board and routes cancelled after national airline reports $252m second-half loss for 2013 http://click.mail.theguardian.com/?qs=82c70f180bc0ff785ae36becf4d14c32ee52509a97d7f467797c02bfc3d6175e POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT + COMMITMENT + ACTIVISM 21. An uplifting Girl Scouts lesson for all of us: activism works Van Badham Two Girl Scouts campaigned for sustainable palm oil to be used in cookies to save endangered orangutans – and made great progress. Don’t listen to the cynics: all efforts are worthwhile http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/27/an-uplifting-girl-scouts-lesson-for-all-of-us-activism-works?CMP=ema_632 GENDER EQUALITY 22. What I wanted to ask Senator Michaelia Cash last night Georgina Dent I have two concerns regarding the current government when it comes to women. The first is that there is not sufficient understanding of the barriers impacting Australian women: I am yet to hear a single minister or representative from the government speak with any clarity or commitment on the issues affecting women. The second is the absence of any commitment from the government to even want to understand or tackle gender equality. http://www.womensagenda.com.au/talking-about/editor-s-agenda/what-i-wanted-to-ask-senator-michaelia-cash-last-night/201402263652?utm_source=Women%27s+Agenda+List&utm_campaign=564adb7def-Women_s_Agenda_daily_27_02_2014&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_f3750bae8d-564adb7def-30634093 MEDIA + BIAS + GROUPTHINK 23. Daily Telegraph lashed by Press Council over Slipper coverage David Donovan 30 In a curious coincidence, on the day the Federal Court upheld James Ashby's right to appeal against Justice Rares' judgment against him, the Australian Press [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/business/business-display/daily-telegraph-lashed-by-australia-press-council,6226 24. It seems that some in the Labor Party are talking to the ABC.. But I have my sources too! rossleighbrisbane “It is understood Mr Shorten made it clear to Senator Conroy the military commander deserves respect, but did not demand he apologise. The ABC has been told this has surprised and disappointed several Labor MPs... To report anything an unnamed member of Parliament said is not news, it’s gossip. Was it on the record? Why no names? Was it off the record? Why publish? http://theaimn.com/2014/02/27/it-seems-that-some-in-the-labor-party-are-talking-to-the-abc-but-i-have-my-sources-too/ SOCIETY + KULTURE 25. Australia's young men drowning in a vat of tears Frank O'Shea Why is it...that the Australian response to excess alcohol seems to be violence? Certainly, our media seem to accept the connection without demur. Is there something in the Australian character that makes kindhearted, funny, responsible young men out for a few quiet drinks with their mates - I am quoting from their barristers here - suddenly want to cause physical harm to innocently promenading citizens?...there is something amiss in a society in which young men regard getting drunk as socially acceptable, indeed quite cool. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/australias-young-men-drowning-in-a-vat-of-tears-20140226-33iad.html#ixzz2uUPCuw74 ENVIRONMENT + ENERGY 26. Climate change must be politicised James Wight The urgent issue of global warming has gone cold and needs to put back on the political agenda, propelled into the headlines and made to be the hot topic [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/climate-change-must-be-politicised,6224 27. Tony Abbott’s scientific and business advisers at odds over climate change Lenore Taylor Chief scientist says it is not an illusion while head of PM’s business advisory group refers to ‘groupthink’... Tony Abbott’s top scientific and business advisers are at odds over the science of climate change with the chief scientist, Ian Chubb, strongly rejecting assertions that climate science is a “delusion” or a result of “groupthink”. Chubb said the scientific evidence for human-induced global warming was so overwhelming that those who reject it are usually forced to “impugn the messenger” with “stupid expressions like ‘groupthink’” or “silly” arguments that global warming is a “delusion”. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/27/abbotts-advisers-at-odds-climate-change?CMP=soc_568 28. Australia should cut emissions by 19 per cent to play fair role: Climate Change Authority report Tom Arup Australia should reduce emissions by 19 per cent from 2000 levels by the end of the decade – a significantly stronger target than the current pledge of a 5 per cent cut – to play its part in stopping dangerous global warming, expert advice to the government says. A review by the independent Climate Change Authority has also found Australia should then dramatically ramp up its efforts in the following decade through a target to cut 40 to 60 per cent of its emissions by 2030. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/australia-should-cut-emissions-by-19-per-cent-to-play-fair-role-climate-change-authority-report-20140227-33jim.html 29. Workers and bosses together could help reduce emissions: report Anna Patty Workplace agreements and consultation with employees could provide a “third way” to reducing carbon emissions in Australia, a new report has found. The report ... by the Centre for Workforce Futures at Macquarie University surveyed 466 big businesses and 216 government agencies around the country and found that only 6.7 per cent had clauses in their enterprise agreements dealing with climate change. It found that significant cuts in carbon emissions had been achieved in European countries when employers and employees were jointly involved in designing and delivering carbon emission schemes. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/environment/climate-change/workers-and-bosses-together-could-help-reduce-emissions-report-20140227-33krx.html 30. Australia's environment minister could soon be above the law Gregory McIntyre Earlier this month, a Senate inquiry paved the way for the Parliament to give Environment Minister Greg Hunt legal immunity against future legal challenges to his decisions on mining projects. If it passes… http://theconversation.createsend1.com/t/r-l-pdkfld-trhltityg-n/ ASYLUM SEEKERS 31. Time to live up to our refugee responsibilities Stewart West As a UNHCR signatory, Australia needs a humane regional strategy for processing asylum seekers. Labor and the Coalition believe incarcerating asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru is necessary to ''stop the boats''. They believe in savage and severe deterrents designed to destroy morale and create despair... This is brutal behaviour from the Australian government and opposition. We are signatories to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees convention. We have pledged to consider claims for asylum, but we have reneged on our responsibilities. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/time-to-live-up-to-our-refugee-responsibilities-20140226-33i9n.html 32. Let’s welcome New Australians Chris de Bono Recent events have been a cynical political windfall for the Abbott Government. Chris de Bono says it’s time to reframe how the nation perceives refugees [...] http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/lets-welcome-new-australians,6223 33. Refugee rage leaves us fenced in by fear Elizabeth Farrelly Say there was civil war here. Say some West Australian mining despot took power and began censoring news, jailing journalists, disappearing opponents. Say you were dragged from your bed, interrogated at midnight, your kids threatened with rape and torture. It's not so far fetched. Would you patiently wait your turn? Line up for a visa to Switzerland or the US? Or would you grab your kids and cash and hop in the first boat? http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/refugee-rage-leaves-us-fenced-in-by-fear-20140226-33i6r.html#ixzz2uUHCZclb 34. Where is the Outrage? John Kelly Ever since that day back in 2001 when the Norwegian freighter Tampa rescued asylum seekers from drowning and John Howard refused permission for them to disembark at an Australian port, the political landscape of our country changed. Because we the… http://theaimn.com/2014/02/27/where-is-the-outrage/ 35. Let no child who arrives in Australia ever suffer under this system again. Kaye Lee Ten years ago, the Australian Human Rights Commission released a previous report into children in immigration detention, when there were around 700 children in detention. Today, there are over 1000 children in Australian detention centres including unaccompanied minors sent off-shore. … http://theaimn.com/2014/02/27/let-no-child-who-arrives-in-australia-ever-suffer-under-this-system-again/ 36. Conroy right to highlight lack of transparency John Birmingham You do not want to live in a country where the military makes policy. But living in a country where the worst sort of people, the liars and scum and vicious misanthropes make policy, and where they use the armed forces of the nation not just to enforce that policy, but to surround it with the reflected aura of Anzac, that is not such a good thing. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/blogs/blunt-instrument/conroy-right-to-highlight-lack-of-transparency-20140227-33j6r.html 37. Manus Island violence: Fatal violence occurred after G4S guards went in, PNG report finds David Wroe and Sarah Whyte The violent clashes on Manus Island that left an Iranian asylum seeker dead happened after local G4S descended on protesting asylum-seekers, a preliminary police briefing has indicated. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/manus-island-violence-fatal-violence-occurred-after-g4s-guards-went-in-png-report-finds-20140226-33ii8.html 38. Where is the alternative to Manus Island cruelty? Rather than sit all but mute in the face of the Manus Island tragedy, an opposition with any quickness of wit might explore options, advance thoughtful policy proposals. For instance, it might seek to explore the balance being struck now between maritime interdiction - turnbacks and the like - and the deterrent effect of offshore processing. http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-27/green-where-is-the-alternative-to-the-cruelty-of-manus-is/5286260?WT.mc_id=newsmail OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Casablanca

28/02/2014 CASABLANCA'S CACHE. Friday, 28 February 2014. [b]Abbott Govt determined to punish and deceive.[/b] Posted above and at: http://www.thepoliticalsword.com/page/CASABLANCAS-CACHE-2014-02-26.aspx

Pappinbarra Fox

28/02/2014We'll researched and presented James. The truth is getting scarier.

Ad astra

28/02/2014James Wight Welcome to [i]The Political Sword[/i] as a new author. I look forward to further contributions from you. You have written a timely piece that exposes the thinly disguised contempt that Greg Hunt, Tony Abbott and many of his government have for the reality of anthropogenic global warming, and the science that underpins the warnings that climate scientists offer week after week. Although the Abbott government gives lip service to the reality of global warming and the ‘possibility’ that humans are contributing to it, although it insists that it has a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, its behaviour, which you describe in such impressive detail, belies this intent. Its actions portray a dangerous, even callous disregard for the welfare of our planet. Its rhetoric is perilously misleading. It builds on the skepticism that now exists in the electorate, whereas it should be warning it of the perils to life on earth that increasing emissions and rising global temperature pose. As has been suggested in other pieces on [i]TPS[/i], this behaviour equates with treason because it fails to alert the people to the existential threat of AGW. Its so called plan – its Direct Action Plan – has yet to make its appearance; we have heard nothing of the Green Army and its 20 million tree planting exercise. Climate experts doubt if it will ever be introduced, if it will do what it is purported to do if it were, and whether the targets will be adequate. Yet the government still insists it can avert climate change without a price on carbon (the carbon tax), the electorate goes along with this charade, and the train wreck that AGW poses continues on it devastating path. Your piece adds to the apprehension thoughtful people have about AGW. Thank you for heightening their trepidation.

Michael

28/02/2014Re just letting Abbott axe the 'carbon tax', it is, as I understand it, the entire suite of bills that he wishes to rescind. As part of the election Labor had already moved to remove the carbon price earlier than intended, to move on to the emissions trading scheme and associated practices as per the legislation. Abbott wants to nullify the lot. In short, he's lying again, by omission, when he talks about axing the 'carbon tax' as if that was his sole intention with regard to the entirety of the legislation of which carbon pricing is but a portion.

Ken

28/02/2014Well done James. Not only an exposition of Abbott and Hunt's attack on measures to reduce climate change but of the 'childish' way they went about it - trying to avoid scrutiny of their decisions. Yes, a sure sign of a grown-up government!

42long

28/02/2014Hopefully the liar deniers will be suitably exposed, but how much longer can we wait. Our name will be MUD with the rest of the world with this deceptive mob running this show for much longer. Their whole act is deception and spin. They do bugger all in governing the place. Tony the Destroyer. Of jobs decency proper process and accountability. Be fun to watch if it was fictional. Tony's facts are fiction but the damage is for real. People who don't think like his supports are starting to be set up as crims and the enemy of society. Pretty scary stuff this Goebbels type propaganda. We are in bad times indeed.

TalkTurkey

1/03/2014 Fair Go Country ‏@geeksrulz · 28m Rumour Morrison banned by Credlin from speaking to media after Freudian slip "Operation Sovereign Murder" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8pnnVwcPUU … #auspol

TalkTurkey

2/03/2014James, Welcome to The Political Sword, sorry our numbers are Down at the moment, but it's a sign of the times of course. It's hard to keep up the humour and the esprit de corps with people like this holding the whip hand, but never fear, We Are Here and when the poll is held up yonder We'll Be There Too. One *yonder* or t'other! Your article administers the final blow to any illusion we might have had about the Government's real agenda, to turn the Wide Brown Land into a Big Black Hole, and will do nothing to improve our level of sanguinity, but it does extend our level of knowledge as it also raises our level of anger - which is the silent powder for the shots we must one day fire to bring this dreadful government down. We must maintain, nay more, grow our rage to meet this new level of threat. We simply must. Last week the redoubtable Watermelon Man, David Horton entertained us with his[i] Green Parasols,[/i] telling us HOW these anti-people win elections. But your [i]Christmas Attack [/i]tells us WHY. In Orwell's [i]Nineteen Eighty-Four[/i], Winston writes in a secret diary - a highly illegal act in Oceania -the words,[i]I understand HOW: I do not understand WHY.[/i] In Chapter 3, with Winston now in the clutches of the Thought Police, O'Brien, his captor, torturer and rightthinkfulness corrector, explains it to him. http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/o79n/chapter3.3.html Power. Power and greed. Power, greed and hatred. The world can cook as far as these people are concerned. They will have aircon and [i]jambes de grenuilles [/i]to the end. But Comrades we are the cooking frogs, and unless we wake up and kick like mad we are all cooked. A splendidly, frighteningly lucid article James, to rouse us from our comfortable not-so-very-slow rise in global hotting. Thank you, do keep coming.

jaycee

2/03/2014I just finished reading Andrew Elder's latest piece on journalism.....it's interesting in that he makes very valid points, albeit to us political bloggers; stating the bleedin' obvious , as we were writing of such "bloviating" by the forth estate as long as he has been...and this is the point...: While the Fifth Estate and social media as a whole writes and reports and dissects and analyses so much information, it just seems to lack an "authoritve imprimateur" enjoyed of the printed media. So we get the "bloviating" buffoonery that is MSM. journalism, scribbling their spittle and drooling between snorting coke and sucking proprietor c#ck, yet get more consideration than multiple electronic reams of Fifth Estate analysis! It has to be a habit thing..we have seen again and again where social media has scooped and investigated and exposed the lies and corruption that wash through the broadcast spectrums of mobile phone/ broadband tranmissions, WAY before the mea culpas of BOTH the forth estate playing catch-up and the guilty parties playing cover-up! The Fifth Estate will soon have to be recognised as the leader in both investigation and reporting of news and events...the swift evolution of socially interconnectiveness in the social media of today..quite often between complete strangers on opposite sides of the world, is becoming uncontrollable by those establishment powers that would love to go back to the old days of "You just write the story..I'll supply the war" manipulation. If I can just say to those dinosaurs what was said by the youth of my day...'...your sons and your daughters are beyond your command...your old world is rapidly fading..." Now get out of the bloody way!

Ken

2/03/2014jaycee In the words of those days: Right on, man!

Catching up

2/03/2014The fact that Morrison has employed 66 people to peruse the web, tells us that we are indeed a force to be reckoned with. Yes, there job is to scan what is being said.

Bacchus

2/03/2014Speaking of 5th estate and journalism, a new online news service has just got off the ground. I think it's being run by Torin Peel (@torin on Twitter). This one will be interesting to keep an eye on - see how it develops: http://theinfinitive.com.au/ (Twitter -> @InfinitiveNews)

jaycee

2/03/2014Thanks Bacchus...have saved, have commented...will see.
How many oranges do I have if I have 3 oranges and take ONE away?