The Culture Wars

The Liberal Party cultural wars are having a detrimental effect on the rest of us. Here are two examples.

Without rehashing old news, Australia had a functioning carbon pricing and emissions trading scheme around 5 years ago. It was canned by the Abbott government after mounting the mother of all scare campaigns about $100 lamb roasts and the town of Whyalla being wiped off the map. Abbott’s then Chief of Staff, now a member of the right-wing mafia that promotes their ideological claptrap on Foxtel’s Skynews after dark, admitted later that the scare campaign was exactly that, a scare campaign without any basis in fact.

The ALP recently launched its energy policy for the 2019 Federal Election. The framework of the policy was partly pinched from the Turnbull LNP Government — the ‘National Energy Guarantee’. It is probably clever politics however history tells us that this watered down ‘least-worst’ policy was formatted specifically to stand a chance of getting the legislation through the Liberal and National Party rooms, rather than the Parliament or even addressing some of the needs and wants of residential and commercial energy users. It didn’t get up because the usual suspects determined to change the Prime Minister instead. The ALP policy from years ago was a better mechanism for reducing carbon emissions as there is a direct correlation between emissions and cost — something business understands.

As the ALP policy was released, the posturing from the luddites in the LNP commenced again. As Katherine Murphy observed in The Guardian
The energy minister, Angus Taylor, by way of riposte, bunged on a high-vis vest, stood in front of a smelter in Tomago, and talked about Shorten having to nominate which burping cows he would cull, which, for a person of Taylor’s intelligence and technical expertise, must feel about as close as it comes to End Times.

We’ve been here before: the hyperbolic carry on, it’s all pretty tired.
The thing is that Taylor, as Energy Minister, should know better. More forms of renewable energy are being commercialised all the time. It wasn’t a ‘world first’ when the then ALP South Australian State Government chose to accept Tesla’s offer to construct a very large battery, connected to the electricity grid.

So, how did that work out? Pretty well actually, as we discussed in January this year. In fact it worked so well that Victoria purchased a couple of Tesla batteries last March. If Taylor still has any doubts, maybe he should talk to his South Australian party colleagues who took over the state government during the year.
The South Australian government will launch its Home Battery Scheme in October, which will offer South Australians subsidies of up to AU$6,000. In the wake of the government’s announcement, [Sonnen] the German storage provider has revealed plans to manufacture up to 50,000 battery storage units at the former Holden site in Elizabeth, creating hundreds of jobs.
Ooops! Clearly the truth isn’t getting in the way of this story. The issue is that reducing emissions of CO2 into the atmosphere is essential for our kids and grandkids — who at the current rate of environmental change (ignored by the LNP government) will be unable to live in a large part of Australia in decades to come. It could be worse — a number of Pacific Islands could disappear altogether! Now that is worthy of a scare campaign.

The dux of St James’s College in Brisbane’s inner-city Fortitude Valley graduated a week or so ago with a number of academic awards, high achievement in her Year 12 subjects as well as successful completion of two University level subjects while still at school. She wants to be a doctor and on the face of it, she has every right to believe she could be successful in attempting the demanding University course.

Except it won’t happen unless she can get a scholarship. The dux is a Sri Lankan asylum seeker, Soumi Gopalakrishnan, who arrived in Australia on a fishing boat around four years ago. The problem is that the LNP Government policy has determined that Gopalakrishnan and her family are here on asylum seeker visas. Asylum seekers are considered to be full fee-paying international students. Full fee students have to pay for their course (in this case over $100,000 per annum for the next five years) annually up front.

Gerry Crooks, the Principal at St James, said
"The school has obviously played a very significant part in getting them to where they are, but it's been a privilege for us. I think they've given the school far more than we could ever give them as a family,"
For the record, St James is a ‘Catholic Co-educational Secondary College in the Edmund Rice tradition’ and, as well as offering free education to Gopalakrishnan, provided a public transport card for travel to and from school. A day after ABC chose to publish the story of Soumi Gopalakrishnan, a number of people and organisations had offered to assist her financially to attend University.

In contrast, our narrow minded, mean and vindictive government, currently lead by Morrison, who proudly shows off his bizarre ‘I stopped the boats’ trophy to the media will happily look the other way when illegal immigrants arrive by plane and overstay their visa, which actually is a crime. He and his government apparently don’t have a problem in bullying and victimising for political purposes those who attempted to arrive or settle here over the past five years with the perfectly legal right to claim asylum according to the 1951 UN Convention signed by then Prime Minister and Liberal Party ‘demi-God’ Robert Menzies.

And there is still some doubt that anything Morrison did to ‘stop the boats’ had any effect in any case — the number of people who were prepared to attempt to arrive in Australia by boat was declining, months before Abbott and then Immigration Minister Morrison conceived ‘Operation Sovereign Borders’.

Yes, both the power generation wars and the drawn-out war on refugees are fear-based campaigns. Hopefully the Victorian State election plus recent byelections in Wentworth, Braddon, Longman and so on will give the conservative parties in Australia the final realisation that fear and scare campaigns that have stood them well since Menzies was warning about ‘reds under the bed’ are now useless. People clearly aren’t ‘buying’ the ‘Whyalla wipeout’ or refugees are all ‘gang members in the making’, preferring to support plans and visions for the future. Unfortunately (for the Liberal Party), sections of their ‘broad church’ are too involved in their own cultural wars to see the wood for the trees.

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The refugee flow slowed when Libya fell into chaos and a shorter route into Europe was made. These unfortunates, who were the victims of western empire games, were then able to try a shorter but easily just as dangerous route into southern Europe to escape from the violence inflicted in Africa and the Middle East.

For Scum-Mo to claim that he had any influence is pitiable.

I have two politicians and add 17 clowns and 14 chimpanzees; how many clowns are there?