Doctor and activist

Barnaby Joyce may make more trouble for Labor

26 June 2021

There has been a lot of talk about how Barnaby will make trouble for the Coalition. The few progressives there who were trying to do things on Climate Change will have an even harder road. Basically the Government has taken the easy road of looking at short term changes to mining jobs, and pleasing the fossil fuel donors.

Whereas once politicians at least pretended to govern for everyone, now they unashamedly are only interested in their own voters and getting the best deal for them, never mind what the rest of the country does or gets.

I am reminded of a deal in the US where the armaments manufacturers were in the North  and the tobacco growers were in the South.  Both would have lost if there was a vote on their issue.  But when the armaments industry and the tobacco farmers made a pact to vote together, they always won.  So arms got huge budgets and tobacco got subsidies and no impediments from the health lobby. The consequences of this for the whole world were considerable.

So back here in Oz, Fitzgibbon is trying to get Labor to ‘go back to its roots’, which means chasing the dying jobs as they did in the forest industry.  It was a bad sign when the energetic and forward-looking Mark Butler was moved from the Energy portfolio. He had been the voice for sustainable development and renewable energy.  Labor sat unconvincingly on the fence, not wanting to offend those of us who saw action on Climate Change as their key responsibility, and doing a pathetic ‘me too’ to the supposed coal voters in the marginal seats.  The Liberal Lite trick will not work.  We are not impressed with the idea that we have to vote for them because they are marginally better than the Libs.

Labor has to get a policy to go to renewable energy and sustainable development.  There have been a plethora of templates with job opportunities in making and installing solar, wind and batteries.  No one has talked about pumped hydro.  Miners are not without skills in many areas, which would make them easier to re-skill than most. 

Morrison may have an early election.  The bad vaccine rollout makes Australia vulnerable to repeated lockdown, and this and an inability to travel will look worse as the vaccinated First World wakes up and moves before us.  Morrison will look bad in Glasgow at the Climate Summit late in the year.  Why not go now, with the current warm glow that there is not much COVID about and add a bit of a China scare?

This is suggested by Dennis Atkins in The New Daily, and the link to the Fran Kelly interview shows the skill with which Matt Canavan weaves the China scare into the need to keep the coal moving.  A lot of careful thought has been put into this hayseed strategy.  Labor needs to wake up, and the Greens need to have the strategy, even if Labor is smart enough to steal it.

Arthur Chesterfield-Evans

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