I didn’t know the federal Liberal Party had any policies until stumbling upon the ‘Real Solutions for all Australians’, released only a few weeks ago on January 27, 2013.
It’s a glossy 52-page brochure that includes ubiquitous images of boardrooms, hard-hats, baby-kissing, open-cut mining and veggie gardens. And its 15,750 word count has plenty of gushing rhetoric and motherhood statements, along with openly fascist phrases such as, ‘We need to address Australia’s growing workplace militancy.’
It’s basically an uncosted promise of a utopian life, free of pesky unions, lower taxes and wait for it – no carbon tax (it’s mentioned 26 times).
A slightly weird ‘Costed Fully Budgeted’ watermark stamp also appears throughout, obviously as an attempt to correct the seven billion dollar black-hole impression which is yet to be corrected.
It’s light on substance, bereft of big ideas and an all encompassing vision that reflects who we really are. But such is the state of current Australian politics. Anyway, the Mad Monk Abbott team also reckon the nation’s top priorities are more efficient government, building modern infrastructure and improving health and education services. Improving border security, manufacturing innovation, agriculture exports, world- class education and research are also featured as desirable outcomes for Abbott’s vision. But of course not a word on culture and arts.
To pay for it all, they unsurprisingly plan to boost mining exports to the rapidly growing Asian middle-class. Apparently it’s a golden opportunity to send them as much fossil fuels as they can choke on. ‘...estimates suggest that Asian demand could almost double our net energy exports over the next 20 years.’
And the answer to address our obscenly high carbon emissions and climate change complicity is to ‘establish a 15,000-strong Green Army to clean-up the environment.’ Presumably that means dole-bludging moochers will be asked to plant trees or something. What corporate suck-hole stupid fuckwits.
Achieving such ambitious prosperity goals, according to them, is to all but give up on curbing emissions. Their goal of five per cent by 2020 is far behind most other western countries, such as Spain, who in the last three months saw windfarms produce more electricity than any other source for the first time. The UK’s Guardian reports that the country remains on track to meet its goal of generating around 40 per cent of its electricity from renewables by 2020. So okay, Spain is an economic basket case. But if they can achieve that, the Liberals/Nationals obviously just don’t give a shit about future generations or don’t understand CO2.
While the federal Lib/Nat coalition is committed to a renewable target of 100 per cent ignorance, the federal Labor Party’s White Paper (found at www.ret.gov.au) provides the clearest indication yet that the mining industry owns both the major puppet parties.
‘Over the next two and a half decades,’ the exec summary proudly boasts, ‘Australia’s energy production is projected to more than double, largely due to export growth. We are the world’s largest coal exporter and third-largest uranium producer, and in future years will be the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter.’ Holy fuck.
Meanwhile, the Australian Conservation Foundation said this week that tax breaks for exploration and prospecting have increased from $320 million last year to $550 million this year, while accelerated depreciation for fossil-fuel-intensive assets is now costing the taxpayer a whopping $1.3 billion per year.
We have to remember here that it’s also the federal government’s bright idea to expand fossil fuels, not just the state.
But the federal government has a Clean Energy Future Plan, which claims has begun the ‘necessary long-term transition to a clean energy economy.’ Really? Does it have to be ‘long term’?
No. According to Beyond Zero Emissions’ Zero Carbon Australia Staionary Energy Plan (available at unimelb.edu.au), in ten years we could supply Australians with 100 per cent renewables, including baseload. The plan is based on information from the German Advisory Council on Global Change, and suggests wind and concentrating solar thermal (CST) with molten-salt storage as the two primary technologies.
The climate-change debate often gets muddled by idiotic denialists, but we’re past that now. Low-cost renewable technology will prevail because it is economically more viable.
Dr Karl Kruszelnicki reckons zero carbon is the go. I’d trust a scientist over yabbering idiotic denialists such as Andrew Bolt any day.
Remember the inconvenient Al Gore? He’s written a new book entitled The Future – Six Drivers Of Global Change, and was on Jon Stewart’s Daily Show last week (which you can only get here by paying for Murdoch’s Austar/Foxtel channels).
The two brought up the current global system which, as we all know, is inherently flawed. When Jon Stewart said capitalism was a ‘voracious overeater’, Gore launched into an interesting tirade.
‘We have two powerful tools to shape our future. One is democracy, the other is capitalism. And the alternatives to democracy have been tried and found to be disastrous. The alternatives to capitalism have also been not so great. Capitalism as we all know allocates resources efficiently, balances supply and demand, is more conducive with higher levels of freedom and it unlocks a higher level of human potential. But in spite of that, it
is now associated with market disruptions which are bigger and more frequent... Short-termism is one example.
‘Thirty years ago stocks were held on average for seven years. That was rational. And now it’s seven months. Here in New York and in London, 60 per cent of the trades on the stock exchange are now made by these algorithmic “flash trades” – it happens in milliseconds. That’s not really investing. So we have a flash crash where the market drops a thousand points and comes back again in 20 minutes and they have no idea why it is happening...’
‘Capitalism the way it currently operates needs to be reformed’, Gore says. ‘Our democracy has been hacked – it’s been taken over.
‘It no longer operates the way our founding fathers intended it to. Anonymous donors, big corporations, big money, might makes right... the lobbyist and special interest groups are now in control.
‘You can’t do anything without begging for permission and it’s time that we took our democracy back. And it can be done.’