As CEO of Metgasco, you have once again proclaimed a ‘fuck you’ attitude towards northern rivers residents.
Thank you for the clarity. A least we know your intention is to push ahead with mining this area despite deep and wide- spread public resistance, as demonstrated at the Bentley site outside Lismore.
Unfortunately, it’s a clarity that the NSW minister for the north coast, Don Page, has been unable to share. He still won’t say if he supports your activities or the farmers that will be affected.
Regardless, I do take umbrage to the false and misleading claim on Metgasco’s website that NSW is ‘running out of gas’.
Australian Energy Regulator’s (AER) State of the energy market 2012 says domestic demand for the state is not increasing.
It’s tiresome to address these lies over again – if we protect the domestic supply there will be no problems other than the smoking ruin that you leave in your wake. It just goes to show how powerful the mining lobby is, huh?
I do however support one lofty ideal on your website: ‘to supply the gas to local industry in the north east corner of NSW before sup- plying gas to the broader eastern coast energy market.’
Such benevolence could extend to actually doing your toxic business elsewhere. After all, Australia is a big place and it’s quite easy to get lost in. Or better still, perhaps you could repurpose your corporation for the inevitable renewables take-over?
Anyway, the intention to mine a region that boasts world-class farm produce and tourism is simply an act of war, regardless of what- ever weak legislation and politicians are in place.
In conclusion, I will not give credibility to the insane premise that the expansion of your industry is acceptable in light of clear evidence that suggests it’s stupid.
The US fossil fuel industry has released an almost identical film to Gaslands, called Truthlands.
With all the folksy charm and clumsy camera work of Gaslands, it features typical rural ‘mom’ Shelly, who wants to find out the ‘truth’ after being frightened by the claims made in Gaslands.
So she takes a road trip and interviews ‘experts’ that assure her that drilling metres from your home is just tickety-boo.
Footage of gas wells was suspiciously absent, as were interviews with anyone who is adversely affected by natural-gas drilling close to their home. Their message? Gaslands is full of innuendo and misconceptions. Okay, fracking is not perfect; the companies can do better with safety, but we like our standard of living. So, boo-hoo to director Josh Fox for instilling fear into us simple folk.
Gaslands II, on the other hand, picks up where the first left off, and delves deeper into corporate ownership of politics, the effects fracking has had on right-wing leaning conservative rural families, (the nose bleeds, headaches, rashes, the plummeting property prices), the corrupt EPA publicly approving polluted drinking water in Dimock but telling residents off the record it isn’t safe… and the earthquakes. Oh and there’s allegations of gas companies using PSYOPs as part of their PR strategy. We are told this happens despite US federal law forbidding the military from using it on US civilians (PSYOPs is propaganda and psychological techniques).
As with any war, truth is an innocent bystander that is annihilated first. In Gaslands II, Lock The Gate’s Drew Hutton is named as founder of the Greens Party. Regardless, the stakes keep getting higher as industry and governments desperately hold onto the insane narrative of a fossil-fuel future. Is there any comfort that we already know this? Gaslands II will be a highlight of the Byron Bay International Film Festival, to be held from February 28 to March 9.
Hans Lovejoy, editor
It’s common knowledge that to get to the front bench in modern politics, it helps to be privately educated and a lawyer. Other prerequisites may or may not include willingness to cut the throat of your opponents and sell your offspring. So, who is the biggest psychopath? Let’s find out…
TONY ABBOTT – Minister for woman’s issues and presumably the PM.
Safe electorate of Warringah on Sydney's North Shore.
Likes flat earths, God, misogyny and sport, especially bicycles and swimming.
As a Rhodes Scholar he studied politics and philosophy and got ‘a solid second’, according to The Guardian. But by most accounts he mostly played sport and honed his bullying skills at Oxford.
A Rhodes Scholar, by the way, is not such a hard gig to get. It’s part of a production line for ‘world leaders’ established by British imperialist Cecil Rhodes. Toned Abbs is proof that connections are more important than ability.
Doesn’t like media, the climate, accountability, transparency, round earths, scientists, gays, fact and reason.
Ironically was a boat asylum seeker himself and wants them stopped. Abbs is clearly the worst example of a ‘leader’ this nation has ever seen.
WARREN TRUSS – Deputy prime minister, minister for infrastructure and regional development.
Electorate of Wide Bay, Queensland (includes Noosa, Gympie). Office in Maryborough
Ex-Kingaroy farmer and councillor, Truss is often mistaken for a wardrobe or hatstand. He can also easily camouflage himself against beige wallpaper, making it hard for predators to spot him. Just slashed $150,000 in Byron Shire infrastructure funding last week and it’s fair to say more is to come.
JULIE BISHOP – Foreign affairs minister.
Division of Curtin, Western Australia. North of Fremantle and Eastern beach suburbs of Perth
As a corporate lawyer in the 1980s, she represented mining company CSR and tried to stop dying asbestos victims getting compensation in what remains Australia’s greatest single industrial disaster. An estimated 1,000 people died who were living and working near the mine at Wittenoom, WA. Now minister for foreign affairs, she is contributing to the decline of Australia’s international reputation. She’s divorced, childless and the only woman in Toned Abbs’s cabinet. Nickname: ‘Token Deathstare’.
ERIC ABETZ – Minister for employment, minister assisting the prime minister on the public service.
Tasmanian senator located in Hobart
Eric Abetz was born in Germany, migrated to Tassie then studied law. After that he spent roughly ten years in obscurity before politics.
Fun fact: Eric Abetz is the great-nephew of SS-Brigadeführer Otto Abetz, Nazi ambassador to Vichy France from 1940 to 1944.
GEORGE BRANDIS QC – Attorney-general, minister for the arts.
Queensland senator based in Brisbane
The Liberals are not known for their sense of humour, empathy, imagination or love of the arts, and Brandis is no exception. But there is comedic value in that he is minister for the arts; he said on ABC TV’s Q&A last year that he doesn’t even listen to music.
He’s also a Queen’s counsel (QC), which is slightly higher up the lawyer food-chain. He developed a large law practice in the mid 1980s specialising in trade practices law, and then in 2003 made a 20-minute speech describing the Green party as Nazis.
And Brandis likes a rort: it was revealed in 2011 that he had billed the taxpayer for attending the wedding of Sydney radio shock-jock Michael Smith. Possibly dangerous, so maintaining eye contact is recommended, although staring into the soulless vacuum of psychopathy is not advised. Best to avoid.
JOE HOCKEY – Treasurer.
Treasurer Hockey is of Armenian and Palestinian decent, a Roman Catholic and a republican.
Electorate of North Sydney
Given that his heritage comes from an oppressed minority, one would expect him to have more empathy for people trying to escape persecution. Prior to public office he completed an arts-law degree, then became a banking and finance lawyer of no considerable note. This Sydney-sider has been in public office since 1996, loves rugby union and bashing the public service.
Enjoys strip-mining public assets and denying essential services for the poor and disadvantaged.
BARNABY JOYCE – Minister for agriculture.
Electorate of New England (Armidale, Tenterfield etc). Office in Tamworth
Pardon me, Joyce, is that another taxpayer-funded event you attended? This high profile Nationals MP can sometimes be mistaken for an iguana.
After he studied commerce, he became an accountant and is now minister for agriculture and public rorts.
Though never short of an opinion or colourful metaphor, I recall he didn’t want to answer my direct question on whether he supports government accreditation of the the renewable industries.
Currently, renewable industries such as solar, wind and hydro are regulated by fossil fuel companies. What could possibly go wrong?
One redeeming feature is that he’s crossed the floor 19 times (ie disagreed with his own party), but alas, he’s best mates with Gina Rinehart. Was ridiculed for his economic thesis, but told me he still stands by it.
CHRISTOPHER PYNE – Minister for education.
Division of Sturt, inland next to Adelaide
After he graduated with a diploma of legal practice he became a solicitor in 1991, but then was elected to public office in 1993.
And while that made him the youngest current member of the Australian parliament, it also makes him one with the least amount of real-life experience.
Pyne is a Roman Catholic and republican, likes ice-cream and is easily distracted by bright colours. Also a big fan on the war on drugs, Broadway musicals and the sound of his own voice.
NIGEL SCULLION – Minister for Indigenous affairs.
Nigel is a NT senator and was a fisherman before joining the Country National Party. Wait, what? Where’s the law degree? Represents Australia’s largest federal electorate boundary: The Northern Territory.
IAN MACFARLANE – Minister for industry.
Division of Groom, west of Brisbane. Includes Toowoomba
This Kingaroy-born National now lives in Toowomba and likes to drill, baby, drill.
Known for his raspy voice, ability to cut red tape and make babies cry, he relishes the job of convincing farmers that plonking drilling rigs on their property is ‘co-existing’.
KEVIN ANDREWS – Minister for social services.
Menzies electorate: City of Manningham, spreading along the Yarra River from Bulleen to Wonga Park, in Melbourne. Office in
As a former Howard government Liberal MP, Andrews has a long history of racism and bigotry. He implemented the controversial WorkChoices labour market reforms, revoked on character grounds the visa of Dr Mohamed Haneef and cut Australia’s refugee intake from African nations in 2007.
This Victorian ex-barrister is a Roman Catholic and is a member of the Lyons Forum, a socially conservative Christian faction within the God-fearing coalition. God help us.
MALCOLM TURNBULL – Minister for communications.
Division of Wentworth, eastern beach suburbs of Sydney
Bob Brown told me once, ‘there are two things you can see from outer space: the great wall of China and Malcolm Turnbull’s ego’.
And well, why not. He was far richer than anyone else in parliament until Clive Palmer and has also done much more than the rest; from representing high-profile personalities as a lawyer to inventing the internet. He’s also been a journalist, investment banker and venture capitalist.
And while he appears politically centrist, don’t be fooled.
Like his colleagues, he wants to sell Australian land and companies to overseas corporations and embraces global free market fanaticism at the expense of nation building.
He had a hard time defending his inferior broadband network, but to his credit looks awkward and uncomfortable next to everyone else in the cabinet. They’re all idiots, aren’t they, Malcolm?
Roman Catholic, republican and spoonfed.
SCOTT MORRISON – Minister for stopping immigration and border protection.
Electorate of Cook in South-eastern Sydney. Office in Cronulla
Don’t ask questions about asylum seekers or our concentration camps – I won’t be answering them.
Look over there, there’s an adorable cat on the internet. Isn’t X-Factor on?
Scott Morrison will hopefully, at one point, be tried for crimes against humanity.
Ironically his background is actually tourism – after receiving an honours degree in applied science at NSW Uni for economics and geography, he then went on to be managing director of Tourism Australia. Now contributes to Australians’ reputation as bigoted arrogant thugs.
GREG HUNT – Minister against the environment.
Division of Flinders in Victoria. Includes outer southern suburbs on the Mornington Peninsula including Dromana, Hastings and Portsea.
Enjoys wrecking the climate for future generations through rigorous debate.
Okay, so he’s another lawyer, having graduated from Melbourne Law School with first class honours as well as Yale University. Hunt was adviser to the odious South Australian Alexander Downer before being elected as member for Flinders in 2001.
He confused everyone when he said recently he uses Wikipedia to source information – high school students would be ridiculed for such stupidity.
Bravo, well played.
PETER DUTTON – Minister for health, minister for sport
Electorate of Dickson, Qld. North-western suburbs of Brisbane, including Albany Creek, Kallangur and Strathpine.
This Liberal Queenslander was a cop for nine years, working on the drug squad in Brisbane.
He then studied business in 1991 but then five years later became a pollie. And he’s just 42 years old.
BRUCE BILLSON – Minister for small business.
Electorate of Dunkley. South eastern outskirts of Melbourne; it includes the suburbs include Frankston, Frankston North, Frankston South, Langwarrin, Langwarrin South, Mt Eliza, Mornington and Seaford, and parts of Baxter and Skye.
This bureaucrat turned pollie entered politics in 1996 and was educated at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. He worked at Hastings Shire Council as a ‘manager of corporate development’ before being an adviser to Victorian Minister for natural resources, and then policy adviser to the shadow minister for the environment, Rod Kemp.
ANDREW ROBB AO – Minister for trade and investment.
Electorate of Goldstein is in inner city bayside Melbourne. It extends from Elsternwick on the north, Beaumaris in the south, the Frankston railway line in the east and Port Philip Bay in the west.
Andrew was a power-broker behind the scenes before emerging as a political contender. As federal director and campaign manager for John Howard in the 1996 federal election campaign, he helped overthrow Keating and then settled us in for a 13-year run of being relaxed and comfortable.
As a youngster, Robb gained an economics and agricultural science degree from Victoria’s La Trobe University, and has sat on many corporate boards. He’s a Roman Catholic and has a history of suffering from depression, which may or may not be related.
DAVID JOHNSTON – Minister for defence.
This little-known Liberal senator from Western Australia graduated in law in 1979 and then became a barrister in Kalgoorlie and Perth. His area of expertise, according to himself, is criminal, mining, native title and administrative law. He entered politics in 2001
MATHIAS CORMANN – Minister for finance.
The WA Liberal senator and lawyer joined the party in 2007 and became an Aussie after migrating from Belgium. Roman Catholic and only 43.
Note: this article has been amended from print to include electorates and which state the senators come from.
The small spotlight that shone on fossil fuel investment by the four big Australian banks last week was a reminder that catastrophic environmental destruction is a cornerstone of western economic success.
Although from a public relations point of view, divestment campaigns make great copy.
And maybe that’s all that’s needed to get a wider movement started towards realistic renewable targets.
The latest push to divest from companies that are heavily involved with fossil fuels comes from Bill McKibben, who is the founder of grassroots climate campaigning organisation 350.org.
He told The Guardian that a recent Oxford University study claims it’s the fastest growing divestment movement in history.
The most important thing, he says, is getting the analysis out into the ‘information bloodstream’.
‘Most of the carbon in the world has to stay underground,’ he says. ‘The analysis has now spread to the point where the World Bank, the International Energy Agency, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and just about everybody else has said that we have to leave at least two-thirds of the carbon we know about underground.’
And while the current knuckle-dragging Liberal/National government wants big polluters to help themselves to public funds for vague climate change solutions, economists think otherwise. Fairfax Media reported last week that after a poll of 35 prominent Australian economists that they almost universally back an emissions trading scheme (ETS) over Toned Abb’s ‘direct action policy’ on climate change.
It’s either good or bad news: the NSW Environmental Defender’s Office (EDO) was thrown a cash lifeline by the federal government last week after the state government, with pressure from the mining sector and News Ltd, cut some of its funding late last year.
The EDO is a small team of lawyers, with offices in Sydney and Lismore, which examines government policy and represents and advises the public in environmental law cases.
So re-instating their operational costs is good news if you value free speech and a differing opinion.
But as reported in News Ltd’s The Australian, it’s bad news.
Its Friday July 5 headline, ‘Boost for anti-coal body shows Labor knows how to alienate its heartland,’ can be found amid stories spruiking new mining projects.
According to corporate shill journalist Chris Merritt, Hunter Valley coalminers should reject Labor because they are now funding the EDO, which ‘advises those who want to destroy their industry.’
In contrast to News Ltd, the ABC reported at the time of the funding slash that there was ‘an angry backlash in the Hunter Valley’ over the EDO cuts. So which media outlet offers less spin?
Bulga-Milbrodale Progress Association vice-president, John Krey, told ABC that without the EDO’s help, mining expansions such as the Mount Thorley-Warkworth mine will continue unabated. ‘We could not, as a community group, afford to run and pay full fees for legal teams to run our case.’
Meanwhile NSW resources minister Chris Hartcher told The Australian late last year there’s a ‘left agenda to destroy the economy.’
Politics aside, if the mining industry were prevented from dictating Australia’s economic growth and we adopted best practice sources of renewable energy already available, our economy and environment would be in much better shape. Preventing the fossil fuel industry from regulating the renewable sector would be a start. It should be noted that our local NSW MP, Don Page, appeared to have no interest in fighting against his government’s cuts to the EDO.
The $2 million dollar rail study into this region is a failure because its terms of reference do not mention peak oil, climate change, food security or the intelligent design that rail offers.
And MP Don Page obviously carries little weight in parliament – he told ABC radio last year that he would ask for a broader environmental scope but somehow that was ignored.
The study provides answers the government was looking for: more roads. It’s a rail study that looks like it was written for the fossil fuel dependent freight industry.
So while the fossil fuel dependent freight industry move almost everything about, including food, why did this report not mention any of the environmental and social benefits of rail?
Wilfully concentrating transport options could perhaps be considered treasonous in more informed and engaged societies.
Interestingly, the government report alluded to this region as being home to a bunch of welfare dependent moochers.
It says accessibility and mobility needs, ‘are not primarily driven by economic growth, but by a large and increasing dependent population needing regular access to services.’
Perhaps we should instead blame ourselves for not breeding enough to create a consumer economic need. Or for not developing this region as fast as Queensland.
Light commuter rail between towns is in the best interests of this Shire, not ‘tourist trails’. It would create instant economic stimulation, and apart from easing traffic burdens, the greatest gains from trains would be in ensuring food security, self dependence and resilience.
Where are the vision and balls in current political governance? Was it ever there? Maybe the last future vision was when then- premier of NSW Sir Henry Parkes arrived by train to make his famous federation speech in Tenterfield. It was a speech that set in motion the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia.
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.
Since Australia swapped riding the sheep’s back for coal trucks, enormous PR budgets and legislation became necessary to protect resource extraction revenue and quell dissent. Indeed it takes mass collective hypnosis to convince ourselves that the planet should continue to be polluted with fossil fuels when renewable technology is available.
An interesting hiccup in that unevolved narrative was activist Jonathan Moylan’s prank on the NSW coal industry last week; governments and corporations appear confounded and have yet to figure out what to do about his actions.
He faked a press release from ANZ to highlight the bank’s complicity and investment in destroying the Leard State Forest, west of Armidale, for mining profits. The result was it temporarily wiped $314 million off Whitehaven Coal shares, which is an ANZ investment.
While the government was quick to seize his computer and mobile phone, why haven’t charges been laid? It’s because legal precedent is yet to be established on such activity, Crikey’s Sally Whyte reports.
‘According to Associate Professor Keturah Whitford at the Australian National University’s College of Business and Economics, Moylan could be charged under Section 1041E [of the Corporations Act 2001], but could also face civil action from stakeholders under Section 1041H of the [Corporations] Act. There isn’t an Australian precedent to foreshadow the likelihood of conviction or possible sentences. Whitford says it’s “hard to predict sentencing, but the extent of damage including losses to investors would be taken into account and the fact that he wasn’t personally profiting”.’
Moylan’s inventive media activism is somewhat similar to that of the Yes Men, who use parody and satire to highlight psychopathic corporate behaviour. In the long term, the fossil fuel industry will lose the battle against renewables simply because renewable energy provides a means of production. It’s a simple economic premise not even relevant to environmental destruction.
And in case this all sounds too whacky, James Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, said in 2008: ‘CEOs of fossil-energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.’
Well said, can’t wait, bring it on.
The climate change debate has reached biblical proportions. What that means is that it’s now pursued with religious fervour,
and often teeters on the evangelical. Climate change is so divisive it means that emotions run high, so let’s call it being enviromotional. With a topic this complex it is no surprise; climate science can never be definitive, nor can sceptics claim to know any better. This was demonstrated on last Thursday’s Q&A and climate change documentary on ABC TV. Environmental campaigner Anna Rose and former Liberal science minister Nick Minchin travelled the globe – chalking up carbon emissions – to see if they could change each other’s minds on the climate. They presented each other with who they considered experts on the topic.
Minchin won the enviromotional award: some of his camp appeared both aggressive and suspicious. Perth-based sceptics Jo Nova and David Evans even employed their own cameraman to film the ABC for fear of being misrepresented.
While at least both sides agree the Earth is warming, the difference of course is whether or not it is man-made. But does it even matter? The real point is about economics. Minchin says there is no empirical evidence and that climate change policies will have enormous implications for the resource sector. He says Australia has an economic advantage because of ‘our access to cheap reliable coal’. He wants nuclear and coal-seam gas fracking too, presumably because it will meet our energy needs and will give us a job.
This argument is between those who believe economic salvation lies in free-market practices, whether they be renewable or not, and those who want our species to adapt to less-polluting energy sources.
Interestingly Rose claimed the people that Minchin introduced to her were almost all connected to the US conservative think tank, the Heartland Institute, which is funded largely by big oil and tobacco.
From Q&A’s panel discussion, the prediction was made that both the US and China believe that coal will be more expensive to produce than solar energy in only a matter of years. Another is that base-load energy (ie coal and nuclear) is now achievable from geo- thermal solar.
Questions that could have been asked include why can’t Australia develop base-load energy from geo-thermal solar right now, like other countries. It would sure go a long way in helping those who are facing a huge increase to their heating bills this winter.
Then there will be no need for dirty and dangerous coal or nuclear. One assumes it will take a while because of that great elusive rare earth commodity: leadership.