Month: July 2022

Dear Prime Minister Albanese

Just before the opening of the 47th parliament I emailed the following letter to our newly-minted PM. Labor was after all largely elected because they promised much greater action on addressing the climate crisis, even if many of us want and expect more than the 43 per cent cut in emissions by 2030. That’s not enough and is also why we want and expect the PM to collaborate with the Greens and the teal independents to achieve a more realistic target and time-frame. For the sake of the planet – and our country – I hope he does.

“It’s true you’ve not wasted time since winning the May 21st election, and you’re to be congratulated on mending some fences with our international neighbours, but your approach to the climate change issue leaves a great deal to be desired.

Many of us were heartened and encouraged by your comments during the election campaign indicating your willingness to work collaboratively across the political spectrum to end the so-called ‘climate wars’.
So your latest, and may I say, somewhat belligerent, reported position is bewildering to say the least. It’s also deeply and distressingly disappointing. If Australia is to move forward from the pariah status it rightly earned under the Morrison government, immediate and meaningful action on climate is essential. There is literally no time to lose. Climate change isn’t some vague nebulous future threat to our country or the planet. It’s here. It’s arrived. Just like the 98 per cent of scientists warned us it would decades ago, and who begged us all to act. And to prepare. Now it’s very nearly too late. We’re in the middle of it. The evidence is here for all to see. Catastrophic floods, unprecedented bushfires, damaging winds and storms, and harsh droughts. All have increased in severity and frequency. And they will continue to do so. The physical impact on the land and the environment has been, is, and will continue to be, horrific. The social and economic impacts from the destruction of lives, homes, businesses, and health is immeasurable. And it will only get worse.

And then there’s COVID. Arguably also a symptom of climate change. The wilful and greedy mismanagement of our global environment has resulted in the emergence of serious diseases. Scientists warned us of this probability too. With the warming climate some of those diseases are now being experienced in many more regions, and affecting many more people. Australia is far from being immune to this threat.

And yet Mr Albanese, now you are Prime Minister, you no longer appear inclined to work collaboratively with those so-called ‘teal’ Independents, and the increased number of Greens MPs. You claim a mandate for your government that has a majority of two. Please remember Anthony, these Independents – and Greens – are MPs who were elected because voters in their electorates are demanding our federal government acts on climate change. And acts immediately. And that action MUST include a swift transition from the fossil fuel industry we know is a major cause of the climate mess we’re now dealing with.

Please remember those Independents and Greens secured a vote of a good 30 per cent of the national vote. Labor might have secured a slightly higher percentage of votes, but still in the 30s, with the Liberals/Nationals securing a total somewhere in between. Your majority therefore is slim and cannot seriously be described as a ‘mandate’.

For all our sakes, and those of future generations, please waste no more time. Climate change is above political ideologies. We expect you and your government to work with those ‘teals’ and the Greens, say no to more coal mines, to close existing ones as rapidly as possible, and ensure those working in mining communities are able to transition to the cleaner and greener employment opportunities in the renewable technology options that abound in this country.

There’s literally no time to waste.

Images courtesy of Pexels

Culling – or legal blood sport

Although not widely reported, Tasmanians were made aware last week that millions of the state’s wildlife was being legally killed. The details came to light because of a Right to Information request, submitted by the Tasmanian Greens, that sought specific details about the number of wildlife deaths as part of a parliamentary Budget Estimates Committee hearing. The shocking answer revealed that the government’s Property Protection Permit system allowed landowners and farmers seeking to reduce the damage to crops and vegetation from wildlife species, to slaughter upwards of two million animals and birds from 2019 to June this year.

I wonder if those figures would ever have come to light had that RTI request not been made.

One would think this sort of number would shock people to the core. That they would be horrified, appalled, angered and outraged at hearing about such carnage. From comments made on The Mercury newspaper’s website, and its Facebook page, a lot of people were not. Quite the opposite. They trotted out the usual responses about Tasmania being over-run with wildlife, and that a good kill – sorry cull – was essential. That farmers and landowners had every right to shoot wildlife that had the audacity to peck fruit or nibble on grain crops.

Of course farmers need to protect the crops that become the food we all eat, and nobody denies some mitigating measures are necessary, but shooting surely shouldn’t be regarded as the first or only one. It’s not as though alternative deterrents aren’t available, and could be implemented. The typical excuse is they are expensive and inconvenient and the result would be more expensive food. Shooting wildlife is therefore simpler and cheaper.

I’ve no idea what it is that makes some humans killers. Of anything. Sure, we are all guilty of reducing the population of blowflies, mosquitoes, European wasps, mice and rats, without thinking too deeply about it. They are pests to be sure, and can cause harm and disease. But to actively condone the massacre of wallabies, possums, wombats, black swans and native hens? That makes no sense to me when, as a nation, Australia has allowed so many of its iconic species to become extinct since European settlement. The most infamous of which in Tasmania of course is the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger

. Until relatively recently there were serious fears the Tasmanian devil would go the same way, but millions of dollars have been spent during the last 20-odd years to ensure its survival from the fatal facial tumour disease that has ravaged the species in the wild.

And that’s the thing. Millions of dollars and volunteer hours are spent caring for injured and orphaned wildlife so the disconnect between this attitude, and the wholesale slaughter that also occurs, is shocking.

So now here we are, endorsing the murder of many of Tasmania’s wildlife species, when so little is known about the importance they have for biodiversity, or even their overall population numbers. Not to mention their importance as a tourist attraction, one that both government and industry are happy to spruik in the promotional literature encouraging people to visit so they can enjoy the state’s unique wildlife experience.

Then, when people do visit Tasmania, they are horrified at the number of carcasses they see lining the state’s roads. Because in addition to the animals legally killed under the PPPs, there are reportedly an additional 500,000 roadkilled animals annually.

Tasmania likes to market itself as being ‘clean and green’. The sad truth is it’s anything but.