A Political Environment

Al Gore was so on to it.

Do you remember when ‘Inconvenient Truth’ first came out? Were you not moved by the raw stats in that film, by the stark reality of what we were facing, of the increasing body of evidence that we are heading for an environmental maelstrom if we don’t stop dragging our heels?

That was 2006. And I know – I’m opening a political can of worms here – but what followed was a brief period of awareness, of awakened inertia, of disrupted political apathy, as the collective world looked up and, for just a moment, said, “Shit, what are we doing here?”

Therein followed a sad tale of inept Labour policies, of pink batts and a government broken by internal squabbling, and the inevitable backlash of coal-pushing counter-argumentative documentaries like ‘Not Evil Just Wrong’ and ‘An Inconsistent Truth’. And after this, the next government, headed by a Rhodes Scholar, whose chosen sport was boxing. I think maybe he took too many hits to the head.

While we drag our own environmental feet in a quagmire of embarrassment – our prime minister announcing ahead of the meeting of the most powerful leaders of the world that jobs and growth are more important than the climate – the rest of the world does something about it. Obama signs an agreement with the Chinese, putting emissions targets in place. The United Kingdom drops their own emissions by 25%. His own political heroes, the Tories, politely label Abbott as a flat-earther.

And then our own prime minister spent his opening address at the leaders retreat about a carbon tax and a $7 GP co-payment, whilst ensuring that the environment remained off the agenda. It was like listening to a man complaining about his Manolo Blahniks not being suitable for bushwalking to a homeless man. No, to the President of the United States. Even more ridiculous. Oh, hang on, he was there! Embarrassing, Tony…

And then, on the weekend, an old Mannix Collegian, Dan Andrews became the first opposition leader to oust a single term government in sixty years. Analysts level a significant part of this disaster at the federal government’s performance, and that of our out-of-touch leader, good ol’ Tony.

So what do I see when I open the front page of ‘The Age’? “Prime Minister Tony Abbott is determined to deliver the defeated Napthine Government’s signature East West Link project, despite Labour’s pledge to dump the road.”

Dan must just be licking his lips.

Is this man completely mad? He’s in politics, right? He has advisors who are still alive? And do they not see the political writing on the wall? Do they not give him a nudge – and we all know that nudging Tony would be a dangerous pursuit, given his history of violence – but still, surely it’s their job to quietly inform him that the G20 was a debacle, and that he looked like a total Wally, spouting rubbish about stopping illegal boats to leaders who are dealing with the same problem with far more grace?

Does he not know that the Victoria Liberals just got voted out, at least in part because of their decision to push the East West Link?

It’s increasingly clear from this post that I’m no Abbott fan, but I always took him for a shrewd and clever politician. Is he completely blind to public sentiment? Can he not see the shift?

What do you think of the government’s performance on climate? Does it make your blood boil too? Were you embarrassed by G20? Are you actually a closet political animal – as I clearly am – who tries to stop from reading the paper because you would prefer to spend your energy on your family? Do you find our current leaders as uninspiring as I do? Where’s Gough? Where’s Malcolm (Fraser, not Turnbull)? Where are Bob and Paul?

Please let me know. I didn’t honestly know that this post was there for the hatching. This was meant to be an-altogether-different post about our new solar panels. But that’ll have to wait.

My spleen clearly needed an Abbott cleansing.


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