WHY THE GOVERNMENT’S REFORMS FAIL
THE ENVIRONMENT & THE COMMUNITY
Rather than strengthening our national environmental laws as is so desperately needed, the Government is in cahoots with the Opposition and big business to ram through reforms that will weaken them.
In the name of supporting business, by March 2013 the Australian government will be stepping back from its environmental responsibilities by handing these powers to the states.
For anyone involved in the great environmental campaigns that launched Australia’s conservation movement – saving the Franklin, or the Wet Tropics of Northern Queensland - the removal of the federal Government’s oversight is a terrifying prospect.
While the ALP needs to lift its game, don’t for a moment be fooled that Abbott and the Opposition are going to be better. In the recent swing to conservative state governments we’ve seen a return of cowboy practices – shooting and tourism developments in national parks, fast tracking of approvals process for destructive developments, slashing of environment departments and axing funding for critical environment programs.
Those who have read this blog over the years will know that Miss Eagle belongs in the category of Rusted-on Labor, more particularly that little known or recognised unregistered political party known as Rusted-on Labor that votes Greens. There are quite a number of us. We are by culture Australian Labor Party People. There was a time when our vote didn't deviate ... it was always Labor No. 1. However, over recent years we have become cheesed off, to put it mildly, with actions and policies of Labor. Some of us have actually gone so far as to join The Greens. Some of us don't. We are not Greens by culture. The Greens are not a true fit with us ROLs. When the chips have been down in recent times, I have given Labor my No. 1. To do a Labor Government in is something from which I resile.
We have a long way to go until the next election. Minds can still be changed. However, at this stage, even though the chips are down, a struggling Labor Government will not get my No. 1.
There are two huge moral issues over which I can't get to vote for Labor - over and above the failure to bring big business to heel on environmental matters.
- The reversion to John Howard policies on refugees ... with some added revulsions. Yes, Networkers, we are not only back into turning back the boats. If by some horrible chance an asylum seeker makes it to Australia by irregular means, they cannot bring their family members to Australia. Australia has had a policy of excluding some classes of people or another since white settlement in 1788. We continue to broaden the categories of exclusion.
- Taxpayers money, as in the Howard days and continued under Rudd and Gillard, will continue to flow to wealthy private schools. ROLs believe taxpayers money should go only to public schools. However, this went out the window in the Menzies era. So some of us ROLs could get around, grudgingly, the idea of funding private low-fee school systems. But not one of us could get our heads around funding Geelong Grammar and Riverview. To siphon off educational funds to elitist private schools means dollars not spent in areas of great and grave disadvantage. I thought Gillard's statement this week sounded Thatcher-esque with one major element missing. She didn't mention vouchers. My guess is that will come one way or another, in one form or another, without the precise name.
And then there is the environment. How much better is the Australian Labor Party than the Liberal National Party states bent on lowering environmental benchmarks and attitudes within and to Australia's National Parks.
These are the headline issues. One could list others.
The simple but not so simple matter is that Australia has to have a different approach. The Australian Labor Party has become quite Menzian. As it has moved to the right, the Liberal Party of Australia has moved to the far right. Moderate Liberals have been disendorsed or fail to gain endorsement. Those who do manage to get through have to adopt a very careful persona. Racism was apparent in the Howard days - including the leader himself. Abbott has introduced a bullying and uncivil discourse into Australian public life. What if we can't put this mad and bad genie back in the lamp? Stand back and watch a nation take up arms a-la the USA?
So, at this stage of electoral cycle, it looks like Green No. 1 for Miss Eagle. And here is some Greens reading matter below...