Saying I no longer intend to cheat, does not merit applause
It is all very well for the Prime Minister to brush off his failure to gain a speaking role at the Glasgow global warming summit as inconsequential, but it is far from that and a serious slap in the face. The reality is that the Prime Minister and his government have scored a D minus in one of the most important challenges facing the global community this century. The result of this D minus is that the rest of the world concludes we are pariahs with nothing worth saying or hearing.
Mr Morrison you have failed even by your own benchmark. You have said you will not be dictated to by voices external to Australia but will be answerable to Australians alone. Well, good! The facts of the matter are that between 60% and 70% of Australians have made it clear they want a far more stringent response to climate change and carbon emission reductions than you are prepared to make. No Mr Morrison you have made it clear you are not accountable to Australians either. To whom are you accountable? Presumably, it is your friends in the mining industry whose financial interest are expected to be diminished in the transition to renewable energy.
Mr Morrison you have failed those currently employed in the mining industry, more specifically the coal mining industry. I spent eight happy and productive years in the Hunter Valley at the start of the mining boom. Prior to this the valley flourished on its dairies, equine industries, and vineyards. It is facing the next inevitable transition and desperately needs energy and investment in new industries based around a carbon neutral economy. In maintaining your position against all the economic evidence to the contrary, you are denying these women and men a smooth transition commencing now, leaving them with the prospect of falling off a cliff in the foreseeable future. This is both cruel and unnecessary. We know coal is in decline. We know there will never be another coal fired power station. We know Liddell is closing. We know Bayswater will not continue indefinitely. Why are you leaving these employees directionless when they could begin to be excited about a future as equally prosperous as the past, without the ugliness in which the valley is now being left.
Mr Morrison you have failed the scientists. The science of global warming has been clear for decades. Strategies to meet the challenge have also been clear. Because of governmental policy failure over decades there is now one major change. It is that the challenge is now infinitely more demanding than it need have been, the seriousness of the situation much more acute, and the cost of action now far more expensive.
Mr Morrison you have failed your two daughters, indeed all children who face a monumental task if their world is not to be a shadow of the world we have been accustomed to enjoy. It is no wonder that children are taking the lead in demanding action. I hope the action currently before the courts, taken by children who claim government inaction is stealing their future, is successful.
Mr Morrison you are failing the Australian economy. By now we should have been well down the track in the development of new industries and new exports such as liquid hydrogen. You may think you are doing the right thing by protecting current sources of budgetary income, but the reality is you are failing to build strong foundations for the economies of the future which Australia is more than capable of leading.
Mr Morrison you are failing our neighbours in the Pacific. How you can attend meetings with fellow Islander leaders without severe embarrassment I do not know. You know as well as I do that certain Islander nations are already in real peril.
Mr Morrison you are failing the conservative tradition. A true conservative is one who wishes to conserve, who wants to protect culture, values, traditions, resources that are meritorious. Are you a conservative only in the sense that you wish to protect what is held in private hands? Our most precious commodities are common and protecting them is the solemn duty of those who govern.
Mr Morrison you have said the most sacred duty of government is to keep its people safe. The greatest exponential threat facing Australians this century is climate change. We are already reaping some of its fury. We are sadly on the threshold of a new normal, and not a pleasant one. If you seriously believe you have a duty to keep us safe, then you are bound, by weight of office, to act.
Above all Mr Morrison you are failing the total environment upon which we all depend for our wellbeing. In Covid you and the Premiers wisely concluded that putting health first was the best way of shoring up the economy. Put the economy first and both health and economy would collapse.
Why you cannot see the same parallel with climate change is beyond me. Human economic activity is utterly and completely dependent upon the health and balance of the natural environment. We have no resources other than those that are drawn from the natural order. Prioritise the environment and long-term economic health will be protected. Ignore the health of the environment and the very foundations of civil society will ultimately crumble.
Mr Morrison, it is not at all surprising that you have been denied a voice at the table. You have nothing to say, nothing worthwhile to offer. It is reported that what you wanted to say was that Australia will not depend upon its Kyoto credits to meet its 2030 target. In school, students are not considered meritorious simply because they announce they are not intending to cheat. A much more significant ambition is being called for.
In one sense federal energy and climate policy is increasingly irrelevant. The States are taking the lead. Farmers are taking the lead. Ordinary householders are taking things into their own hands. The business council is setting ambitious targets. But on the other hand, the national government should not be irrelevant. We look to you to lead, set a standard, stretch our ambitions.
Why you continue to fail us I simply do not understand.