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What ever happened to climate change in Australia?

By David Leigh - posted Thursday, 16 January 2014

In the lead up to the last election, climate change was part of usual rhetoric that politicians espouse, along with the many other championed causes. It was either about the Clean Energy Fund, fueled by the Carbon Tax and by the Labor camp, or it was about not believing the science from the Liberals. Actually, that is far from liberal open-mindedness, when you think about it.

Either way, the airwaves were full of discussion about the biggest threat to humanity of all time. Now, as we find ourselves 6-months into Abbott's Australia, there is little or no discussion. First he attempted to silence the reporting body by removing its funding, as though stopping talk would make it all go away. Now, even the Labor opposition remains quite on the subject. Only the Greens appear to understand that it won't abate, although the Green focus seems to be snagged temporarily on asylum seeker wellbeing. Incidentally, that is another subject that seems to have gone away since the reporting stopped.

Despite having just had the hottest year on record and every monthly Australian record being broken and with the US having an unprecedented cold snap with temperatures below –34c the subject has conveniently gone quiet. This of course suits the big end of town, because climate change is expensive to mitigate. They should also realize it is far more expensive to ignore.


Australia is still locked in the same old political cycle of red team, blue team and the policies of the current blue team - if you can call them policies – seem focused only on the next 3-years. It is a far cry from the time of independents like Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, where governance was about policy not dogma and it was advocated that a new form of political structure would be formed, based on the needs of the community and not the party.

That seems to have abated also, just like climate change.

This first year of Liberal government appears dull and uninteresting, rather more about destroying the work of the previous government, than of building anything constructive. Possibly, Abbott needs to sweep up before starting the next job but what is that job? There appears to be little news of any kind coming from the Libs or their understudies in the wings.

A slash and burn mentality is in place and one wonders what is in store for us in the future?

Meanwhile, climate change appears to be happening faster than the wishes of the hopeless, the sad wheel treading sycophants, who see only the profits of the mighty as a motive for making political policy. And what of the senate? Is that tool of equilibrium to be lost to the likes of Clive Palmer or will some sense of sanity prevail between individuals and curtail the wrecking ball mentality?

One of the most senseless casualties could that of the Renewable Energy Finance Corporation. This has proved to be a profit-making entity and has given a sunray of hope to many small and medium eco-businesses, a good way of producing jobs and a new way forward for Australia. This is something not lost on our overseas counterparts.


With predicted spending cuts on climate-related ventures, funding is down from $5.55 billion this financial year to just $1.4 billion over the next financial year and again down to just $950 million the following year. The cascade effect continues. This financial year's spending is largely about buying back the free permits given as compensation for carbon pricing. It would appear it is not about the money but rather the principle.

Giving financial assistance to the coal industry is irresponsible, to say the least. This is an industry that has profited, unhindered, for at least a century. This is an industry that should be phased out by Australia. This is an industry that will fall into the abyss, at the hands of its own customers, as the rest of the world takes on climate change.

Another thing that appears to have gone quiet in the Murdoch media are the constant polls. In the run up to the last election we were subjected to almost daily updates on popularity of politicians. Now those polls are infrequent and one wonders, are they only read when the Liberals are doing better.

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About the Author

David Leigh is a film maker and novellist who currently lives in Tasmania.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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