||Issue No. 150||30 August 2002|
Shut It Down!
Interview: Australian Worker
Unions: Morning Ambush
Cole-Watch: Grumpy Old Men
International: Arrested (Sustainable) Development
History: Illegal Alien
Economics: The Trouble With PPPs
Poetry: Is This 'My Country'?
Review: Garage Days
The Locker Room
Week in Review
You probably remember him from his role as Count Dracula in the smash hit Attack on the Clever Country. It ran from 1996 to 2001 and left Australia's educational institutions resembling a row of corpses. Now Dr David Kemp has lost the atrocious facial hair and re-emerged as the man whose mission it is to champion Australia's sovereign right to belch filth into the atmosphere.
It's a tough gig, but one this distinguished Tool is equipped to discharge. Keen Canberra watchers rate Kemp as one of the premier spinners in Federal Parliament, with an uncanny ability to front up and run his lines regardless of the questions asked, the public mood or the underlying illogic of his position. And when it comes to defending Australia's refusal to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, these are the basic skills required. Eight Six nations have ratified the Protocol which sets targets for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and establishes a series of incentives such as a global system of trading carbon credits. Under the Protocol Australia isn't even asked to reduce its emissions, just increase them at a slower rate. But that's not good enough for Kemp - it would require the sort of concerted action that is against his underlying philosophy. Australia sits outside the tent with the USA and few other global pariahs.
And so to Johannesburg, where Dr Doolittle would be the front man as the world asked Australia why it was being such a slob. Australia's official delegation of 50, included more than 30 civil servants, but none from the Australian Greenhouse Office. Given that Kemp has totally ridden over, with its efforts to rpepare the ground for greenhouse reductions ridden over by his much-vaunted Government-Business dialogue. This talkfest allows the major polluters in Australia to argue the Kemp Doctrine (ie inaction), even as the premier business forum, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, representing over 160 of the worlds largest multinational corporations including shell and BP, Dupont, General motors, Nestle, BHP and Rio Tinto, concedes the time has come to support Kyoto.
Of course the smart business providers are realizing that a sustainable energy agenda is not just a long-term, but also a short-term benefit. Smart businesses are reviewing their operations to take part in the carbon credit trade that will inevitably emerge. Within the Protocol framework, Australian companies could expand into new export markets, reduce environmental damage, and earn "credits" for Australia's national greenhouse gas emissions account, all at the same time. With nations like China and India coming on board the critical mass exists to create a new economy around environmental management. For a pro-business government, Howard's mob seem strangely asleep at the wheel on this one - Kyoto is a market-driven response to the issue.
Meanwhile, we face accusations from our Pacific neighbours like Tuvalu who are threatening court action to force us to stop practices that is turning their nation into a swimming pool. It's a real concern, after all if the Islanb go under we'll have to go to the added expense of issuing asylum seekers with floatees before we hive them off.
The real Dr Doolittle made his name from being able to talk to the animals. This one doesn't talk to anyone: his bureaucracy, the business lobby, the international community - not to mention the environmental movement are demanding action from Australia. Dr Doolittle is ensuring we do nothing.
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