Interview: Common Ground
Industrial: A Low Act
Unions: The Number of the Least
Politics: The Smoking Gun
Economics: Microcredit, Compulsory Superannuation and Inequality
Environment: Low Voltage
History: The Art of Social Justice
Review: Work’s Unhealthy Appetite
Culture: A Forgotten Poet
From Green House to Glass House
Robbo Goes Green
Six weeks, they say, is obviously a long time in politics.
Well, when it comes to global warming it is an eternity.
Six weeks the Howard Government was making fun of Al Gore and his warnings on global warming.
Now they are trying to cuddle up to him.
Don't be fooled - the only reason the Howard Government is moving is because people you like are demanding it.
The Prime Minister has offered you a few tokens, Today is about demanding real change.
I am pleased to be here today as a representative of the NSW union movement.
Like many sections of society, the unions have not always seen themselves as part of the environment movement, at times we have worked together, at other times we have been at odds.
But our current battle for Rights at Work has bought us closer to the community than ever before.
And there is no doubt that, like the attack on workers rights, the issue of global warming is resonating in the community.
Both our campaigns have a common theme: ordinary Australians taking a stand for future generations.
And in both our campaigns, we are up against a Prime Minister who always puts the interests of big business ahead of the interests of the people he is meant to represent.
It is not the place to talk about our campaign today - although I know many of you support us.
Today I want to talk about why I - and many of the unions I represent - fully support the campaign you are running - calling on the government to take a lead on protecting the planet.
If we are serious about developing an economy that works for people not just big business, we need to create secure, sustainable jobs.
The way we do this is pretty simple:
First, recognise the threat of climate change and take a leadership role in addressing it.
If the government were prepared to take a lead on the environment, it could also generate the smart, export industries that deliver job security.
I have argued, for example, that the NSW Government should make this state a carbon neutral state and a take lead role by installing solar panels in all schools, hospitals and public buildings.
The government could then favour NSW suppliers in supplying this equipment, creating the required demand to build an export base in energy efficient manufacturing, with centres of excellence based in regions that need employment.
This is what good government is all about - dealing with problems in smart ways that deliver security for the people they represent.
It is an approach totally foreign to the Howard Government - which refuses to even be part of the global effort on climate change.
Instead, like a fringe dweller it sits in the corner avoiding the truth.
Our message today is that this is not a fringe issue - it is mainstream Australia - families, workers - demanding something better from our government.
To do this we need government to:
1. Ratify the Kyoto Protocol and set targets for the deep cuts in greenhouse gas emission we need to achieve;
2. Place a price on carbon emissions and drive innovation and efficiencies that will create new jobs and build out economy, not harm it;
3. Make significant investments in renewable energy technologies that will also make our economy thrive and secure jobs for Australians.
It is our kids, our future generations that will pass judgement on the actions we take this year and the next important 10 years to tackle this fundamental threat to humanity. Let's make sure they have a future.
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