Friday, November 30, 2018

Today by Paddy Manning

Kids teach the grown-ups
Today’s #climatestrike has shown up our politicians

Today’s student #climatestrike on the steps of Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building, next to state parliament, was boisterous and festive (these are kids after all), but listening to the speakers was heart-rending. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already turned a deaf ear to the protests – telling parliament that “what we want is more learning in schools and less activism in schools” – and a live onstage phone call to the Opposition leader, Bill Shorten, was met by an answering machine. The kids left a message anyway – thousands shouted “STOP ADANI!” – which will register in that office loud and clear.

Adani announced yesterday that it would fund the Carmichael mine itself, and that construction would start within weeks, opening up a whole new coal province in Queensland, the Galilee Basin. This news comes in the same week as the UN’s “2018 Emissions Gap Report” warned that global emissions were rising again for the first time in four years, and that the world is falling further and further behind our Paris targets of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees. A story in Fairfax Media this morning noted the impact that climate stress is now having on our mental health, not to mention the week’s catastrophic wildfires in Gracemere, Queensland, and extreme weather in Sydney.

The climate news is deeply depressing, as usual, but the kids were inspiring today. Strikes took place in every capital – thousands rallied at Martin Place in Sydney – and almost 20 regional centres including Townsville, the Whitsundays, Inverell, Coffs Harbour, Ballarat, Newcastle and Bega. The movement was started by 15-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg, who has been striking outside the Swedish parliament every Friday since August, and in Australia was picked up by a bunch of year 8 students from Castlemaine in central Victoria.

The Castlemaine kids were downright moving. All the speeches were brief and to the point, but here’s Harriet O’Shea Carre, 14: “I’m here today out of fear for our future and the future of our planet, but also because I still have hope in our ability to save and protect our collective future. It inspires me to see how many people have responded to our efforts by showing up today, and in the past month, with a commitment to create change together … If we continue to live the way we do, then by 2050 climate scientists predict that half a billion out of the nine billion people who will be living on this planet will survive. The chances that I will survive that are very low, and the chances that everything I know and everything I love will survive that are practically impossible. And I cannot bear the thought of losing the people I loved, when it could have been stopped … We can stop the climate crisis, but not for much longer. It is important that we stop the Adani coal mine, and that we do it now, or it will be too late. So, to all the politicians who know they could be helping us save our futures, but choose to turn away, there is no planet B, Australia needs you now. You have been elected with the expectation that you will do what is in the best interests of the country. Don’t let us down. And to all the people who are so afraid of the solutions to climate change that they choose to live in denial instead, the current solutions to the climate emergency are much easier to cope with than the outcomes that come if we don’t. We need you, please give us a future.”

All the speeches were strong. A Samoan-born student said, “It is my right to be able to return to Samoa.” The youngest speaker, Matilda, was just nine – her mike had to be lowered by a guy with a CFMEU T-shirt on, which was a little jarring given that the union supports the Adani mine. Matilda told the crowd: “If the politicians had done their job and listened to the scientists, then we would not have to strike. I’m talking to you Scott Morrison.”

Contrast the resources minister, Matt Canavan, who today deliberately insulted all those kids rallying – and their parents and teachers – by saying they were all headed for the dole queue, and who yesterday tweeted that “It has been a tough couple of days in CQ with the bushfires. Great news today though with Adani announcing they plan to start work before Christmas! Adani has been a little Aussie battler. So many have written it off but they just keep chugging along!”

Who is the grown-up?

since this morning

Negotiations between the government and the Opposition over encryption legislation have broken down, according to Fairfax Media.

Fairfax Media is live-blogging today’s hearing of the Senate inquiry into allegations of political interference in the ABC, at which former chairman Justin Milne and former MD Michelle Guthrie have both appeared. Guthrie reportedly fled the building through the basement, chased by journalists.

The Australian’s Peter van Onselen writes [$] that the vocal, not-to-be-intimidated Julie Bishop we are starting to see now would be a far better PM than Scott Morrison.

The Guardian reports that Voices 4 Indi, the community group that launched Cathy McGowan’s political career, has called for expressions of interest for a new candidate for the seat, fuelling speculation that the key crossbencher could step down at the next election.

in case you missed it

Leaked internal emails from senior Victorian Liberal Party figures show the party is “almost terminally on the nose” just months out from a federal election in which Labor could win 60 seats.

The Morrison government is facing an internal rebellion by Nationals MPs over plans for a new anti-corruption regime unless it protects ministers from being targeted over infrastructure grants made against bureaucrats’ advice.

The ABC reports that a bipartisan committee has found an Indigenous voice to parliament should be reconsidered.

The Australian’s Chip Le Grand writes [$] on the Greens’ #MeToo woes.

by Luke Goodsell
The Monthly music wrap: November 2018
A festive EP from Tyler, the Creator; new releases from Anderson .Paak, Mariah Carey and cupcakKe; and David Byrne live

by Judith Brett
Why climate change defeats our short-term thinking
On science, religion, politics and ideology

Paddy Manning

Paddy Manning is contributing editor (politics) at The Monthly and has worked for the ABC, Fairfax, Crikey and The Australian. He is also the author of three books, including a recently updated unauthorised biography of Malcolm Turnbull, Born To Rule?


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