Australian climate politics need an independent path

| December 4, 2019

In my comments here I refer to Australia but they apply equally to the wider world.

I’d like to write about matters that are uplifting and bring happiness but my view of our world is not one of happiness as we go into the future. Despite all the ‘good news’ re all aspects of the way science and technology is improving our lot and our living standards, I remain disillusioned and quite skeptical about humanity’s future prospects.

All the ‘good news’ we are assailed with seems to be completely ignoring the elephant in the room which is the environmental degradation of planet earth. Collectively, we are ruining the planet. It won’t be too long and we will have run out of the basics of life support.

I read where the current drought in Australia is wreaking havoc with our honey bee population. The continuing dry conditions are causing plant life flowers to not emerge and that which does appear starves for lack of moisture. The consequence, the bees starve.

The article I read suggested that as our natural resources (honey bees) dwindle away, when there are insufficient bees available to pollinate and fertilize plants, all sorts of plants, humanity would cease to exist in about four years due to a lack of food.

I think it fair to say that generally, our population is becoming quite concerned that our two levels of government seem to be unable to grasp the reality of our rapidly declining situation. It appears to be ‘Business as Usual’ and almost completely ignors our dire environmental circumstances. Our governments seem to be the puppets of vested interests. Profit and shareholder/stakeholder interests trump social and environmental responsibilities.

Most of this sad state of affairs can be laid at the feet of our governments, we have been heading for a conflict crisis since John Howard was in office. Bipartisanship died under his watch. Today, we have adversarial politics. Far too many self interested members and forward national vision is a forgotten concept. Our parliaments have become gladiatorial arenas.

I don’t need to go on, you’re all aware of the challenges we face. Running out of water will certainly bring about clear views via hindsight of the opportunities we refused to acknowledge. It is quite apparent that our political machinery has broken down, we need a new direction and new incentive.

A man I greatly admire, John Menadue, has proposed a solution to this political impasse. Menadue proposes we forget about party politics altogether and start again. He proposes each electorate puts forward a candidate who is clean, has common sense, has management/business acumen and has the trust of the community. This very much how we got started under federation in 1900.

Menadue suggests that we need to elect independents who want to serve, those who want to represent and govern. If the senate had 10 to 15 like minded elected unaligned independents, we would be off to a positive start. It’s not an impossible scenario.

My thoughts are derived from John Menadue’s free email news bulletin ‘Pearls & Irritations’ on 20 November 2019 and its article on The Independent Path to Effective Democracy, and Survival by Geoff Davies.