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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

political ambition « Previous | |Next »
February 19, 2007

It's a tough cartoon about Peter Garrett, the celebrity politician, but it captures the truth about political ambition, the need for celebrities to toe the ALP party line, and the necessity to reject one's history in order to do so.

Garrett.jpg
Geoff Pryor

First it was a switch on US bases on Australian soil---the shift, in response to the Liberal attack that Labor is a risk to the national security, was explained as the passion of an idealistic youth. The ALP Labor announced it was in favour of giving the US permission for its new communications base whatever it actually was to be. The celebrity politician is a new phenomena and Garrett's history as a celebrity means the he leaves plenty of material for the Liberal dirt unit to mine and put into play to try and show that Labor is a national security risk.

I have to admit that I'm more interested in Professor Ian Lowe's lecture in honour of the late Rick Farley.

The lecture explores the relationships between our identity, our culture, our wellbeing and the natural values of this country are crucial to our future, and Lowe argues that the health of our communities is related to the health of landscapes:

Care for country is basic to the survival of our entire nation. That's a fundamental truth. The health of the community relies on developing economic opportunities that are culturally sensitive, socially inclusive, economically viable and sustain natural systems.Most of our decision makers still use what I call the pig-headed model, in which they see the environment as the main game, like the face of the pig, and society and environment as two minor protuberances propping up the economy. They genuinely believe that if the economy is strong, problems with society, problems with environment, can always be patched up. That's not just a wrong-headed model, but it's not working. The unprecedented economic progress of recent decades has come at some social cost and very large environmental cost. I think we need a better model

We need a better model of development because the old one has caused loss of biological diversity, degradation of inland waterways and the destruction of the productive capacity of rural land. Lowe says that:
Climate change is the most urgent challenge, not just a critical problem in its own right, but a compounding factor for other environmental issues. Loss of biodiversity was already a problem, but it's now being worsened by climate change. Losing coral reefs was already a problem, but the ones that are still in good shape are now threatened by coral bleaching. The Murray-Darling Basin which is crucial to the economic and environmental health of south-east Australia was already in crisis from over-extraction, but climate change seems certain to reduce still further the amount of water flowing down these rivers. Climate change is a difficult problem, because it's caused by our level of energy use, which in turn is responsible for our material standard of living.

The issue is one how we produce an economy that works within the boundaries and natural systems: that is the challenge.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:29 AM | | Comments (2)
Comments

Comments

Nicholsons latest animation about Garrett is quite humorous.
http://media.theaustralian.news.com.au/nich/20070219_Garrett.html

Shaymus,
it is very witty.Garrett is certainly playing the political game bowing to the little Americans in the ALP. He is now a celebrity politician, not a celebrity rock star.

I didn't know about the Nicholson animations. They are very good. Thanks for that.