Philosophical Conversations Public Opinion Junk for code
parliament house.gif
Think Tanks
Oz Blogs
Economic Blogs
Foreign Policy Blogs
International Blogs
Media Blogs
South Australian Weblogs
Economic Resources
Environment Links
Political Resources
South Australian Links
"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

it doesn't stack up « Previous | |Next »
February 3, 2014

The Abbott Government says that it stands for economic freedom with minimal constraint (such as profiting from the exploitation of natural resources) and they argue (that their actions are not detrimental to the interests of others and thus do not need responsible constraints (such as green regulation), regardless of any evidence to the contrary. Freedom to exploit should be possible and desirable.

The appeal is to the self-correcting nature of free markets and the rhetoric. The best remedy for the uneven recovery of the work economy, according to Abbott, is a formula of free markets and minimal government intervention. In Australia this means that no industry sector can consider itself an untouchable sacred cow, strategic asset or Aussie icon. The Abbott government says that its reform agenda is premised on it's commitment to removing industry assistance.

So far we have Cadbury's in Tasmania being given corporate welfare by the Abbott Government. The Abbott government also announced a co-investment deal, remarkably similar in design to the SPCA deal they rejected, with Huon Aquaculture – to upgrade machinery just as SPCA had intended to. But corporate welfare for SPC in Victoria, and GM Holden in South Australia and Victoria is denied.

The contradictions are resolved when we realise that it is politics overriding free market economics.

RoweDcorporatewelfare.jpg David Rowe

Now we have the Abbott Government asking the World Heritage Committee to delist about 74,000 hectares of 170,000 which was added under Tasmania's historic forest peace deal. The World Heritage Committee's listing includes the Southern Forests, the Styx, the Florentine and the Great Western Tiers. Correcting the boundary errors of the previous listing, and the degraded sites --ie., old coops, landing and loading platforms, established by previous logging activity--- amount to an insignificant area of the total 70,000 hectares that has been proposed for de-listing.

This represents a forest grab to log old growth forests. Thus we have politics as the servant of the market; or to pit it more bluntly as the servant of specific corporate interests--in this case the forest industry.

So the neo-liberal claim that the “invisible hand of the market” will self-regulate a properly free economic market so as to avert any imbalances and problems associated with resource consumption and its waste products (pollution) does not stack up. Miners, property investors, the banks, the construction industry, fossil fuel industry, the private health insurance, agriculture and the resources industry continue to be major recipients of extensive corporate welfare from the Abbott Govt.

So much for the Abbott government's message that businesses needs to stand on their own two feet. For this government making money and profits through mining and burning fossil fuels is the path to economic growth and prosperity. Regulation (to protect biodiversity and our natural heritage) is a form of interference in this noble activity eg., ---the miners should be allowed to dump 3 million tonnes of sediment from the Abbott Point expansion project into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park so that they can develop the Galilee Basin coal deposits.

The miners just want the freedom to dig up as much of the wealth that currently lies in the ground and to hell with the long consequences such as human-caused climate change. As Paul Rogers observes the fossil-carbon industry position is crystal clear:

If climate change does have to be stopped and carbon-dioxide emissions cut by 80%, then the great majority of the fossil carbon in proved and exploitable reserves of coal, oil and gas cannot be used. This would make the value of these reserves - on which fossil-fuel industry investment is based - essentially worthless: the industry would become a house build not on carbon but on sand. This is simply unacceptable to the industry, which therefore must argue that human-induced climate change simply cannot be happening - end of story.

Hence the continual rejection of the link between a link between the floods, bush fires and heatwaves and human caused climate change/disruption. Anyone who doubts this is an enemy, or a fool, or UnAustralian.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:48 AM | | Comments (12)


I see that the LNP in Queensland is trying to woo the green preference by drumming up fear of the unions in the Griffith by-election.

They also say , despite all available evidence to the contrary, that they have a deep concern for environmental protection.

Why would a Greens voter preference the LNP, given that they plan to repeal the Carbon Price legislation in 5 months?

Will there be a regional backlash against the Coalition over its failure to support SPC Ardmona?

absolutely no doubt there is cranky ideology involved, they are interested in demoralising people who believe in a rational and rationally run society as much as getting at the wood chip material.

Another question we could ask is, are the criticisms of Abbott politics from within th3e coalition as to the ABC and SPC evidence of a split between liberals and neo cons in the current government, eg the "old" liberals are getting fed up with the brutalism, spite and irrationality of the Abbott wing?

It's a pity that Dr Sharman Stone didn't speak up earlier as to "brutal" politics when the came down on can't help to have the skills base lost through Qantas outsourcing, editing of newspapers offshore and the shutting down of manufacture in general, surely?

Are Stone and co genuine or is it just more diversionary antics going on?

"For this government making money and profits through mining and burning fossil fuels is the path to economic growth and prosperity. Regulation (to protect biodiversity and our natural heritage) is a form of interference in this noble activity. Anyone who doubts this is an enemy or a fool."

A recent example os the determination of the Abbott federal government and the Newman state government to develop the Galilee Basin deposits, which involves dumping 3 million tonnes of sediment from the Abott Point expansion project into the marine park.

"The miners just want the freedom to dig up as much of the wealth that currently lies in the ground and to hell with the long consequences"

What happens if the demand for coal in and India starts to decline. China puts a cap on coal consumption to decrease its shocking air pollution and India finds that imported coal becomes too expensive compared to solar.

This decrease in demand means that prices for coal would fall, and low coal prices then raises concerns about the economic feasibility of the coal projects in the Galilee Basin.

The free-market think-tanks and foundations and most of the leadership of the world's fossil-fuel industry are climate-change sceptics. The climate-change denial lobby is so strong, so well funded and so effective that it is politically difficult for any major political figure to stand up and say what needs to happen is a radical move towards low-carbon economies.

The only small concession made by the industry and producer countries (Australia, Canada, + Russia) in recent years is acceptance that the climate is changing. However, the human-climate change link is still a complete taboo.

The attitude of the conservative governments of these countries echoes that of the fossil-carbon industry. The oil-industry perspective is clear: climate change is not the result of human activity, and the whole idea of decarbonisation is losing momentum. Thus, it simply poses no threat to the fossil-carbon industry as a whole.

Canada and Russia, as major oil-and-gas producers, will actually benefit in the short term as climate change opens their northern territories to resource exploitation and new shipping-routes. From their viewpoint, the attitude is “bring it on”.

The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) in Geneva report published in July 2013 - The Global Climate 2001-2010: A Decade of Climate Extremes - found that the decade 2001-10:

* was the warmest decade on record for both land and sea surface temperatures and for both northern and southern hemispheres

* saw sea levels rising twice as fast as the trend in the last century

* saw a rapid loss of Arctic sea ice, and an accelerated decrease in the net mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets.

This report was based on actual measurements and comparisons with data on previous weather stretching back well over a century. This is an approach, rooted in experience, observation and comparison not predictions stemming from computer models.

Sharman Stone, the Liberal member for Murray (which includes Shepparton, home of SPCA), has openly accused Abbott and Hockey of lying. They had deliberately misled the public, she said, by falsely attributing the company's problems to worker entitlements, in order to launch a wider war against unions. Work conditions at SCPA are neither unusual nor overly generous.

Sharman Stone, the Liberal member for Murray, highlights the similarity of the SPCA deal that the Abbott Government rejected, with their support for Huon Aquaculture – to upgrade machinery. That is what SPCA had intended to.

She says that you can't argue processed fish is more valuable to the economy than processed fruit.

Abbott's script for conditions of high economic and employment growth is one of free markets and minimal government intervention. What is usually missing from this script is ideas such as “social contract” or “social inclusion” and nothing on “social equity”, or its companion “equality of opportunity”.

The Abbott /Hockey message is that business cannot expect subsidies from the Abbott Government. This repeats the message relating to the decision not to provide ongoing assistance for Holden’s manufacturing operations.i

The message would be credible if the Abbott Government were consistent in responding to industries’ pleas for assistance in its election campaign and its few months in office.