Picture: Jimmy Stewart ponders leaping from a bridge in the classic It's a wonderful life (1946) as here on YouTube because crony capitalism has destroyed all hope in the hometown of Bedford, just like Gunns Ltd has for democracy in Tasmania, and may yet for the ALP under Rudd.
This writer will vote Green Party. There is no doubt. There is no way SAM's editor wants John Howard to win the election. Which you might think means I want Kevin Rudd to win. As a member of a union* you might think I support the working class too.
But as a student and participant of real coal face politics as far back as 1996 and more it becomes clear Rudd has crueled his own chances badly on Monday 23rd July 2007. How ironic when he thought he was being clever embracing the forest killers.
SAM web site should be happy with the news cycle recently as follows
- Howard curiously echoing our own words "everyone knows it" in another context: That's SAM's line about the principle of subjudice systemically wrecked in the Haneef matter.
- Simon Benson (Telegraph opinion page) referring to a "nasty" backlash in Cook, which is a bit like our reference to the ALP "nasty" forest policy on SAM
- Rudd refusing to "appease" the Greens, which was our word ironicly about Rudd pathetic 'appeasement of rednecks'
- Annabelle Crabb (SMH) echoing our point referring to a grubby power lusting Rudd willing to 'whipper snipper a row of juvenile Wollemi Pines if he thought it would deliver him the election'. That's great prose Ms Crabb. The press gallery get it.
But we don't feel such a glow of relevance syndrome, rather we felt for a few minutes there Monday night more like angst ridden Jimmy Stewart above in the classic "It's a wonderful life", at least on behalf of the forests. But it will be Rudd in those shoes before long not the Greens/greens or this writer.
(Personally this writer has already endured the heavy blow of Paul Keating's betrayal of forests in 1995, federal election loss in 1996, Bob Carr's embrace of the woodchippers in 2000, and defied the ALP shun in NSW for a good 11 years now, getting stronger every day. It's true what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.)
We were put in mind of this perhaps 'best movie ever made' on hearing of this APEC logo to shine on Harbour Bridge because the film script includes an alternative future where the town (as metaphor for nation) is branded by tyrannical corporate capitalism. It's a homily about the inevitable conclusion to naked ruthless opportunisim and self interest aka crony capitalism - the kind that destroys a share farmer's home without blinking - the kind of lesson you would think the young Kevin should know in his very fibre.
But in today's story it's Gunns Ltd, in a lover's clinch with the loggers' union, and now Kevin Rudd, guilty of that ruthless cynicism at the expense of the public interest on climate, natural heritage, science, industry policy with integrity re profitable existing plantation estate etc
The superficial level of coverage (as per flippant Adam Spencer 702 radio this morning pre 7 am in the shadow) is Howard suffering a pratfall in front of the cameras. But there is one thing about a committed morning walker - the old meat chasis can cope with that ('durable' as Howard says). Just like the last week of the close 1996 election when Howard took a plunge ... and like a punching clown bounced right back up and won the vote. We didn't fully appreciate his exercise regime back in those days.
If memory serves it was Sid Walker a well known greenie in NSW back then who was gleeful that in that last week on the Bondi Beach polling booth thinking Howard was stuffed by that symbolism. But he wasn't. He won against once swaggering, then exasperated, PM Keating. Ominously Michelle Grattan is already calling this the 1996 election dynamic.
And that's what Rudd has done Monday this week - boosted Howard's election prospects no end for failure to deal with corrupt loggers according to science and real public policy, trashing his green advantage.
Mal Farr in the Sydney Telegraph has a headline "John and Kevin: men with feet and mouths of clay" but its Rudd who has longest and hardest to fall. The milky bar kid with the halo aka saint Kevin was supposed to be better than this. But he's not, demonstrably, just as Alan Ramsey (Fairfax) cautioned his readers months ago. Let me count the ways Rudd has squandered his moral/real politik advantage, with the Howard machine onto this truth like a polio rash :
1. No one buys the forest policy of the ALP in Tasmania as being "in the national interest" to quote dopey Kev, in the age of climate change, with Big Red Lennon Govt seen as captured and corrupted by the woodchippers Gunns Ltd;
2. The Howard critique #1 of Rudd is that Rudd is in harness to thuggish unions, and the forest union's undoubted influence evidences that admirably, rolling a first class greenie PR symbol like Garrett. Yep the forest union's Michael OConnor has "pulled on" Rudd well before the vote. Rudd proves Howard's point about union puppetry out of his own mouth.
3. The Howard critique #2 of Rudd is that he is a policy flim flam, double talker, and variant today in the press "an echo". The disjunct (as journalism elder Mark Colvin put it on PM recently) between the national conference ALP policy for more forest conservation, and the "clear cut" support for loggers "locked in" behind the Howard pro logging policy, is stark. Fruity naked political opportunism in a small fish pond in Tasmania but very annoying to most informed Australians on the mainland ... in their million$ who pay for Tasmania to exist. Rudd proves Howard's point on double talk out of his own mouth.
Picture Daily Telegrpah Wed 25th July 2007
4. Howard is seen as tricky and desperate by an ALP focus group. The desperate bit hurt. The tricky bit has beeen well known for ages, which could be another word for skillful, but who is really the more desperate now, John or Kevin? Sure Howard is keen to win a 5th term but that might be accurately described as ('virtuous') ambition - or pathetic vanity - depending on who you ask, while Rudd has been shown to fall in with violent logger thugs promoting woodchipping and forest killing, squandering his climate change green halo for a few cheap red neck blue collar votes. That bespeaks grubby desperation too as the polling was turning to the govt on the Haneef case. These are the 5% blue collar One Nation type voters the Haneef case was already delivering to Howard so Rudd has appeased a group he already lost. He has effectively thrown his green cred down the toilet, and thus good political capital after bad, on that redneck Tas logger bigot voter cohort when he had a nearly 20 point lead in the polls with plenty of comfort there. The glass jaw on polling quite obviously. And to salt the damage to Rudd's credibility he is carrying quite a deal of the same lead weight of transparent, opportunistic tricky double talk- as Howard has noted this last 24 hours with deadly aim. (Indeed our point last Sunday about ALP Premiers being the real attack dogs so Kevin can float above.) Howard was referring to a bogus product differentiation (like soap powder on the supermarket shelf) of happy cop Rudd and cranky cop Beattie on the Haneef legal scandal but it applies to some 14 topics apparently (Daily Telegraph today) of which climate change/forest destruction can now be added. Rudd is now officially tricky and desperate too.
5. Hysterically, Howard is now simply moving to annexe that green halo for himself ... on water front page of the press today. His lieutenant Turnbull knows the importance of timing as an ex litigation lawyer and investment banker. So does Howard. It's no coincidence Howard has moved to monster negotiations on the Murray Darling national environmental river management makeover. Journalism elder Geraldine Doogue calls it "doing a Franklin on the River Murray" as we write. Beattie on AM just now suggests this "smacks of an election". You bet, PB. Whereas Rudd had the green advantage on climate change, he is revealed as totally superficial on the acid test of ancient old growth and rainforest in Tasmania.
Picture: Front page Sydney Morning Herald 25th July 2007 where the ALP lives in the polling demographic, now singing Howard's song.
Wait and see Howard grandstanding his so called green clothes (yep there he is on cue on AM abc show just now about the "national interest" to save the stricken river sounding .... Prime Ministerial). He is already looking and feeling upbeat and "energised" (Doogue's word). Because he is. Like Rudd, and all true wonks he lives and breathes this stuff and feels good or bad accordingly depending on how it's all going. Hence again the picture above. These were the green clothes, the moral and policy imperative of our time, that Rudd was wearing up until Monday. Rudd and the sleazy ALP minders have f*cked us greenies no doubt, but here's the great great irony, he has also f*cked himself, as has the C .MEU (union alliance) by indulging the F - just like 1996, 2004 and so it goes. Only when Carr stood up to them in 1995 or Gallop in WA with still some patchy credibility did the voters swarm to the ALP in a close contest.
Even Jimmy Stewart pictured above, read Kevin Rudd, would be lucky to get out of this one now with Coalition TV adverts galore, huge budget and no moral rival to worry about on the environment?
Well done federal ALP, you craven hopeless corrupt fools. You lost the initiative and the credibility. It's quite true you don't really deserve government for failing yourselves, and you can't blame John Howard for that. Sure Rudd from Qld hasn't direct experience to learn these sleazy logger lessons up there with little native forest logging industry but that's what being a national leader is about. Getting across the games and thuggery of the forest killers including Julia Gillard's mate Michael O'Connor. It's all the ALP's own work on the front pages today, so there is no one else to blame but yourselves.
Cue the bridge election night as the ALP lose again after a HUGE lead in the polls?
Nor do we buy legal expert George Williams or John Thwaites arguments about lack of Constitutional power on the Murray River reforms in the dire future of climate change. Hopeless to put store in that. A legal thrashing more like it. Ever heard of Ramsar Wetlands treaty obligations to provide water to endangered wetlands, just like the Franklin River precedent case? And that's even before we get to the evolving Corporations power, and the judicial bare faced desire for national survival of "a striken river". Who do you really think will win? It's a matter of time only.
The callers are coming in to 702 abc radio already endorsing the new Howard govt green halo. What the ALP have to do is re-establish green credibility - take the Adjani nee Clark cure on profitable existing plantations just as Keating himself foreshadowed in 1995 but lost his nerve.
* footnote email copy:
If Labor is prepared to sacrifice these world famous forests for political expediency, what hope have our forests in the south east?
With global warming upon us, we need these forests more than ever. They are our most precious carbon sinks.
Mike Kelly may appear to be a good bloke, but remember, he represents the same party as Labor Forestry Spokesperson, Martin Ferguson who wants to burn 5 million tonnes of native forest wood each year, almost doubling current woodchip levels, and call it renewable energy. And, of course, Kevin Rudd is his leader. Don't be conned!
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au
Greens launch ad of Howard and Rudd in bed together
The Greens NSW Campaign Coordinator, Lesa de Leau, today released an online
advertisement - paid for the by The Greens - parodying Labor's *Howard
Asleep on Climate Change* ad.
The ad – *Howard and Rudd in Bed with the Coal Industry *– will go online
today on Myspace, YouTube, Facebook and Greens websites (see URLs below).
The Greens will also seek donations to run the advertisement on television.
The ad shows John Howard and Kevin Rudd asleep in a double bed. Kevin Rudd
has fallen asleep with a copy of Al Gore's *Inconvenient Truth* book on his
face. The voiceover describes the failings of Kevin Rudd's climate policy
and ends with "Howard and Rudd in bed with the coal industry."
Internal party polling shows Greens supporters have high rate of internet
use and increasingly people are getting their information about politics
from the internet. It is clear much of this election will be fought online.
Release of the ad follows further steps this week by Kevin Rudd to join John
Howard in rejecting sensible policies on the environment and climate change
when he overturned Labor's Tasmanian forest policy.
Despite the threat of climate change, Kevin Rudd has refused to set short
term emission reduction targets and has committed to an expansion of the
coal industry. Unproven "clean coal" – that won't be available for decades –
is favoured by Labor over renewable energy such as wind, solar and
geothermal. Rudd and Howard have also both ruled out a carbon tax to reduce
Labor and Liberal's polices will take us past the dangerous and critical
threshold of two degrees of global warming.
However, The Australian Greens have a real plan to tackle climate change:
· Immediate emission cuts of 30% by 2020 and 80% by 2050 from 1990
· Support for an emissions trading for stationary energy and a
carbon tax on transport emissions.
· Establish a National Sun Fund to fund research and development of
· Set the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target to ensure 25% renewable
energy by 2020.
· Redirect roads funding toward investment in public transport.
· End the logging of old growth forests.
The ad can be seen at the following sites and a high res screen image is
available on request:
*For more information: Kristian Bolwell 0411 638 320, Lesa de Leau 0413 581
Greens NSW Lower House Campaign Coordinator
w: (02) 9519 0877 m: 0419 290788 f: (02) 9519 2177
The Australian Conservation Foundation has called on the ALP to honour its April national conference commitment to “further protection of identified Tasmanian high-conservation value, old growth forests, rainforests and other ecosystems”.
“Labor’s announcement leaves many tens of thousands of hectares of
high conservation value forest on Tasmanian public land unprotected from logging,” ACF Executive Director Don Henry
“Spectacular parts of Tasmania that are vital for tourism and the environment – like the Florentine, the Weld and the Blue Tiers – remain open to logging under the terms of this statement.
“This announcement does nothing to secure the future of the Tasmanian forest industry, rather it will entrench division and uncertainty.
“A paltry ‘up to $9 million’ across the country will not deliver the value adding the forestry industry needs to move to a sustainable future.
“This announcement is a poor result for Tasmania’s forests and forestry industry.
“We note the commitment to restrict importation of illegally logged timber but would like to see more detail about how this would be achieved and an increase in the $1 million committed to the task.
“Australians will expect the ALP to hold to the commitment confirmed at its recent national conference to further protection of identified Tasmanian high-conservation value, old growth forests,” Mr Henry said.
Postscript # 4 early 26 July 2007
A. Peter Costello Treasurer was tough as nails and upbeat on 7.30 Report last night. He smells a real chance to turn the polls around now. He's got his existential morale booster on saving the Murray River - his higher purpose with real resonance etc to justify all the grubbing. 'Couldn't care less' about a 2001 memo leaked against him allegedly by Howard. 'Happy to praise John Howard's govt of which he is a member of the team'. There goes the leadership wedge the ALP were enjoying.
B. Similarly Akerman, the Howard attack dog in the Telegraph today has an unusually tight article "Foundations of sand" (he can pull it off once in a while depending on his sources), even allowing for repetitive use of 'thuggish', significantly eroding the ALP/CFMEU argument about cost of living issues, referring to work practice rorting [eg the "nick" made famous in Bastard Boys faction on abc tv] as a serious cause of higher prices. Trouble for the ALP is there is bound to be a measure of truth in this critique by the otherwise repulsive Hackerman.
D. Purely by 'coincidence' the federal govt (federal DPP is 'independent') is taking their foot off the Haneef terrorism allegation/rhetoric in the conservative press. Indeed why annoy 150 million Indian Muslims and trade relations when you've already got that domestic redneck poll premium? Might as well limit the irritation of the bleeding heart voters in the legal and medical industry in the face of obvious, frightening legal errors over the nerdy "model" Dr Haneef.
E. A blast from the past on the economics of the corrupt logging industry:
Town and Country Magazine
I refer to the letter (T&CMag 24/7) from “Vince Phillips of Wolumla” in defence of the woodchipping industry.
Mr Phillips has a habit of forgetting to mention that he is actually the Corporate Affairs Manager of South East Fibre Exports (SEFE), owners of the Eden chipmill.
Mr Phillips disputes that his industry is subsidised and asserts that it will pay $20million to Governments in the south east in 2006, including $10m in royalty payments for trees.
On Mr Phillips' own figures(1m tonnes of exports, $10m in royalties), SEFE buys wood from the Victorian and NSW Governments for an average of $10 per tonne . This is well under half the market price. If it paid full market prices, SEFE would pay at least $25M, probably more like $35m in royalty payments alone. This $15m to $25m is a subsidy. Furthermore;
- Log trucks do not pay sufficient registration fees or fuel taxes to cover a tiny fraction of damage they do to roads and bridges.
- ForestsNSW does not pay local government rates on production forests, as a private plantation owner must do. For the Bega Valley Shire alone, we estimate this at over $1m per year;
- The industry does not pay for administrative or bureaucratic services provided by Forests NSW, including so-called “education” services of $1.5m per year;
- It does not pay for the cost of damage to water catchments by intensive logging.
- It does not pay for soil erosion caused by logging.
- It does not pay for problems caused by the introduction of exotic marine organisms into Twofold Bay via ballast water from woodchip carriers.
- And of course, it does not pay for the deaths and suffering of countless millions of native birds and animals directly caused by woodchipping of their native forest habitat. There can be no price put on that.
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping
the south east and east gippsland forests PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia 02 64923134 0414908997 http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au
Steketee is generally centre left in his leanings with good contacts accordingly, so you can't say he is anti ALP in general:
Mike Steketee, national affairs editor ONLY 37 per cent of Australians think Kevin Rudd is arrogant and 81 per cent see him as likable, according to the Newspoll published in ...
[and notice this quote tucked in at the back of the article which rings very true]
"Rudd's pragmatism is clear in the priority he has given to closing off lines of attack by endorsing everything the Government does in the name of fighting terrorism, including locking up Indian doctor Mohamed Haneef, and by adopting the Government's Tasmanian forest policy. Such an approach may seem logical for someone so firmly entrenched in the opinion polls as a frontrunner, but only if the lead is a real one.
The longer Labor's large lead lasts, the more the political debate is coming around to the view that this is indeed the case, that voters have stopped listening to Howard and decided to vote his Government out, just as they did with Paul Keating in the year leading up to the 1996 election.
But former Newspoll head Sol Lebovic doubts it. "Keating's satisfaction rating during a lot of 1995 was in the low 30s (per cent), while Howard's now is in the mid-40s. Before the 1996 election, Howard beat Keating on who was the best economic manager, whereas Howard now leads Rudd on this question. (This week's Newspoll shows Howard restoring his lead of almost 2-1 on this issue.) It defies logic that Labor is so far ahead with Howard having leads like that. That gives me the sense that Labor's is a soft lead."
And that suggests that, for all the likability and humility Rudd is projecting, he will need to offer something more, including large and credible policy announcements, to convince voters to change the government."
Our take out of the gist of this resonating polling advice: The press gallery get Rudd's limitations as a leader, and are not in the business of writing any blank cheques. Crabb earlier, Steketee today and others soon enough now on the lefty side. Phillip Adams too recently in print in the Oz. AM hit on O'Connor this morning. And given there is still plenty of time for all sides of politics in this election, we may well yet see Rudd retreat from what I would call a grotesque over correction on Tas forests, after Latham in 2004 as regards extremist loggers, and their history of political violence. At least if he understands the great Keating unravel of 1996. I mean who wants to go through that horror again. Baton goes to Judy Adjani nee Clark now probably.
G. More proof of the tricky, sly double game by Rudd ALP here in The Australian business section today putting Peter Garrett on a horse with rapidly diminishing policy legs now Labor won't press states on uranium In brief shadow minister Evans says the WA and Qld govts will fold in behind increased uranium exports, while incredibly Peter Costello is sounding more green than Howard saying he is 'very concerned' about exports to 'any country' (read India front page story) 'outside the nuclear non proliferation treaty'.
H. Somehow we missed this formal response on preferencing from Greens Senator Bob Brown, which simply underlines what has happened since Paul Keating was repudiated in 1996 - the Green movement has grown a real serious political party since then, well beyond the flaky presentation of Peter Garrett.
Tuesday, 24 July 2007
Greens preference move in Bass and Braddon
Greens Leader Bob Brown says that the Greens are set to preference
neither Labor nor Liberal, but leave the choice to voters in the key
marginal seats of Bass and Braddon.
"The final decision will be made closer to the election, but Kevin
Rudd's sellout of Tasmania's native forests and wildlife yesterday, and
endorsement of the polluting Gunns pulp mill, will see many Labor votes
go to the Greens and removed a key opportunity for Labor to win Greens
preferences," Senator Brown said.
"Rudd's $20 million to the loggers, on top of John Howard's
multi-million dollar fostering of the chainsaws over recent years,
compares with zero for protecting forests and zero commitment to a
forest protection policy. The $8 million to protect the forest industry
from climate change, fostered by an industry which logs and burns
forests and puts massive tonnages of greenhouse gases in to the
atmosphere each year, is illogical and perverse," Senator Brown said.
"Rudd has not allocated a cent to protecting the organic farmers, the
grape growers, the wine makers, tourism operators or the fishing
industries from the impacts of climate change caused by the burning of
forests - or the impact of pollution from the proposed pulp mill in the
Tamar Valley. The Greens will go to the election offering the clean
green alternative to the forest destroying and polluting policies of
both John Howard and Kevin Rudd."
"I am very concerned for Peter Garrett," Senator Brown added.
"The man must be going through internal agony. It is the Little Red
Riding Hood syndrome, which I warned him about, that he is now
suffering," Senator Brown said.
Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603.