2nd June 2007
Liberal attacks PM on climate
A Liberal Party member and former ministerial speechwriter issues a book today which depicts the Prime Minister with a stranglehold on environmental policy, deliberately surrounding himself with climate change sceptics.
Bungendore-based author Guy Pearse wrote High and Dry after seven years of academic research at the Australian National University, and a career with a former senior government minister as well as lobbying.
He has come to the conclusion that John Howard has a deliberately skewed vision of an Australian economy heavily dependent on mining and other high-pollutant industries.
"He has never genuinely believed climate change to be that serious," Pearse said.
"At every level, if you look closely, you'll find that he has promoted sceptics around him."
Pearse, who is originally from Queensland, worked as a speechwriter for former environment minister Robert Hill from 1997 to 1999.
He said that his experience and research into climate change forced him to rethink his political ambitions within the Liberal Party.
"In about 2005 I really reached a fork in the road where I either toed the line and went back to Queensland and set up for a political career, or I took this issue on," he said.
"I arrived at the conclusion that the issue was more important.
"The deception was too great, and the deception is even worse now than it was then.
"I don't see in any way that I'm betraying the Liberal Party.
"I think this is a case of the leader betraying the party's legacy on extremely important issues.
"Even though I'm a Liberal Party member and have been for almost 20 years I just felt we had reached the position where I had an obligation to do what I'm doing."
He hoped his book would spark extreme change in the Liberal Party's policy, saying that it could take a spell in opposition to achieve this.
"I hope it drives change faster than would otherwise occur," he said.
"It's to fix the policy," the author said.