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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 3 October 2007
Perfect ecological storm to finish Howard tenure?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: election Oz 2007

Picture: SMH advert running today 3rd October 2007 on this climate change story here

Picture: Bushfire in Ku-ring-gai National Park taken from the hill above Watson's Bay in Sydney Monday 1st October 07 by this writer.

One could be excused for getting tetchy in the hot sunny weather this early Spring causing creeping dehydration, unexpected sunburn and heat stress.

But we submit the vision on the ABC and other news last night showed cranky Ministers Tony Abbott, and a pale Joe Hockey on 7.30 Report for another reason altogether.

The Newspoll early this week showed the ALP firming in its landslide ascendancy despite a massive overkill in government advertising: One of these ads called Climate Clever has become a laughing stock by way of a spoof on free to air tv and elsewhere by Get Up kindling the ever present irreverent humour of Aussie folk. The big free media have picked up the vibe widely reporting the exploitation of public revenue for election gain and echoing the cutting satire.

Then today feeding that vibe are an avalanche of credible stories quite negative to the federal government

- a poll by a University of Sydney (USYD) think tank showing Australians are quite anti GW Bush rather than the United States as such

- a big IR/WorkChoices study covering the health, community, finance sector from another respected USYD thinktank, with the added edge of a transparently cheap defamatory attack by spooked govt ministers Hockey and Costello of the academic authors. Indeed Costello on Trioli ABC 702 (2nd Oct) dived willingly into his own version of 'Hewson's 1993 GST cake debacle', by wasting precious interview time on an ideological rant enthusiastically attacking union "contamination" of academics where none was proven. It was nothing more than an egregious "slur" to quote respected Michelle Grattan on ABC radio national today 3rd Oct at about 7.40 am.

- Churches signing up to protect God's creation from dangerous climate change (DCC)

- Climate change conference this week in Sydney jointly sponsored by the CSIRO predicting same DCC from an academic and governance perspective

- Polling suggesting climate worries Australians as much or more than terrorism

- to add the political reality of DCC in our daily lives despite predictions still some 40 years hence, we have the early onset fire season  (pictured above), no doubt more serious because of unseasonal hot weather: Academics last week agreed mega fire is likely to be alot more prevalent with evidence these conditions are already here. The new 38 year old NSW Fire Commissioner looking more like Minister Phil Koperberg's political understudy warns of a long hot fire season (p20 Sept 30 Sun Tele, p90-91 profile same paper). Matt Price has a cutting piece in the latest Sunday Telegraph too about 'Captain Howard misses the boat' at p93 (offline?)

- polling in the electorates of Bass and Braddon, says The Wilderness Society, is highly adverse to the pulp mill proposal for Tasmania's Tamar Valley reports ABC AM this morning 3rd October 07 at this archive in due course.

And still the Howard govt refuses to name an election date, which just compounds the impression of the political community - like Sky News man on ABC radio recently - and increasingly the general community that this vain aged PM is being 'a smart arse' over the schedule.

There's one thing Australians, voting or not, always reject and that is a 'smart arse'. And that's the subliminal message the govt is at risk of promoting with its so called 'climate clever' slogan. Clever = smartarse.

In January 1994 when this writer represented The Wilderness Society and there were literally hundreds of bushfires raging in NSW, we wrote 'a letter of the week' reproduced in The Land newspaper calling for unified purpose and a rejection of divisive politiking, green baiting or whatever. We quoted chapter and verse the well known rural ethic of diverse country peoplepulling their weight against the common threat of bushfire, with greenies in local bushfire brigades as listed there, one with the firetruck in his driveway as he took my call at home in North East NSW.

We quoted statistics in an unemotional way about more fires going into than out of wilderness areas etc and our traditional enemies at The Land agri press gave us a fair go on their letters page. In the Inquiries of that fire season we learned that the greatest factor in those fires was adverse climate. Sure there is plenty one can do about ignition, fire trail maintenance, planning, asset protection and fuel load, but in the end it comes down to climate with even a hazard reduced area burning again a year later if the conditions are bad.

In 2007 there is a broad understanding of that changed bushfire risk profile around climate which was only a suspicion in 1994. And that's why bushfire politics - usually the friend of conservatives - will not deliver any change in polling for the Howard Govt, just as the big bang budget,  smear attacks on leader Rudd, govt adverts swamping the airwaves or the election campaign is likely to change the polling. We think the politically expert ministers in the Howard Govt seem to know it and understandably are unhappy with the certain downturn in their election prospects.

It appears to our eye only John Howard still has faith in himself and will continue to believe right up to the concession speech. The curious aspect of Howard's ego is that he loves the attention win or lose. His colleagues would do well to remember that. Win or lose he is still enjoying the game just as long as he has the spotlight. And that's where they have miscalculated his scant loyalty either to them or to the sustainable future of this country.

This Prime Minister won't be missed.

Posted by editor at 10:58 AM NZT
Updated: Thursday, 4 October 2007 10:44 AM NZT

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