Grown ups summit a tame affair with climate change credibility gap?
Topic: aust govt
The front page of The Australian yesterday was profound - for a certain inscrutable expression of Rudd the man, possibly humbled by a self awareness of the awesome responsibility of mediating discourse with enormous power in the Land of the Emperors. Great photo-journalism that, worthy of page 1 too:
The youth summit of bright sparks kicks off today and good luck to them too. Even for the fast tracked privileged brats, the nepotism, the precocious ambition. One only hopes they have more individuality than these loyal soldiers of the Chinese Empire above. We particularly like the natural curiousity in the eyes of a mere one or two young crack troops - therein rests the hopes of the world.
The emperor of the summits, PM Kevin Rudd also returns to Aussie today too, and no doubt glad to see our sky, ocean, that old barely forgotten feeling of home.
On the other hand the summit next week 19th April in the open age bracket is looking a very controlled, indeed suppressed, affair with a firm Rudd brand on the forehead of every participant:
- 11 April 08 (offline) Talkfest to start with dinner date [for 10 group leaders which includes News Ltd's John Hartigan] in Sydney Daily Telegraph at p17.
- 11 April 08 (offline) Future productivity is all down to people power Warwick Smith Sydney Daily Telegraph p39
Indeed expert observers on several of the ten headline groups have scored some serious intellectual points about the limitations and flaws of representation: Indeed it's the 5th estate and less so Big Media critique that keeps the flame of independent thinking without fear or favour alive in the face of this vanity affair:
- 20 March 08 My boss shouldn’t be involved with Rudd’s gabfest | Mark Day Blog ... which echoes the bolsheviks apparently on the staff of The Age, owned by Fairfax, over their own editor Mr Jaspan also attending, as reported yesterday on crikey.com.au- On the Defence and security bunch, via crikey.com.au 'Your say' section 7th April 2008 by Tony Kevin, author and retired public servant:
Here is a case study. In the group on "Australia’s future security and prosperity in a rapidly changing region and world", chaired by Michael Wesley, in a field I thought I was reasonably familiar with (foreign policy and national security); I think I recognized only about 28 from the 90 names, and I know personally about half of those. I feel a bit uncomfortable not recognizing the names of over 60 people - I must be really out of touch. (I thought perhaps I had failed to recognize international trade specialists - not my field - but then I saw that is part of an economics-oriented committee). Here are some of the names not on the list for the 'foreign affairs and security' committee -commentators and writers Bruce Haigh, Peter Mares, Dick Woolcott, Allan Behm, Nic Stuart, activists Helen Caldicott, Sue Wareham, Margo Kingston, controversial persons Andrew Wilkie, Lance Collins, Richard Butler and yours truly, academics Owen Harries, Coral Bell, Alison Broinowski, Stuart Harris, Tony Milner, Desmond Ball. Of course some of these - myself included - may not have applied. And most of my names here are over 55s. I wish the summit well.
- Regarding the sustainability group refer Mr Merkel and our own deconstructions found here:
Monday, 31 March 2008
and here compared with this list from 2004
- On the creativity list here via New Matilda here:
- On the education group's background papers here:
10 April 08 Debate will stick to ALP script | The Australian
- 10 April 08 The truth hurts, but it's good for you | The Australian By Mike Steketee who has deeper ALP connections and so higher profile these days in The Oz who says for instance
"There are ministers who have the intellect and strength of personality to play the part of the iconoclast, among them Finance Minister Lindsay Tanner, Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese and Special Minister of State John Faulkner. But they may not have the inclination: the Government is popular, Rudd is a control freak and the mantra is that disunity is death. ....
Button wrote about the political system's "frightening conformity" and his life in Parliament House: "The prisoners are confined to the punishment area from 9am to midnight each day. (Make that 7am under Rudd.) At midnight they are transferred in black cars to sleeping cells, under the direction of a transport officer."
The idea of Rudd's 2020 Summit is to cast the net for ideas far wider than normally. But if the background papers are to be the guide, many of the debates will take place within a framework that fits the Government's agenda and highlights the Howard government's failings.
Button's challenges to the orthodoxy were not always successful and his solutions were not always correct. But at least he asked the questions.
Post-World War II secretary of state George Marshall, architect of the Marshall Plan, insisted on frankness from advisers. "Unless I hear all the arguments against something, I am not sure I have made the right decision," he said. Hopefully, Rudd has told colleagues something similar."
Steketee's comment for more free thinking for democratic health resonates with an accompanying piece by Nicholas Gruen, of Lateral Economics here:
10 April 08 Much to learn from Hayek on efficiency | The Australian
As we wrote today on a New Matilda string today:
Obituary 9 Apr 2008 The Trouble with Button Plans
"Thanks for this great post. Also Nicholas Gruen’s piece in The Australian 10th April 08
(the same Gruen, surely related to big knob at Fed Treasury, who Gittins as SMH economics editor urges be selected for the 2020 mutual w*nk fest because at least he’s got new ideas)
is highly instructive about a similar phenomenon : "Much to learn from Hayek on efficiency". Sounds dry but given I’m not a proverbial bootstrap of an economist, I still found this great. How so? Because it applies to economic efficiency theory what I call the The Thin Red Line (movie) principle.
That war/action movie on careful re watching is all about a smart officer in the field bucking the chain of command and refusing a stupid order to make cannon fodder of his troops. So they have to look for another way forward even as his field officer’s career is shredded by the discipline system. John Cusack character (from memory) infiltrates the Japanese machine gun bunker high on the bluff. Some of the most thrilling action film drama you will ever see. But macho testosterone aside, and not forgetting the really really great sound track, the movie is about (USA culture of) democracy beating (Nippon Rising Sun) totalitarian hierarchy as a model of social wellbeing. All else being equal in terms of soldierly commitment and ability.
Democracy leverages the God given brains of each and every little man and woman in the social machine as imperfect and eccentric as the communication/synthesis of those eyes and brains can be. As in Guadalcanal, so it is Port Kembla steelworks or washing machine factory, and harth and home.
A centralised engineer’s plan’s just cannot synthesise all the complex human sourced data in a sufficiently contemporaneous and useful way. It’s arrogance to think otherwise. (This reality is also why the chaotic anarchic information sharing of the internet is so very powerful for speeding up that process.)
And what I most like about John Button personally, apart from being a Truman Capote sized charmer, is his brutally honest take on the evil native forest woodchipping industry back in 92-3, advisedly, as per the Resource Assessment Commission 3 volume report 1992, as here:
"Wednesday, 9 April 2008
John Button’s spirit at the 2020 Summit regarding forests: ‘Woodchipping’s a bastard of an industry’"
God bless John Button’s memory, and his courageous independence. On reflection I think this ‘little’ man must have realised early on that everyone knows something, even the shortest smallest guy usually overlooked (literally in his case) in a crowd, and he must have decided to honour that and himself too in defiance of all those thrashings as a kid, and he leveraged that grand truth into a grand political career. Wow. That’s a very charitable and inspiring example of quality thinking. Everyone does know something and how to unlock that and honour that, indeed a vote of confidence in people’s innate creativity and talent, is the key to a happier world.
The power of democracy no less."
Not inside the Summit but outside it in the democratic sinews of the country before, during and after. Just as well to avoid a cult of personality over the boy off a Qld dairy farm.
Like a certain 702 morning presenter off a Hawkesdale dairy farm in south west Victoria who we do wonder was confirmed in the gig by hard man strategist CEO Mark Scott in our biggest city late last year at least in part to stay onside with the Nambour protege now PM elected November 24th 2007?
Indeed it was exactly this fiesty boisterous indeed wild quality that we submitted in our defiant application to the big knobs Summit here free of stultifying conformity, with a sting in the tail (!) in bold, and so it has proved to be, Mr 'Tintin in Beijing' PM:
My presence will assist a successful event: A principled dedicated non smoking teetotal community media practitioner who will report back fairly to the community sector with an independent legal and ecological eye, with no personal agenda; An enthusiastic respectful participant in forums. Our history of knockabout experience, good education, and ecological achievement will add a powerful flavour to the discourse dominated by proud over achievers in other fields. My qualities, off a very humble base, are a premium for social and economic restructure in a massively carbon constrained future, and which this summit - already with something of a credibility gap - needs.
This was one humourous photo of Kevin Rudd back 2007 when he was a mere wannabe PM at the national ALP conference:
The photo is intended to amplify the choreography and alleged control freak aspects of bureaucrat turned politician now PM Rudd.
As to the credibility gap of PM Rudd inspecting so called clean coal experimental plants when he could be ramping up renewable energy transfers. What chance of taboo topics like this at the 2020 summit as it relates to climate?
- 3 March 2008 An inconvenient truth about rising immigration (By Ross Gittins, economics editor)
- 7 March, 2008 Hitting the 'non-existent' limits (Gittins again)
And notice this quite damning assessment from those party poopers at the Green Party in federal parliament:
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 11:00 AM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Are we headed for coal's biggest ever budget bonanza?
Are we headed for coal's biggest ever budget bonanza?
Canberra, Friday 11 April 2008 Australian Greens climate change
spokesperson, Senator Christine Milne, today called on the Rudd
Government to focus its Budget priorities on existing climate solutions
such as energy efficiency and renewable energy, not offer up even
greater subsidies to the hugely profitable coal sector.
Senator Milne said "Prime Minister Rudd's visit to a coal fired power
plant in China instead of one of their world-leading solar or wind sites
is yet another ominous indicator that his Government intends to protect
the coal sector from real, competitive climate solutions.
"The coal sector's hype of 'clean' coal has been badly tarnished in
recent years and months, with little or no progress in research and
development, while renewable energy technologies have been moving in
leaps and bounds, increasing their efficiency, reducing costs and
developing improved energy storage technologies.
"Even John Boshier, head of the National Generators Forum and one of
Australian coal's loudest advocates, has said that early confidence in
the techno-fix is fading amid growing concerns over cost and timeline
blowouts, and the realisation of the mammoth scale of the problem -
burying some 300 million tonnes of CO2 every year in Australia alone.
"Coal is simply being out-competed, and its desperation is evident in
the increasingly strident calls for government hand-outs to one of the
world's most profitable sectors.
"The Rudd Government's first Budget must deliver a level playing field
for energy technologies that puts a price on climate pollution. When
that happens, those technologies that are ready to deliver substantial
emissions reductions now, like energy efficiency, solar thermal power
and wind energy, will out-compete 'clean' coal.
"Instead of delivering a level playing field, Rudd looks set to continue
the Howard Government policies of 'picking losers' with increased
support for the coal sector.
"The coal sector is old, polluting and well entrenched. Even if climate
change were not an issue, it would be outrageous that our governments
add billions every year to the coffers of the rich multinational
corporations that run the sector. When you add climate change
considerations to the mix, ongoing fossil fuel subsidies become one of
the most perverse and destructive government decisions imaginable. The
polluter pays principle tells us that the companies that have profited
from polluting for so long should be the ones to shoulder the burden of
cleaning up their act, not the taxpayer.
"The Greens have proposed that a portion of the billions that would be
saved by cutting fossil fuel subsidies should be channelled towards
further research, development and commercialisation of renewable energy
and energy efficiency technologies through a Sun Fund, and to pay for
the early stages of a systematic and systemic retrofit of Australia's
housing stock for energy efficiency set out in our EASI policy.
"I will be watching the Government's first Budget carefully to see if
its priorities follow Martin Ferguson's industry-fuelled hype, or a
sensible, realistic path to clean energy."
Media and Communications Adviser
Senator Christine Milne
+61 (0)2 6277 3063
+61 (0) 437 587 562
We reported on the dangers of carbon capture sequestration here recently:
- Friday, 4 April 2008 Energy Minister Ferguson gambling on safety of CO2 carbon capture after Norway report?
Meanwhile The Greens have a point about a high powered 2020 gopher for the ALP Rudd machine:
Saturday, 12 April 2008
2020 boss should stand aside - Brown
The head of the Rudd government's 2020 summit secretariat, Linda
Hornsey, should stand aside while various accusations about her probity
in Tasmania are investigated, Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said in
Canberra this morning.
"It is alleged that Ms Hornsey, as Premier Lennon's department chief,
interfered to block the appointment of a magistrate because he
criticised Gunns. This is a serious matter but it is not the only
concern about Ms Hornsey's use of power. It is not appropriate she
preside over the 2020 process which so much depends on goodwill and good
process," Senator Brown said.
Only 17 Tasmanians were selected to the 1000 delegate conference
Further information: Ebony Bennett 0409 164 603
For those annoyingly active and boisterous folks there are various consolation prizes for 'the losers' not invited to the 2020 "shindig" and presumably have no place in the bunker after a nuclear holocaust either!:
10 April 2008 www.smh.com.au - Pull your head out, Sydneysiders
Postscript #1 13 April 2008
As for the Governance group they seem to be taking some water here regarding allegations of pre determined outcomes, but also 2 VIP retired judges bailing out:
12 April 2008 Judges abandon Rudd's summit | The Australian
11 April 2008 Mad game to tinker with our great system | The Australian
Postscript #2 14 April 2008
We like and respect Bret Solomon of self described "independent" Get Up not least for his career history with fiesty charity Oxfam, but we also well understand he cannot escape the covert ALP provenance and seed funding of Get UP not least via Evan Thorley MP in the machine Vic Upper House perch and IT entrepeneur rich man. Solomon himself admitted in a talk we attended at the Sydney Mechanics in Pitt St that Thorley was his source of income.
Thorley presumably has fanchised here the US Democrat cyber model of political outreach of 2003-2005, and such as MoveOn.org financed by billionaire George Soros. Here is Get Up's full on engagement with the 2020 Summit indicating both genuine enthusiasm and endorsement of the narrow scope of the event - because they are inside the tent. It would be naive to expect very much cutting critique from Get Up?:
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 8:31 PM
Subject: What's your 2020 vision?
Only 1000 people will be deliberating Australia's future at next week's 2020 Summit - but that's not to say your voice won't be heard. Incredibly, 118 of the chosen delegates are GetUp members, including our Executive Director Brett Solomon, so we're starting a conversation to make sure that your voice is added to theirs before they begin their dialogue about Australia's future.
Have your say on what you want our country's future to look like on our 2020 forums - and we will deliver your ideas direct to the decision makers heading to Canberra:
The forums have been started by GetUp members attending the Summit, and they're keen to make sure your ideas are heard. Add your comments and your new big ideas to our online forums - to make sure the Summit recommendations reflect the issues that are important to you.
The Summit is a golden opportunity to let the Australian Government - and a whole range of people representing the Australian community - know where we'd like our country to go. We'll deliver the top ideas from each forum to the Summit delegates, so add your idea now and vote for the ones you care most about:
It's rare to have such a concrete opportunity to look beyond the immediate political term in Australia - but it's forums like these where nation-building ideas are born. This is your chance to let those on the inside of 2020 know what you think.
Thanks for making it happen,
The GetUp team
PS - If you're a GetUp member going to the Summit and we haven't been in touch yet, please let us know by emailing Sally@getup.org.au.
PPS - It's National Youth Week - an important time to remember the thousands of homeless young people living on our streets. Click here to hear Tegan talk about her experiences. Tegan is a homeless young person involved with the Oasis youth centre, which was featured in a documentary, 'The Oasis', screened on the ABC last night.
Posted by editor
at 9:51 AM NZT
Updated: Monday, 14 April 2008 9:26 AM NZT