Thursday, March 10, 2011

The People Are Revolting.

The fear campaign against a price on pollution has become so absurd that talkback radio hosts are claiming that a price on pollution means the end of our economy and life as we know it. Independent MPs are even receiving death threats. The amount of misinformation around the issue is staggering, with reports of people expecting a “carbon tax bill” alongside their tax forms come July.

Now, these same radio hosts have joined with climate deniers and far-right politicians to organise anti-climate action rallies as part of Tony Abbott’s so-called “people’s revolt”. They start on Saturday outside the Prime Minister’s electorate office in Melbourne.

As I tweeted on first hearing of this, the big polluters and corporations who stand to actually pay this carbon tax are big boys now. They don’t need mass indignation on their behalf. People’s revolts belong in tyrannies like Tunisia, Egypt, Libya. Basic freedoms and human rights are worth fighting for. Slightly lower taxes for the sake of big corporations, not so much.

But politicians are spooked. Even with the next election a few years away, the loss of four percentage points in the latest Newspoll is bound to be causing at least a few second thoughts in the Labor caucus. The more intelligent among them might recognise that this was expected; it does mean a short-term sacrifice for probable long-term rewards, which is exactly the sort of thinking that republican democracy discourages; but there will be some who will just see today’s numbers and want to back down. We mustn’t let them.

Implementing the cap-and-trade system is politically courageous, and implementing it early in the Parliament’s term is sensible, because in two or three years when the next election rolls around, they can point to the fact that our economy has not collapsed, that inflation is stable, and hopefully that carbon emissions have slowed, and regain some of the points that the deniers’ fear-mongering has lost them.

I’m proud of the government on this issue. I was beginning to doubt that there was much in the way of guts left in the ALP. But if those of us who aren’t as selfish and short-sighted as Tony Abbott or Alan Jones just sit back feeling smugly superior and let their angry shouting wash over us, it will be easy to overlook the fact that there is any support for climate action at all.

This is why a number of organisations, including the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, the Australian Conservation Foundation, Environment Victoria and GetUp, have arranged for a peaceful counter-rally this Saturday. We’ll be at Treasury Place this Saturday (12 March) at 11am to remind the government and the people that we support strong, courageous action on climate change.

Don’t let the vocal minority scare the government into backing down on this one. The Little Quince and I will be there. Whose side are you on — your children’s, or The Man’s?

See you there.

No comments:

Post a Comment