I am feeling optimistic about our ability to deal with climate change, thanks to the last few weeks of attention on strikes and Greta Thunberg and all of that. That's because I feel like there was a shift in the opposition: this time around I hardly saw anyone claiming falsely that climate change isn't real or that we shouldn't take action. Some still say that but it feels like opposition has predominately changed to "yes we should take action on climate change but..." followed by some incidental objection.
Amanda Vanstone's piece in The Age last week is the quintessential example: she complained about kids skipping school, words used by Greta Thunberg, people demonstrating instead of planting trees... but did not deny climate change. If anything she said the world should do more on climate change (just that others should do it instead of us Australians 🤦).
That's good! I feel like the culture war is shifting to tangential matters. That leaves more room for governments, bureaucrats, industry etc to quietly take action on climate change without upsetting the opposition. It is a way for the opposition to give up without having to admit they've failed, without losing face. We're not there yet but it feels like that shift is now underway.
Greta Thunberg's article "If world leaders choose to fail us, my generation will never forgive them" makes me wonder: what if those failing us now come good? Should we forgive those who change their mind and start acting on climate change?
I think yes. We should punish those politicians who don't act, but if we continue to punish those who see the light then what is their incentive to change their ways? Bitter pill as it would be I think we need to forgive any politician or other leader who starts taking real action on climate change. The climate doesn't need us to bear a grudge, it needs us to encourage action from everyone in power — regardless of what views they've espoused in the past.
Perhaps fortunately for those of you who enjoy hating on our Federal Coalition government, there's not much to forgive yet. Tony Abbott took us backwards on climate change but you probably never have to forgive him for that as he'll never be in power again. Scott Morrison has notably dialled back the rhetoric by saying he accepts the science on climate change, which is a darn good start. But in reality emissions are increasing under his government and his claim that we'll meet our Kyoto 2020 target in a canter is disingenuous. And it seems his party still can't help making snide comments about people who want real action, for example telling kids they should be in school instead of protesting.
The Liberals and Nationals are only just starting on their conversion to parties that accept the reality of climate change. But if they ever do accept reality and take action then I'll be cheering their conversion. I sure hope they do one day.
It seems to me there is an obvious solution for the Biloela Tamil family who are facing imminent deportation: they should be allowed to apply for one of the new regional visas.
They seem like ideal candidates because they already live in a rural community who clearly want them to stay. Letting them apply would not be a special exception for boat arrivals—and would not change our hardline border policies—it would just be dealing with them just like any other foreigner. The government's rhetoric about consequences to allowing exceptions doesn't ring true to me: where is the exception in treating everyone the same?