March 17th 2007

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: East Timor elections: Australia's role

EDITORIAL: East Timor's democratic alternative

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Can Kevin Rudd handle the heat?

OVERSEAS TRADE: Wheat's single selling-desk under threat

QUARANTINE: Parliament must not shirk its responsibility

STRAWS IN THE WIND: He knew not what he done, guv ... / Bring back our demonstrators - official! / Inspector Rex meets Robert Mugabe / The Balibo Five

MERCHANTS OF SLEAZE: Destroying our daughters' innocence

ABORTION: Winning over women one at a time

OPINION: Freedom of speech under threat

GOOD READING: We still need tales of bravery and heroism

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Rare mineral's use in miniaturised gadgets

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: Angling for a greater role on the world stage

Anti-Americanism (letter)

Green radicalism (letter)

Green hoaxes (letter)

BOOKS: AMERICA ALONE: The end of the world as we know it, by Mark Steyn

BOOKS: THE GREAT WAR, by Les Carlyon

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Green hoaxes (letter)

by Greg O'Regan

News Weekly, March 17, 2007

Activists with special agendas are determined we should all feel guilty all the time about something. These doomsayers are backed by some politicians clamouring for notice to further their ambitions or the profits of their mates or their own sideline activities against the day they lose high office and take refuge in academia, or in the trade of water, air and light.

News outlets of all stripes snatch with relish any gloomy or guilt-infecting news. Nothing sells better than sensations close to home, heart or pocket.

Immature and hopeful journalists devour without question media releases from the vested interests and their advocates. They weave into their reports exaggerated assertions about global-warming, carbon emissions, carbon-trading, water rights (as if water is a border-bound private good to be traded, rather than a public good).

Politicians, fearful of losing office, don't question activists lest they themselves seem to be obstructing the agendas that first saturate the media and then become the accepted wisdom.

These activists and profiteers want us to change light bulbs, drink polluted water, have only replacement children, and clutter our house with devices that are solar and wind-powered. In a word, they want us to change our current means of existence in ways comfortable or profitable for them.

We are to feel guilty about the air we breathe in and out (carbon dioxide), the water we use, and the light we need. You are guilty if you travel, especially by carbon-emitting car or plane. The accepted slogan is, "Stay at home and save the planet".

Yet that is not enough for the eco-nannies: you must use less, if any, hot water, heating and air-conditioning, regardless of their contributions to our hygiene and comfort.

Lest we ignore the doomsayers and traders, we are threatened with higher costs for basic elements of normal living.

The recent flurry of these agendas in the public forum smacks less of the drought and more of electioneering. Given this talk of trading non-existent water, hot air, smoke and light, I predict an increase in the demand for mirrors.

Greg O'Regan,
Farrer, ACT

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