LETTERS News Weekly
, August 20, 2011
The Gillard government wants to proceed with a Greens-inspired carbon tax plan, which goes further than in any comparable industrialised nation.
It is attempting to switch energy away from coal, which is plentiful in Australia, towards less economically feasible energy sources.
The only reason Gillard wants to rush into a “quick-fix” solution to climate change is to appease the Greens, which she virtually admitted by breaking her pre-election pledge that there would be no carbon tax under her government. After winning Senate control, the Greens demanded a carbon tax as the main condition for co-operating with the Gillard government for its survival.
Most experts agree that if there is any man-made heating of the planet, it is a millennial problem and not capable of being solved by the early suicidal tokenism of Australia’s trifling gesture. How stupid can we get?
Dr Tim Flannery, the government’s own climate change spokesman, says that even if the whole world were to cut off all emissions immediately, the average world temperature would not drop for hundreds or even thousands of years!
So Australia’s feeble effort will not affect climate change, but will badly hurt Australia now and soon feed a voracious rort of a carbon emission tax, as is already evident in the disastrous similar scam run by the European Union.
High-earning accountants, lawyers and merchant bankers will be needed for advice and for issuing trading emission permits. Canberra’s burgeoning bureaucrats and quangos are already salivating!
Coal-seam gas protest
The evening of August 4 saw a fiery meeting at Oakey (a rural town in the Darling Downs region of Queensland), attended by 600 people, to protest against coal-seam gas mining. There were passionate speeches by Drew Hutton of the Greens and Bob Katter of the newly-launched Australian Party.
What are missing from the ruckus are the reasons why there is so much emphasis on CSG mining. For good or ill, we will need energy for the future.
The Greens want to shut down the entire coal-mining industry; but if they are successful, where will our future energy sources come from? Trendy alternatives won’t be able to make up the deficiency.
The Greens and their fellow-travellers have no-one but themselves to blame for the rush by the big companies to develop the CSG alternative to coal.
If the Greens are so concerned about the loss of farms and the underground water supply, they should re-visit their policies regarding the coal industry and consign them to the scrap heap of history.
Glen Aplin, Qld
In 1850, gold was discovered in Victoria. Within 10 years, about one million people arrived by sailing ship. This made Victoria a prosperous, civilised and even a Christian state.
It was, and still is, the heart of the Democratic Labor Party (DLP). If the late Mr B.A. Santamaria had lived outside Victoria, it may not have been possible to found the Movement.
Nowadays in Western Australia, thousands of workers are flown to the mines and come back after several weeks. This should be stopped! Mining companies should be obliged to provide permanent housing for the workers.
Nothing promotes family values better than if a man and woman with some children live in a house.
George de Jong,
Windsor Gardens, SA
Reply to Dr Garrick Small
I am somewhat bewildered by the claims I am alleged to have made in my review of Dr Peter Jonson’s book Great Crises of Capitalism (see Dr Garrick Small’s letter to News Weekly, August 6, 2011).
I will not rebut them point by point, as that would take up the limited space of News Weekly’s letters page.
I never said that all people are better off under capitalism. Such a claim would be clearly silly. Leonid Brezhnev and the Soviet politburo were clearly better off than most Americans, but there was no rush to emigrate to Russia. Quite the reverse, in fact.
As for Dr Small’s call for government to be put in charge of credit creation, that would effectively be nationalisation of the banks, something the Australian electors categorically rejected in 1949 when Ben Chifley fought an election on this issue.
As you may recall, Labor did not regain power until 1972, when the disastrous Whitlam government was elected.
Economists know that commercial enterprises do not always make rational decisions. They are not idiots. That is an assumption made for the sake of constructing an economic model.
A model is not reality; it is an approximation of reality. Everyone who knows the slightest thing about economics knows that. A model helps explain how the economy operates; you can’t understand the economy in total because it is too messy as it involves people. Though few economists like to admit it, economics is a social science and inherently inexact.
Dr Small is wrong to assert that Peter Jonson “papers over the periodic failures of contemporary capitalism”. In fact, Dr Jonson made it perfectly clear in his book that crises are an inevitable part of capitalism.