Friday, October 21, 2011

Occupy Melbourne protest removed with Police force

The Occupy Melbourne protest that has been running for a week in Melbourne's City Square was broken up today when Police forceably evicted protesters after Lord Mayor Robert Doyle issued an eviction notice.

The protest, largely against corporate greed, had been running in a peaceful and non-violent way for a week.

Interestingly, Melbourne City Square is itself a victim of corporate greed - half of it was sold by Melbourne City Council years ago to developers who built a hotel and shop complex on it, leaving a much smaller portion of it for the public.

Our elected leaders are out of touch with the people.  Violence does not solve problems, it creates them.  I think the increasing concentration of wealth in our society does not bode well for the future. I also think that the banks who caused the GFC through dodgy and illegal practices were rewarded by taxpayer funded bail-outs provided by politicians - and are continuing on with similar practices.

Things need to change. Protests such as those held by the Occupy movement are valid and part of a vibrant democracy.  Quashing them with force is counterproductive and illustrates which politicians and governments are part of the problem rather than part of the solution.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Australia finally gets a price on carbon

The minority government in Australia has delivered a reform that no "majority" government (Labor or Coalition) could or would deliver.   This is a good day for those who want some action on climate change rather than endless political bickering and even denial.

The impetus for the carbon price legislation has been provided by many over a long period.  There have been several "Walk against warming" events over the last decade which demonstrated public support for real action on climate change.

The Australian Climate Action Summit in 2009 called for Labor's fatally compromised CPRS to be ditched, and for investment to be directed towards 100% renewable energy.  Both these objectives have now been met:
  • The Greens opposed the CRPS and it was voted down.  
  • The Clean Energy Future package that has just been voted for is greatly superior to it, and includes significant funds for investing in clean energy.   
Here is an interesting quote from Crikey:

Pretty much all the innovations in the package are Greens ideas, the fundamental one being targets recommended by the Climate Change Authority and the big renewables funds with independent boards determining how the money should be spent. And the expanded Productivity Commission role in immediately reviewing compensation to emissions intensive trade-exposed industries. And the Australian Energy Market Operator will include scenario planning for 100% renewable energy. Four key advisers - Milne policy adviser Oliver Woldring, Bandt spinner Damien Lawson, powerful Bob Brown chief-of-staff Ben Oquist and Milne media adviser Tim Hollo - were at the centre of the negotiations.

This would not have happened but for the people in Melbourne who voted Green for Adam Bandt and for the Greens in the Senate in 2010.

And this would not have happened without broad public support and a long history of community pressure to steer us away from a fossil fuel-addicted economy towards a clean green renewable energy-based economy.  So lets celebrate!

But this is only one step.  The next one should be to immediately protect Australia's native forests from logging and allow them to restore their carbon stocks. This alone could reduce Australia’s emissions by 5%.

The benefits of a minority government will be further demonstrated when Labor's ridiculous, inhumane and very expensive legislation for offshore processing of asylum seekers will be voted down later this week.

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