Dear Susan Templeman,
This letter is addressed to you as the local Labor Federal member of Parliament for the Macquarie electorate (covering the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury areas). It is a plea for the Federal Labor Party to cease to be a party of desperation and to start acting with fortitude and with policies that will give the next generation Aussies a chance to exist in a liveable world.
I write to you knowing you are a truly hard-working and effective member of Parliament. You would win each election in a landslide if more people in your electorate were aware of how many local community members you have assisted and how active you have been in making your electorate a great place to live.
Your active participation in helping the community get through the recent fire and flood disasters also stands out, but here is where we need the Labor Party to stand up and be counted in mitigation strategies to limit these disasters.
Last week Michael West Media reported:
“Massive tracts of land the size of Bulgaria has been opened for oil and gas exploration for the first time. Despite vehement local opposition in the Northern Territory, despite climate change and the world moving to “net zero” emissions, the Federal and NT governments have opened up the NT’s enormous Beetaloo Basin for fracking, even going so far as to subsidise a foreign billionaire drilling for gas there.
And there is barely a squeak from Labor in opposition, whose policies on gas are as regressive as those of the Coalition, and whose political party donations from foreign gas giants and their proxies are just as large.
As if the bizarre PEP11 proposal to drill for gas off the coast of Australia’s wealthiest economic zone, Sydney, were not enough. As if the Victorian proposal to open up drilling permits near the iconic Twelve Apostles too is not a grotesque enough ornament to the destructive policies of Australian governments on climate, these two are trumped for sheer size by the new fossil fuel projects in the NT.
As oil and gas analyst Bruce Robertson describes it, Australia is setting off a “carbon bomb”.
Combining the Federal Government’s recent 80,000km sq offshore oil and gas anchorage release with the Northern Territories recent 30,780km sq anchorage release Australian governments have opened a landmass totalling 110,000km sq to gas exploration in 2021 alone.
The Morrison government has also announced a subsidy of $7.5 million per wellhead to a total of $22.5 million per gas company for risky gas exploration, on top of $224 million spent on improving roads to the Beetaloo Basin for gas companies to use.
Your leader Susan, had this to say about it (an extract from the Herald):
“Labor leader Anthony Albanese did not speak during the caucus discussion on gas but will back the mining industry in a speech to be delivered on Wednesday, praising sectors including gas and coal for providing jobs.”
Children go to court to stop coal mines
Meanwhile, eight Australian children have won a case against Environment Minister Sussan Ley, challenging an expansion of the Vickery coal mine in northern NSW (with court costs awarded in the children’s favour).
The Whitehaven Coal-owned project north of Gunnedah was previously approved by NSW’s Independent Planning Commission and would result in 100 million additional tonnes of carbon emissions.
Justice Bromberg’s order says Ms Ley has a duty to exercise reasonable care “to avoid causing personal injury or death to persons who were under 18 years of age and ordinarily resident in Australia at the time of commencement of this proceeding arising from emissions of carbon dioxide into the earth’s atmosphere”.
Now the Federal Government is going to appeal the decision. Once again, not a peep out of Labor.
The crime scene
And here is an extract from a recent Aljazeera piece:
“Every person on Earth today is living in a crime scene. This crime has been going on for decades. We see its effects in the horrific heat and wildfires unfolding this summer in the American West; in the megastorms that were so numerous in 2020 that scientists ran out of names for them; in the global projections that sea levels are set to rise by at least 20 feet (6 metres). Our only hope is to slow this inexorable ascent so our children may figure out some way to cope.
The crime in question is the fossil fuel industry’s 40 years of lying about climate change. Arguably the most consequential corporate deception in history, the industry’s lies have had the effect of blunting public awareness and governmental action against what scientists say is now a full-fledged climate emergency.
As a candidate in the 2020 US presidential elections, Joe Biden said he would support efforts to prosecute the oil giants for their lies. It remains to be seen whether he will keep that promise.
Internal records showed that by the late 1970s, Exxon’s own scientists were briefing its top executives that man-made global warming was real, potentially catastrophic, and caused mainly by burning fossil fuels.
In conclusion, Albanese was interviewed on Insiders this morning and I remembered my father-in-law’s observation: “Every time he speaks you start to fall to sleep after the first few words”.
Labor needs a charismatic leader like yourself or Tanya to take the reigns now and make the Labor Party one of singular purpose to take on the Federal Government for the long-term benefit of the environment and the human species.