Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Think tank urges Australia to scrap mining, carbon taxes
PERTH ( − The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), a free market think tank, on Wednesday called on the federal government to scrap its proposed mineral resources rent tax (MRRT) and carbon tax in light of the looming economic downturn in Australia's biggest export market, China.

“The recent stock market roller-coaster and the European and US debt crises have shed light on the risks associated with Australia's reliance on China's thirst for our resources,” Hugh Tobin, director of the North Australia Project at the IPA said.
“Why would we want to add on new taxes and make ourselves uncompetitive at a time like this?” [Is there ever a good time to make yourself uncompetitive in an idiotic attempt to prevent bad weather?]
BBC News - Canberra's season of protest
They descended upon Canberra with Aussie flags draped round their shoulders, "No carbon tax" stickers affixed to their shirts and wearing Akubra hats and baseball caps to guard them from the early spring sun: 4,000-5,000 protesters who had amassed on the lawns of Parliament House to vent their fury at plans for a carbon tax which they believe will increase fuel bills, wreck Australia's resources-dependent economy and do nothing to halt global warming.

Many, probably most, vehemently reject the science underpinning worldwide efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions.
A few things struck me about crowd. Many of the protesters were old and retired, as one would expect from a protest in the middle of the week. Many were attending their first ever protest rally, which is more significant. Rising energy bills was something that had got these first-timers out in force. Nobody that I spoke to at the rally thought the Gillard minority government had any legitimacy, let alone any mandate. Most thought it incompetent, and said the carbon tax had crystallised broader fears.

A surprisingly high number, curiously, were Brits who have settled in Australia. Many were farmers and blue-collar workers. But I also ran into a GP, who had given up $2000 in consultation fees for the day to drive down to Canberra from Sydney. In other words, this crowd could not be written off as a "red-neck mob", tempting though that caricature might be to supporters of the carbon tax. This was an Audi estate crowd as well as a "ute" crowd.

Afterwards, when the crowds had dispersed, I met up with Anna Maria Arabia, who heads up the nation's peak scientific body FASTS (the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies). She, like a number of scientists, has received death threats, and recently launched a campaign called Respect the Science. She was worried by the anger on display in Canberra.

"The sort of protests we see today, with extreme behaviour, sends a message to the public that this sort of extreme behaviour is acceptable and it is simply not. And it leads to the sorts of emails that are death threats and are quite extreme behaviour that climate change scientists and others involved in this field have experienced."
Report to the PM on the Office of Chief Science Advisor |  New Zealand
[Professor Sir Peter Gluckman] I took a significant role in explaining how the scientific position on anthropogenic climate change was reached.

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