Facebook Google Menu Linkedin lock Pinterest Search Twitter

Advertisement

Federal

Oct 27, 2009

Hamilton: Why I am standing for the Greens in Higgins

Crikey regular Clive Hamilton explains why he is running in the Higgins by-election as a candidate for the Greens, and says that climate change won't be the only issue he'll be campaigning on.

User login status :

Share

Crikey regular Clive Hamilton explains why he is running in the Higgins by-election as a candidate for the Greens (we have also offered space to the Liberal candidate, Kelly O’Dwyer):

I decided to become the Greens candidate for the Higgins by-election because I am scared. With the climate scientists ringing the alarm bells at a deafening volume, and the crucial Copenhagen climate conference in December, it is time for us to act and act decisively on global warming.

Those of us willing to heed the alarm bells and understand what is at stake, watch in dismay as the government and the opposition in federal Parliament squabble over who can do less to tackle this fearsome threat to our future.

Adelaide’s water has dried up; the Great Barrier Reef can no longer be salvaged; the February inferno killed 200 Australians after a fierce heat-wave.

What will it take for our leaders to wake up? There is nothing more important. The climate scientists say we have at most a few years to get it right. By 2020 it will be too late. Allowing the coal industry to expand is criminally irresponsible.

Yet, in the two main parties the choice is between the weak and the pathetic. We desperately need the leadership that the main parties seem incapable of giving, and it is only the Greens that can provide it.

So we have reached a political turning point. We Australians must decided whether we are going to be world leaders or world laggards; whether we are going to listen to the climate scientists and take urgent action, or listen instead to the fossil fuel lobbyists and climate sceptics whose voices currently dominate in Canberra.

I can write books and articles, and I can speak out. But if I can do more, then I am obliged to do so, otherwise I will not be able to look my children in the eye.

I am not from Higgins, but I have been selected by the local Greens to be their candidate. In this moment of our history, we are asking the voters of Higgins to think of themselves not as residents of Prahran or Glen Iris or Camberwell or Malvern; we are asking them to think of themselves as Australians.

We are asking the voters of Higgins to send an unambiguous message to the Labor Party and the Liberal Party. And that message is this: “We are seriously worried about the changing climate that jeopardises our future and that of our children. Stop pretending to take warming seriously. Listen to the warnings of the scientists and take decisive action, now.”

Asylum seekers

Although for me the dominant issue is climate change, it is not the only one. I expect that the voters of Higgins are uncomfortable with the escalating rhetoric over asylum seekers.

The Sri Lankan asylum seekers are reluctant refugees. They do not want to leave their homeland; they are fleeing persecution. In their situation, we would do the same.

We have to decide whether we are a nation that accepts our legal and humanitarian obligations to the persecuted, or a nation of fearful people who would turn away those asking for our help.

Through their incontinent language, Prime Minister Rudd and Opposition leader Turnbull have stirred the ghost of Pauline Hansen, who now stalks the corridors of Parliament House.

There are many on the back benches of both parties who must be appalled by this turn of events, yet only the Greens have taken a principled position.

With only a cigarette paper separating the main parties on all of the important issues, they must resort to spin to create the impression of difference. We need an alternative because the system is rotten.

Now it imperils our very future. Global events have converged and it is now or never to get climate policy right.

The political system has failed. It has responded to the climate crisis with a mixture of denial, spin and capitulation to commercial interests. The answer is not to abandon democracy, but to reclaim and reinvigorate it. And that is why I am running for the Greens in Higgins.

Clive Hamilton —

Clive Hamilton

Professor of Public Ethics at the Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics at Charles Sturt University

Get a free trial to post comments
More from Clive Hamilton

Advertisement

We recommend

From around the web

Powered by Taboola

61 comments

Leave a comment

61 thoughts on “Hamilton: Why I am standing for the Greens in Higgins

  1. Andrew

    Consistent with Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (Director of the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact and chief climate science adviser of the German Government) statement:

    “We’re simply talking about the very life support system of this planet … ”

    “A recent comprehensive study confirms this in showing that we are going beyond the limits of the Earth … we are still chugging along like we have no need to solve these issues any time in the near future. We are not even near the reductions that are necessary”

    http://ecoworldly.com/2009/10/02/is-the-us-climate-illiterate/ http://www.nature.com:80/climate/2009/0911/full/climate.2009.106.html

    An analogy can be drawn with a patient’s whose body temperature rises above 40 degrees C, which needs to be brought down urgently, lest oxygen does not reach the brain … then the correct antibiotics needs to be administered at the right dose at the right time …

    It is the same with the climate.

    Time is running out. Governments can not continue with business/politics as usual, and need to focus on the next generation rather than the next election.

    The issue should be over and above politics.

    Andrew Glikson
    Earth and paleoclimate science
    27-10-09

  2. Jeff Waugh

    “And I’m confident that the Greens would not want to be seen to be the party that doesn’t care about children’s access to this material. Having me running in Higgins will reinforce the credentials of the Greens in the area of child protection.”

    Clive Hamilton clarifies position on web filtering

    I think the last thing the Greens need in Higgins is a candidate who supports extreme measures which resolve nothing they purport to address. In this case, the Internet filtering policy. But this is serious branding dud for the Greens.

    There’s an opportunity in seats like Higgins to garner support for green issues, but those potential voters want to know that the party is capable of rising above single-issue status before putting a Greens candidate in the House of Representatives.

    On that count — sadly, I might add — choosing Clive Hamilton for Higgins speaks volumes.

  3. Most Peculiar Mama

    How disingenuous of you Clive.

    You also know that the only way to effectively stave off your hilariously distorted and fact-challenged vision of an impending climate apocalypse is to rid the world of the only scourge that stands in the way of a Gaian rebirth:

    Get rid of human beings.

    What population control measures will you be advocating for Clive? Sterilisation?

    Denying anyone over 65 medical insurance?

    A second hip replacement?

    Or even better (shhh), legalising euthanasia?

    Or maybe you can heed your own prescient advice:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/its-life-but-certainly-not-as-we-want-it/2006/12/29/1166895477172.html?page=2

    “…Under a policy of zero net migration…”

    “…Unlike natural population growth, the immigration tap can be eased back tomorrow…”

    “…Doing so is the only way to protect the quality of life in Sydney…”

    Really. You don’t say.

    In light of the switcheroo above your hustings missive is disingenuous in the extreme.

    But you and the Greens are nothing if not full of surprises.

    BTW, when are you moving into Higgins?

    Kelly is already there.

  4. Most Peculiar Mama

    You know that the only way to effectively stave off your hilariously distorted and fact-challenged vision of an impending climate apocalypse is to rid the world of the only scourge that stands in the way of a Gaian rebirth:

    Get rid of human beings.

    What population control measures will you be advocating for Clive? Sterilisation?

    Denying anyone over 65 medical insurance?

    A second hip replacement?

    Or even better (shhh), legalising euthanasia?

    Or maybe you can heed your own prescient advice:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/its-life-but-certainly-not-as-we-want-it/2006/12/29/1166895477172.html?page=2

    “…Under a policy of zero net migration…”

    “…Unlike natural population growth, the immigration tap can be eased back tomorrow…”

    “…Doing so is the only way to protect the quality of life in Sydney…”

    Really. You don’t say.

    In light of the switcheroo above your hustings missive is disingenuous in the extreme.

    But you and the Greens are nothing if not full of surprises.

    BTW, when are you moving into Higgins?

  5. Most Peculiar Mama

    Remember saying this Clive:

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/its-life-but-certainly-not-as-we-want-it/2006/12/29/1166895477172.html?page=2

    “…Under a policy of zero net migration…”

    “…Unlike natural population growth, the immigration tap can be eased back tomorrow…”

    “…Doing so is the only way to protect the quality of life in Sydney…”

    In light of the switcheroo above your hustings missive is disingenuous in the extreme.

  6. Liz45

    I’m a Greens supporter. I support all of their policies which aren’t confined to ‘green issues’ at all. I was once a member of the ALP but was pissed off when Bob Hawke gave us the ‘middle finger’ over uranium. Many like me who worked our bums off were disgusted. I said I’d never join another political party ever. Once the Labor Party took up issues like preservation of native forests etc, but that changed years ago. Labor isn’t much different than the Coalition, with a few ‘softening’ edges – basically the same ideas and support the same lot – corporate greed, whether it’s developers or mining giants or multinationals involved in ripping the guts out of this country and our neighbours with only an eye on profits.

    I find it amazing, that the ALP can waffle on about caring for the planet, but allow the clearing of football fields of trees per day. Waffle on about getting rid of nuclear weapons while we sell uranium to countries that we don’t know who the Leaders will be in a years time, let alone 5 or 10! The contradictions make me just shake my head in disbelief.

    Sometimes I think I must’ve misheard, or live on another planet, perhaps another country? The handling or ‘mis-handling’ of the current numbers of asylum seekers is a case in point. How different is the ‘Indonesian solution’ to the ‘Pacific solution’? It’s just a case of geography in my view. We all know about Indonesia’s ‘proud record’ re human rights – don’t we? There’s Afghanis walking around with black eyes, bruised faces etc(as we speak) as they claim to have been bashed by Indonesian ‘workers’ in a detention centre. Indonesia rejected these claims initially, until they saw video evidence? Rudd should’ve said enough and brought them to Australia. In fact, he should’ve nipped the racist BS in the bud by using the media via An Address to the Nation, and told the Australian people the facts about those coming by boat as opposed to the 96% who arrive by plane etc.Instead he shamefully allowed the Coalition and the media to carry on, just to show the racists he was tough! If we stopped killing people in their own countries(Iraq & Afghanistan), those traumatized citizens who’ve witnessed this, and lost too many family members, wouldn’t be forced to flee. What do we do to help prevent the trauma in Sri Lanka for example? Call those who want their independence and/or justice for minority groups, terrorists?

    I also support the campaign to stop the retail sector from ‘sexing’ up their ads to sell kids’ clothes. Bras for 8 and 9 yr olds; and obscene messages on toddler T-shirts for example, aren’t funny. I have grandkids and I find this practice most disturbing indeed. They’re only babies/kids for such a short time and then zap it’s gone! Clive has spoken out against this hideous practice and I applaud him for taking a stand.

    Good for you Clive. I don’t live in Victoria, but good luck!

  7. evamary

    I have a dream – Mr Rudd and Mr Turnbull turned up on my TV and said – My fellow Australians – this country is facing climate problems which are too serious to be addressed by the shoddy world of party politics. For this issue, we are dropping the rules. We’re both sensible men and we know the planet won’t survive unless we agree on the facts and make our priorities the immediate reduction of fossil fuel production/use, de-forestation, poor farming practices, – and misuse of water. That’s for a start. From now on, we re not going to have our eyes on the polls – we’ll have them on the big polluters, who appear to be running this country. We will cooperate in enacting laws which are binding on companies and individuals to immediately reduce fossil fuel use now – not tomorrow.

    Fortunately, we have the possibility of the election of Clive Hamilton to the seat of Higgins. If this happens, it will be one of the few electoral wins based on the candidate’s knowledge of the subject – any subject! – in recent years. We will enlist a cabinet/caucus from the present Greens members and those from either side of politics who agree that the climate is not a side-show, but the main event.

    We are now on a war footing. It will take commitment, sacrifice, co-operation, selflessness, and a radical change of our way of life, but we both commit ourselves to this challenge. We will sending your parliamentary reps. back to their constituencies after they have undertaken a crash course on the seriousness of the threat – they will provide seminars for you so that our plans are crystal-clear to all……….

    Well I can dream, can’t I?

    evamary

  8. Frank Campbell

    Well Stephen, I’m not a follower of Prince Charles (endearing as he is). He gives us seven years before we’re all doomed. If you believe him and the Hamiltonian Savonarolas, there’ll be no point doing anything after July 2017. The15th is the deadline I think. Towel-chucking day. The End Days are nigh, so let’s madmax or shag each other senseless ’til the fire comes, according to taste.

    This is the catastrophic mess that catastrophism has landed us in. Extremism paralyses politics.

    We all know that social democratic governments can barely find the loo, which is why they piss our money up against the wall most of the time. We know they can’t forge coherent policy for next week, let alone decades ahead. (Yes, other forms of government are worse- they drink the place dry, wreck the joint and in the morning blame the Greens, poor parenting or imperialism). Every major policy is shambolic: deserts are irrigated, farm runoff kills lakes and reefs, filthy brown coal is Brumbied off to India, pleasant suburban cities sprawl into nightmares, public transport disappears up its own cancellation, fish stocks are massacred, Redgums fall while we bitch about the Amazon, Victoria burns in a fiasco of incompetence and evasion…

    As always, we Meliorists just peck away and rejoice in small gains, many of which are later lost because the forces of barbarism (aka short term profit) are relentless.

    We know that capitalism is both unchallenged, voracious and underwritten by the taxpayer. It corrupts everything it touches. The GFC was just the latest paroxysm of greed. Corporate managerialism has colonised every institution, including the state, converting public bodies into conduits for private gain. All social democracy can do is try to mitigate the worst excesses.

    So here’s the political problem- along comes a “scientifically verified” catastrophe, anthropogenic global warming. What is to be done?

    It’s clear that most people either don’t believe the Armageddon scenario or can’t imagine it- it hardly matters which. Screaming or patronising just makes things worse. Many flee to the comforting arms of Uncle Plimer or the ample breasts of Sen. Boswell. Others follow the Pied Viper into the gibbering wastes of O’Connor. Most hedge their bets. Climate scepticism is rising, not falling, driven not least by the hellfire demagoguery of climate priests.

    Meanwhile, the mainstream politicians do exactly what you’d expect: (i) pretend to do something (ii) actually do something which is all show and no substance (wind farms for instance- a cruel burden on the weak and a climatic joke) (iii) accommodate entrenched sectional interests, which exacerbates (i) and (ii).
    We then move to (iv) if and when the crisis galvanises the polity into hurling money at “solutions”, which allows capitalist enterprises to suck out lots of public money for whatever technical fix seems momentarily plausible, such as carbon sequestration, wave power or whatever.

    There are many excellent reasons for getting rid of fossil fuels apart from carbon emissions. If the state or “free enterprise” were serious, they would have spent brazillions on R and D. It’s now too late, if you believe the catastrophists. Farting around with solar, hot rocks or the rickety contraption of “carbon trading” will make no difference to the climate in the next decade. Neither will Hopenhagen.

    So what do we do, bed down with Prince Charles? No need, thank Christ. First, admit the strengths and weaknesses of AGW theory. There is no simple correlation between atmospheric CO2 and climate. Ten years of stable global temperature shows that. Some scientists now talk of a 10 to 30 year plateau. Whatever. Houston, we may have a problem. There’s no short-term fix so (a) get started on basic research now on all renewables- except wind. Wind is a proven failure. It can never provide baseload power and does much harm besides. (b) scrap MRET. Politicians claim that $22bn will be spent on this- all on wind. An appalling waste. (c) convert brown coal generators to gas immediately. (d) improve energy efficiency/reduce demand. We did it with water.
    So there’s a lot that can be done to reduce CO2 without bankrupting the country or relying on quasi-fascism to “suspend” democracy as some fanatics are now suggesting.

    Psychologically, we have to rid ourselves of the Armageddon complex. It inflames both Savonarolas and Deniers. The world isn’t going to end in 2017, and if it is we should just finish the grog and sing “Over the Sea to Skye”…

  9. Douglas Evan

    What an interesting collection of responses to Clive Hamilton’s article. Frank Campbell seems informed and is certainly articulate. I went along with him until – “…There is no simple correlation between atmospheric CO2 and climate. Ten years of stable global temperature shows that. Some scientists now talk of a 10 to 30 year plateau.” The correlation is anything but simple it seems but Andrew Bolt’s idea that the planet has stopped warming, repeatedly debunked by responsible science, unfortunately just keeps bobbing up again. Lovelock’s own modeling of the climate predicted a pause just before nature takes the matter out of our hands. Perhaps this is what Campbell is referring to. At any rate I am not comforted by this thought. Reference to Real Climate – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/02/bushfires-and-climate/ – might help inform anyone interested in this.

    [Edit – play nice] ‘Most peculiar Mama’ who certainly lives up to the name she chooses to hide behind. A Liberal campaign worker spreading a bit of disinformation in the grand tradition of both major parties perhaps? David Reid makes a good point. In Higgins Hamilton is a Crash Through or Crash long shot. If the electorate is ready to accept the climate crisis for what it is he might well win provoking some desperate scrambling in the major parties to green up their policies. How great would that be? More likely however is that the good folk of Higgins will opt for more of the same. Kelly O’Dwyer on the advice of her minders is avoiding any involvement with the climate debate. She is a local and the faceless ones have obviously decided that an unrelenting focus on tried and true local issues, law and order, trains on time and how about that dirty Yarra river can’t we clean it up? is what will carry the day. O’Dwyer would not participate in last night’s church hall climate debate for the candidates, has refused to fill in a questionnaire shedding some light on her views on climate change and was heavily constrained by her minders in her answers to the questions of a local community climate action group. Shame on her but this tactic might just get her a seat in the Big House under the Hill. Clive Hamilton spoke well, clearly and responsibly when he got the chance in the somewhat anarchic church hall climate debate. He would of course make an excellent and responsible MHR for the Higgins electorate but perhaps would have a better chance of getting up as a Senator for the ACT as Reid suggests. Anyway good luck Clive what a great thing it would be if you get in for Higgins.

Leave a comment