tip off

Take your CPRS and shove it

Welcome back to Parliament for the final time this year. Two more weeks of this stuff and then we’re finished for a summer that already feels like it’s been going a month. That’s assuming Anthony Albanese doesn’t keep his colleagues confined here at the end of next week, or even brings them back for another spell in December.

Wouldn’t want all those end-of-year “let’s all be best mates” speeches to get in the way of proper legislative business eh?

The job of a political journalist  — not of course that I would know, since according to the national broadsheet I’m not a “real journalist”, and strangely proud of it  — is somewhere between theatre critic and sports commentator. The main tasks of sports commentators are to tell you who’s winning and pretend something exciting is happening when it isn’t. That’s where it is closest to political journalism. Media coverage of politics is always about who’s winning and who’s losing, naturally, but the trivial and meaningless are routinely built up into events of monumental importance simply for the sake of pretending something significant is happening.

But you also need to appraise the performances of the principal actors (not to mention the ambitious walk-on players), assessing the conviction or otherwise with which they utter their lines, paying close attention to the effect not on professional observers such as oneself, who to use the immortal phrase “don’t know jack”, but the hoi polloi in the cheap seats at the back, from which vantage point scenery-chewing hammery or mindless repetition may look like the stuff of the Great Tragedians.

Once in a while, we’re reminded that this isn’t a show or a game that we’re watching. This morning the Prime Minister made an apology to the “Forgotten Generation” in the Great Hall in Parliament House. He was followed by Malcolm Turnbull. Both made heart-felt and emotional speeches, without political polish, the sort of speeches we can point to when people lament the lack of Australian political oratory. The tears and smiles and applause of those present who as children were abused in institutional care show how significant the actions of government can be, even in simply acknowledging those whose pain was ignored for so long.

This fortnight also sees some sort of climax in the emissions trading debate, another issue of more-than-usual gravity.

I don’t know about you (no, really, I don’t) but I’m utterly over the CPRS debate. It’s been a long road since early last year, when Penny Wong blithely called the Garnaut Review “one input” into the Government’s consideration, in effect spilling the beans, or giving the game away, or belling the cat, or whatever cliché takes your fancy. I’m now sick of emissions trading. Sick of Wong’s tedious droning, of Kevin Rudd’s sanctimony, of the Coalition climate denialists who make a virtue out of their own intellectual and emotional disabilities.

I’m sick of Barnaby Joyce and the National Party, so plum-stupid that they can’t even understand when the National Farmers’ Federation tells them it’d be a good idea to back the scheme. I’m sick of the rentseekers, the whingers, the sooks and Hookes, who preach the virtues of the market when it suits them but whose natural posture is of a hand stuck out, demanding assistance, and assistance in ever greater quantities, like blackmailers who just keep coming back for more.

And I’m sick of the media and their inability to understand what’s going on or their blatant support of denialists as part of an infantile ideological game. I’m fed up with ever more iterations of the CPRS that seek to obliterate, like an artillery shell aimed at an ant, any skerrick of carbon price signal, which is the only damn point of the entire exercise beyond the political gamesmanship of Kevin Rudd and Nick Minchin.

I’m sick, above all, of the vast gap between the farce being played out before our eyes and the real human and economic consequences of failing to stop the planet cooking, consequences I probably won’t see the worst of, but which my kids will.

Fortunately they and all the future generations who’ll really enjoy the fruits of out stupidity don’t get to vote now.

So I’m giving this elaborate production, this whole, interminable, mind-numbingly banal show, zero.

Let us hope that decades hence, the descendants of our current MPs  — I mean their political descendants, not their actual kids, assuming the major parties don’t adopt preselection by hereditary right  — will not have to stand up in the Great Hall and apologise for it. Apologise to the people who died of dengue fever or in bushfires, apologise to the families of the elderly who succumbed to heatwaves. Apologise to the tourism employees who lost their jobs when our great reefs died. Apologise to the farmers forced off the land as the Murray-Darling dried up. Sorry, dried up even more.

Apologise to the whole community because of all the economic opportunities we missed by locking our economy into some sort of carbon-era cryogenic freeze when we could have started the transition to the low-carbon economy that we will need to be in the future, now.

Hell, they may even apologise to all those foreigners who will die in far greater numbers than Australians because of the actions of developed countries like ours, one of the world’s premier carbon dealers on a planet unable to kick its addiction to the stuff.

Hysterical? Alarmist? Green religionist? If only. I’d give anything to see the Andrew Bolts and Barnaby Joyces of the world proved correct, to be shown that the whole thing is a left-wing con, the ultimate scam cooked up (ha!) by some lazy academics and watermelon greenies who accomplished what millennia of Illuminati and weird hand-shaking Masons and sinister religious orders failed to do  — fool the world with a global conspiracy.

Because that’s the only basis on which our international position and the CPRS make any sense.

  • 1
    Graeme Lewis
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Gee - that’s the best Keane effort ever!!

    At last, someone gets it - we are all being hood-winked. But who by and why??

  • 2
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    An inevitability if the government and media kept droning away about it was that the public would get fed up with it.

  • 3
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Bernard, we feel your pain and are, thanks to efforts like yours and a few others, quite aware of the pain the planet will feel in the coming decades; and no thanks to this hobbled camel aka the CPRS.

  • 4
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    Hear hear, I’m totally fatigued by the whole thing. The gulf between the debate and reality is vast. And the debate is dominated by ideology and sheer stupidity. It’s sad, slowly chipping away at my faith in humanity to be anything much more than reactive in the face of true crises.

  • 5
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I believe it’s “rent seekers seeking rent” Graeme. Well put Bernard, even if it’s just my latest “oh sh!t moment.

  • 6
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Kevin,

    Sorry, but time is running out for you to actually DO the most urgent item on your election Agenda - begin to fix Climate Change.

    Your beaming face in photo-ops is no substitute for making the unpopular decisions essential to save our planet. We will blame you - not Penny Wong - when we find it is all too little - too late.


    Spot on Bernard Keane

  • 7
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink


  • 8
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Terrific stuff BK. Your Falling Down moment? Let us know if you turn to the bottle.

  • 9
    Most Peculiar Mama
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    …begin to fix Climate Change…”

    It’s not a flat tire dear.

    Statements like that show how stupid the debate has become and just why Bernard has rightly given up.

    Oh and the fact that he now realises it’s a crock.

    What took you so long?

  • 10
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Haha Mama!

    Immediate fail for using the wrong tyre.

  • 11
    Most Peculiar Mama
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    Not where I come from (EDIT: no thanks MPM)

  • 12
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    You know how people tell you that one should (if you’re an optimist) look at the glass as half-full empty not half-empty? Normally this works for me. Except when thinking about climate change. When it comes to CPRS, climate change etc, I’ve been inclined to just consign all of this to the half-empty side of the room. I now find myself feeling comforted by the thought of my eventual demise. You know, one has to die anyway sooner rather than later, and so I won’t have to see this planet burn in hell (literally). Bugger my future relatives.

    I feel your pain Keane.

  • 13
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    I sense … hostility.
    Tyre - Australian /British
    Tire - US

    This is an Aussie site…

  • 14
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Snigger. A little tetchy today MPM?

  • 15
    Mark Duffett
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Maybe not tetchy, just tired.

  • 16
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Funny, i thought dickhead was rarely used by septics…

    but anyway, how depressing, how accurate. This CPRS is worse than useless.

  • 17
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    My God, you sound as exasperated as I am. The CPRS / ETS has just become a complicated additional tax which will make some consultants wealthy. The objective has been lost in all the noise ie; lets get away from dirty energy and fossil fuels. It has now become a lot of dirty hot air that only achieves a lot of pointless red tape. There is another gap: the one between what Rudd says and what he actually does. Unfortunately it seems that we cannot work this out. OUr political systems are incapable of solving this.

  • 18
    Most Peculiar Mama
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    …This is an Aussie site…”

    On the WORLD WIDE Web.

  • 19
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Stop attacking each other and get the culprit - Kevin - who calmed us with sweet talk pre-election and hasn’t delivered anything towards the planet’s health.

    Battler for Kelly’s Bush which lead to
    The World’s first Green Ban
    right here in Sydney

  • 20
    Angus Sharpe
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink


    @Evan and Meski:

    US: “Not where I come from dickhead.”
    Australian/British translation: “If you are going to be a pedant, then you should at least get it right.”

    If I posted in Spanish on Crikey, it wouldn’t be “wrong”, it would just limit the number of potential readers. I agree with @Mama that quibbling about Americanisms is either nonsensical or xenophobic. Let’s be nice and agree that it was the former.

  • 21
    james mcdonald
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    MPM, Meski is of course neither stupid nor xenophobic. It’s just, what better way to relax on a stressful Monday, than to kick a Freudian basket case calling himself Most Peculiar Mama. Give your Mama my regards.

  • 22
    Evan Beaver
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ll admit, I was just giving the chain a little yank to see what happened. The toilet flushed as expected.

    I’m not sure if Rudd is 100% to blame. Answer this; if he proposed the rolled-gold, perfect, 25, nay 40% target, give a price signal, put the pain on the polluters model the Left (me included) want, would it have passed the Senate? I think no.

  • 23
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

    @MPM: When in Rome, wear a pasta coloured shirt, when in Australia, use Aussie spelling, or you’ll be mocked.

  • 24
    Puff, the Magic Dragon.
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Well I am tired, or tyred, or both of the CPRS chook-squabble but I am even more tired of three weeks of Question-Time devoted to pie-fights over 78 people on or off a customs’ boat. That’s how I know we really are screwed.

  • 25
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    @Puff: When we charge the 78 people for the cost of Question Time, will be when you know we are truly screwed.

  • 26
    Puff, the Magic Dragon.
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    For benefit of MPM : Chook = fowl, slang being the term for juvenile fowl i.e. chickens.

  • 27
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how long democracy as currently practiced in Australia can be considered a serious or acceptable form of government.

  • 28
    james mcdonald
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Bernard, have they reached the point yet where they rush through the three readings of 75 per cent of the year’s legislation, after having frittered away the year up until now? As they do most years.

  • 29
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Altakoi, you could omit “in Australia” and still have an acceptable question.

  • 30
    Puff, the Magic Dragon.
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Democracy: The system of government that gives you the illusion of selecting your own leaders.

  • 31
    Harvey Tarvydas
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    BK, good on you.
    Your approach has more power than most will appreciate.
    The recalcitrant luddites, or those posing as denialists as all are in the habit of calling them, laugh at the effort made to convince them with good science and smart reason. It’s a waste of time.
    You may, on the other hand, be showing them that their self serving motives are best put aside for the time being as the whole thing is starting to give them a bad look of the kind they won’t afford.
    Especially as on the same page Clive Hamilton is doing an excellent job of discovering a brand new gruesome very hairy look to boot.

  • 32
    Ian Bryant
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    @meski but it still wouldn’t be authentically Australian unless Altakoi spelled it ‘practised’ would it?

  • 33
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    @Ian: It all caught me at a bad moment, Septics seem to think their spelling is The Only Way, which ends up giving me the sh*ts sometimes.

  • 34
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I particularly laughed aloud at this sentence of incomprehension:

    And I’m sick of the media and their inability to understand what’s going on or their blatant support of denialists as part of an infantile ideological game.”

    The person who never squanders the merest obtuse opportunity to denigrate the national broadsheet for partisanship apparently because Paul Kelly, George Megalogenis, Mike Steketee, Lenore Taylor et al subscribe to the IPCC as that which should not be questined and they believe in wait-for-it ‘global action on climate change’.

    I can see why you didn’t do the morally right thing and decry the KRudd’s disgusting speech last Friday.

    You too believe in the Krudd’s alternative ‘conspiracy’ apparently in the face of all evidence.

    Can I join this conspiracy? I’d like to. Tell me where to sign up. My concerns have been ignored so far.

    But apparently according to Bernard Keane my side is winning…..

    Now Bernard, that’s what I call ‘denial’ and it ain’t no river in Egypt…..

  • 35
    david gilroy
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    i agree Bernard. its all maddeningly frustrated bollocks.

  • 36
    Heathdon McGregor
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Im sick of a PM who says a lot and does sweet fa

    Im sick of the non deniers thinking it is beneath them to debate and then crying that there wasn’t enough debate. If the risks are as great as you say they are then it shouldn’t be beneath you to debate them at any level.

    Im sick of being treated like a flat earther because I actually ask for proof more than “he scientist said so idiot and data that actually represents somebody noting down the information as it happened not theorised on it later.

    Im sick of Al Gore and the slick willy type of frontman he and George W represent. Got an unpopular idea? get a good ole boy with charisma top front it. I remember him from the last time. Censor.

    Im sick of seeing jet planes fly when I have been told that burning fossil fuels causes global warming and the only defence we have is carbon capture by trees which are down on the ground. With internet communications why arent Propeller planes good enough? At least for short trips?

    Im sick of the economists leading the arguement rather than the ecologists. Any wonder that people are starting to think it is the new millenium bug. Hard to disprove but very costly.

    Im sick that nobody has taken the time to explain how this statement is wrong “It doesn’t matter what we do in Oz until the big omitters have their plan in place” The only reply I have heard is “so you would rather do nothing”

    Im mostly sick that this government seems to be more concerned about how it/they look on the global stage than the country they are elected to govern.

  • 37
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Hey maybe we ‘denialists’ may yet still acknowledge the self evident truth?


  • 38
    Most Peculiar Mama
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    The back-tracking and pathetic mealy-mouthed apology-making in the lead-up to Copenhagen will be HILARIOUS.

    Where the rubber meets the road, Rudd and his Climate Warriors will be a laughing stock.

    Even better, the warmgasming proselytes will be despondent.

    In that, true karma is a wonderful thing.

    Then we can all get on with living life without the daily doomsday prophecies of liars and misanthropes.

  • 39
    D. John Hunwick
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    For goodness sake give over about spelling and comment on the substance! Don’t reply to such distractions - it just wastes my time as I look for meaningful debate in the comments. To BK I say - we have never met but I weep with you. Please continue to articulate your view - it puts words to my own feelings. Is it not time that people walked (not march) to Parliament House and stood quietly outside with a sign saying “you will have to apologise for this one day”?

  • 40
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    Well that’s great Bernard…A journalist who basically says he is fed up reporting the news. Thanks for the detailed analysis on that. I look forward to more insight in the future.
    This CPRS will be the biggest economic shift in the next few years and it deserves due consideration and airing of all views held in the community. Including the ones we don’t agree with, think are stupid etc.
    Sometimes you have to fight for what you want. Sometimes the victor is the guy left standing after 12 rounds, not the guy who knocks down his opponent in the first.

  • 41
    Harvey Tarvydas
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    McGregor old son, its quality human reason that tells us that the science that we do know may be telling us that we have been corrupting natures balances that control climate and the most likely scenario is lousy for us in too many ways.
    At this stage, in this scientific subject, there are good scientific arguments that we may have the reasoning (not necessarily the science) wrong or at least be over evaluating the consequences or even ignoring nature’s amazing self-righting (to its normal NOT to our happiness) adaptation powers which are in the league of the super-human compared to our own weeny powers.
    While we should all be allowed to talk about all this in any way we please NO ONE SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO PREVENT THE ACTION OF PURCHASING APPROPRIATE INSURANCE FOR THE FUTURE of the world and human life as we know it.
    Show me someone who doesn’t scramble their resources to buy pertinent necessary insurance when there’s a ‘JUST a good’ chance of need of protection.

  • 42
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Leaked G20 Documents Shed Light on Global Carbon Tax

  • 43
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    @Harvey Tarvydas
    Interesting you raise insurance.
    Ziggy Switkowski reviewed trends in insurance loss claims for evidence of any of the features of climate change that we’ve been told are already upon us. There was no such evidence. He was surprised.

    @Evan Beaver
    Ziggy is also as apparently as unintelligent and misinformed as you tell me I am.
    He too can’t see renewables replacing even the 20% target let alone your pie-in-the-sky aspirations for our energy requirements by 2020


  • 44
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m sick of it all too! It’s so repetitive and the govt talking about the need for cutting emissions blah blah, and then treating us like morons with a ‘pretend solution’? If I see or hear one more person from the mining lobby, I’ll tear out my hair! (groan/scream).

  • 45
    Richard Murphy
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    The most dispiriting thing tho, is that Prefect Kevin has made us all look like toadies in the eyes of a GFC-stricken world that was taking heart from his moralizings.

  • 46
    Harvey Tarvydas
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas
    We’ve had a very recent lesson from the Global Financial Crisis in this science.
    PM Rudd as quick as lightening brings on one of the most stupendous Keynesian experiments in history before any of our western (and eastern) global peers get into the same and as soon as it starts to work ……… ‘what global financial crisis, STOP all that NOW’ or ‘OK, OK its working so STOP all that NOW.
    I can hear it now, ‘OK so we done all this to abate climate corruption and they say its working, SO STOP all that NOW’ from the idiots that abound (especially the ones who say PM Rudd does nothing he’s just all talk - well one just can’t get further from the truth than that)

  • 47
    Heathdon McGregor
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Dr Harvey

    Show me someone who doesn’t scramble their resources to buy pertinent necessary insurance when there’s a ‘JUST a good’ chance of need of protection.”

    Some people insure their pets, some dont insure their cars. Not sure of your point. If somebody told you to insure the wind would you? Could you? Don’t know.

    In my world some things are more important than insurance, food, lodging and health all are put before it.

  • 48
    Heathdon McGregor
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    (especially the ones who say PM Rudd does nothing he’s just all talk - well one just can’t get further from the truth than that)

    As one of those idiots that abound I call sook. Keep the name calling out of the arguement if you have enough faith in your arguement. Judging by your first points I can expect more and more name calling.

    Sook. Nobody just agrees with me, I better start calling them names.

  • 49
    Ben Aveling
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I’d love for global warming to be a myth, a plot, a fiction of someone’s imagination.

    It isn’t. It’s real. It’s going to hit us and hurt us. At least, that’s what all the science says.

    @MPM. Perhaps you know better than all those scientists?

    Or perhaps you prefer anecdotes over analysis?

    If so, consider this: about 20 years ago Mt Isa had a 46 degree day. I remember it, I was there. And it was a record. For Mt Isa, a town in the middle of a desert in the middle of northern Australia. Earlier this year, we had 47 degrees in Marysville, a town in the middle of the Victoria skifields. Explain that, if global warming is a myth.

    Or this: Dengue fever has just struck Queensland for the second time in two months. Tropical diseases are moving further south.

    We can accept that, we can try to prepare for it, we can try to prevent it. Or we can stick our heads wherever and try to persuade ourselves that it isn’t happening.

  • 50
    Heathdon McGregor
    Posted Monday, 16 November 2009 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Ben i cannot believe I didn’t agree before, one hot day in Mt Martha how many years ago. Dengue fever! Sold! Now you wonder why we have doubtsw?