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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.

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.

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61 comments

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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. EnergyPedant

    Clive the problem as I see it is that if you exceed expectations (whatever they are) or win then all it does is encourage Rudd to keep these issues live and continue to wedge the opposition on them. Weaken the Liberals further won’t encourage Rudd to do anything instead it appears to show that the current tactics are working.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. BRUCE PIKE

    hopefully the electors of Higgins will be bright enough not to vote for someone spouting such crap

  6. stephen

    Maybe energypedant, maybe not. But it what if a coalition dunderhead is returned, what message will that send Kruddy?
    Good luck Clive!!!!

  7. stephen

    What crap are you talking about Bruce Pike? And Jeff Waugh, can you describe the single issue you think the greens represent?

  8. Frank Campbell

    “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.”

    Adelaide’s plight is due to drought and idiotic irrigation of the arid Murray-Darling. The Great Barrier Reef has been hammered for decades by farm runoff. Black Saturday killed 173 people (not 200) and was by no means unprecedented.

    Exaggerating hysterically about the putative current effects of global warming turns people off consideration of future risks. Climate change scepticism is growing, and it’s 19th century throwback preachers like the Very Very Reverend Hamilton who are driving it. The spittle is reaching the back pews.

  9. Jeff Waugh

    Stephen — in that regard, I was pointing out a branding issue (reflected in the general regard for their credibility beyond “green” issues), not my own opinion.

  10. stephen

    Hey Frank Campbell, come off it. You can’t claim to be on the side of reason and ignore the objective facts.
    Have you asked the firefiughters if the conditions where unprecended? What about the Barrier reef?etc etc. If you are going to accuse others of being uninformed, you should do your homework. You, my friend are the one sounding a tad shrill.

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