The Great Barrier Reef

The weekend provided ample time for readers to dig into last week’s bumper stories. Commentary in two articles in particular stood out. Firstly, there was Bernard Keane taking a magnifying glass to the government’s much derided half-billion dollar handout to the Great Barrier Reef Foundation. Next was Guy Rundle tackling the question of whether Hitler was a socialist, which seemed to be getting certain media figures in a spin last week (hint: he wasn’t), along with other implications of the rise of the right.

On the Great Barrier Reef Foundation hand-out

DF writes: On The Drum August 8, Mara Bun from the Australian Conservation Foundation made some interesting comments relating to why Turnbull and Frydenberg threw $445 million at the GBRF. The question is related to a) timing, and b) what would happen if they hadn’t.

Ms Bun explained that when Hunt was Environment Minister, UNESCO was looking at putting the Great Barrier Reef on the endangered list. Horrified by the prospect of that happening on an LNP watch, the government did a deal with UNESCO whereby if a sufficient level of funding were spent on remedial efforts to rescue the reef or at least forestall its deterioration, then the endangered listing would be held back and revisited a certain time later, like 2020.

The government put this on the back burner due to budgetary priorities over the last few years. Suddenly, the penny has dropped that 2020 is fast approaching and the money they promised UNESCO would be spent has not even been committed. Imagine the negative publicity of that happening on the government’s watch. The popular pressure against coal exporters having access to a UNESCO endangered list environmental treasure would be difficult to fight against.

On the Nazism debate 

Kim Wingeri writes: Just like there has never been a true capitalist society, socialism in its theoretical form has never been fully realised anywhere. Hitler certainly adhered to socialist ideas when it suited him, just like so called capitalists are only capitalists when it suits their interest. Fact is, in its implementation, there is little difference between fascism and communism, socialism’s dogmatic cousin. And the victims of Hiter and Stalin’s terror couldn’t care less which ism that killed them.

Michael Burky writes: Crikey’s tone regarding Mosley was absolutely right. Loathe as I am to even paraphrase Thatcher, denying him the “oxygen of publicity” is the best approach. However, the racist trend is alarming and each increment enables a new norm. Yanis Varoufakis on Late Night Live drew parallels to the 1929 crash, austerity and the rise of fascism in the 30s. We need enemies now, as then, and we have so many to choose from. Since emigrating here 20 years ago, for the first time I am truly worried and find the situation increasingly dangerous. What an exciting time it is to be an apprentice neo-fascist in Australia!

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