Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Greens and Libs in love-fest

Posted by Dave Bath on 2009-05-11

You don’t often see a love-in between the Liberal/National coalition, the Greens and independents with the ALP left out in the cold, do you?  Yet this happened with the following preamble to the minority section of the report (2008-05-08) from the Senate Inquiry into the Water Amendment (Saving the Goulburn and Murray Rivers) Bill 2008.

All non-Government Senators participating in this inquiry, representing the Liberal and National Parties, the Australian Greens and Senator Nick Xenophon, share a strong consensus that:

Unlike the Carbon Pollution Reward Scheme, where Greens and Coalition both disagreed with Labor for exactly opposite reasons, the Greens and the Coalition were singing from the same song sheet.

The bill was put up by SA Liberal Senator Birmingham, in an attempt to protect the water in the Murray-Goulburn basin by outlawing new extractions for use outside the basin, (including the hated Brumby "North-South"/"Sugarloaf" pipeline) and received overwhelming support in submissions.

The committee ALP majority report boils down to "All the way with Brumby – because he is such a trustworthy guy – so the bill should be rejected".

The minority report detailed the public call for the bill to be passed (ahem, look at the first member of the public they quote on p19), and made three excellent recommendations:

  1. Non-Government Senators recommend that the bill be passed and that water from the Murray-Darling Basin not be taken from application to new purposes outside of the basin.
  2. That an independent audit by an expert agency such as CSIRO be undertaken into the water savings claimed by the Victorian Government to justify the construction and operation of the Sugarloaf Pipeline.
  3. Construction of the Sugarloaf Pipeline should cease forthwith and be abandoned in favour of alternative water security strategies for Melbourne and the return of all water savings under NVIRP to irrigators or the environment.

Of course, if the Federal and Victorian ALP governments felt they were innocent, then how could they object to the audit recommended by the minority report?  I’d like to see such an audit happen, have a pretty good idea what it would say, and therefore know that no such audit will happen.

With any luck, the Greens might have learnt from the Libs how to put together a tightly reasoned report, rather than the Green’s usual productions that are so easily labelled "sloganeering".

With any luck, the Liberals (through rising moderate Birmingham) might have learnt how to take scientifically-justified stances on environmental issues.

If the non-government parties have a single political clue between them, they’ll be touting their unified stance to the public, which would benefit the Greens directly at the expense of the ALP primary vote, and the Liberal/National coalition indirectly.  If they can show "the Emperor has no clothes" on environmental issues, maybe the KRudd government might act more responsibly.

So, any guesses as to why the Federal ALP would go completely against public opinion, and the agreed position of the right and green wings of Australian politics?

See Also/Notes:


One Response to “Greens and Libs in love-fest”

  1. The only real interest that right wing Labor politicians have is first, get in and second stay there. Both those aims are undertaken without any need to consider what issues may be or should be addressed by actions rather than words. Climate change is not a difficult concept. The fact that something need to be done now is so obvious that it should not need repeating. For what really is a ballot box democracy like Australia politics is effectively a two horse race, however, both horses have the same owner. Democracy if it involves any public participation allows the act of placing the ballot in the box as that participation. Before and after that there’s the spin, deception, lies and inertia. As a long term Labor voter my view of the right wing is that they will never be capable of being trusted. The left exists in name only. Perhaps the only difference between Labor and Liberal politicians are things like mobile phone numbers, addresses and whether they have mainly managed to never work or succeed extravagantly at the cost of the majority of the population.
    I think the answer to your question is we will never know except that there is some perceived advantage personal to the actors. Unfortunately Climate Change is so important and the likelihood of continued interference by the forces of predatory capitalism so high that what is required is a type of courage and commitment that I doubt Labor politicians are capable of. The Liberals lack of leadership is merely a symptom of a complete lack of desire to address any problem apart from saying that the other horse is just as slow as theirs.

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