You know it really makes you wonder what planet some people, particularly politicians, are on. This week the Australian Labor party announced that they would move towards protecting one of Australia’s great natural wonders, our old growth forests in Tasmania. No major party has ever taken this big environmental challenge, especially a party in opposition, going into an election, with the threat of forestry unions pulling out their support for your party. Yet they still had the confidence to do it. That’s a telling statistic!
The government’s best come back? “It’s just a dirty preferences deal!” Sure it is, but at least the forests will hopefully be protected. Talk about hypocrisy, that’s no different to the government sending us to Iraq on false pretences, then justifying it by saying that the dictator was bad and had to go anyway. Who cares why, so long as the benefits are realised.
In many ways, these U.S. and Australian elections are a reflection of the 21st century world in which we live. For the first time in history, the majority of people do care about protection of our natural environment, our flora and fauna, and equality for all people. And with two hopefully outgoing governments, this will be a turning point for the world, regardless of who you prefer to be in power. Kerry and Latham aren’t perfect, but they represent this definitive shift to more left wing policies and support for the lower and middle class.
This is the anti-plastic-bag generation, a generation of people who actually believe in the big supermarket scams (more on this conspiracy later) to move from plastic bags to reusable bags. A generation of people who at last believe that our flora and fauna need protecting, a generation who demand filtered and bottled water, instead of the natural water which falls from the sky. Yes folks, the world has changed, and we haven’t noticed.
The Tasmanian situation has been a political mine field for decades. You can’t protect the forests without pissing off the foresters, who are supposedly a majority large enough to swing the Tasmanian seats. But now we have a major party saying that the time has come to kiss forestry in old growth forests goodbye. Sure, it took a AUD$800M reskilling sweatner to top it off, but studies show that the forestry industry in Tasmania has been naturally declining for many years, and there is this myth that the Tasmanian electorates revolve around axe and chainsaw wielding voters, when in fact polls are showing that the majority of Tasmanians want the forests protected.
Even the official government tourist site for Tasmania, Discover Tasmania, says that their natural environment is pretty much their only attraction.
Yet the blinkered Tasmanian premier, Paul Lennon, doesn’t even understand his own state, and has come out supporting the forestry industry. Perhaps he does get it, but is faking it until the federal election fights his battle for him. Either way, he’s an ineffective patsy for industry. Paul Lennon didn’t get voted in, by the way, he got the job when the previous (and also pro-logging) premier died of cancer earlier this year.
When we see thousands of people marching against the government in the streets of our capital cities over the weekend, when the opposition party says that more money will be spent on hospitals and education (and the government doesn’t), and when they have the political confidence to stand up to the logging unions, surely this is a sign that something in this country, as well as in the U.S., is about change? Perhaps the gradual increase in media coverage has blinded us, but I have never seen so much protesting over our two governments, since at least the Vietnam war. And THAT is a telling statistic!
Our planet, and the conscience of our people has changed immeasurably over the past four years. We’ve seen the rise of anti-corporatism, anti-commercialism, and pro-conservation, the anti-plastic-bag revolution, and unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), our governments and politicians haven’t taken the slightest notice.
Yes, these U.S. and Australian elections will be a turning point for the future of our planet, and will reflect the ground swell we’ve seen over the last 5-10 years, for a philosophical change in the way governments look to and support their people. And it is about fucking time. Bring it on!