Tone Abbott-oir, easily the most environmentally destructive Prime Minister this country has seen in the modern era, has survived the party room spill for a leadership change. Although 39% of his own Fiberal Party MPs voted to dump him, he remains standing (limping) – for now.
I’ve seen rather a lot lately in the Australian media about the impending spill vote, and the potential political repercussions of a change (or not), but there’s been nearly no mention of what it all means for the continually degrading Australian environment.
As is typical in Australian politics, the environment takes a very distant back seat to the those oh-so-important societal issues like knighthoods, paid parental leave and where to put the next road in Melbourne, so I certainly wasn’t hopeful that a leadership change (or not) would have any positive environmental outcomes. This particular latte-snorting, quinoa-flavoured-pinot-grigio-in-the-artisanal-underpants-pouring, erect-nipple-paper-rubbing environmental scientist has nothing at all to celebrate, even if the no-confidence in The Great Red Underpants is potentially a positive sign.
This government is still responsible for killing potentially one of the world’s most promising carbon-pricing schemes, it removed taxes on public goods gouged from the ground by greedy mining magnates, it deregulated forest and park protection, promoted deforestation, is still trying to destroy the Great Barrier Reef, gutted the Commonwealth Environment department and remains a staunch impediment to any meaningful progress in climate change mitigation (for a full list of environmental crimes, see here).
Instead, the government hopes to woo those voters with a modicum of environmental appreciation to support them by appointing a toothless Threatened Species Commissioner.
Mark my words, there will be more environmental vandalism by this government over the next few months, and it will involve corporate greasing of the government palm.
My one hope is that an early election will be called and the worst government in Australia’s recent history will be soundly trounced. Only then can we hope to have some time to repair the extensive damage they’ve already caused.