Category Archives: post-fossil planet

So, I’ll admit it. I got just as carried away as everybody else on the occasion of United States President Barack Obama’s visit to Australia. I was looking forward to the chance to see him up close and to get a sense of the rhetorical power that first caught the attention of the world at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

In that regard, he didn’t disappoint. His speech to the Australian Parliament was beautifully crafted, holding 226 Australian parliamentarians and a packed public gallery spellbound. After the oration he worked the room with ease, flashing his smile and taking his own time to meet the MPs who had just given him a long standing ovation. He seems like a genuinely warm and charismatic human being.

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In November 2010, two seemingly unrelated events on opposite sides of the world set the stage for one of the most exciting developments to come to our city in many years.

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The historic and unusual election result of 2010 is an opportunity to hit the ‘reset’ button on the climate change debate and turn it in a more productive direction.

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The Government has been strongly criticised this year for rolling out massive policy initiatives without properly thinking through the costing and institutional frameworks required to make them work. The $43 billion National Broadband Network (NBN) and the home insulation scheme are two examples of big picture budget items that proceeded at breakneck speed unhindered by the normal process of internal checks and balances. The tragic results are a matter of record in the case of home insulation; the jury is still on the fence with regards the NBN. But what happens when the reverse occurs – when a simple good idea falls foul of bureaucratic inertia?

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And so we go into the first long night of the CPRS bill. The deal has been done, with enough Liberal Senators giving the Government the numbers to extend sitting hours late into tonight and all the way into next week if necessary.

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Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (1.17 pm 24 November 2009) –

I rise to add my remarks on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2009 [No. 2] and related bills with a sense of deja vu, because we were here a couple of months ago debating not just the same bill that we are now confronted with but, evidently, we are debating a bill that has been made substantially worse as a consequence of the horse-trading and deals that have been going on behind the scenes.

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One moment last week sums up why I wouldn’t swap this job for anything.

At about 11am on Tuesday morning the Senate Environment, Communications and the Arts (ECA) Committee is confronted with an unusual sight in the Felton Valley, about 20 km south of Oakey on the Darling Downs in southern Queensland. A crowd of people have taken over the road; a sea of green T-shirts and triangular yellow placards, kids lined up with banners, hand-made signs; all the essentials for a home-grown demonstration.

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“The future is here. It’s just not widely distributed yet”
William Gibson.

Take a drive an hour south through the rapidly expanding growth corridor fusing Perth to Mandurah, and you’ll fly past a road sign at once hopeful and heartbreaking.

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These are turbulent times. The catastrophic bushfires may have wiped it off the front page, but last week saw the passage through federal parliament of the Government’s $42 billion ‘economic stimulus package’.

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I would like to begin by acknowledging that we meet on the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal people, and by paying my respects to the custodians of culture and country. After ‘Sorry’ comes the other S word; Sovereignty over this island continent that was never ceded by the Traditional Owners. The tent embassy just down the hill is one visible reminder of the depth of the unfinished business still before this Parliament.

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