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Greens Working to Help Farmers, Rural & Regional Communities Survive & Thrive

It is refreshing to see the Greens and in particular Senators Christine Milne & Rachel Siewert working to keep farmers on the land and rural and regional communities healthy and vibrant.

“The Greens are committed to keeping farmers on the land. If our rural and regional communities are to survive and thrive in today’s world, they need to be economically, socially and environmentally sustainable.

Christine Milne and Rachel Siewert have established a Senate Inquiry into Climate Change and Agriculture that is examining how Australian agriculture can thrive in a climate changed world, both adapting to the changes and providing solutions to reduce emissions”

The Greens policy of Farming Renewable Energy is sensible and forward thinking. Senator Milne is to be commended in her efforts to protect Rural and Regional Communities against the blight of the tax driven Managed Investment Schemes.

The Greens would have a lot more credibility in mainstream Australia if they had more politicians like Christine Milne. Unlike Senator Milne, Greens Senate leader Bob Brown does nothing for the Greens image in Rural and Regional Australia.

Mostly ignored by the mainstream media in the last week, Senator Brown is reduced to writing letters to the editor to get his views across. His letter in todays Australian is a case in point.

“The alternative-waiting for a lead from the rest of the world-will sacrifice the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef, Kakadu and the Australian Alps in the short term, and threatens a 10-metre rise in sea levels, obliterating the Sydney Opera House foyer, Melbourne’s Docklands, Hobart’s Salamanca Place and the current habitat of millions of Australians.”

Google “Raving Climate Change Hysteria”. What you’ll get is a photo of Bob Brown. The image of the Greens lead by a “Raving Alarmist” like Bob Brown will always ensure that they get virtually zero support in conservative Rural & Regional Australia where we are sensitive to political spin and bull shit.

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  • 1
    Tim Hollo
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Oh Steve, I thought it was too good to be true when I read the top of your piece.

    In what way is it raving alarmism from Bob to repeat the very clear scientific conclusions of Garnaut and a majority of climate scientists? The destruction of the reefs, Kakadu and Australian alpine ecosystems is pretty much certain at Garnaut’s 550ppm target, and he admits that.

    Of course, as Christine and Rachel have pointed out, the impact on you and your fellow farmers from a 550 scenario is devastating…

  • 2
    steve truman
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    G’day Tim,

    You have got to be joking?

    In what way is it raving alarmism from Bob to repeat the very clear scientific conclusions of Garnaut and a majority of climate scientists?”

    Where does the science support a 10 metre rise in sea levels. Since global warming plateaued in 2001 sea levels have risen just 5mm or so in 7 years. Even the alarmist IPCC reports predicts sea levels will rise by just 59cm by 2100.

    Tim there is a huge jump from the IPCC 59cm to Bob’s 10metres. But I suppose you have to get it up to 10 metres to get the water into “the Sydney Opera House foyer, Melbourne’s Docklands, Hobart’s Salamanca Place”.

    Its actually LOL stuff. I’ve heard 4metres, 6 metres, 8metres, now Bob has 10m. You might show us where exactly “Garnaut & a majority of climate scientist” claim a 10metre rise. Not even Barry Brook has come at that one. :)

    Actually don’t know if you’ve had a look lately but the GBR, Kakadu and the Aussie Alps are all looking pretty pristine at the present.

    And as Bob calls for us to go it alone he actually Overlooks what Garnaut said:
    “Let’s face the reality – the only solution will be a global solution,”

    Or do the Greens support Australians paying $5 billion dollars a year out of their own pockets to have zero impact on Global warming?

    Cheers mate. ;)

  • 3
    Tim Hollo
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Steve, want to talk about sea level rise? Read this.

    Jim Hansen, probably the most respected climate scientist in the world, talking about 25m plus or minus 10m. 10m is quite conservative according to many scientists.

    And, if we’re talking about people being serious or not, are you seriously suggesting the fact that the reefs and Kakadu are in good state now means they always will be regardless of climate change???

    Re the global solution – the only way we’ll get a global solution is if someone bites the bullet and does something! Let’s break this deadlock and get cracking, and others will follow.

  • 4
    steve truman
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    G’day Tim,

    Oh your mean Kevin Rudds scientific adviser USA NASA scientist James Hanson. Thats the same respected scientist that cannot even convince his own government to sign the Kyoto protocol.

    Thats the same respected scientist that championed the Hockey Stick. That would be the global warming moderate Al Gore’s Scientific adviser. :)

    Please I did read some of the Link that you provided. Must admit I’ve not seen Hansen predicting 10m sea rises before. But please don’t chop and change. The IPCC is supposed to be the most eminent science on the matter – 2,500 scientists just last year in fact signed off on this as there predictions:

    “The IPCC (2007) midrange projection for sea level rise this century is 20–43 cm (8–17 inches) and its full range is 18–59 cm (7–23 inches).”

    Lets face it Tim, its just Bob scare mongering. Outside of coverage from the ABC Bob claims are so fanciful that the mainstream media ignore him to large extent. It’s telling in the week that the Garnaut report is released he has to resort to a letter to the editor to have his “alarmist” views heard.

    Tip from us, get Christine Milne to do most of the Greens media. Although we might not agree with everything she says we actually respect her opinion.

  • 5
    steve truman
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Sorry Tim,

    Did not address all of your comment,

    “And, if we’re talking about people being serious or not, are you seriously suggesting the fact that the reefs and Kakadu are in good state now means they always will be regardless of climate change???”

    Tim you miss the point – Ross Garnaut said it himself -

    “Australia could cut emissions to zero, could do it tomorrow – it couldn’t actually do it, but if it did do it – it would have almost no effect on global warming.”

    And as for your Urge to get cracking and Australia lead the Charge – here’s also what Garnaut had to say about that -

    “If we did ourselves great damage in the process we would become an example to the world of how foolish it is (to) mitigate.”

    Australia cutting emissions will have zero impact on Global warming because we only emit 1.3% of global emissions. We can cut it to zero and if the worlds largest emitters China, USA, Russia and India who make up 42.5% of emissions do nothing we will have reduced global temperatures by four fifths of five eights of bugger all.

    I admire your optimism though mate. Get us in a position were we know what we are about to do with the ETS will actually make a difference and I’m with you all the way.

    Until then I’m not. Australia pulling on an ETS in isolation of the rest of the world is an episode of National psychotic self harming.

    As I’ve said before I’m not a believer that Australian’s being Taxed an extra $5 billion a year for something that at the minute has almost zero chance of actually doing something about global emissions.

    I’d much rather we pay the $5 billion and see it go into programs like the Greens renewable energy etc, or the developing of low cost carbon capture, electric cars etc, etc. At least that is technology that we could export to the world and would actually cut greenhouse gases.

  • 6
    Tim Hollo
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    On that last, I am behind you all the way. Policies to boost renewable energy, energy efficiency, alternative fuels, mass transit, etc, beat an ETS hands down.

    Take a look at what the Greens are spending time promoting – regulatory policies like you advocate. We respond to the govt on the ETS because we aim to make it as green as possible. If we don’t negotiate, they’ll have no choice but to negotiate with the Libs and make it much much worse…

  • 7
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Hey Tim,

    Yes I’ve already looked and you have my full support in that regard. Keep up the good work. Love the balance we currently have in the Senate.

    The Greens in that balance play a hugely important role in ensuring that legislation we get as Australian citizens has the correct amount of environmental balance.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the Greens are a vital part of our political process. Even though at times I’m critical, I have enormous respect for what they do and represent.

    An example is that we have just awarded Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young an Agmates “Onya” award for her lobbying on the Murray Darling. Onya’s are awarded to people or groups who do things that have a positive and beneficial impact on Rural / Regional Australia and our farmers.

    :)

  • 8
    Tim Hollo
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    On Garnaut:

    “If we did ourselves great damage in the process we would become an example to the world of how foolish it is (to) mitigate.”

    This is where we part company with him. Firstly, who says we’ll demonstrate it’s foolish to mitigate? If we do it right, we provide a great positive example!

    Secondly, did he not consider for a second what kind of example it sends to the world if we stand up and say “ooh, it’s terrible, and we should really do something about it, but how about you go first…”?

    Anyway, I’m trying to write a post of my own, so I might get back to that ;-)

  • 9
    twobob
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Mate you better take another look at the GBR, Kakadu and the Aussie Alps. Carbon dioxide levels are increasing the acidity of the ocean so the GBR might be looking pretty good but so do eggs with very thin shells. All looks good until some pressure is put on them and then the whole thing crumbles. Increasing atmospheric Co2 levels will increase ocean pH (more acidic) and acid dissolves calcium carbonate (the stuff the reef is made from). Cane toads are about to decimate Kakadu so look long and hard cos you’re looking at the past there and as for the Alps … do you know the difference between climate and weather.
    China, USA, Russia all have vast areas of land that are limited by cold and as such don’t have nearly as much to loose initially from climate change not like us at all. We (your precious farmers that is) are already limited by water and the global warming models predict that it’s going to get worse. Don’t look to those who have little to loose from GW to lead the way. That should be our responsibility as we are among those with the most to loose. Worrying about the rest of the world before you have your own house in order is for also rans lets lead and not follow.
    Carbon trading is bullshit I totally agree with you there but that country Australians have a superior ability to detect the political version of the stuff is just plain untrue they voted for Vaile and supported Howard with the US limited trade deal didn’t they? How much has that cost our farmers?

  • 10
    steve truman
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    G’day Tim,

    As I said mate I admire your optimism. Garnaut also instigated Australia’s free trade reforms starting 2 decades ago. We lead the world in this and Garnaut was sure they’d follow. Two decades on and another failed round of talks – we are still without a global trade agreement, even when it would free up food supplies for millions of poor people.

    It is in the best interest of the globe that we have a free trade agreement – yet none still exists. thats why I can’t share your optimism. But I 100% hope you are correct.

    Look forward to reading your post.

    Cheers mate – Your agmate – Steve :)

  • 11
    steve truman
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    G’day twobob,

    Thanks for that. I agree with you that Australians in general have a highly developed bullshit metre. Thats exactly why we have the Senate we have now after the debacle of the previous 3 years. Also why people read Crikey I might ad. (I’m not even paid to say that :) )

    You are so right about this:

    “they voted for Vaile and supported Howard with the US limited trade deal didn’t they? How much has that cost our farmers?”

    It is a policy that has been good for Australia’s economy but devastating for rural and regional communities. But hey we worked it out by the last election. I personally for the first time in my life voted Labor federally because of the ‘free trade’ deception and work choices.

    Yes and you are correct in stating that those things COULD happen and we should do what we can to avert them. But paying $5 billion dollars in a carbon tax a year plus 4% + CPI each year for a Tax that will deliver zero benefit to the global environment is just not on.

    Only 20% of that goes back into research and development. Oh thats 20% of whats left after we pay for the huge bureaucracy that will be set up to administer it.

    It is bullshit, a government tax grab in green cloth. We will cut our emissions by developing low cost alternative energy and technologies, then export it too the world.

    Carbon trading has done nothing to reduce emissions in the world, it is nothing more than bestowing subsidies on selected emitters.

    Carbon offsetting is nothing more than a scam. It actually reminds me of the medieval period when the Church was the world governing body and conducted the sale of indulgences.

    Cheers mate…

  • 12
    Paul Hanly
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Steve,

    Even if there is a real chance that the mainstream science is wrong what are your contingency plans for agriculture if it is right, or do you think all farmers should just blindly bet the farm against climate change?

    I was wondering what affect you think global warming of the type described by Garnaut will have on things like rainfall reliability and temperature and
    a) consequent feed availability for pasture fed cattle and sheep, and general water supplies for country towns and farms
    b) average levels of subsoil moisture and the impact on crops,
    c) water supplies for general irrigation licence holders in the main irrigation regions of the country.

    If Garnaut and the mainstream science is correct, where will the Goyder line move to by 2020 and 2050?

    If the mainstream science is correct, how many country towns will die/substantially contract as agriculture diminishes in some major regions?

    Even doubters should consider the possibility they might be wrong, get analysis of what they will face if they are wrong, and prepare contingency plans.

    Betting the farm is one thing, doing it blindly without analysing the impacts if mainstream science is correct would, imho, be quite another thing.

    Cheers
    Paul

  • 13
    steve truman
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    G’day Paul,

    I’m not actually arguing that the climate is not changing. Farmers have always had to adapt to changes in the climate or go broke. Its that simple. During the second world war drought 1937-1945 it just did not rain for 8 years anywhere in Eastern Australia.

    Thousands of farmers were forced to just walk off. Of course that mother of all droughts broke and the land was bought up by others from the banks.

    If what the IPCC is telling us is correct and time will tell farmers will also have to adapt or history will repeat itself.

    What farmers have to fear more than the predicted climate change is the ETS.

    But how do you survive in any business (let alone farming) for decades when an ETS reduces your profit by 100%.

    The 100% is ABARE’s prediction. Farmers are not trying to duck away for doing there bit, they are just trying to stay in business.

    That is what Garnaut is referring to when he says Structural Change. The last time farmers heard him say that was when like now he did the research and modeling to adopt free trade. He said at the time Australia should lead the way and the rest of the world would follow.

    A decade on and 7 world free trade conferences they still have not. In that time 11,000 farming families have left the industry and rural communities are just a shadow of there former selves.

    The way it looks the ETS will have a greater impact on the viability of farmers and rural communities than free trade.

    I’m sorry to be so grim about it, but when ABARE and Garnaut himself are predicting this – its hard not to be.

    Oh by the way I used to live just North Of Goyders line. Did you know that the original Goyder was the first Surveyor General of South Australia and that his great grand son is none of than the CEO of Wesfarmers Richard Goyder.

    Just an interesting bit of trivia for a Friday arvo.

    Cheers mate :)

  • 14
    twobob
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Steve how on earth has the Australia – US trade agreement been good for Australia’s economy?
    Last time I looked it was costing us about 8 billon dollars each year? Good for GDP possibly through an increase in trade but how is increased debt good for our economy?
    And exactly how did we work it out in the last election? We still have the ‘free trade’ deception and this government has not mentioned repealing it.
    Read a bit more about our industrial relations and you might just decide that we have work choices lite. The me too bit about Rudd and Howard was right on the money I am afraid and a vote for one was about the same as a vote for the other.

  • 15
    steve truman
    Posted October 3, 2008 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    G’day twobob,

    the answer to your question:

    “Steve how on earth has the Australia – US trade agreement been good for Australia’s economy?”

    Is two words – China, Resources. which is mostly what is insulating us from the world wide financial crisis (our balance of trade figures were in the positive by about 1.3 billion last month)

    I actually said free trade / deregulation has been disastrous for rural & regional Australia and farmers. as I pointed out in a comment elsewhere, we have lost 11,000 farming families in the last decade.

    Your comment about the me too ism of Rudd and Howard is also spot on. I’m well aware of work choices lite, but at least its not work choices which was a policy of a government who had lost touch with Australians. It was ulta right wing stuff.

    Don’t forget that the Federal nationals went into the last election with 12 seats and canmme out with 10 – that is now down to 9. The reason for that is because rural and regional people have deserted them in droves because of their sell out to the right wing free traders in the dominant Liberal Party.

    If you were a longtime disillusioned conservative voter at the last election who else do you propose they should have voted for except the only serious alternative that could form a government. I suppose they could have adopted a stance of they are both so similar that a vote for one is the same as a vote for the other.

    I think many disillusion conservatives did that at the ’94 election and look where that got them – more of the same only worse, by that time the conservatives were so entrenched they’d stopped listening to anybody.

    Cheers :)

  • 16
    Shane L
    Posted October 8, 2008 at 12:33 am | Permalink

    Hurrah for the ‘farming energy’ stuff above! did the proponents of the ETS forget that the first step in this fanciful ‘carbon control’ political pantomine is reduction, not emissions trading?!
    this injection of sensible solutions needs all the kick along it can get.
    pushing for actions like this would make a lot of the quibbling over a few percent in the ETS obsolete (or, a few ppm or few cm in ref to above dialogue ;-) ).
    This is what Australia needs to do to demonstrate on the world stage, not spend so much time on an ETS only to then water it down with lots of exemptions. As much as I like the concept of an ETS (which should include a lot more ‘reduction’ rather than just ‘trading’) the current one does seem too much like an excuse to invent another way to trade/make money rather than achieve the goal it is supposed to be about.

  • 17
    Tim Hollo
    Posted October 8, 2008 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Steve, just wanted to note, by the way, that your comment about a letter to the editor being the only way Bob could get into the media in Garnaut week is (um, how shall I put this?) unmitigated garbage. Compostable, hopefully.

    Bob’s response to Garnaut (he took the lead since Christine was / is overseas on World Conservation Union business) ran across a broad range of media, including SBS and commercial TV, various radio newses and all the leading press. Media Monitors consistently has Bob in the top 20 pollies by media coverage, which, considering he shares media with the 4 other Greens Senators (something neither Fielding nor Xenophon have to do) is quite an impressive result.

    Bob chooses to write letters to the editor as well because he likes to do so.

    I fervently hope the rest of what you write is based on more solid evidence than this, mate.

  • 18
    steve truman
    Posted October 8, 2008 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    G’day Tim,

    Aaaaahhh, and I’d thought I’d ‘got that one through to the keeper’.

    An outrageously inaccurate statement, I’ve been studying WWF media tactics for too long.
    :)

  • 19
    steve truman
    Posted October 8, 2008 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    G’day Shane,

    I think your right on the money with your post. Well said.
    :)

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