Here in Australia the “Age of Crises” has suddenly become starkly apparent, alongside growing awareness of the inadequate response of Government.
The drought has been devastating the inland for years.
Several inland towns are now running out of water while that scarce resource is being sold off.
A Singaporean food company is selling 89,000 megalitres of Australian water to a Canadian pension fund. [Daily Mail Australia, 12 December 2019]
A Chinese-owned company has been granted approval to run a 96m litre a year commercial water mining operation in severely drought-hit southern Queensland where locals are on water rations and communities at imminent risk of running dry. [28 Dec 2019 Guardian]
We have witnessed bushfires in rainforests and the burning or starvation of over a billion native animals.
Millions of hectares have been destroyed, thousands of homes and 34 human lives have been lost.
The regional economy will take years to recover, and this year’s bushfire threat has not yet passed.
Canberra went from terrible air pollution due to bushfire smoke, to huge damaging hailstones, then back to threatening bushfires within a few days.
Melbourne and Sydney temporarily became the most polluted cities in the world.
The nation witnessed climate refugees being rescued by the navy in eastern Victoria, with major highways closed for long periods.
This has been followed by torrential but patchy rainfall, flash floods and the threat of at least one dam collapse.
Meanwhile our national government continues its generous support for oil coal and gas, with taxpayer subsidies and soft taxation policies.
For example in 2020 our gas output will probably outstrip that of Qatar which gets $26.6 billion in tax but Australia gets only $600 million. [SMH, 12 March 2018]
ExxonMobil Australia with a total income of $42.3 billion over the past five years paid not one cent in income tax in this country. [Michael West Media, 31 January 2020]
While supporting these contributors to the climate emergency, the government engages in climate emergency denial.
The School Climate Strike movement involving millions of people around the world, was supported by some 300,000 Australians late in 2019.
These demonstrations were ignored by the Government. [The AIM Network, 13 February 2020 ]
Just why this might be seems clear.
“Since 2011, mining and energy corporations have donated $8.4 million to the conservative coalition’s state and federal branches.
Comparatively, the Labor Party, which accepts climate science, has received only $2.8 million.” [Byline Times, 6 January 2020]
Alongside these climate emergency related crises we have a series of crises related to falling respect for our government and a growing threat to the continued legitimacy of our political institutions.
Government largesse – sports rorts and “changing sheds”- plus other grants, saw more than $630m awarded in the six months before last year’s election. Recipients had to invite politicians to their public announcements. [Guardian, 12 February 2020]
Newstart remained below the poverty level.
The most recent outrage is a threat to place more welfare recipients on the debit card, which has already devastated many families.
Then came the Coronavirus which created an outburst of anti-Chinese racism, the re-opening of Christmas Island for the quarantine of Australians returning from China, and loud groans from those businesses and educational institutions dependent upon the Chinese market for their clients.
We wait to see how the needs of business weigh against the safety of the nation in the minds of our rulers.
If any doubts remain as to the importance of taking political action to deal with the lies and corruption facing us in Australia today, then we are lost.