Climate Change Science Attitudes Australia and Koch in USA

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Climate science or climate change denialism have been apparent for some decades since the 1970s with Koch Industries being central along with ‘big oil’ of Exxon Mobil etc. in funding through ‘Dark Money’ academia, research, think tanks, media, politicians and PR techniques to influence society.  Now we see the results including wide-spread climate denialism, avoidance of environmental protections and negative media PR campaigns; meanwhile the roots of this strategy have become more transparent with legal action following. 

 

Climate Lawsuits Are Coming for Koch Industries

 

Dharna Noor June 25, 2020

 

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced on Wednesday that he’s suing ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute because the three firms deceived customers about the climate crisis. This is the first lawsuit of its kind to name API and Koch Industries, and it takes a novel approach by suing them solely for the lies they told.

 

The consumer fraud lawsuit alleges that the companies engaged in a multi-decade “campaign of deception,” hiding the fact that they understood as early as the 1950s that oil and gas production contributes to climate breakdown and still chose to extract, market, and sell the fuels. It includes claims for fraud, failure to warn and violations of Minnesota statutes on consumer fraud, deceptive trade practices and false statements in advertising. As retribution, it calls for Minnesotans to be compensated for their losses and for the defendants to fund a public education campaign about the dangers of climate change.

 

“We’re here suing these defendants, API, ExxonMobil and Koch, for hiding the truth, confusing the facts and muddling the water to devastating effect,” Ellison said at a news conference…..

 

….. But while other lawsuits have targeted ExxonMobil and other major oil producers, Ellison’s groundbreaking suit targets not just the polluting companies but also fossil fuel lobbyists who also deceived consumers. The multinational Koch Industries’ does produce fossil fuel products — in fact, it owns a large Minnesota refinery that manufactures about 80% of the gasoline used in the state — but it is also heavily involved in lobbying for the fossil fuel industry’s interests. And API is the largest U.S. trade association for oil and natural gas companies. Naming these representatives, rather than just fossil fuel producers themselves, lays out that they had a role in the deception as well.

 

Meanwhile in Australia, from SBS on climate change attitudes:

 

The number of climate deniers in Australia is more than double the global average, new study finds

 

News consumers in Australia are more likely to believe climate change is “not at all” serious compared to news consumers in other countries, according to new research.

 

16/06/2020 by Caroline Fisher & Sora Park

 

Australian news consumers are far more likely to believe climate change is “not at all” serious compared to news users in other countries. That’s according to new research that surveyed 2,131 Australians about their news consumption in relation to climate change.

 

The Digital News Report: Australia 2020 was conducted by the University of Canberra at the end of the severe bushfire season during 17 January and 8 February, 2020.

 

It also found the level of climate change concern varies considerably depending on age, gender, education, place of residence, political orientation and the type of news consumed.

 

Young people are much more concerned than older generations, women are more concerned than men, and city-dwellers think it’s more serious than news consumers in regional and rural Australia.

 

Strident critics in commercial media

 

There’s a strong connection between the brands people use and whether they think climate change is serious.

 

More than one-third (35 per cent) of people who listen to commercial AM radio (such as 2GB, 2UE, 3AW) or watch Sky News consider climate change to be “not at all” or “not very” serious, followed by Fox News consumers (32 per cent).

 

This is perhaps not surprising when some of the most strident critics of climate change science can be found on commercial AM radio, Sky and Fox News.

 

For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, climate change, critical thinking, digital or e-consumer behaviour, environment, fossil fuel pollution, marketing & communications, political strategy, populist politics, science literacy, strategic management, WOM word of mouth and younger generations.

 

 

 

Anglosphere Libertarianism in US, Australia and UK Tories with Dominic Cummings

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We have observed Anglospehere conservative politics being taken over by radical right libertarianism in the US, UK and Australia, entwined with eugenics or xenophobia manifested by white nationalists and neo liberal policies; the Conservative Party in the UK suffers the same presently with Dominic Cummings in the limelight.

 

Facilitated by key individuals such as Dominic Cummings, Steve Bannon, et al. via media, PR and strategists including or via Murdoch’s NewsCorp, Crosby Textor, Cambridge Analytica et al., informed by libertarian think tanks like Koch Atlas Network influenced by Nobel Prize winning economist James Buchanan, behind the Austrian and Chicago Schools (along with Hayek, Friedman, Rand et al.).

 

For example there are Atlas links between ALEC American Legislative Exchange Council, IPA Institute of Public Affairs (Australia) and IEA Institute of Economic Affairs (UK) promoting strong neo-liberal ideas including smaller government and lower taxes.

 

This is in parallel with promotion of immigration restrictions linked to ideas and tactics of the late John Tanton e.g. ZPG Zero Population Growth, TSCP The Social Contract Press, FAIR Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, Sustainable Australia, Population Matters and Migration Watch UK; maybe coincidence but only one or no degree of separation between them (privately or publicly)?

 

Brexit may have been about antipathy towards Europe, immigrants and nostalgia for a greater Britain but for many, mostly in the background, it was radical right libertarianism avoiding trade and other regulations, helped along by the Leave campaign:

 

The real reason we should fear the work of Dominic Cummings

 

Carole Cadwalladr
Downing Street’s controversial top adviser faces new accusations of poisoning politics, but his true nature was clear during Vote Leave’s Brexit triumph.

 

On 2 March 2017, shortly after my first major article on Cambridge Analytica was published, a furious tweeter appeared in my timeline: “1/ big @Guardian by @carolecadwalla on Mercer/Cambridge Analytica = full of errors & itself spreads disinformation.”

 

It marked the moment that Dominic Cummings entered my life – though at the time I had no idea who he was. At that time few people did. Cummings was the dark horse, known to just a few Westminster insiders, who had stealthily steered Vote Leave to victory in June 2016 while the rest of us were looking the other way.

 

But that is no longer the case. In the past two weeks, he has emerged from the shadows and burned himself on to the nation’s consciousness. As Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, he’s helped mastermind some of the most audacious – and outrageous – moves ever committed by a British prime minister: an attempt to suspend parliament, and the expulsion of 21 moderate MPs from the Conservative party. Moves that led the mild man of British politics, the former prime minister John Major, to call him a “political anarchist” who was “poisoning politics”.

 

From Politico

 

British PM’s special adviser inspires greater loyalty among many key officials than Johnson does.

 

By CHARLIE COOPER AND EMILIO CASALICCHIO 5/26/20, 9:45 PM CET Updated 5/31/20, 1:04 AM CET

 

LONDON — Never mind whether Boris Johnson should get rid of Dominic Cummings, the real question is whether he can.

 

To the U.K. prime minister, his top aide — whose lockdown journey from London to Durham has dominated headlines for days — is more than just an effective political adviser. He is the lynchpin of the Downing Street operation; someone who — according to several people who have worked with the two men in and out of government — gives Johnson policy direction and operational grip, while commanding more loyalty among a number of key officials and ministers than the prime minister does himself.

 

From The New Yorker

 

New Evidence Emerges of Steve Bannon and Cambridge Analytica’s Role in Brexit

 

By Jane Mayer

 

The possibility that Brexit and the Trump campaign relied on some of the same advisers to further far-right nationalist campaigns has set off alarm bells on both sides of the Atlantic.

 

For two years, observers have speculated that the June, 2016, Brexit campaign in the U.K. served as a petri dish for Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign in the United States. Now there is new evidence that it did. Newly surfaced e-mails show that the former Trump adviser Steve Bannon, and Cambridge Analytica, the Big Data company that he worked for at the time, were simultaneously incubating both nationalist political movements in 2015……

 

There are direct links between the political movements behind Brexit and Trump. We’ve got to recognise the bigger picture here. This is being coordinated across national borders by very wealthy people in a way we haven’t seen before.”

 

Bannon has been strongly influenced by Jean Raspail’s dystopian novel ‘Camp of the Saints’, from The Huffington Post:

 

This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World.

 

“The Camp of the Saints” tells a grotesque tale about a migrant invasion to destroy Western civilization.

 

The same author Raspail had been interviewed by Australian academic Dr. Katherine Betts (collaborator with Dr. Robert Birrell deemed ‘Australia’s best demographer’ by Sustainable Population Australia patron Dick Smith and cited frequently by mainstream media in Australia as an expert on immigration) in John Tanton’s TSCP:

A Conversation With Jean Raspail‘ reprint from original 1994-95

Not only is Tanton intimately linked with founding TSCP but had also crossed paths with others of note at the Koch’s ‘bill mill’ ALEC including Heritage Foundation’s Weyrich, Falwell of the Christian Nationalist right and the deep pocketed Mercers, along with others,’wheels within wheels’?

 

Three right-wing organizations founded nearly forty years ago by conservative activist Paul Weyrich are rediscovering their shared origins. The Republican Study Committee, a caucus of 169 right-wing Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives, is establishing a partnership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the controversial “corporate bill mill” for state legislators

 

ALEC & SLLI – “Bipartisan” Bigotry. There appears to be a dirty little secret lurking in the halls and cocktail parties of the of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meetings – overt racism…..The John Tanton Network and the Anti-Immigrant Movement in America.
One man is at the heart of the most influential network of anti-immigrant groups in the country. This man, John H. Tanton, has created an empire of organizations populated by lobbyists, lawyers, legislators, and “experts” that have permeated the very depths of America’s social and political debate on immigration.

 

What appears to the public as myriad separate voices all advocating for one cause, i.e. severe immigration enforcement, is nothing more than a facade, a collection of craftily constructed front groups, faux-”coalitions,” and spin-offs that are collectively unified in their goal to overwhelm any reasonable debate on immigration with their branded worldview of bigotry.

 

This collective is known as the John Tanton Network.’

 

The Alt-Right and the 1%.  When President Trump equated white supremacists with anti-racism protesters, he was sending a message to the thugs in the streets and to some in executive suites…. ….Mercer, the co-CEO of the $50 billion Renaissance Technologies hedge fund, is also one of three owners of Breitbart News, the outlet Trump strategist (and former Breitbart editor) Steve Bannon has described as a “platform for the alt-right.”

 

With Mercer’s financial support, Breitbart has become a significant media force. While readership is down from its peak during the election campaign, the site attracted 11 million unique visitors in May of this year.

 

Here’s How Breitbart And Milo Smuggled White Nationalism Into The Mainstream. A cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals the truth about Steve Bannon’s alt-right “killing machine.” In August, after a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville ended in murder, Steve Bannon insisted that “there’s no room in American society” for neo-Nazis, neo-Confederates, and the KKK.

 

But an explosive cache of documents obtained by BuzzFeed News proves that there was plenty of room for those voices on his website.’

 

One Man Created a Bunch of Hate Groups. Now, Those Hate Groups Are Dug in With the Trump Administration….Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist and Senior Counselor to the President, was the CEO of Breitbart, which frequently reports on the Tanton network’s “research” and gives column space to Tanton allies. Bannon’s favorite book, a racist French novel, was published in English by another of Tanton’s organizations.

 

The deep connections that Tanton’s anti-immigrant network has in the Trump Administration is concerning in its own right; but the immediate and long term effects of its influence on policy will continue to be devastating for the lives of countless immigrants. Under the Trump Administration, CIS, FAIR, NumbersUSA, and the rest of the Tanton network have more power than ever — and they’re using it to reshape American immigration policy, possible for decades to come.’

 

Britain’s Steve Bannon Is Tearing Boris Johnson’s Tories Apart…….Just six weeks later, Cummings is in the limelight as the new hate figure in British politics and the man many Conservatives blame for wrecking their party and pushing the country into chaos all in the name of delivering Brexit.’

 

Conservatives in the USA, UK and Australian politics should be concerned as their respective parties are being torn apart by radical right libertarian driven white nationalism and populist politics.

Population, Environment and White Nationalists in Australia – US Links

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Article titled ‘Green Anti-Immigration Arguments Are A Cover For Right Wing Populism’ summarises ZPG Zero Population Growth in Australia, US white nationalist links, citing Paul Ehrlich and John Tanton. A symptom of US based radical right libertarianism and eugenics, presented as liberal, environmental and science based, but in fact supported by oligarchs.

 

The clearest signals emerged in the US in the ’70s when simultaneously fossil fuel companies became aware of global warming due to carbon emissions (and threatened by Nixon’s EPA), ZPG was established with Ehrlich, Tanton et al., supported by Rockefeller Bros. (Standard Oil then Exxon), Ford and Carnegie Foundations (according to the Washington Post), Club of Rome promoting Limits to Growth PR construct (including carrying capacity, Herman Daly’s steady-state economy suggesting protectionism to preclude global competition etc.) hosted on Rockefeller estate, sponsored by VW and Fiat, while James Buchanan and later Koch’s et al. started promoting libertarian economics (also Friedman, Hayek, Rand and Chicago School), nativism and developing think tanks for influence in politics, academia and media (according to MacLean’s ‘Democracy in Chains’ and Mayer’s ‘Dark Money’), including ALEC, Heritage Foundation etc..

 

Green Anti-Immigration Arguments Are A Cover For Right Wing Populism

 

Tony Goodfellow | 22nd February, 2019

 

With the backdrop of dramatic decrease in migration to Australia in 2018 to a 10 year low, the population debate has reared its ugly head. In recent months Dick Smith has run an advertising blitz with the title ‘overpopulation will destroy Australia’ that compares population growth to cancer and recently took stage at Dark + Dangerous Thoughts at Mona arguing “no” for the proposition “Do We Let Them In?”. Dick Smith’s intervention comes as members of the far right continue to focus on immigration as a major issue. For example, the newly minted Katter’s Australian Party senator, Fraser Anning, praised the White Australia Policy in his inaugural speech and echoed Nazi rhetoric saying “the final solution to the immigration problem of course is a popular vote”. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has also recently spoken about reducing Australia’s immigration intake.

 

The two views, although, coming from different perspectives, one nominally in the name of “sustainability” and the other a throwback to colonialism steeped in racism and xenophobia, arrive at the same destination, a hermetical view of the world projecting fear onto an outsider. In Dick Smith’s view the outsider is coming to destroy the environment and it Anning’s version they threaten the “European-Christian” ethno-white state.

 

The environmental rhetoric of the population debate might be alluring to progressives. Who would argue against clean air and clean water? Who wouldn’t agree that the current paradigm of growth is unsustainable? The problem is that an analysis based solely in population is superficial, creating solutions that end up marrying with the worst parts of Australian politics – far-right populism. If unchecked environmentalists focused solely on population threaten to be co-opted and driving a wedge in the environmental movement – because on the surface the arguments sound appealing.
Debate about population within the environment movement has played out many times, with many of the arguments not being new. Dick Smith’s manifesto proclaims “The prime reason for the decline in living standards for many Australian workers is our population growth.”

 

However, whose environment is he trying to protect?

 

Background to the environmental population debate

 

In the late 1960’s and onward a debate raged in environmental groups that threatened to tear them apart. The hotly debated issue was about population, spurned on by the publication of the neo-Malthusian The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich.

 

The Population Bomb is an easy-to-read polemic written for a popular audience and a guide for organising. In Ehrlich’s view over-population is leading to societal and environmental collapse and the issue needs immediate policy action. It thus begun with the famous lines, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over,” and the pace continues:

 

“Overpopulation is now the dominant problem.

 

Overpopulation occurs when numbers threaten values.

 

…regardless of changes in technology or resource consumption and distribution, current rates of population growth guarantee an environmental crisis which will persist until the final collapse.

 

There are some professional optimists around who like to greet every sign of dropping birth rates with wild pronouncements about the end of the population explosion.

 

Many of these countries, some of which are the poorest, most undernourished, and most overpopulated in the world, are prime candidates for a death-rate solution to the Population explosion

 

Our position requires that we take immediate action at home and promote effective action worldwide. We must have population control at home, hopefully through changes in our value system, but by compulsion if voluntary methods fail.”

 

He argues that population is a geometrical ratio:

 

“If growth continued at that rate for about 900 years, there would be some 60,000,000,000,000,000 people on the face of the earth…Unfortunately, even 900 years is much too far in the future for those of us concerned with the population explosion. As you will· see, the next nine years will probably tell the story.”

 

He graphically compares population growth to cancer, just like Dick Smith:

 

“We can no longer afford merely to treat the symptoms of the cancer of population growth; the cancer itself must be cut out.”

 

In “Chapter 1 The Problem” Ehrlich writes that “I have understood the population explosion intellectually for a long time. I came to understand it emotionally one stinking hot night in Delhi a few years ago.”

 

It would be hard not to be terror-stricken after reading The Population Bomb and it inspired many to action – perhaps prematurely. One argument, coming from a milieu of a white middle-class that some scholars have called an “apartheid ecology”, could be characterised as the “Green anti-immigrant” position. This position argued that there needed to be a national population policy in the United States that centred on radically reducing immigration.

 

This debate had echoes of the 18th century where many often turned to population control to solve social ills. This movement was famously satirised by Jonathan Swift’s ‘A Modest Proposal’ or its longer title ‘A Modest Proposal For preventing the Children of Poor People From being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and For making them Beneficial to the Publick’. It also had echoes of Thomas Malthus who posited in An Essay on the Principle of Population that population would exceed food supply:

 

“The power of population is so superior to the power of the earth to produce subsistence for man, that premature death must in some shape or other visit the human race

 

Taking the population of the world at any number, a thousand millions, for instance, the human species would increase in the ratio of — 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64, 128, 256, 512, etc. and subsistence as — 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, etc. In two centuries and a quarter, the population would be to the means of subsistence as 512 to 10: in three centuries as 4096 to 13, and in two thousand years the difference would be almost incalculable, though the produce in that time would have increased to an immense extent.”

 

An Essay on the Principle of Population expressed a view where empathy to certain groups, such as the poor, would spell disaster. His ideas led those in power to look at famine as good for society and that support for those not well off as creating “the poor which they maintain” . Marx famously argued against Malthus:

 

“The hatred of the English working class for Malthus—the ‘mountebank-parson,’ as Cobbett rudely called him…—was thus fully justified and the people’s instinct was correct here, in that they felt that he was no man of science, but a bought advocate of their opponents, a shameless sycophant of the ruling classes.”

 

This account was pretty accurate considering Malthus has been used to wage war on the poor. “Over the last 200 years” according to eco-socialist John Bellamy Foster “Malthusianism has thus always served the interests of those who represented the most barbaric tendencies within bourgeois society.”

 

Malthus’ view would end up marrying with Eugenics to form an ideological base for the Nazis. From early on Hitler fetishised the idea that population was the problem:

 

“The annual increase of population in Germany amounts to almost 900,000 souls. The difficulties of providing for this army of new citizens must grow from year to year and must finally lead to a catastrophe, unless ways and means are found which will forestall the danger of misery and hunger.”

 

Tragically his solution to his manufactured population problem was to violently enlarge the borders of the state, encourage higher fertility of anyone who was in Arthur de Gobineau’s ahistorical category of the true Germans or Aryan race while offsetting this by genocide of certain populations he deemed too foreign, not nationalistic enough or inferior.

 

Brief History of the rise of concern for population to be anti-immigration.

 

After The Population Bomb was released the new wave of the population debate played out in the one the largest and oldest conservation groups, the Sierra Club, leading to a decades old internecine struggle. The publication solidified for many that overpopulation was the most important issue for environmentalists. The polemic had a forward by David Brower, the executive director of the Sierra Club. He tied the Sierra Club’s mission to the call to action of the The Population Bomb, writing:

 

“The roots of the new brutality, it will become clear from The Population Bomb, are in the lack of population control. There is, we must hope and predict, a chance to exert control in time. We would like to predict that organizations which, like the Sierra Club, have been much too calm about the ultimate threat to mankind, will awaken themselves and others, and awaken them with an urgency that will be necessary to fulfillment of the prediction that mankind will survive. We must use our political power to push other countries into programs which combine agricultural development and population control.”

 

One scholar writes that the Ehrlich’s polemic “convinced many people that population expansion would eventually transcend the earth’s carrying capacity, leading to ecological disaster”. In doing so population became the pre-eminent concern for many environmentalists. It wasn’t long before environmental groups split on the issue. Population policy brought up many difficult questions that advocates could not address. On the question of scale, for example, should population be addressed globally or nationally? How do you address it nationally when the fertility rate is so low? Some proponents of addressing overpopulation decided the most politically acceptable way was to address it nationally, primarily through drastically reducing immigration. This focus on immigration somewhat overlook the arbitrary nature of both the new population goal and narrowly focusing on national population instead of consumption. There was no evidence that immigration size was related to ecological damage but the fear of population getting out of control was an overriding logic, and immigration provided a useful political tool……. continues……

 

Further reading

 

I’m an environmental journalist, but I never write about overpopulation. – Here’s why: https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/9/26/16356524/the-population-question

 

Greenwash: Nativists, Environmentalism and the Hypocrisy of Hate: https://www.splcenter.org/20100630/greenwash-nativists-environmentalism-and-hypocrisy-hate

 

Life in a ‘degrowth’ economy, and why you might actually enjoy it: https://theconversation.com/life-in-a-degrowth-economy-and-why-you-might-actually-enjoy-it-32224

 

Here’s what a population policy for Australia could look like: https://theconversation.com/heres-what-a-population-policy-for-australia-could-look-like-101458

 

Other related sources:

 

Betts K, Ideology and Immigration, Volume 1, Number 4 (Summer 1991), The Social Contract Press, https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0104/article_56.shtml

 

Betts K, Population Policy Issues, Volume 8, Number 2 (Winter 1997-1998), The Social Contract Press, https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0802/article_698.shtml

 

Betts K, A Conversation With Jean Raspail*, (Reprint) Volume 15, Number 4 (Summer 2005), The Social Contract Press, https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc1504/article_1340.shtml (* Steve Bannon’s favourite)

 

Birrell R, Australian Nation-State, Volume 7, Number 2 (Winter 1996-1997), The Social Contract Press, https://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0702/article_615.shtml

 

Bricker D & Ibbitson J, 2019, Empty Planet, Signal Books, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37585564-empty-planet

 

Haney-Lopez I, 2014, Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class, Oxford University Press USA, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17847530-dog-whistle-politics

 

Jaco S, Anti-Immigration campaign has begun Washington Post May 8 1977 https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1977/05/08/anti-immigration-campaign-begun/

 

MacLean N, 2017, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America, Viking, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30011020-democracy-in-chains

 

Mayer J, 2016, Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, Doubleday, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27833494-dark-money

 

Pearce F, 2010, The Coming Population Crash: And Our Planet’s Surprising Future, Beacon Press, https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7788578-the-coming-population-crash

 

van Onselen L, MacroBusiness (Australia) many articles about immigration, NOM net overseas migration, international education and population growth using research of Birrell and Betts https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/author/leith/

 

For more articles and blogs about Australian politics, demography, population growth and white nationalism click through.

Political Parties Hollowed Out and Identity Issues

Australian politics as with Trump’s America and U.K.’s Brexit has become hollowed out with declining membership, less organic policy development, more reliance upon both external policy development by trans national think tanks and promotion or opposition by media or PR.

An enforced focus upon immigration, population growth and refugees, or white nationalist issues, may risk bi-partisan support and ignore the immigrant heritage of Australia versus aggressive demands for a WASP white Anglo Saxon protestant and Irish Catholic culture to rule.

Brexit, Trump and Australian politics have obsessed about immigration.

Populist Politics and White Nationalism (Image copyright Pexels).

This is especially so among the less diverse above median age vote in regions, while Australia’s elites in business, government, politics and media also reflect the same mono culture or lack of diversity.

Further, positives and benefits of immigration are seldom cited and especially the leveraging of temporary resident churn over; whether students, backpackers or temporary workers who are net financial contributors supporting the tax base, vs. ageing and increasing proportion of pensioners or retirees in the permanent population.

From The Lowy Institute:

Hollowed out, but not unhinged

Judith Brett

The scenario put forth in Sam Roggeveen’s “Our very own Brexit” runs counter to the major parties’ economic realities.

Sam Roggeveen has written a lively essay on the current state of Australian federal politics, centred on the hypothetical scenario that one of the two major parties takes an anti-immigration policy to an election, overturning Australia’s post-war bipartisan commitment to immigration to gain political advantage. Such an election would be a referendum on continuing population growth, and bring to a halt our cultural diversification and our integration into Asia, which is now the largest source of permanent new settlers.

It sounds unlikely, but as Roggeveen argues, both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump were unlikely, rogue events that have overturned political assumptions. His scenario is not a prediction, he stresses, but a plausible, worst-case scenario arising from the current state of our political parties.

Our two major parties have become “hollowed out”, Roggeveen argues, untethered from their traditional social bases in class-based interests. Party membership and party loyalty have declined, leaving a more volatile and skittish electorate potentially vulnerable to the anti-immigration siren song of a party desperate to gain electoral advantage.

There are two parts to this argument. The first is that the parties have become hollowed out; the second that it is plausible that one of the major parties break the bipartisan support for the migration program.

First, the evidence is clear for the decline in rusted-on party loyalty.

However, Roggeveen does not, to my mind, have a sufficiently nuanced understanding of the reasons for this decline and writes as if it is mainly the result of a deficient political class.

In the early 20th century, when our current party system took shape, it made social and economic sense to have two parties based on two class blocks. Working and middle class, employee and employer, labour and capital – these spoke both to people’s everyday experience and sense of themselves and to competing economic interests. This is no longer the case. More than a hundred years later, Australia’s society and its economy are much more complex.

In developing their policies, parties have to broker compromises among various competing interests, and this undertaking is much harder today. To take a stark example: the problem Labor has in developing policies responsive both to its traditional union base and to the middle-class social democrats who flocked to the party with Gough Whitlam. Compared with the early 20th century, lines of class division have blurred, and new lines of difference have been politicised: gender, race, ethnicity, attitude to nature, and, after the fading of sectarianism, religion again. If the parties are failing, it is in part because the task of uniting disparate constituencies is harder…..

……Second, I do not find it plausible that one of the major parties would break the bipartisan consensus on immigration.

A minor party might succeed with an anti-immigration policy, but neither major party could afford the electoral risk. The 2016 Census reported that 49% of the Australian population was either foreign-born or had at least one foreign-born parent. Not all of these people will be on the electoral roll, but all who are citizens will be, and once on the roll, they will have to vote.

Because of compulsory voting, Australian parties do not need highly emotional and divisive policies to get out the vote, and to support them carries considerable risks. Both Brexit and the election of Trump occurred in polities with voluntary voting, where it makes electoral sense to risk courting an alienated minority. There is no doubt there is a nativist faction in Australia that would support a stop to immigration, but Australian elections are won and lost in the middle, which is occupied by increasing numbers of foreign-born voters and their children.

Also holding the major parties to their consensus on immigration is its contribution to the economy. Australia’s recent sluggish economic growth would be even slower were it not for migration. The housing and retail sectors in particular would be sharply affected by its halt. Our two major political parties may be untethered from their historical social bases, but they are not unhinged from contemporary economic reality.’

 

For more articles about populist politics, demographics, immigration and white nationalism click through.

 

Tactics Against Bipartisan Climate Change Policy in Australia – Limits to Growth?

A recent ABC article ‘The day that plunged Australia’s climate change policy into 10 years of inertia‘, endeavoured to describe how climate change consensus was broken by former Liberal MP Andrew Robb who claimed he had followed the ‘Limits to Growth’ (LTG) theory via the Club of Rome but changed his mind, hence withdrew support on bipartisan support on carbon emission measures (?).

And so it was that Andrew Robb made one of the most extraordinary and — by most conventional measures — indefensible tactical decisions in the history of political chicanery.

Also reported in climate science denial blog in the USA Watts Up With That with post titled ‘How “The Limits to Growth” Broke Australia’s Bipartisan Carbon Tax’, as did Catallaxy Files in ‘Australia Follow the climate money and the time when Tony beat Malcolm by one vote’ which also promotes climate science denialism.

In fact the LTG theory, ‘a riddle wrapped up in an enigma’, is irrelevant to climate change as it was developed as a PR construct of liberal and environment ideas or theory then (misre)presented publicly as grounded and tested empirical science to confuse debates, then both opponents and protagonists.

The pseudo-science of LTG was developed and presented via the Club of Rome and applied by some of the participants and collaborators including Herman Daly’s ‘Steady-state economy’ (autarkist economy), Paul Ehrlich’s ‘population bomb’ and his Zero Population Growth (ZPG) colleague John ‘passive eugenics’ Tanton to support immigration restrictions for non-Europeans.

Interesting was that the Club of Rome was hosted on the Rockefeller (Standard Oil/Exxon) estate and sponsored by Fiat and VW, while ZPG had support from Rockefeller Brothers, Ford and Carnegie Foundations; strong whiff of fossil fuels, global corporates/oligarchs and eugenics.

LTG helped encourage a pincer movement of seemingly unrelated ideas or constraints which in fact protect the corporate and personal interests of such global players.  Daly’s autarkist Steady-state theory stresses nation states, avoidance of trade agreements (and environmental regulations) etc. while allowing long standing global corporates (with existing footprints) to operate without commercial, competitive or regulatory constraint (James Buchanan’s radical right libertarianism for all, i.e. ‘Public Choice Theory‘, except when there is state support for global corporates).

From University of Sussex on Limits to Growth or ‘Models of Doom‘:

‘An interdisciplinary team at Sussex University’s Science Policy Research Unit reviewed the structure and assumptions of the models used and published its finding in Models of Doom; showing that the forecasts of the world’s future are very sensitive to a few unduly pessimistic key assumptions. The Sussex scientists also claim that the Meadows et al. methods, data, and predictions are faulty, that their world models (and their Malthusian bias) do not accurately reflect reality.’

How could they promote not just junk science but inequitable libertarian economics to the masses for the benefit of the few and have ‘Turkeys vote for Christmas’?

Brexit is a good example, Trump also and Australia since Tampa refugee incident, i.e. dog whistling immigration, population growth, and white nationalism, then encourages borders, withdrawal from trade agreements and insular view of the world, while allowing global corporates to fly under the radar and conservative political parties to gain votes (especially amongst the upper median age cohort) to implement the right policies (or not at all).

 

The day that plunged Australia’s climate policy into 10 years of inertia

BY ANNABEL CRABBUPDATED SUN AT 1:28PM

Ten years ago Andrew Robb arrived at Parliament House intent upon an act of treachery.

No-one was expecting him. Robb was formally on leave from the Parliament undergoing treatment for his severe depression.

But the plan the Liberal MP nursed to himself that morning would not only bring about the political demise of his leader, Malcolm Turnbull, but blow apart Australia’s two great parties irrevocably just as they teetered toward consensus on climate change, the most divisive issue of the Australian political century.

They have never again been so close.

A decade later, according to the ABC’s Australia Talks National Survey, climate change is a matter of urgent community concern. Eighty-four per cent of respondents said that climate change was real and that action was warranted. When offered a range of 19 issues and asked which were of gravest personal concern, climate change ranked at number one.

As bushfires ravage the landscape and drought once again strangles vast tracts of the continent, the inability of the Australian Parliament to reach agreement on how to answer the threat of climate change — or even discuss it rationally — may well be one of the drivers of another shrieking headline from the Australia Talks research: 84 per cent of respondents also feel that Australian politicians are out of touch with the views of the people they represent.

This is the story — told on its 10th birthday — of a political event that changed the course of a nation’s history.

How bipartisan policy fell apart

Robb was on sick leave from his job as shadow minister for climate, managing the notoriously difficult transition from one anti-depressant medication to another.

In his absence, acting shadow minister for climate Ian Macfarlane had successfully negotiated, with the authority of Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull, a deal with the Rudd government to land the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, or CPRS.

An extraordinary tactic

And so it was that Andrew Robb made one of the most extraordinary and — by most conventional measures — indefensible tactical decisions in the history of political chicanery.

Parliament House is no stranger to mental illness. Historically, its sufferers have covered their tracks, loath to be seen as vulnerable.

But this must be the only recorded occasion on which mental illness has been used as a tactic.

Robb ripped himself a scrap of paper and scrawled a note to Turnbull.

“The side effects of the medication I am on now make me very tired. I’d be really grateful if you could get me to my feet soon,” he wrote.

Turnbull called Robb to speak soon after. He rose, and denounced the proposed scheme in forensic detail, his words carrying significant weight as the erstwhile bearer of the relevant portfolio.

The deal never recovered. The meeting went on for six more hours. Turnbull — a streetfighter when cornered — added the numbers of shadow Cabinet votes to the “yes” votes in the party room and declared that he had a majority.

Leadership contest

The party room wasn’t buying it. Turnbull was cooked.

One week and one day later — December 1, 2009 — a ballot was held for the leadership of the Liberal Party.

Tony Abbott — who nominated against both Turnbull and shadow treasurer Joe Hockey — won by a single vote.

The Abbott opposition was born, with its strident campaign against Labor’s “great big new tax on everything”.

The next day, the emissions trading scheme legislation went to a vote in the Parliament and was defeated soundly.

Both the Coalition and the Greens voted against.

The Rudd government relinquished its attempts to put a price on carbon. Rudd himself was overthrown mid-2010. Julia Gillard staked her political life on installing a carbon price, but lost it at the 2013 election in the face of Abbott’s muscular anti-carbon-tax campaign.

Abbott installed his “Direct Action” model which survives to this day, despite Turnbull’s subsequent prime ministership, during which he tried and failed to introduce the National Energy Guarantee, a legislative device aimed at establishing reliable supply and reduced emissions from the energy sector….

….’You can still see the scars’

For Kane Thornton, chief executive of the Clean Energy Council, the past 10 years are a tale of intense frustration.

“What happened back then has just so fundamentally shaped the direction and the context for climate and energy policy ever since,” he says…..

…..Visiting Sydney this week, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, British-born Michael Liebreich, was brutal in his assessment of Australia’s contemporary energy situation.

“It’s unbelievable how you can have a country with such cheap solar power, such cheap wind power, frankly such cheap natural gas and yet you still have expensive power and an unreliable grid,” he told ABC’s AM.

“I mean, how do you do that? It’s a government failure.”

Turnbull, in an interview published on Saturday by The Guardian, said the climate debate in Parliament was hostage to “insurgents” inside the Coalition.

“There are plenty of odd beliefs out there and conspiracy theories but what I have always struggled to understand is why climate denialism still has the currency that it has, particularly given the evidence of the impact of climate change is now so apparent, and it is particularly apparent to people living in regional and rural Australia,” he said.

“Precisely what has been forecast is happening.”…..

…..Robb admits that his was an extraordinary intervention in a sliding-doors juncture of Australian political history.

“I’ve seen so often in my career where something monumental gets down to one vote. Then when the vote’s taken, it sticks, and the world adjusts. It was the beginning of Tony — who won by one vote. Democracy’s an amazing thing, really. And it does show you that if you’ve got half of the votes or just over half or just under, that can reflect community attitudes too,” he says.

“This is not a fault of democracy, it’s a fact.”

He mentions that when he was a much younger man, he was “a great student” of the Club of Rome, an association of scientists, bureaucrats, politicians and public thinkers who in 1972 published the book Limits To Growth, warning that the world’s resources could not withstand the depredations of ceaseless economic growth indefinitely.

Limits To Growth is still the highest-selling environmental book in the history of the world, having sold 30 million copies in more than 30 languages.

But Robb’s early fascination with the work gave way to distrust of its conclusions and primitive computer modelling; he says its warnings of resource exhaustion and economic collapse towards the end of the 20th century were overstated.

“The thing they didn’t talk about was technology. That you could find gas 300 kilometres offshore, for example, and find a way to bring it onshore. Because of this, the Club of Rome — which was quite a reputable group of people — looked more and more ridiculous as the years rolled on.”

The Club of Rome has its critics and its defenders; Limits To Growth was commonly derided by the 1990s as a misguided Doomsday scenario, but has enjoyed something of a renaissance lately. The CSIRO published a paper in 2008 finding that the book’s 30-year modelling of consequences from a “business as usual” approach to economic growth was essentially sound.

But what’s not deniable is that this work influenced one young man who grew up to be one member of a parliamentary party with a singular role to play in one vote on a policy that would either change or not change the course of a country.

Democracy, he says, is an amazing thing.

Or an infuriating thing. Or mysterious. Or random.’

 

For more articles and blog posts about population growth, immigration and white nationalism click through.