Leadership spills and coal-smudged deals

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Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons

Leadership spills aside, we have a Government littered with climate denialists and two major progressive parties effectively acting as their enablers, writes executive editor Michelle Pini.

FIRST, we had a Nats spill brought on by the sports rorts scandal. Then we had a changing of the guard – and definitely not a “spill” – at the Greens, which went largely unnoticed, what with all the drama in the Government. And talk of another Lib spill – despite Morrison’s “miracle” election win – has also been doing the rounds. Again.

But today, we still have McCormack. We still have Morrison. And though we have Bandt, he is heading a party with basically the same old agenda – a self-righteous, if admirable, one – where there is no negotiation, only elaborate demands. Oh and we still have Albanese — who heads a risk-averse Labor Party, which is unlikely to spill much other than their own unelected tears.


Deputy Prime Minister McCormack is safe. For now. And by his side is David I’m-Not-A-Scientist Littleproud.

McCormack’s first appearance on national TV, since surviving the well-sharpened knives of his predecessor, was dedicated to the importance of coal and gas. He did also mention the wonderful career progression of "females" within the National Party. They have six females now, he said. Although one such female, Bridget McKenzie, had to go back to the backbench paddock for allowing the sports rorts spill on her watch. Well, not quite for that, they couldn't admit there was any rorting, apart from in her own seat. That the focus was on rocks and other fossil fuels from the leader of the party of dinosaurs pretty much says it all.

But what if Barnaby had come back? The man who unashamedly represents the interests of Gina Rinehart — the woman who digs for even more rocks? No change there.

What if coal-lover extraordinaire and chief Barnaby-cheerleader Matt Canavan wins the next spill? Would his Mum ask him to change tack on fossil fuels? Not likely.

The only surprising thing about the new/old line-up within the Nationals is if David Littleproud manages to master the wonders of modern science enough to turn on the telly and watch his latest embarrassing performance on ABC 7.30, in which he claims ignorance as an excuse.


Then we come to the moderately interesting Greens leadership change. New Leader Adam Bandt announced yesterday that he wants Australia to become a “green energy superpower”. Which is a good thing — even commendable!

I have long wanted a villa on the Riviera, but even if I ever can afford one, the rising sea level may have other plans.

Most Australians want action on climate change, but it’s just not going to happen so long as they also keep voting for the Coalition.

And Adam’s list of wants is unlikely to amount to much unless he changes the way in which his party goes about things. As long as the Greens continue to fight with the Labor Opposition, the only likely outcome for Australia is more of the same, since feuding between the progressive parties only delivers more election wins for the Coalition.


Meanwhile, it’s business as usual at the Liberal Party.

With his sudden and spectacular fall from public favour as the bushfire crisis escalated, Morrison made a few “climate change is real” noises. But anyone who has actually been listening knows he never committed to doing anything real. He never has and he never will. Not while there’s coal in his fossil fuel-lobbying belly.

A challenge for the leadership will likely bring Dutton the Overlord out of his dark sinister corner, so a Lib spill will only bring more of the same — or maybe even worse outcomes for the climate emergency.

And after Turnbull’s complete failure in the hot seat, if Frydenberg or Porter win the next leadership battle, does anyone think they could change the hopelessly divided direction of the Coalition on climate policy?


Under Shorten, a comprehensive climate change policy was laid out for all to see. It may not have incorporated every detail of the Greens' wish-list, but it was a good start and a damn sight better than that of the unabashedly coal-driven Morrison Government’s inaction. Labor lost the election, of course, and the rest is history.

And so, at the Albanese Labor camp, the mood is one of not making waves. 

Anyone who sees this approach of waiting quietly and doing nothing until Labor is elected as the means by which they will achieve climate change action, only needs remember the carbon tax.

There is no doubt Australians are disillusioned. Even those who were previously on Team Coalition are changing heart at a rapid pace.

What we have, in essence, is a Government littered with climate denialists and two major progressive parties effectively acting as their enablers. Because as long as the Greens just lay out their wish list and Labor take refuge in their hidey-hole of inaction, the coal-smudged dinosaurs continue Australia's fossil fuel rule.

Instead of political posturing, what is needed is the collaboration of all progressive parties. In the first instance, between Labor and the Greens, and then between this partnership and the crossbench.

Those of us on the progressive side of politics need to wake up and smell the acrid smoke of the alternative.

This is only half the story!  Read the rest of this editorial in the IA members-only area. It takes less than a minute to subscribe to IA and costs as little as $5 a month, or $50 a year — a small sum for superb journalism and lots of extras.

You can follow executive editor Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9 You may also follow Independent Australia on Twitter at @independentaus or on Facebook HERE.

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