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The really, really, really dopey country

 

Back in 2015 I ran a blog entitled ‘Living in the Dopey Country’. I didn’t think it could get more stupid than that, but I was wrong. In 2017 Australia was even more stupid than it was in 2015 and, by 2021, it got even worse.

 

Back in 2017 Australia was seriously helping a foreign company to build a vast coal mine in Queensland that will be run by a mob that is best described as shady and is already committed to shelving its profits offshore. That dumb idea was still being carried out in 2021, as coal demand around the world continued to decline.

In 2021 the Labor Party deserted its ‘green’ credentials, by actively supporting coal mining jobs, instead of a compensation and retraining plan, despite the fact that even coal miners knew the boom was over and very few kids in current coal-mining areas were expecting to follow their parents into the pits. Labor compounded that stupidity by continuing to back tax cuts for the rich top three-percent.

Labor is obviously banking on winning the 2022 election by simply turning up, rather than relying on policies. That’s possibly because of the loss they incurred last time, when they went to the polls with too many policies, but that loss can simply be traced to the fact that not even dyed-in-the-wool Labor voters wanted Bill Shorten as prime minister.

While the LNP and Labor continue to pretend there’s no such thing as climate change, a July 2021 United Nations report on progress toward a range of international sustainable-development goals put Australia last on climate change action, among more than 170 UN members.

Australia has long relied on coal-fired power and has consistently been one of the world’s largest carbon emitters per capita. In 2021, Australia ranked among the top three countries for exported greenhouse gas emissions per capita and among the top 10 nations for per capita fossil fuel use, according to UN data.

Australia also ranked second-worst for carbon pricing scores, between first-ranking Chile and the United States, but we’re about to feel the impact of our inability to establish some form of carbon taxation, because in 2022 responsible countries will levy tariffs on imports from recalcitrant countries.

Our less than bright trade minister insisted that in the case of EU tariffs it’s just disguised protectionism. He’s so dopey he couldn’t see that of course it’s protectionism: the EU is protecting the investment it’s making in carbon reduction and those countries who make no effort in that direction can’t expect unfettered market entry.

Also in July 2021 we witnessed the humiliating trip of an Australian minister (who thinks ‘Susan’ is spelt with a double-S) to the UN, to beg, threaten and cajole against the Great Barrier Reef being officially labelled as ‘in danger’. We all know it’s in danger and has been for years. That’s a similar deflection to the one the prime minister uses to ‘explain’ that we’re reducing emissions, when we’re clearly not.

All that wouldn’t be so bad if we were at least managing our disgracefully polluting ways professionally, but we’re not. The nation’s domestic gas and electricity power supply was privatised and we were told it would create competition and prices would fall. Guess what?

Even worse, while the rest of the world is helping people put in solar systems, to ease the burden on power stations and to reduce emissions, privately-owned power companies actively discourage solar power, saying it harms the supply balance. How embarrassing is it that Tesla’s Elon Musk had to take pity on us stupid Aussies and help solve South Australia’s power issues.

We’re also still letting foreign-owned natural-gas miners frack under our farmland, threatening artesian water, so they can export our gas to make huge profits, while we pay through the nose for what should be our right. Australia is the only gas-exporting country that doesn’t have a domestic supply quarantine. Even worse, we’ve geared the export deal royalties to gas company profits, not to export volume, like sensible countries do.

We’re blessed with inland open spaces that could easily host vast solar arrays and wind farms, to produce cheap power, but our governments are too stupid to pursue it with enthusiasm. When one state tries to increase its renewable energy system it gets sabotaged by the power companies, with the Federal Government’s blessing.

Every government in the developed world  – except Australia – and even some developing countries, have subsidies that encourage the purchase of electric and hybrid vehicles. The electric vehicle revolution is coming at a rapid pace, but it’s bypassing Australia. By the time the car manufacturing world has electrified we’ll be woefully under-prepared in terms of charging infrastructure.

Even worse, several Australian State governments have implemented electric-vehicle-taxation, further penalising people who are already paying through the nose for unsubsidised electric cars. Australia is the only country in the world that’s actively discouraging electric vehicles and, as a result, hardly any are available here.

The stupidity of letting foreign investors buy up our land and housing is partially seen in ridiculously high real estate prices across the entire country. But we can’t blame foreigners for stupid laws that reward some people for buying multiple investment properties with tax incentives and penalise those who simply want to buy their own house with a mortgage that’s not tax-deductible.

No wonder voters are turning to the loony fringe in frustration, but politicians are too stupid to see what’s happening.

Hopefully, we’ve reached our level of incompetence and the next generation will remedy these ills. However, watching them walk into lamp posts or drive their cars over cliffs while texting leaves me in doubt…

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