The Prime Minister is looking out of touch and vulnerable to changing public sentiment on the big issues of the moment: Iraq and climate change, according to Steve Lewis, chief political correspondent for The Australian (24/10/2006, p.12).
Climate change ignored: The severe drought, which has turned so much of Australia’s inland into barren tracts, has highlighted the government’s unwillingness to take seriously the challenge of climate change. For years, Howard’s energy and environment policies have been framed through the prism of protecting, at all costs, Australia’s fossil fuels sector.
Renewables support limited: The 2004 energy statement reflected this approach. The government has been only half-hearted in its support for renewable energy sources. Yet Australia could – should – have been a world leader in this regard.
Feds not willing to invest: We have the expertise, the climate, the natural resources, but we have lacked a Federal Government willing to take seriously the need to invest in an alternative route to cleaner energy. Green groups have been demonised and those who argue that Australia’s reliance on fossil fuels can’t go on forever have been sidelined as a ruthless fossil fuels pragmatism was maintained.
Nuclear argument comes too late: Although nuclear energy may play a part, the government should be condemned for failing to embrace a green culture sooner and with more passion, Lewis wrote. Finally, it appears that senior government figures have been mugged by reality. No doubt Howard will formally announce a significant shift in the government’s stance on energy and environmental issues before next year’s election.
The Australian, 24/10/2006, p.12
Source: Erisk Net