February 09, 2009 | Ronda Jambe

Hoping for a tempest in my teapot

As Victoria is incinerated, as hundreds lie in hospital with horrible burns, as wildlife is decimated and the entire country mourns these losses….at this point perhaps the sceptics are saying, in the face of Australia’s worst ever natural disaster (so far) that thank heavens there isn’t any climate change, or things might be worse.
If that is the case, I might as well stop now. But of course, I won’t. Because there is still hope. Indymedia links the fires to climate change, but our mainstream media ignores the obvious (although there is an article in today’s Sydney Morning Herald, saying more of this will be our fate as climate change intensifies). Blind Freddie knows these events will only become more intense, more frequent, more deadly, as climate change bites into the driest inhabited (and vastly over-populated) continent on earth.
The ACT is not affected by fires at this time, although I heard some war stories about the 2003 Canberra fires this weekend. Those memories don’t fade. They should spur the ACT government to act now and aggressively on climate change, and to start building resilience into this little city state. But what do we hear about them? Iceland, with a smaller population, gets more coverage in Australia than the ACT government, even though the Canberra Greens theoretically hold the balance of power and are well-placed to force the change we so urgently need.
But Canberra is just a teapot (or is that tinpot?) government. With 4 elected members of the House of Assembly, sandwiched between equal numbers (7) each of Liberals and Labor, the ACT Greens have a probably unique opportunity to become the change they want to see in Canberra, and to set a model for other jurisdictions. Not quite sure why, but they turned down the offer to form government with the Liberals and take two Ministries. Instead, they signed an Agreement with the Stanhope Labor government in return for letting the ALP continue to run the show. The Agreement has lots of good policy intentions. You can see it here:
It includes reforms to the machinery of government, and initiatives such as the introduction of Triple Bottom Line annual reporting, legislating a greenhouse gas reduction target for the ACT, a look at a renewable energy plant, an increase recurrent funding for cycling infrastructure to $3.6 million per annum, and the introduction of a levy on plastic bags in supermarkets and other retailers. This is to be a 12-month trial, to be implemented in the first half of 2009. The Agreement also includes a minimum 6 star rating for new residential housing by 2010.
These are all good, but how is it progressing? Well, I haven’t found a document or chart tracking the progress of the Agreement on the Greens web site, but web sites can be notoriously abstruse. Also many of the items are somewhat vague in terms of numbers and dates and consequences. There is a provision for resolving differences. Somehow, the Labor government only found out about their budget deficit after the election, although if you believe that you probably still put cookies out for Santa Claus. Now Chief Minister Stanhope has made noises about maybe his election promises are more important than the promises in the Greens Agreement. And someone has now told me that he has also said he will only implement parts of the Agreement that are in the Greens press releases.
At what point does the rapee shout out ‘rape’? Or is this going to be political intercourse between consenting political parties? But perhaps the heat (today it is cooler) and the drama unfolding in Victoria have got to me. But in my more lucid moments I know that the teapot in the ACT needs more than the addition of milk and sugar – it needs a tempest. I’m still hoping we get one.

Posted by Ronda Jambe at 6:28 am | Comments (6) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. How do you and Graham remain on good terms, given your very different views on climate change?

    Comment by Terry — February 9, 2009 @ 12:39 pm

  2. It’s easy, Terry. Graham really does ‘get’ electronic democracy, and he wants diverse voices.
    And I take a Cassandra’s comfort in knowing that I am right.
    Reality is flowing my way, even as I try to swim away from it.

    Comment by ronda jambe — February 9, 2009 @ 3:04 pm

  3. Bob Brown and the soft labor greens are hiding behind the pensioners and their carers

    Comment by Dallas Beaufort — February 9, 2009 @ 9:47 pm

  4. Not sure I understand what you mean, Dallas.

    Comment by ronda jambe — February 10, 2009 @ 7:39 am

  5. Rhonda
    Soon you won’t have to swim away. You’ll be able to wade away, for the oceans levels are actually falling.

    Comment by Keith — February 12, 2009 @ 9:51 am

  6. Keith, you are partly right. quoting from the article below:
    ‘when an ice sheet melts, its gravitational pull on the ocean is reduced and water moves away from it. The net effect is that the sea level actually falls within 2,000 km of a melting ice sheet, and rises progressively further away from it’
    The reason is non-linearity, the subject of my next posting.

    Comment by ronda jambe — February 12, 2009 @ 11:30 am

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