Editorial: Australia – you’re all alone

Australia’s new Prime Minister Tony Abbott, not a friend of the environment.

The leader of the right wing party, The Liberals Tony Abbott, has been elected Australia’s new Prime Minister taking over the reins from Labor’s Kevin Rudd.

There is no real surprise in that as it was believed for a while that voters had lost their faith in the Labor party amidst concerns around the economy. The Murdoch owned press, which is one of the biggest backers to Abbott and his party, had done their best to inform people that the carbon tax introduced by the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard would hurt the Australian economy.

One of Tony Abbott’s election pledges was that he would scrap the carbon tax, triple the country’s coal exports and get rid of green tape regulations. He has also stated that the argument that climate change is happening, is highly contentious.

While you should not kick a government before they have even come into power, we must remain very critical that the party which will run the government adopts a stance in not believing in climate change. Were they to adopt those views into the newly formed government, it would be one of few UN recognised governments who holds that view since the Bush Administration.

It’s extraordinary given the year of weather extremes Australia has experienced that any person let alone a whole party can adopt those views. The cost to the Australian economy for those weather events is immense.

On top of that, Australia is basing their economy on mining, especially coal which scientists say further expansion will put Australia’s greatest tourist attraction, The Great Barrier Reef, under great risk – again a great financial cost. At a time when most countries are looking to turn away from coal, one can greatly question the economics in making the country the world’s biggest exporter, who do they envisage will buy it?

The tape Abbott and his government should consider getting rid of is the red tape almost prohibiting and discouraging renewable energy developments in some states. Australia has ideal conditions for renewable energy, large wind, solar and geothermal development. If Abbott really is serious about creating jobs and growing the economy, and not just making the richest corporations even richer, then he could do worse than kick-starting a renewable revolution down under.

Sub edited by Charlotte Paton

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