Global press labels Abbott green vandal

ScreenHunter_1117 Feb. 05 15.23

By Leith van Onselen

The UK Independent has launched a full blown attack on the Abbott Government’s environmental credentials, labeling it the “most hostile in history”:

In Western Australia, endangered great white sharks are being slaughtered. In Queensland, dredging spoil is to be dumped on the Great Barrier Reef. In Tasmania, ancient forests – harbouring some of the planet’s tallest trees – are in danger of being stripped of their World Heritage listing.

Australians could be forgiven for wondering if the federal government they elected last September is the most conservation-hostile in living memory.

Critics warn that moves by Tony Abbott and his Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, will not only degrade the country’s most outstanding natural assets, but make Australia an international laughing-stock…

Compounding the right-wing government’s apparent disregard for Australia’s unique environment, say conservationists and scientists, is its resistance to any meaningful action to tackle climate change…

Meanwhile, US-based online magazine, Slate, has launched a similar attack, questioning whether the Abbott Government is “currently the most hostile government to the environment on Earth”:

Abbott—who took power last September—has already eliminated three conservation agencies and has not yet bothered to appoint a science minister. He has famously argued that “The climate change argument is absolute crap.” (He later backtracked on the statement.) He campaigned for office on a platform of eliminating the country’s recently passed carbon tax, a goal he calls his “top legislative priority.”

He has pushed to eliminate the World Heritage designation of 74,000 hectares of Tasmania’s forests to allow for logging. The barrier reef move is part of a long-term plan to expand the country’s coal exports to China and India…

I’m not sure there’s another government in the world that seems so unconcerned with even paying lip service to the environment.

Discuss!

Comments

  1. It’s the government for everybody that’s open for business but please don’t go looking for an alternative point of view because that’s treachery, that is!

    • A significant problem with the WA shark cull is the way that it was authorised. The Commonwealth Environment Minister granted an exemption from Commonwealth environmental laws protecting sharks by resorting to Section 158 of the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/cth/consol_act/epabca1999588/s158.html). Exemptions can only be granted for national interest reasons and the Act directs the Minister to have regard to Australia’s defence or security or a national emergency, although he is not limited to these.

      Ten fatal shark attacks over several years is not a defence or security threat or a national emergency. It makes a mockery of the legislature and the law to resort to national security justifications for this. The government should have taken the time to implement its policies by amending the legislation or regulations under it. It doing so, it would have been subject to a health dose of democratic accountability.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Endangered like the common house fly.

        Where’s the slaughter? Where are the hundreds of boats a day coming back filled to the brim with sharks? Such BS. Why don’t these people take another scenic trip to the Antarctic?

      • GW’s are not endangered, they are listed as ‘vulnerable’.

        They are protected against trade, which is the only reason why you won’t see any GW fillets on sale at Woolies this month.

        People’s moral compass might point otherwise though.

      • @mig I don’t see that the cull has ended. There are ~3500 GW sharks in the world. There are > 22 million people in Australia. Allowing the killing of even one of them is slaughter in my books.

        BTW slaughter is defined as the killing of animals. The colloquial term your seem to be referring to is in relation to people.

      • @mig,

        Whilst the great white shark isn’t endangered, it is listed as a vulnerable protected species. They are. in fact, quite rare.

        http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/marine/marine-species/sharks/whiteshark

        I agree that the ‘slaughter’ language is a bit of a stretch, but it is an unnecessarily cruel practice to bait sharks (regardless of species) for the purpose of killing them because they have the temerity to be sharks and it should rightly be condemned.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Oh so now you agree! Goddamn you people can’t see the forest for the bloody trees can you?

      • Well, SOMEONE put their cranky pants on today, didn’t they? 🙂

        I agree with the premise of the article. I am allowed to be environmentally conscious without being a lefty and I am also allowed to be critical of my government/s and their backward policies. Democracy is wonderful.

      • @mig and hixtar

        Slaughter in the english language means the killing of animals generally for food etc. Hence the word slaughterhouse. It is also used to refer to the mass killing of people.

        You might call it sensationalist but it is the correct use of the term.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        @ff I stand corrected thank you. I was thinking in the sensationalist vein but you are entirely correct. Apologies.

      • dumb_non_economist

        mig,

        you don’t need to come back with hundreds of boats filled with sharks to have an effect. Great Whites are slow breeders(from what I’ve read) and are already endangered, while tigers are vulnerable.

        Slaughter may be a bit excessive, but you needn’t “slaughter” to have a big impact.

        As an aside, If I took out the odd miner would that be slaughter or a justified cull!!?

      • For the fish people – 80% of all global fish stocks are already past the biological tipping point – the industry term is stressed.

        Skippy… sharks are part of that stock.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      The hipster are back and their ironic, no not ironic dismissive, no not dismissive nonchalant, no not nonchalant ironic “Ohhhh sharks are in danger and being extincted by those backward West Australians. UUuuughh why can’t Dictator Rudd run the universe. Uuugggghhh I think I’m going to get a tattoo of R.I.P EARTH on the tiny d*ck”

      • flying fox,

        sharks are dangerous, deplete their numbers and less chance of an attack also less likely to scare tourists away. Humans are in charge, tough bikkies to other animals I say. That said we do need to be mindful that we cant shoot ourselves in the foot by stuffing up an environment we need for food and tourism. But at the end of the day the decision has to be based on human self interest NOT out of some sooky empathy for sharks or the “natural” world … they sure as hell dont have any for us.

      • Given the promise by Abbott to “Stop the waste”, you’d think that spending money on something that is futile is the last thing he would support.

        Even if one thought that the environmental issues were secondary, why spend good money achieving nothing AND flucking about with threatened species?

        At the very least, spending money for no good purpose, is a breach of yet another election promise, and certainly seems a little childish.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        emess: it’s not Abbotts money or his call! That’s what’s wrong with you guys – your better emess – in hatred of Abbott you blame him for things he hasn’t and shouldn’t have anything to do with him. Exactly the same as the libtards (GSM) when labor was in.

      • @squirlel

        I don;t know where to even begin to answer that ….

        Ok by your argument we should put all drunk drivers to the death penalty because your more likely to be in an accident than be injured by sharks and a drunk driver is more likely to cause an accident.

        Ergo drunk drivers are *potentially* dangerous and they should all be put down.

        NOT out of some sooky empathy for sharks or the “natural” world

        I was going to say something like maybe because they are primitive creatures but what would one primitive creature understand about another.

      • Ffox, the when the threatened species the grizzly attacks in North America, it’s a bullet to the cranium. In some instances they’ll cull more.

        I don’t see this as unpredictable and I’m sure there will always be a provision for sharks such as the GW that allows for culling.

        As they can be lethal to human’s leisure time, guns, germs and steel will always win.

      • @mig

        Lets see

        In Western Australia, vulnerable great white sharks are being slaughtered.
        Ok given by environment minister in Abbot government.

        In Queensland, dredging spoil is to be dumped on the Great Barrier Reef.

        Fine debateble and started prior to government.

        In Tasmania, ancient forests – harbouring some of the planet’s tallest trees – are in danger of being stripped of their World Heritage listing.

        Being pursued by Abbot government.

        Abbott—who took power last September—has already eliminated three conservation agencies

        Check

        and has not yet bothered to appoint a science minister.
        Check

        He has famously argued that “The climate change argument is absolute crap.” (He later backtracked on the statement.)

        Check

        He campaigned for office on a platform of eliminating the country’s recently passed carbon tax, a goal he calls his “top legislative priority.”

        Ok debatable and it was his policy platform .

        He has pushed to eliminate the World Heritage designation of 74,000 hectares of Tasmania’s forests to allow for logging.

        Check

        And you’re debating the meaning of the word slaughter …

      • @tucan

        Yes they cull the grizzly that attacked because it may target people again.

        If you cull the shark, fine.

        How many shark or bear attacks have there been?

      • migtronixMEMBER

        @ff OMG 2 sharks is not a slaughter under any definition of the term EVER FFS! What the hell do any of things you posted have to do with shark culls!? Like I said forests and trees

      • @mig

        In response to

        emess: it’s not Abbotts money or his call! That’s what’s wrong with you guys – your better emess – in hatred of Abbott you blame him for things he hasn’t and shouldn’t have anything to do with him. Exactly the same as the libtards (GSM) when labor was in.

        Ignore it. Claims are obviously ridiculous. Marks and Keating! Yup

        Which isn’t Abbotts fault? 3d chime in too.

        Edit: Go check the dictionary.

      • Extremist hyperbole from one activist gets picked up by another; good grief part of the evidence was a letter ffs to SMH ; lots of unsubstantiated claims from anonymous sources – the articles don’t merit serious consideration.

        ‘Abroad, it seems, Australians are well regarded as ‘team players with initiative’ and Australia is seen as a country with many friends and few critics.’ Prime Minister Tony Abbott, The Spectator Feb 2014.

        Now that sounds more like it!

      • So 3d, you’re now making claims too. Which claims are unsubstantiated? Easy enough just to label something baloney and turn your back. Doesn’t make it so …

      • Mig,

        The Feds have to give approval for the kills.

        They gave approval. They bear some responsibility.

        It’s government money being spent.

        The dots are not hard to join.

        My point is there was supposed to be some budget emergency, and we have day after day money being thrown at stuff that is pointless or arbitrary. This is small beer, but if someone is elected on a “STOP THE WASTE” platform, they have to take responsibility when they act at variance to that.

        If you think I hate someone just because I hold them to their promises, then you will have to say I am something of a misanthrope because I also criticised J Gillard for breaking her undertakings re the pokies legislation.

        Nothing about hate. Everything about holding politicians to their promises, sorry if this time it is your ‘team’ that is the butt of criticism – but that is the likelihood for whichever ‘team’ is in power.

      • “sharks are dangerous,”

        Life is full of dangers and dangerous things. Governments don’t have an infinite barrel of dollars to protect scared people from every little risk out there.

        Anyway, more people die every year from skin cancer than have ever died from shark attacks in Australia. The money spent on culling would probably be better spent on handing out hats and sun screen at the beach.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Not you emess but many. Not me team not even close. A few nights ago I was a hyper leftist extremist to kodiak. I must be doing something right – my team is freedom, common law and rationality.

        Completely agree on the waste, what have I ever written that’s given you the wrong impression?

      • migtronixMEMBER

        @emess: It’s probably trite to mention, and not in my best form strictly speaking, but had Labour been in they would have granted WA the same privilege. Reason? WA does in fact fund most of the nation and if they ever threatened to pull up stumps (look at the constitution — they barely scraped in and it still reads “and the colony of Western Australia if …”.

        Its their call — dumb as it maybe. Sydney has shark nets.

      • Robw, cancer kills more people p/y than a pitbull does. Have you ever seen a child torn apart by a pitbull? They’re put down for reason. Their breed kills for a living.

        I appreciate your argument to this which is that sharks are in their natural environment, however:

        The proposition to prevent death and injury is to either remove the people or remove the animal. The inbetween is take the risk. But we’re becoming more and more risk adverse it’s not funny. A child can’t take a peanut butter sandwich to school as it may put the small percentage of kids who have an allergy at risk.

        So the self indulgent option is kill the animal.

        ffox, thinking of your definition of slaughter, that would make animal activists PETA people who support animal slaughter, who’s office is an animal slaughter house, with a cooler for their slaughtered animals.

        Not at all implying your a lefty animal nut, but the English language is easy to seduce!

      • Robw, cancer kills more people p/y than a pitbull does. Have you ever seen a child torn apart by a pitbull? They’re put down for reason. Their breed kills for a living.

        Yet we neither allow, nor explicitly send out, hunters to randomly and arbitrarily kill pit bulls.

      • dumb_non_economist

        tucan,

        wrong comparison. Bears can develop a habit of going after easy prey. Sharks have shown no such behaviour.

      • Smitty, agree, however this happened only a year ago in the UK.

        DNE, I don’t understand, sharks do target weak prey, such as juv. and injured dolphins, and there are documented cases of Tiger’s stalking over boards for days as an (presumably easy and sustainable) source of food. It’s our flapping around that attracts sharks as it sounds like an injured fish.

        Public safety and moral satisfaction might have been better met with more beach nets, albeit at the risk of killing other wildlife.

        Always the Seasaw… (sic)

      • DNE, I don’t understand, sharks do target weak prey, such as juv. and injured dolphins, and there are documented cases of Tiger’s stalking over boards for days as an (presumably easy and sustainable) source of food. It’s our flapping around that attracts sharks as it sounds like an injured fish.

        I think his point was, to use more colloquial phrasing, sharks don’t get a taste for human blood.

        Humans aren’t particularly good eatin’ for a shark – not enough fat.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      I’ve always wanted to own a parrot so I could teach it to say “Help! They’ve turned me into a parrot! Grraawwk” 🙂

      • In Australia the annual death rate from sharks is, on average, around 1.
        The average death rate from drowning is around 280. Regardless of the endagerment or otherwise of sharks, or the specifics of how they hunt, spending any time or money hunting them is simply a WOFTAM.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        @StatSailor completely agree. My argument wasn’t addressing the stupidity of the shark culls it was the stupidity of blaming Abbott(oir).

        The parrot thing was aimed at 3d1k. The power of the double entendre is it cuts both ways 😉

  2. migtronixMEMBER

    “In Western Australia, endangered great white sharks are being slaughtered” Bwaaahahahahahah! Oh man 3d1k will in f*cking stiches.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        2 sharks killed in not a slaughter of an endangered species and the Great White is NOT endangered.

        The whole piece was a joke! The joke is on you

      • General Disarray

        Seems a strange thing to laugh about. But then again you seem like a bit a of a douchebag so it’s no surprise.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        Being an Inveterate hipster your on a very poor footing to argue douchebaggery – maybe you need mojo.

        Tool

      • General Disarray

        🙂

        Calling someone an “Inveterate hipster” just confirmed my original observation.

  3. Oh Puhleeze….

    The UK Independent is to the left of The Gruniad, anything it says on this or any other matter must be viewed through the lens of it’s idealogical world view.

    “In Queensland, dredging spoil is to be dumped on the Great Barrier Reef.”

    This is demonstrable emotive nonsense, the real issue here is that a coal export port is being deepened and watermelons and their enablers in the mass media do not like that.

    Spoil is *not* being dumped on the Great Barrier Reef.

    • mine-otour in a china shop

      Most newspapers who need to be viewed from their ideological world views, tend to in my opinion be better than those who report throught the financial lens of their paymasters.

      Ok so their choice of words that it would be dumped onto the Reef was sloppy and inaccurate but it still doesnt take away from the fact it will be dumped within the Barrier Reef Park, and all to make way for that 18th century source of energy, coal. How do you expect the outside world to react to this? But heh it Australia who cares what others think… we are the envy of the world sure.

      • hmmmmmmm and if we don’t export the coal what EXTRA natural resource assets, are you planning i.e. the farmland, the in-ground minerals,are you planning to sell off to pay for our extravagance?

    • migtronixMEMBER

      Me too. If this the most intelligence Australians can muster they’ll have thier clocks cleaned – the comment quality is very poor around these threads

      • mine-otour in a china shop

        Poor quality comments? from the same person who all of yesterday went on and on about the 180 pips they made in 2 hours forex trading or something yesterday, with a margin of 100k. Yawn…..

        Maybe you should retire to a more tranquil life where you can only talk to yourself and be gauranteed good quality comments about how great a forecaster you are or how everyone else with a different opinion is a Communist?

        I recommend a surfing retirement off Western Australia’s great shark-reduced beaches.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        From the same person who argued every side of every argument but thanks for picking out one thread! And in case you didn’t notice I was responding to queries from people who knew what they’re taking about.

        Your China shop has a few tea cups missing on the analytical.

        But feel free to act like a jealous little bitch

      • mine-otour in a china shop

        I will bow to your superior intellect, reasoning, good nature, maturity and higher quality comments. Well played!!!!

      • Me too. If this the most intelligence Australians can muster they’ll have thier clocks cleaned – the comment quality is very poor around these threads

        This from the guy whose first (second, third) response is almost always ad hominem and has spent the last few days calling everyone he disagrees with “hipsters”, like a kid who’s just learned the word ‘dickhead’.

        Careful waving irony like that around, you could take someone’s eye out.

      • migtronixMEMBER

        @drsmithy BTW I’ve only been running with that because its been so successful! I’ve finally found a moniker that sticks in your throats – Oh call me libertard all day long but don’t tread on your neat little plimsolls!

  4. If Barnett can get it running as planned, the shark hunt will cost at least $25,000 per day and yet will result in the taking of fewer than 10 Great Whites over the season from October to May.

    The facts are there are very few of them, they prey on (the increasingly numerous) whales, seals and sea lions that live or travel along the WA littoral, and they only very rarely attack humans, especially in summer. The hunt will have almost no effect on the numbers of Great Whites that traverse the WA coast because they are not a resident population. They are in transit either to or from the Kangaroo Island nursery and are not haunting our beaches looking for a feed of homo sapiens.

    So the hunt will cost taxpayers up to $600,000 per month for 8 months and yield almost no Great Whites, but will result in the destruction of numerous Tiger and Bull sharks and a few Whalers and Great Hammerheads. Tigers are probably the most numerous, but have only very rarely been identified as attacking humans, which is hardly surprising as they prey on sea snakes, turtles and mackerel and prefer warmer off-shore waters rather than the in-shore waters that are cooled by the upwelling of deep-sea currents.

    The hunt is completely misguided. It will result in the destruction of wildlife for no reason other than fear, will not much alter the (very low) chances of attacks on humans, and cost between $0.2 and $0.5 million per Great White.

    It is an example of policy based on fear and loathing rather than reason and evidence. We are entitled to expect more from any Government – even from the incompetents of the ranks of the LNP.

    • Thanks briefly. I can’t seem to find the potential number of sharks that will be killed in the cull. Do you have nay ideas?

      • fox, the State has not published any numbers. But going on the experience in Queensland, there will be between 5-10 Whites in a full season. For each White, they may catch 35-45 Tigers and/or Bulls, and a handful of Whalers. Very rarely, they will catch Great Hammerheads. They will also destroy lots of smaller sharks.

        The possible catch depends not only on the numbers of sharks but on the amount of gear they can set and pull. The coast is really quite extensive, so they need 5-6 vessels if they are going to meet their objectives. It is doubtful they will get that many to operate, so the catches may be a lot less.

        They also intend to set gear very close in to the shore, where large sharks do not usually venture. It’s not at all obvious this will either result in high catches or reduce the risks of attacks. In any case, attacks during summer are rare to begin with and very little is known about the incidence and behaviour of sharks when they do come inshore.

        It is a policy based almost completely on ignorance and fear.

    • FWIW I do not support the baiting of sharks but admit as a keen beachgoer a curious discomfort when watching my kid surf, particularly off reef.

      Nonetheless like all discussion around animal slaughter of all kinds there exists much hypocrisy – particularly from those decrying the killing then hoeing into a BBQ or seafood buffet.

      • 3d, fear is a far more pervasive threat than are the sharks.

        I’ve swum at North Cottesloe and Bunker Bay many many times, both being beaches where humans have been killed by sharks. I frequently swim at City Beach too, where large sharks have been seen within a short distance of the shore. I can hardly say I’m indifferent to the risks. Like anyone else, I’m aware that sharks may be in general area and I no more wish to be chomped in half than anyone else.

        However, I think we should try to gather evidence, apply reason and exercise our best judgment to this as to other matters. The probability of attack by these large predators is actually very very low – much lower than we have been prompted to believe and certainly much lower than the risks of drowning, for example.

        As well, there are other measures available to us reduce the risks to swimmers and surfers. We have a policy that has been inspired by fear, that will be very costly, and achieve almost nothing more than the destruction of wildlife. It is very poor governance.

      • Is that any more than the hypocrisy of saying ‘stop the waste’ ? Can you honestly say that spending this money will achieve diddly squat?

    • “It is an example of policy based on fear and loathing rather than reason and evidence.”

      Precisely.

  5. Ronin8317MEMBER

    The dumping of silt on the Great Barrier Reef got a mention on many international news site, including WSJ, Al Jazeera, Slashdot and Xinhua. The overseas reports are reporting that whatever is dredged at Abbott’s Point will be dumped the Great Barrier Reef and kill it. Whatever the truth of the matter, that is tourism money going ‘bye bye’ because the overseas reader will assume there will be no Great Barrier Reef will soon be dead. Whatever the actual merit of the plan, the PR was an utter disaster.

    I am simply loss for words at the amount of unnecessary damage the Government is inflicting on itself and on Australia. The dredged sediments should be dumped on land. Take the Gladstone harbour dredging as an example : they build a wall to hold the sediments, it was poorly constructed and leaked, and end up killing off the local fishing industry when the fish got sick. It’s not a question of pro or anti development : the government is putting the mining industry first and foremost, while the local tourism and fishing industry can just go and die.

  6. Ronin, you are quite right: the policy deprives fishers and tourism operators of their economic opportunities. In its own way this is just as much about picking winners and granting subsidies as any other industry policy. The difference is that the economic costs are largely incurred by one group of businesses rather than by taxpayers directly.

    This is very clearly a case where a few big donors have purchased a franchise from the Government to the detriment of the many and the modest.

    So much for protecting the rights of the “forgotten people” in this economy.

  7. ….on ya Oz, go show ya finger to the world….or, why people come here to go away disappointed….

    ….so as this little bunny has unfortunately made the very occasional comment here, let me throw in my personal disclaimer to being any part of the majority view above, or indeed of the wider landscape (thought-scape?) of your average Oz bod….

    ….i’m a conservationist, always have been, always will be….tread lightly on your planet, your only home my dears, or otherwise your children might regret it….not that they matter….

  8. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Those nice Hawaiians tried the shark cull thing for nearly 20 years. Four and a half thousand sharks killed. No change in attack numbers before, during or after. Stupid waste of time and money. And sharks.

  9. The biggest environmental act of vandalism is pumping this nation with high immigration in pursuit of a ‘Big Australia’, everything else is just a by-product of this one act.

    The bigger our population the more pressure we put on our environment, that is the true culprit. Killing of great whites, silting up of the GBR, cutting down protected forests are all just symptoms of an obvious problem.

    I am against all the above, but unless people speak up about the one true evil of population growth, anything else said is just smokescreens and falsehoods.

    • migtronixMEMBER

      Well, you know, not arms – that’s nasty – but they’d definitely come up with some really cool coloured coded cardigans-only protest though! I can I see it now, moustaches and tattoos as far as the two-tone raybans can see!!! Beautiful! All sponsored by public transport too.