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All in favour? Let's debate it ...

By Peter McCloy - posted Monday, 26 October 2009

So Wilson Tuckey says that terrorists might sneak into Australia posing as illegal immigrants, and Parliament erupts. Kevin says that all the Libs are racist, and Malcolm says they’re not and they all have a jolly good time at our expense arguing about who is the kettle and who is the pot.

Poor old Wilson does tend to froth at the mouth from time to time. Surely it could all have been over and done with very quickly if someone had pointed out that there are lots of easier ways for a terrorist to breach our defences than running this particular gauntlet. Then they could move on with the rather more important business of running the country, instead of running each other down. Perhaps, if they wanted a bit of a laugh, they could suggest that we encourage this means of entry, because any terrorist silly enough to follow  such a path would soon be exposed, possibly bringing down a whole network of terrorists!

It is an effective way of avoiding the issue. There are somewhere between 40 and 60 million refugees in the world, and getting ourselves in a moral uproar about a few of them keeps us from having to consider the big picture, which seems far beyond the ability of our politicians to solve.


Meanwhile the refugees get to spend time in an Indonesian detention centre, but we don’t apologise for that. It’s better than being interred with the children behind razor wire in the Australia desert, isn’t it? Come to think of it, I wouldn’t mind a few weeks in Bali myself.

The adversarial nature of our political system encourages each identical side of the fence to see it as their main duty to try to differentiate themselves from the other side, egged on by a superficial media: surely there has to be a better way.

Recently there has been some disagreement in the Coalition parties on the subject of climate change, and the ETS in particular. It’s all a sign that Malcolm Turnbull can’t control his party members. Labor, on the other hand, is tightly disciplined, and in total agreement on this issue.

And the media sees this as a good thing? Debate and dissension should not be allowed - even encouraged? Isn’t a bit of healthy disagreement a healthy sign?

I think Michael Crichton put it rather well when he said “Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled”.

Only 38 per cent of people are in favour of passing the Carbon Pollution (there’s an oxymoron if ever I’ve heard one!) Reduction Scheme (CPRS) before the Copenhagen summit in December (see What the People Want, October 23, 2009). Forty-two per cent of Australians are opposed to the bill; 40 per cent support it.


I’m with the 42 per cent, and I consider it a disgrace that the whole matter is not being debated furiously, and disrupting both sides of politics. I can’t believe that every single member of the Labor Party is in favour. Aren’t they allowed to have an opinion?

As I write this, the 24-hour weather forecast is for an 80 per cent chance of 40 to 80mm of steady rain, but it’s not happening. Australia - 0.3 per cent of the world’s population, responsible for about 1.4 per cent of global emissions - is about to embark on a project which will radically change our economy and way of life, hopefully setting an example for the rest of the world, on the basis of a long term weather forecast, of which “scientists” are 90 per cent confident.

I wouldn’t board a plane flight which had a 90 per cent chance of arriving at its destination, although I would happily load that plane with politicians. I certainly don’t want to gamble the future of my country on such odds.

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About the Author

Peter McCloy is an author and speaker, now retired, who lives on five acres of rock in an ecologically sensible home in the bush. He is working on a 20,000-year plan to develop his property, and occasionally puts pen to paper, especially when sufficiently aroused by politicians. He is a foundation member of the Climate Sceptics. Politically, Peter is a Lennonist - like John, he believes that everything a politician touches turns to sh*t.

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