Tag Archives: Bob Hawke

March 21, 2007 – Unions want #climate action

Ten years ago today, with climate change on everyone’s mind and a Federal election looming, the Unions stated their case. The excellent journo Rosslyn Beeby, then at the Canberra Times,  had this story-

Beeby, R. 2007. Union pressure on climate. Canberra Times, 22 March.

The ACTU has called for sweeping national reforms across transport, mining, agriculture, construction, education and public health to tackle climate change and generate new jobs. The comprehensive green action plan will increase pressure on federal Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd to adopt a more radical climate change policy as Labor prepares for next month’s national conference. Reforms outlined in the ACTU’s newly endorsed climate change strategy include government subsidies for energy efficient retrofitting of buildings, new mandatory green building codes for all commercial buildings, large-scale reuse of treated effluent, improved vehicle fuel efficiency and greater use of shipping to cut national transport emissions. ACTU secretary Greg Combet described climate change as ”the pre-eminent policy challenge of our time”, and urged industry to ”face up to global warming and be accountable for investing in sustainable jobs rather than raising the fear of job losses and expecting government handouts”.

It all went horribly horribly wrong of course.

Also on this day-

In 1990 Bob Hawke spoke at the National Press Club, ahead of the Federal Election (you are never more than 2 years 11 months from a Federal Election campaign in Australia).  He warned disaffected voters “When you wake up on 25 March,” he said, “there won’t be a Democrat government or a green independent government.”

In 1994 on this day, (on the same day that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change came into ‘force’) the New South Wales  Singleton Council approved Redbank coal-fired power station. Greenpeace contested this in the courts, and lost…

In 1995, according to

Dwyer, M. 1995. Australia takes strong line against greenhouse rules.  The Australian Financial Review,  21 March.

“FEDERAL Cabinet is today expected to endorse Australia taking a tough stand – at a ministerial meeting on climate change in Berlin next week – against new measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

And indeed, Australian negotiators did got to Berlin hoping to prevent a global agreement. But that agreement – to come up with something the “developed world” would do – got through, and set the path to Kyoto… Of which more later…

Jan 30, 1989 -coal might get restricted?!

From the get-go Australian politicians knew that there may be trouble ahead.  This below, from The Greenhouse Effect: Living in a Warmer Australia by Henderson-Sellers and Blong [review by New Scientist here]  gives a taste of that (though to be clear, the authors, not Hawke and Button, are raising the possibility).

On the morning of Monday 30 January 1989, the ABC 7.45am news reported the Prime Minister, Mr Bob Hawke, had begun an overseas trip to Korea, Thailand, India and Pakistan, with the primary aim of promoting Australian exports, particularly coal, iron ore and agricultural products. Juxtaposed with this report was one describing Senator John Button’s encouragement of Japanese investment in Australian forests designed to safeguard our timber resources. The viability of these economic moves may also be subject to the greenhouse effect. Australian exports of fossil fuel, particularly coal, may be restricted by increasing international pressure to try to reduce the emission of carbon dioxide. (emphasis added)

(Henderson-Sellers, A.  and Blong, R., 1989:3)

July 20th, 1989 – Worlds Greatest Environment statement doesn’t mention climate change…

In July 1989 the next Federal election was less than a year away. The 1987 one had gone Labor’s way thanks to lots of green ‘preferences.’  Which had nothing to do with 1989 Hawke announcement

1989 07 hawke stament coverOur country our future : statement on the environment
While the document does mention climate, Hawke did not in his speech,, which irked the environmentalists (see Richardson’s ‘Whatever it takes’)

Also on this day

Holy Shit, Man walks on the fucking moon.

Apollo program: Apollo 11‘s crew successfully makes the first landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the Moon later that day (Eastern Time Zone).