Tag Archives: Our Drowning Neighbours

Jan 5, 2006 – Labor MPs release climate refugees paper ‘Our Drowning Neighbours’

jan52006On this day in  2006, the then Federal Labor MP Bob Sercombe and current MP Anthony Albanese issued Our Drowning Neighbours, Labor’s Policy Discussion Paper on Climate Change in the Pacific, with the goal of generating a more proactive, strategic approach. [Does anyone out there have a copy. It’s strangely absent from the internet these days…]

Climate change had been recognised as an existential threat (in the literal sense.None of this Sartre nonsense) from the late 1980s.  Then Foreign Affairs Minister Gareth Evans had talked about Australia’s responsibility.  Of course, it was just fine words, which John Howard dispensed with altogether (see the spat in CHOGM just before the 1997 COP3 meeting in Kyoto Japan).

For an overview on the issue, you could do worse than this 2009 paper from the Australia Institute. See also this coruscating piece from 2010 by Kellie Tranter. And an event report from October 2016 on Voices from the Climate Front Line.   See also 350 Pacific and SEED.

We will return (again and again) to Australia’s clear contempt for its neighbours. So it goes…

Oh, and this is probably worth a read

Charles Hawksley (2009) Australia’s aid diplomacy and the Pacific Islands: change and continuity in middle power foreign policy, Global Change, Peace & Security, 21:1,
115-130, DOI: 10.1080/14781150802659473
Great powers seek to influence world affairs; middle powers seek to influence their regions. Australia’s ‘near abroad’ includes Indonesia and the South Pacific, especially Melanesia. Elected Prime Minister in November 2007, Kevin Rudd has indicated a new direction for Australian policy in the Pacific and the previous image of a pushy or bullying Australia has to some extent been laid to rest. Yet the key differences between Rudd’s policies and those of the former government of John Howard appear to be of style rather than substance. Despite the new rhetoric of greater engagement, the emphasis on market forces creating development shows an essential continuity of Australian foreign aid policy in the South Pacific

 

Also on this day –

1995 The “greenhouse interdepartmental committee” met for first time to plan Environment Minister Faulkner’s next submission to Cabinet on the proposed carbon tax. The committee was led by Phillip Toyne… (see Henderson, 12 Jan 1995 [Or was it actually the 11th, as per a different source]).  On the same day, Victorian Premier Jeff Kennett sent out a news release ,  “opposing carbon tax and using many of the points put forward by the Industry Greenhouse Network….” (Worden, 1998: 111)

 

Jan 5, 2006: “Our Drowning Neighbours” report shows Australia says it cares

jan52006On January 5th 2006 the then Federal Labor MP Bob Sercombe and current MP Anthony Albanese issued Our Drowning Neighbours, Labor’s Policy Discussion Paper on Climate Change in the Pacific, with the goal of generating a more proactive, strategic approach.

Context: The Association of Small Island States was formed in 1990 at the second World Climate Conference in Geneva. Various nations had already spotted that sea level rise was going to be a bit of a problem for them. Initially (in the late 80s and early 90s) it looked like Australia and New Zealand were going to be responsible hegemons. But that optimism faded before John Howard became Australian Prime Minister in 1996 (see Jeremy Leggett’s “The Carbon War”, page 166-7 for an example of this).
And during the brief Labor interregnum of 2007 to 2013, coal exports from Australia were not discussed. Which leads to protests like these
.

As ever, see the disclaimers, help the project and comments policy.

Leggett, J. (2001) The Carbon War: Global Warming and the End of the Oil Era. London: Penguin

See also:

Leckie, S, Simperingham, E. and Bakker, J. (2012) Climate Change and Displacement Reader. London: Routledge

van Herpen, C. (2013) Climate change displacement and the need for pre-emptive managed migration Friends of the Earth Australia

Other things that happened on this day:

1989 The US National Academy of Sciences urge President George Bush to take this climate thing seriously
2006 James Hansen interviewed by 60 minutes.  (Bowen Censoring Science p. 55)