Thursday, July 14, 2011

Carbon Tax Phone Hack

A tumultuous confluence of events has hit the Australian climate debate and brought me out of a brief blogging hiatus.

Sorry for the headline, it reads like a 'pick-me' for Google's search engine algorithm. But it best describe this confluence.

It had been building up for a while. Climate change rumblings had been heard decades ago, but were only picked up on the public radar early in the 2000s. Agitated by Australian opposition leader, Tony Abbott, aka Dr. No, as it approached shore, the carbon tax wave crashed over Australia last Sunday when Prime Minister Gillard announced the details of the Clean Energy Future package.

The public, encouraged by right-wing jockery, has gone feral -- as Julia Gillard found out when spruiking her carbon tax in the mall.



Around the same time of Australia's carbon tax announcement another wave of discontent that had started decades deep, crashed over the celebrity scene, had receded and rebuilt. It now loomed higher over British shores. When the News Of The World Hacking scandal reached it's ugly nadir and crashed Rupert Murdoch quickly, ruthlessly and famously severed NOTW. The drastic action was too late to stop the contagion spreading to other organs of the News Limited empire and it's BSkyB ambition. Arrest are being made, nine so far, British politicians have found their voice, the US is questioning News' influence and the Australian arm of the country is undertaking self-criticism lifted straight out of the little red book.

The two wakes met today when an unusually pensive Canberra press pack interviewed Julia Gillard today. Some of the questions:

Laura Tingle, Financial Review:

The News Corporation group are facing questions in Britain and the US about whether they are led by fit and proper persons to control such extensive media assets. Do our media ownership laws have sufficient fit and proper tests in them and what will be the appropriate response from the Government if governments elsewhere in the world make adverse findings against News?


Mark Riley, Channel 7:

I think a few of us have been reflecting on this in the last few weeks and certainly in the last couple of days, very sharply, on our responsibilities. When we see a gentleman in Gladstone trying to encourage people to take up arms against the government, a woman in Melbourne being shoved out of a public meeting and harassed down the street to tears, you confronted in a shopping centre by people screaming and Liberal Party members calling you liar and then a radio station coming here and broadcasting all day on the first day back of Parliament to whip climate change opposers into a frenzy. How do you see our responsibility and the way that we should be reporting this matter?


I never though I would see the day when the media would self-reflect.

There is more of this Carbon Tax Phone Hack confluence to come, mark my words. And, we in Australia are sitting right where these swells break. We live in the continent most prone to AGW, off a coal- and resources-lead export economy. We are the birthplace of the de-robed, if not dethroned, Murdoch emperor and his empire. The same one that has been pushing climate change denial for so long.

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