Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Connecting the disconnects

Some issues are challenged, others slide, but the increasing disconnects with Australia’s Howard government deserve serious scrutiny. Two immediate issues come to mind, terrorism and climate change.

In the ongoing drama over local ‘terrorists’ and stolen rocket launchers we have a new Australian Federal Police report that one such weapon belonging to “a Sydney man with alleged links to a terrorist cell was "active" and could have been fired.”

Defence Minister Brendan Nelson earlier tried to downplay the issue by claiming the weapon was “was probably manufactured around 1990.” The inference being that it was no longer dangerous.

But neither statement goes on to explain how “the recovered rocket was from Australian Defence Force (ADF) stocks” Or indeed who might have been responsible for these weapons getting into the hands of local ‘terrorists’.

The closest we have come to knowing how our military weapons can be traded on the open market is the fact that ordnance stores are contracted out to private operators.

I guess the short answer in Howard parlance is ‘free trade’.

Dry economics

Howard himself is having a hard time catching up with current international trends in climate policy mitigation. While he is still coming around to a now dubious position of trading carbon credits he did show his hand answering a question in parliament.

He said, during question time yesterday, that the "jury was out" when asked about the connection between emissions and climate change.

He later returned to the national forum to explain: "Just for the record I do believe there is a connection between climate change and emissions, I don't really think the jury's out on that."

Climate change and the 'war on terror' are both vitally serious issues, and both apparently subjects for spin rather than serious consideration.

We are part of the coalition engaged in the so called war on terror, but more intent all the same on chasing bogeymen then ensuring security and our own weapons.

Our country is suffering the ravages of climate change now, but the big earners are not about to risk profits and talk about policies to mitigate the threat.

The two issues are closely tied, in that they effect everyone’s quality of life, not to mention massive profits for well placed corporations.

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