Australia has long billed itself as a nation where we speak truth to power. However, the only truth is that the powerful are abusing the positions we’ve given them.
Australia likes to bill itself as a place where we speak truth to power. But, more often than not these days, the reverse is true, as personal (corporate) growth is taking a backseat to the greater public good, to the detriment of several groups.
Adani has been approved. The traditional Wangan and Jagalingou owners of the land have had their appeal dismissed in regards to the land use agreement. They are forcing the W&J people to pay the miners’ costs, which Adani is seeking at $600,000. A bigger issue at heart here is how the Native Title Act is often implemented, with it “embed racism” against traditional landowners, as Tony McAvoy put it. The Act often pushes traditional owners into making deals regarding mines, for monetary compensation, or fighting their use of the land and risk receiving nothing at all. Guess how that usually works out.
After the AFP raid of the ABC offices, we know where Australia stands on journalism. It has been revealed by John Lyons, ABC’s head of investigative journalism, that the AFP wanted the fingerprints and palm prints of the journalists who worked on the anti-government Afghan Files stories ahead of the raid. Which is something you’d expect from an authoritarian state.
And now deputy PM Michael McCormack has said Adani was “justified” in asking for the names of the CSIRO scientists who worked on reviewing the plan for the mine. This was, of course, to make sure that they weren’t “anti-coal activists”, which realistically any self-respecting environmental scientist should be. Again, this is a private company demanding the names of government scientists who worked on a plan that ended up being approved by both state and local governments, just in case there were some “activists” in amongst the group. And the government essentially giving their consent to this.
“Adani simply wants to know who is involved in the review to provide it with peace of mind that it is being treated fairly,” Adani said to the Federal Government, “and that the review will not be hijacked by activists with a political, as opposed to scientific, agenda.”
McCormack went further and, on ABC AM, said that this project had had to “jump through more environmental hoops than perhaps any previous project in the nation” and, like, yeah. Of course, they have. We’re at a point where the environment is being devastated by companies like Adani. It is unreasonable that the project was approved at all. And, to assuage you, the names of the scientists were not handed over. But next time? Maybe they will be. Maybe the government won’t care so much about its employees, especially those in the sciences who often have to deliver bad news, or at least inconvenient news. Somewhat like journalists.
Australia is a beautiful and, in many ways, yes, lucky country. We pride ourselves on our natural beauty, incredible wonders, and our wide array of fascinating animals. We are home to the oldest civilization on Earth, dating back over 80,000 years, home to some of the earliest astronomy ever performed. But we’re not protecting it. The culture we have built here is using it all up and destroying it. And we’re destroying ourselves. We censure foreign governments for the very same acts we are committing in this nation.
We can stop this potentially irreversible turn before it’s too late, but we actually have to work at it. We deserve to know what those in power are up to. We should not bow to private companies, especially those who want desperately to destroy our land. If we don’t, then we’re going to lose it all.