Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Climate Change Denial Gone Mad

I had the great pleasure to attend an Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce lunch yesterday addressed by Michael Hawker, CEO of IAG on how climate change will affect business.

One person got up to ask a question and implied that people like Hawker were only on the climate change bandwagon because they had something to gain. She used the Y2K bug as an example of fear mongering and "nothing happened."

I took the time to see her afterwards - because this is a crock. All firms that I have any direct experience of did find in their extensive remediation programs instances of date coding that would have made systems unworkable on 1 Jan 2000. The preventative work is WHY nothing happened. So far be Y2K a reason for not acting on climate change, it is a reason for acting now.

As to the suggestion that we should be suspicious of self-interest - well that is a whole other issue that revolves in part around the meaning of "profit". That is for another day.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Vale Democracy

Big call I know, but a theme I've run consistently here - that we've lost the sense of what democracy is. There is a whole post I could and should do on the history of "democracy" based on a few great books I've been reading.

But what has really blown me away has been feedback from a lobbyist I use to a couple of comments I've sent to Crikey lately. The first was last week while the second was the one I referred to here. My lobbyist has told me that my comments to Crikey have been noted - with sort of hints that I shouldn't write things like that if I wanted to have access to Government.

Let's just hope they don't read my blog, huh?

Anyhow, another colleague sent me a note saying why do we need Keating! The Musical - we should get the bloke on stage doing stand-up. They covered snippets on the news - but this was the whole show on The World Today. Enjoy.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Rudd and Campbell

Lobbyists get a bad press because of the way our politicians choose to do politics. Instead of there being regular frequent open inquiries, most public policy decisions are "announced" after some brief private consultation and usually a political analysis - will the decision either (a) be easy to implement through the parliament or (b) have a rocky road but provide an opportunity for "differentiation".

But as for the wild acqusations that Rudd was somehow involved in a long planned exercise - a dinner on 1 August with an invitation of 28 July is the ultimate in short run events, and is entirely consistent with the Rudd description. The invitations I've received from lobbyists and backbenchers to attend "functions" with front benchers are typically organised much further in advance.

As for the conclusion that it must have been well prepared because Rudd spoke on China - heck the man does that stump speech everywhere, including last year's ALP Business Forum.

The person I feel sorry for is Senator Ian Campbell, who lost his front bench position for just doing his job. Meanwhile, a host of front benchers haven't lost their jobs for NOT doing their job - Downer for not inquiring into AWB, Ruddock for not representing an Australian citizen illegally interned in the US, Peter Reith for not telling the truth about children overboard, etc.

Anyway, all credit (again) to Senator Andrew Murray for his release that highlights the need to change the system if we want different outcomes.

(Addendum. The text of this post was also published by Crikey today, but unfortunately I sent that before I found the useful Andrew Murray media release.)