Bartlett's Blog

Andrew Bartlett has been active in politics for over 20 years, including as a Queensland Senator from 1997-2008. This blog started in 2004 and reflects his own views, independent of any political party or organisation.

Campaigning visit to Airlie Beach & Mackay

There is often a large amount of variation amongst the 89 different electorate contests across the state, with local issues and local candidates having a much greater impact on the outcome in each seat than occurs at federal elections.  This is even more the case in seats outside the south-east corner – which can often tend to sneak under the media radar given the tendency to focus predominantly ...

Advertisement

Where to next with climate change battle?

Earlier this week, I spoke with Kellie Caught, head of climate change campaigning with WWF in Australia, about the outcomes of the conference in Durban, as well as what comes next following the package of Clean Energy and carbon pricing legislation that was passed by the Australian Parliament last month.   You can listen to that interview at this link. The legislative package passed with the support of ...

Climate Change package and the Senate

Barack Obama's visit to Canberra this week has generated a lot of attention.  But I was much happier being  in Canberra last week for the Senate’s historic vote to pass the package of legislation that will finally start moving Australia towards a clean energy future. I partly wanted to be there as a way to bear witness to the efforts of so many members and MPs of the Australian ...

Interview with Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam on this week’s 4ZZZ show

This week I had the privilege of having Greens' Senator Scott Ludlam in the studio for an interview.  Together with my regular interlocutor, Mr Peter J Black, we spoke about the recent carbon pricing announcement, the internet filter and the NBN, and nuclear waste, nuclear power and Fukushima. You can listen to it all by clicking on this link - (unfortunately due to copyright laws I have to edit out ...

Brisbane climate change forum

Last Tuesday night, I was part of an election forum on climate change with the other two main candidates for the seat of Brisbane.  It was quite well attended, and included media representatives from the Courier-Mail, Brisbane Times and ABC Online. It also used a question format where people wrote down their questions and then had a moderator group them in topics and ask them, rather than questions ...

Geo-engineering: partial response to the coal vs climate battle?

Jeff Goodell is an American who wrote a book called “Big Coal: the dirty secret behind America’s future” – there’s a good interview with him about this book on You Tube at this link.  He’s written a new book called “Cooling the Planet”, which is about geo-engineering: scientists who are researching the ways we could use technology to alleviate global warming. I’ve occasionally read articles about such research, and ...

Mountains of Coal

A couple of years ago I wrote a blog post about mountaintop mining in the USA. All mining has some impact, but the sheer destructiveness of this type of mining is astonishing - and that's before you take into account the greenhouse impact of the coal. This article in the New York Times details the potential impact of a similar project in West Virginia. The significance of this proposal ...

Wild Rivers

Contention over Queensland's  Wild Rivers legislation has been bubbling along for quite a while now. Unfortunately, as with many issues which become polarised, each "side" is focused on defending their position, which has meant that some important underlying issues are not getting the attention they deserve. I've just had a piece on this topic published at The Drum on the ABC's website.  It's fairly long, so they published it ...

Recent data on the climate

For those interested in basic facts about temperature trends in Australia and globally over recent decades, there is a great post over at Lavartus Prodeo by Brian Banisch, who has been following the data and the various scientific reports on this issue for a long time. Very much worth having a read of for those who are just wanting some facts.

The Whaling War II

The Japanese whale hunt in the Southern Ocean is always controversial in Australia. But, as predicted earlier this week, the political and public heat around the issue has escalated further in the aftermath of the ramming and subsequent sinking of the Ady Gil - a small trimaran - from the Sea Shepherd fleet, by a security ship from the whaling fleet. Most Australians are anti-whaling – a stance supported by all ...

Whaling war heats up to boiling point

The news that a vessel of the Japanese whaling fleet has deliberately rammed and sunk a small vessel of the Sea Shepherd fleet in the open ocean will lift this issue to a whole new level. It could well lead to serious harm to diplomatic and other relations between Australia and Japan. In looking at how things have come to this point, it is worthwhile outlining some background to ...

What will happen if/when Copenhagen fails?

It seems more and more likely that the Copenhagen Summit will fall well short of what many people had hoped for. Some hope that the arrivals of some key players like  President Obama and India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh might still help bring about a positive outcome, but it is hard to see it happening. If the Copenhagen outcome does fall short, a crucial factor in what happens next ...

Mega oil spill reaches Indonesian Coast

A leaking oil rig off the north-western coast of Australia has been spewing oil into the marine environment for over two months.  Whilst there has been intermittent publicity about the ongoing oil spill, it certainly hasn’t galvanised wide-scale public concern in Australia. I have to confess that, like Northern Territory based blogger Bob Gosford, I am perplexed as to why this massive oil spill does not appear to have generated ...

Report on the Pacific & climate change forum

Last night I attended the public forum I wrote about here, featuring Pacific Island peoples speaknig about the impacts of climate change on their homelands, health and cultures. It was very well attended and the speakers were engaging and enlightening. I've published a piece about it over at Crikey at this link. If for some reaon you want to see my efforts at live-Tweeting the forum, ...

Pacific Islanders speaking at climate change forum in Brisbane

Oxfam Australia has just http://www.oxfam.org.au/media/article.php?id=599 released a report on the impacts of climate change in the Pacific.  It details impacts which are already occurring for some Islands in the Pacific region. The report’s release is timed in the lead up to the http://www.smh.com.au/environment/global-warming/pacific-islanders-cry-for-help-20090726-dxio.html upcoming meeting of the Pacific Islands Forum, being held next week in Cairns. That Forum in turn is occurring in the lead up to the climate ...

Cassowary documentary on ABC TV

I’ve written on this blog about the endangered cassowary a few times over the years, particularly in relation to visits I’d made to Mission Beach, one of its key remaining habitats. For such a fascinating and iconic bird, it is amazing how little most of us know about it.  ABC TV is screening a documentary on the cassowary, and the threats to its survival, tomorrow night (Sunday 27th) ...

Major climate change rally in Brisbane on Saturday

Anyone in Brisbane who believes climate change presents a serious threat which needs much stronger action than has occurred to date should consider trying to get along to a rally happening tomorrow (Saturday).  It’s being held at 1pm in the city at Queens Park (corner of George & Elizabeth Sts. It’s billed as a National Climate Emergency Rally, and is one of a number of similar rallies being held ...

Public seminar on the role of fire in managing the environment

The recent tragic bushfires in Victoria generated a lot of public comment about current policies for managing woodlands, including a series of comments on this thread, where a post about the Queensland election somehow turned into a debate about whether or not ‘Greens’ were somehow responsible for the enormity of the Victorian fires. Given the widely varying opinions expressed on the topic, people may be interested in attending a ...

Emission Trading Scheme announced

The federal government has announced its greenhouse gas emissions target for 2020 of a 5 to 15 per cent reduction on what emission levels were in 2000.  The full details are here.  There are lots of figures scattered, which can all feel like a bit of a blur after a while.  But the simple fact is that a 5 per cent reduction target is abysmally low – about the best that ...

Common Ground forum on climate change in Sydney

I’ve got another speaking engagement coming up next week in Sydney. On Wednesday 26th November, at Customs House in Sydney I’ll be part of a panel at a forum discussing actions on climate change. It’s organised by the Centre for Policy Development.  It is one of their ‘Common Ground’ forums - a concept seeks to encourage public debates that explore areas of agreement to “shine a spotlight on areas ...

Next,

Mini Posts

  • Rhetoric vs reality

    I’ve had a break from writing for a variety of reasons, but the reckless approach the new Queensland government is taking to their spending decisions – and the straightout nonsensicality of some of their claims – roused me enough to pen a piece for New Matilda. Time will tell whether the Newman government will start trying to ensure their statements have some connection with reality – I suggest the way they respond next year to the findings of the inquiry into child safety which they’ve established will be a significant test.

  • End of LP the end of a blogging era

    Back in October, I wrote here about the decline or re-defining of blogs, at least in the Australian political arena.  The relatively few posts I’ve done on this blog since then shows how much less useful I find it to do my own blog than I used to, and as I mentioned back then, a big reason why I don’t read many of the blogs I used to is because the valuable links to many interesting stories, ideas and pieces of information can be found more easily through Twitter or Facebook, sometimes with comment threads which are also at least as good.

    The recent announcement by the Larvatus Prodeo blog that they are ceasing to operate is quite a significant one. (more…)

  • A final comment on Labor’s leadership laments

    Fundamentally, I don’t greatly care about the outcome of Labor’s leadership travails. As my previous post indicates, the bigger issue is that the ALP is being fundamentally damaged by the toxicity of this brawl, and the fact that the brawl is happening in this way is a sign of some much greater problems within Labor. Whatever the immediate outcome, I think those problems are likely to continue.  The outcome of the leadership contest (including the size of what will surely be a Gillard victory) will shape how those problems play out, but they will still be there.

    Not surprisingly, I see this as presenting an opportunity for the Greens to build some support, but more importantly it presets extra responsibility and obligation for the Greens to be a stronger counter to what is a seriously reactionary Coalition.

    But seeing we’re all pundits now, and despite having little inside knowledge, my prediction is that there will be no ‘third candidate’ in tomorrow’s leadership ballot.  Julia Gillard will win comfortably. The instability will not disappear. It’s quite possible there will be another leadership ballot before the election but Kevin Rudd will not become leader then either. No matter how good Kevin Rudd looks in the polls, that polling lead would disappear very quickly if he was back in the PM’s job.

  • The Ups & Downs of Ups & Downs – interview with Greg Atkinson

    I’ve mentioned before my liking for the 80s Brisbane band Ups and Downs. I got a chance to interview their lead singer Greg Atkinson on 4ZzZ FM a few weeks ago. They’ve released a compilation CD of 20 of their best tunes and played a gig in Brisbane earlier this month to promote and celebrate it.

    It was a fairly long interview, but I found it very interesting to hear the views of someone who has been active in the independent sphere of the music industry for so long about what has changed and what is the same.

    You can listen to the interview at this link.

  • Speeches to refugee rally + SIEV-X exhibition

    A local activist helpfully recorded speeches given by myself and by Julian Burnside at a refugee rights rally held in Brisbane last Saturday.  You can listen to them here and here. The rally was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the sinking of the SIEV-X.  353 refugees drowned when that refugee boat sank on the way to Australia on 19 October 2001.  There is a beautiful exhibition at The Studio on the ground level at the State Library of Qld this week, commemorating that anniversary. It finishes this weekend – I strongly recommend you try to get along for a look if you have a chance. The Library also has a screening of the documentary Hope on Friday October 28 – this film tell the story of Amal Basry, one of the few survivors of that tragedy.