Of Cows and Climate (or, Only Our Jobs Matter).

Those who dig animal abuse can crack open the finest sparkling wine - live animal exports to Indonesia have recommenced! (I know they wouldn't drink champagne - they're all about Australian jobs). The live export trade, halted after May's Four Corners report highlighting abuses in Indonesian abattoirs, was suddenly on again last night thanks to the Gillard government caving into pressure from industry lobby groups - without anything actually changing in terms of animal welfare. Cows in their death agonies just don't speak as loudly as $300 million. WA Premier Colin Barnett has echoed sentiments frequently expressed about the trade, that whilst "something needed to be done" on this issue, a ban was going too far. I'd like to know what they would have liked the Federal government to have done - given the Indonesians stern glances? Made tut-tutting noises? No, the ban was the right thing to do, and I admired the government for it, and am disappointed but not surprised that Gillard et al have given in to pressures from industry at the sake of humanity yet again.

The eternal cry when these situations happen is "what about the jobs that will be lost?". The cries rise to unbearable shrieks when the issue of a carbon tax - let alone, god forbid, scaling back of the coal industry - arises. Right wingers are terribly concerned about jobs, you see. Disdaining education as they do, any thoughts of retraining are summarily dismissed - "what are these poor blokes who've worked in forestry/mining/slaughterhouses all their lives supposed to do?". Jobs must be preserved at all costs - I'm sure they'd kick whaling off again if they thought they'd get away with it.

Yet funnily enough their compassion only stretches so far. They only care about jobs for people like them. During the GFC, when approximately 100,000 Australians lost their jobs (I was one of them) the chorus from the right was strangely silent. These were professional jobs you see, city dwellers (shock horror!) - not people they knew. There was no compassion for the bankers, the accountants, the advertising executives. They decried the bailouts and stimulus spending which prevented the economy from crashing down in a steaming heap. But now, well, cows and carbon levels can go to hell.


I was disturbed recently to read that apparently, the Greens want to tattoo the foreheads of, if not actually gas, climate change deniers. My feelings were hurt - I'm a Greens member, and I've been to meetings, and no one mentioned these policies to me. Why had I been left out of things again? A little digging however revealed what's actually going on - they were referring to this column by Richard Glover regarding the tattoos, and Jill Spinger's piece in the Herald Sun about the gassing. How very odd. Now it seems anything a supporter of a carbon tax writes in jest is official Greens policy. Now, from Ms Springer I don't know. But Richard Glover doesn't even vote Greens (though I enjoy his writing nevertheless). He's not employed as a journalist by the SMH - his weekly column appears not in the News section, but in the arts/entertainment lift out Spectrum, for goodness sake. All this should have tipped readers off that Mr Glover perhaps wasn't being entirely serious, but no. And he was subsequently the target of death threats. It must be very sad to have no sense of humour or perspective. Or Maybe right wingers just hate all life, except their own. I don't know.


  1. i think it's the absolutely untrue myth that australia is a society without class constraints. howard's (or gillard's?) battlers are still the aspirational working class. their deafening political clout ensures no one else counts. myself and no one in the last two generations of my family has fallen into this category. part of why i'll never vote for either of these two very similar and very right wing parties.

  2. It's absolutely untrue. The class perceived as ordinary Australians, or Ausssie battlers, or working families (even if their views are actually not inaccordance with the majority of people) - are pandered to to a ridiculous extent. And how angry thegy get if they think they are hard done by, well...it's scary.

  3. Allan the Photographer07/07/2011, 11:35

    The people you so vehemently dislike are the very people that give this nation it's prosperity. A lot of the stimulus spending kept many builders working.

    As for retraining. It's a lot harder then what you think. Especially for older people. It's all fine and good to say people can simply retrain to get into a new occupation, but when that can involve many months or years when you have a family to feed, house and kids to put through school it doesn't sound so easy then.

    It's ok for people like me who has retrained three times now when we have no responsibilities except to ourselves. But not for a 45 year old logger from the bush who no doubt would have to resettle into our already congested and expensive to live in cities to retrain.

    I've got more but I'll be back later :)

  4. I was for the stimulus. It was the conservative talkback hosts and columnists who were against it.

    Where do you draw the line on preserving jobs? Why are coal jobs so indispensible when, say - I'll not get into class warfare here - manufacturing jobs weren't?

  5. Allan the Photography07/07/2011, 11:43

    Manufacturing is still here. But instead of making things for consumers it's making things for the resource industry because that's where the money is, which enables the manufacturing companies to keep paying competitive wages to keep staff.

    You would be suprised how much manufacturing is stil going on.


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