Australian consortium is ready to have robot bulldozers dig up the ocean floor,thousands of metres down, for minerals off New Ireland. The tailings will bedumped straight back into the marine ecosystem.
Meanwhile, Australia’s uranium is turning up as deadly radioa
ctive materials in Japanese fish and lettuce. Approximately 80,000 people have been evacuated fromthe Fukushima-Australia uranium contamination zone. Back here, Martin Ferguson,who is being challenged all the way by Scott Ludlam, is pushing the same dangerousstuff to much less sophisticated markets than Japan. And in the midst of the mining boom, Treasurer Swan has cut the budgets of great national cultural institutions like
the National Gallery, the National Library and the National Museum. There’s no
money for a dedicated footpath from Civic, the living centre of Canberra, toParliament House.No matter what positive ideas are put forward for Australia, Tony Abbott and
Barnaby Joyce are out there saying ‘No!’, and the polls are saying ‘yes’ to ‘no’.
The Howard government backed George W Bush's invasions of Iraq andAfghanistan in the cause of democracy. So why
we now join vigorous
moves in Europe and at the United Nations for a global people’s assembly based on
one person, one vote, one value? Such a global parliament - it could be right here inAustralia - would tackle international questions like nuclear proliferation, currencyspeculation, marine ecosystem destruction and those billion people who could be fedand literate if only a tenth of global military spending was sent to their assistance.Why should Australia not catch up with Norway, less than half our size, and have asovereign wealth fund, mandated female representation on corporate boards,determined global outreach for peace in such horror conflicts as the Sri Lankan civilwar, and funding for the
protection of large swathes of the world’
s besieged tropicalrainforests?As the Dalai Lama pointed out in Canberra a fortnight ago, being rich in the pocketgives no certainty to being rich in the spirit. Feeling good about who we are andwhat we are achieving - having a vision for a safer, happier future - is the real key tonational pride and fulfilment.