Folks, another federal election is in the wind! Which might explain the stench coming from Canberra?
Now, regardless of who you vote for, this year I’d like to see a fair, even tempered, dare I say, honest campaign, from both sides.
I might as well hope for Santa to bring me a new hover-board and a car powered by pixie dust this Christmas, and not another lump of coal…
Speaking of which, I expect this election will be another coal-fired event.
Now, I live in Gladstone, and we are familiar with coal. We see it, and breathe it in, every day.
We don’t mine it, but millions of tonnes of shiny black rocks roll through our city every year on the way to local industrial furnaces or harbourside stockpiles before it is loaded onto ships bound for China, Japan, Korea and India.
Our city’s fingerprints are all over the high carbon footprint warming the planet.
So, when people working in industry listen to me prattle on about emerging renewable technologies and the imminent ‘death of coal’ they are not excited… for some reason?
You see, we live in a part of the world where someone without even a Junior Certificate level of education can earn anything from $100 – $250,000 per year, with free medical, bonuses, great super and numerous other goodies.
The Death of Coal to these workers, and their families, means returning to casual unemployment, low wages, no benefits, no new cars, no boats or jet skis, no overseas holidays, no beach house retreats, no weekend trips to the city for the footy or beauty therapy and goodbye private health insurance, education and home ownership.
Which was why workers here turned their backs on Labor at the last Federal election (admittedly, with a lot of nudging from Big Lyin’ Clive).
These people may not be well educated, but they’re certainly not stupid. Nor are they ignorant. They know what they’re doing is harmful to the environment, they live in areas heavily impacted by drought, more severe cyclones and higher temperatures.
So, when they hear that potentially thousands of big paying jobs in the New Green Economy (especially if they’re close to the coast or a large city) could replace their dirty, but high paying, fossil fuel jobs they really are all ears.
Unfortunately, Oz is stuck in a catch-22 situation. Those jobs aren’t going to materialise in large numbers if the LNP continue to hold power.
But Labor are wary of taking on the might of the LNP’s fossil fuel lobbyists (Kevin Rudd and Bill Shortens’ bodies are still twitching, but their political aspirations are definitely dead), so they’re not making any bold announcements this time round it seems.
Especially when current PM Scott Morrison made a lot of headway from his ‘Death of the Weekend’ spiel when Labor announced it wanted to subsidise electric vehicle prices.
(Ironically, due to the PM’s vaccine inaction, many Australians are currently experiencing lost weekends right now).
So, who will win the next election? (The party with the most votes… Boom! Boom!)
Honestly, right now, I don’t know.
But until the clean, green jobs appear (and they will), I expect many worried workers will keep voting for the soot covered devil they know.