Friday, March 25, 2011

Gillard's sleight-of-hand on extremism

Friday's edition of The Age carried my letter responding to Julia Gillard's opinion piece the day before calling for the rejection of "extremists" following Wednesday's rally in Canberra against the proposed carbon tax.

The rally, attended by federal Coalition leader, Tony Abbott, featured offensive placards attacking the prime minister. Abbott has drawn much deserved criticism for his attendance, including Friday's Age editorial.  However, Julia Gillard used the opportunity to label as extreme not only those who attended the rally, but those opposing them who are urging stronger, science-based action than is currently being proposed by the Australian Government. Here's my letter:
Gillard lumps all in the extreme basket

IN CALLING for the rejection of extremists, Julia Gillard tries to create a single negative category including not only the ilk of Wednesday's ignorant and offensive rally against a carbon tax, but also those who urge stronger science-based action to achieve a safe climate (Comment, 24/3).

A valid critique of Australia's present weak emissions reduction targets does not render the holders of such a view extreme. They base their case on the same science referenced by Professor Garnaut in his climate review for the federal government. Perhaps Ms Gillard would like to explain her government's more than $12 billion in annual subsidies for the fossil fuel industry, or the recent approval of the largest open-cut coal mine in the southern hemisphere at Wandoan in Queensland?

It is just those kinds of actions that will work against household and industry assistance to choose low-emissions alternatives. This debate shouldn't be about some "fine Australian" calling the Prime Minister a "witch", or worse.
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