On the National Interest on Radio National (21/8/06) a few months ago, Ian Lowe and Tim Flannery, two of Australia’s most eminent environmentalists, discussed climate change.
Ian Lowe praised the actions of some state governments, and then gave to the federal government’s role thus far. He said: ‘…the problem is that the commonwealth government is asleep at the wheel’.
Tim Flannery quickly added the following: ‘I would even go further than that Ian, I don’t think the federal government is asleep at the wheel, I think that they are actively acting against addressing climate change.’
Today is Australia Day, and for the first time in close to thirty years a hero of the planet has received the nation’s greatest honour. Tim Flannery has been named Australian of the Year by the prime minister.So what kind of odd predicament do we find ourselves in here? The nation’s leader hands out the great award for Australianess to Tim Flannery. Tim Flannery points his finger right back at the PM and accuses him of putting the fate of the planet in peril.
Score: Australia: 1/ Dishonourable PM: 0.
And so, amidst the helter and skelter of today’s recrudescent tribalism, the annual outing of the flags and the louts, I will have a smile on my face. I will be smiling with the knowledge that this country has officially recognised the greatest Australian of all as the one who speaks with much eloquence and intelligence on behalf of the living earth. Today we have some real, widely acknowledged, reason to recognise honourable Australians as being those who work to care for this country’s ecological heritage.
Oh, and if you have yet to listen to this talk that Flannery gave at Sydney University last year, then today is your day.