Australia pledges to sign Kyoto protocol on climate change
Australia won applause at the start of UN-led climate change talks in Bali on Monday by agreeing to ratify the Kyoto protocol, isolating the US as the only developed nation outside the pact.
Soon after an Australian delegate promised immediate action on Kyoto, the new prime minister in Canberra, Kevin Rudd, took the oath of office and signed the ratification documents, ending his country’s long-held opposition to the global climate agreement.
In a piece of funny timing, I’ll be in Melbourne by NYE, so I’ll have a chance to see how Rudd is going for myself.
Australia’s new government will issue a formal apology to Aborigines for the abuses they suffered in the past, prime minister-elect Kevin Rudd has promised.
Back from Tokyo, btw. It was ace, more later.
Australia sweeps Rudd into power
Australia’s opposition Labor Party under Kevin Rudd has won a sweeping general election victory, removing PM John Howard after an 11-year term.
Mr Rudd said Australia had “looked to the future” and that he would be “a prime minister for all Australians”.
Unbelievably happy about this. But it’s a long way back to an Australia I can respect and be proud of. Let’s hope it starts now.
An incredible story from one Sudanese woman who came to Australia as a refugee, from the Age: An indomitable spirit
Howard, you are an arse. Hurry up and call the election so you can be booted out and stop ruining our country.
Prime Minister John Howard yesterday dismissed the significance of Al Gore winning the Nobel Peace Prize for his work highlighting climate change, declaring that no one had a monopoly on wisdom.
Mr Howard congratulated Mr Gore on winning the prize but said it would not make him rethink his refusal to sign the Kyoto Protocol.
In The Age, The bigotry and cynicism that has diminished us all:
When governments use racism and bigotry as cynical tools to get elected, it rubs off on the community and diminishes us all. For all their faults, Paul Keating and Malcolm Fraser never resorted to racist epithets to get elected. John Howard’s win-at-all-costs mentality has unleashed xenophobia and racism in the electorate. The targeting of a religious minority has obviously given him power and it is smart politics, historically used so well by the Nazis.
I always thought our politicians were meant to be enlightened and compassionate. Howard and the current Federal Government have, alas, shown us the opposite is true.
BBC: Apec security leaves bitter taste in Sydney
Like many, he is incensed by what he regards as the needlessly aggressive and restrictive policing, which carried a heftier security price tag than the 16-day-long Olympics and led to the construction of the 5km ( three mile) “great wall of Sydney”.
“I’m so embarrassed and annoyed. Where was the sense of proportion? We replaced Olympic volunteers with riot squads,” he says.
“Somebody in the security operation got very carried away with their own self-importance, and nobody in the state or federal government counterbalanced them.
“It was totally and utterly disproportionate.”
For many Sydneysiders, comedians from the already popular The Chasers War on Everything have become folk heroes – they managed to breach the million-dollar security set-up with a few shiny black hire cars, some wrap-around sunglasses, a few fake passes, a colour printer and a handful of bonnet-mounted Canadian and Australian flags.
Almost 5,000 New South Wales police officers, 1,500 defence personnel, 450 federal police, teams of sharp-shooters, patrol boats zipping across the harbour, Black Helicopters swooping above – all upstaged by 11 members of a TV comedy show.
“Oh bloody Howard! I’d like to take away his toot breaks and see how he feels in his jolly lower house”.
Via The Age.
Australians to lose the right to call for a boycott?
So if you’re asking Australians not to buy lipstick tested on caged rabbits, rugs woven by Pakistani slaves or suits made with mulesed wool, then pray your boycott calls don’t succeed, for the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is about to be given the power to sue you out of the water if they do.
But Costello’s bill is designed to protect businesses of any size – all the way up to BHP Billiton – not by outlawing intimidation, but by punishing persuasion.
Hurt a business simply by arguing that it’s ethically repugnant to buy its products and the commission will be able to step in and sue to recover the company’s lost profits.
No free-speech defence is immediately available. You won’t be able to go to court to plead the pros and cons of open-range chooks or gentler methods than mulesing to save sheep from fly strike.
The new law will catch lone campaigners, community groups, NGOs, lobby groups and even the media – anyone whose campaign for what the law calls a “secondary boycott” actually hits the mark and causes financial pain.
The emphasis in the quote above is mine, and thanks to DD for the link.
Two classic quotes from the Kevid Rudd strip club thing:
Greens leader Bob Brown said the issue should be kept in perspective. “Four years ago Kevin Rudd got drunk and took himself into a strip club,” Senator Brown said. “Four years ago John Howard, sober, took Australia into the Iraq war. I think the electorate can judge which one did the more harm.”
Premier John Brumby said his last visit to a strip place would have been in the 1970s when he was a student. “It was probably in Sydney, three decades ago with a group of mates, male and female,” he said. “That’s the main reason people go to Sydney, isn’t it?”