Australia are about to screw ourselves. We've had our state elections and the conservatives have taken over in a landslide election, and very shortly the same statement will apply to federal politics as well.
Our next Prime Minister is going to be a smarmy corporate-suckup climate-change denialist.
And on the state level, we're already starting to see where we're heading. Let me tell you a story.
You remember Steve Irwin? Dude in khaki shorts who jumped on crocodiles for a living? Well, he might have been a bit of a twit, but he and his family's contributions to conservation efforts were invaluable.
Something Irwin managed during the Howard years was to use federally granted funds (possibly the only thing Howard ever did for the environment) to buy up a load of amazing, Amazon-like marshland in Northern Queensland to keep it out of the hands of bauxite and coal mining interests. He said at the time that the area should be world-heritage listed. That area has since become the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, and is protected by the Wild Rivers act, which keeps mining endeavors upstream from mining too close to the river and poisoning it for the wildlife reserve downstream.
Campbell Newman, our new conservative QLD premier, has vowed to abolish the wild rivers act.
At least one large Bauxite mining endeavor has already started moving, preparing to expand their operation without even waiting on confirmation. That gives you an idea of how confident they are about Newman: either he's assured them personally, or they believe that if he tries to back out their industry can apply enough pressure to bring him back around. Others are soon to follow suit, I'm sure.
It's a level of corporate corruption you don't usually see in state politics. It happens all the time in local politics: residential developers go ahead and bulldoze area's before the council has finished approving their request all the time. But the state government is usually more subtle about it than this.
I don't get it. Is it really possible to argue for water poisoning and greater corporate profits over an area of natural beauty and biodiversity set aside by a national hero, and not at some point think, "hang on... am I the bad guy here?" Or do they just accept that they're being evil and just don't give a shit?
"You don't become great by trying to be great. You become great by wanting to do something, and then doing it so hard you become great in the process." - Zombie Marie Curie