Opinion

A letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

The PM's decision to reject even an emissions intensity scheme flies in the face of logic, writes Bishop George Browning

By George Browning

December 10 2016Dear Prime Minister,
 
I don’t suppose ordinary citizens are supposed to understand how politicians make their decisions, especially when they fly in the face of logic. But sometimes a lack of logic and common sense, together with the seeming absence of any care for the interest of ordinary Australians, let alone the rest of the world, is beyond bewildering - it fills one with a mixture of anger and despair.
 
Your decision this week to rule out even the possibility of an “emissions intensity scheme” is in this category.
 
Have you received advice from your chief scientist that a scheme like this is essential if Australia is going to play its part with the rest of the world in avoiding catastrophic global warming? Yes you have.
 
Have you received advice that implementing a scheme like this will ultimately be a net positive for the national economy? Yes you have.
 
Have you received advice from industry that bipartisan political support for a scheme like this would be welcome and provide the necessary certainty required for planning and investment? Yes you have.

Have you received advice that a scheme like this will save each household unnecessary escalation in electricity prices in coming years? Yes you have.
 
In the light of all this advice and what we understand to be your own reasonable knowledge of the facts you still chose to appease the right wing ideologues in your party rather than act for the good of the country. Presumably your own position of power is more important than anything else. In these circumstances how do you expect to warrant respect, let alone trust, as our Prime Minister?
 
Your characterisation of the states as irresponsible because of the goals they have set reminds me of a kindergarten child making silly comments about other children when it is they who have sulkily refused to participate in the activity of the group.
 
I am choosing to send this letter to you via my blog, because I have come to the conclusion it is a waste of time to write to you directly.
 
In the adult world to which I belong, when there is a problem, wide discussion takes place as to the best way of providing a solution. In an adult world one does not normally rule out best solutions because someone spits the dummy in advance.
 
I am hoping that all who read this letter will pass it on, and that what you and your government have decided not to do this week will never be forgotten. While we often bemoan lack of leadership, seldom if ever has genuine leadership been so absent as it has been this week.

Yours sincerely,
 
Bishop George Browning

Dr George Browning is the former Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn. This is a slightly edited version of an article he wrote for his blog on 10 December 2016. See http://www.georgebrowning.com.au