JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

How Clive Palmer saved the world – in just 12 minutes

Date

Mike Carlton

<i>Illustration: Simon Letch.</i>

Illustration: Simon Letch.

Clive Palmer saves the world. That was how his media conference was touted in advance to the Canberra press gallery on Wednesday. Dazzling new policies on climate change would offer hope to all mankind.  

Speculation shot to fever pitch. Twitter was abuzz. High on the Andes Altiplano, on the vast plains of the Serengeti, beside the mighty Yangtze, from teeming Mumbai to the towering citadels of Manhattan and the storied capitals of old Europe, the huddled billions watched and waited for their deliverance.

All they got was Al Gore. Somehow the fatocrat – as I like to think of Clive – had lured the Climate Changer-in-Chief to stand shoulder to shoulder and to endorse him, wrongly, as a "national leader".  Lavishing praise as travelling politicians will do, Gore declared that here was an “extraordinary moment in which Australia, the United States and the world is [sic] finally beginning to confront the climate crisis in a meaningful way".  

Eh? Look, it might have been meaningful to you, Al, but I haven't a clue what it was all about. I tried to make some sense of it but failed. And anybody who says they do get it is having a lend, I think. Palmer wittered on in that snuffling, adenoidal way he has, tossing up the jargon that inevitably strangles the climate change debate and hurling in some populist blather about lower electricity prices, but as a vision for rescuing the planet it was incomprehensible. All 12 minutes of it. No time for media questions, of course. There was an "urgent" dinner to attend, said the global saviour, and off they went into the chilly Canberra night.

At least they were on the side of the angels. And on the side of rational science. The climate change deniers grow madder with each passing week: "The wheels are starting to fall off the anthropogenic global warming bandwagon," declared Maurice Newman on Monday, in an article for guess-which-newspaper. "The world is wearying of catastrophism and is noticing the mounting contrary evidence. Not least, it has observed there has been no global warming since September 1996."

This idiocy would not matter a toss but for the fact that Newman is chairman of the prime minister's Business Advisory Council and, therefore, presumably in Tony Abbott's shell-like ear. Publicly, Abbott has held more positions on climate change than there are sexual acrobatics in the Kama Sutra but you know that, deep down, he believes it's "crap". His word.

The fatocrat had a cuppa with him on Thursday morning, their first meeting in two years. "I personally think he is a good guy," said Palmer afterwards. "He is not an evil person."  

That's a relief to hear. 

AND NOW the hotly contested, highly coveted award for Tyrant of the Month. (Crackle of opening envelope, roll of drums.)  And the winner is ... come on down, Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil el-Sisi, President of Egypt!

They are depressingly familiar, these people. The presidential palaces of the Middle East are rife with them: the clipped moustaches, the bemedalled uniforms and field marshal's batons, the dogged propensity to jail or slaughter their own people. And, if they play their cards right, the enthusiastic backing of the United States.

Al-Sisi has eschewed the moustache but otherwise has done his hand very well. A graduate of both Britain's Joint Services Staff College and the US Army War College, he is the archetypal proxy for American and Western power plays in the Middle East. When he overthrew Egypt's elected president, the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi last year, that repository of European smugness and duplicity, Tony Blair, was all over him like a dose of smallpox. 

So, too, the US Secretary of State. The timing was excruciating. John Kerry was in Cairo as that kangaroo court jailed the Australian journalist Peter Greste for seven years, along with two of his colleagues from the Al Jazeera English TV network. Kerry did make a pro-forma protest – a "chilling and draconian sentence ... a disturbing setback to Egypt's transition," he said. But that was it.

Transition to what, exactly? Hardly to freedom and justice. Poor Peter Greste is but one of tens of thousands of wretched souls imprisoned by the regime, many without even a show trial. Hundreds or perhaps thousands more have been sentenced to death, often in absentia.   

It is barbaric, but not enough to stop Kerry showering al-Sisi with money and arms: $580 million in military aid frozen since the coup and, for good measure, a brace of 10 Apache attack helicopters. All to keep down "insurgents", of course.

It generally ends in tears before bedtime, though. Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan's special envoy to the Middle East, one Donald Rumsfeld, was also schmoozing one of these brutal Arab despots: none other than Saddam Hussein. 

We all know how that turned out. Not well.  

TO THE surprise of many people –  perhaps even herself – Rebekah Brooks beat the rap. On Tuesday the flame-haired siren of Rupert Murdoch's British media empire walked free from London's phone-hacking trial, along with her husband Charlie and a few other odds and sods. It was her one-time lover and former editor at the now extinct News of The World newspaper, Andy Coulson, who took the fall. He will go to jail. She will not.

An old friend of mine in London who knows this stuff intimately tells me that Scotland Yard and the prosecution simply did not have the goods on her. There was no hard evidence that linked her to the hacking. And recognising that he was in effect on trial as well, Murdoch (ever so 'umbled, m'lud) threw millions at her defence, with serried ranks of silks and solicitors stretching as far as the eye could see. It worked.

Yet one fact remains. Ironclad. Brooks presided over a "newspaper" which cynically trawled the sewers for no other reason than to make money for Rupert. Even as she and Coulson were bonking their bums off they were hypocritically "exposing" the sexual antics of politicians and pop stars or wallowing in the private agony of the family of a missing schoolgirl, Millie Dowler. They wrecked lives and careers without compunction.

It was not journalism. It was filth. And Rebekah Brooks remains covered in it.

Twitter: @MikeCarlton01.

 

 

 

168 comments so far

  • Dishonest inaction on climate change will be the downfall of the Abbott government. Or one of the reasons for its downfall anyway. The website 'Tracking Abbott's Wreckage' currently lists 256 items. Government policies with widespread support are becoming scarcer than
    government-funded scientists.

    Who are these people who voted LNP because of its promise to banish the carbon tax? Do they want a future for their kids and our environment? Do they believe the tens of thousands of scientists and over 200 expert bodies globally, or do they believe instead a few local bloggers and shock jocks? Out of 2,258 peer-reviewed research articles on climate change authored by 9,136 scientists in the period between November 2012 and December 2013, just ONE denied the existence of man-made climate change. The AGW denial lie is long dead, so why are some people still flogging it?

    Commenter
    Juan Term
    Date and time
    June 28, 2014, 12:43AM
    • Abbott is a blight on our country. How you can convince voters that it's ok to tax people to visit the doctor and punish the vulnerable, but pollution, no that will wreck the economy. The policy he and hunt are pushing as the alternative is so ludicrous, and full of holes that it beggars belief. The irony of free market architects pushing for a policy funded by taxpayers and then trotting out the great big next tax line is just unbelievable, how are the public so gullible.

      Commenter
      Mrsydney
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 8:13AM
    • JT, that website means nothing because it's not published by Murdoch.
      The reason why the 55+ overwhelmingly vote coalition is because they are consumers of news corpse and right wing media that satisfies their unthinking prejudice.
      Bogan FM, is less effective trying this on the youth who have other media sources, despite Abbotts best attempt to destroy the NBN.

      Commenter
      Tadd
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 8:29AM
    • Clive's proposed ETS policy is pure political genius (albeit self-serving). Australia can demonstrate to the International community that it is prepared to tackle its emissions, on the proviso that the big emitters do likewise. It essentially calls the bluff of many people who suggest the World is moving on climate change while leaving Australia standing flat footed. Our emissions are small by comparison to the likes of China and the USA, and so committing ourselves to a ridiculously high price on carbon for very little result is ludicrous if the rest of the World continues to pump out rapidly escalating emissions.

      Commenter
      Flanders
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 8:33AM
    • What a relief, the two climate gurus are on our case.
      Time to celebrate - and dancing in the streets.
      Oh..
      A match made in Heaven, they are.
      Palmer and Gore, the duo bizarre.
      Men of substance, a cause noble.
      Nothing less than purpose global.
      Oh..
      Can mother Earth relax just a little,
      And will her future be not so brittle?
      A lot of talk, but little change to see.
      An inconvenient truth, you’ll all agree.

      Commenter
      Howe Synnott
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 8:42AM
    • hi Flanders, I agree with your comment about political genius, but it is tactical folly.

      If every country adopted the same schoolboy, "I'll show you yours if you show me mine" approach to climate change - nothing would be done.

      Now we are in the invidious position of putting ours away when much of the rest of the world is following our example and taking theirs out!

      Commenter
      Ross
      Location
      MALLABULA
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 8:54AM
    • Flanders,
      but that's the point. the US has just mandated a 20% fall in emissions and the individual US states have to do it. California and six other states already have an ETS (california alone is the 8th largest GDP country in the world). Canada has 3 major provinces that account for more than 50% of GDP with with an ETS. India has a carbon price on coal. China has 3 provinces with an ETS in place and is rolling out to all provinces by 2016. The Uk, EU, etc already have an ETS in place.
      I mean seriously.... just how much more do you expect before we actually do anything. We will in effect, if Abbott has his way, be doing nothing and going on about other countries doing something before we do and yet the evidence is there that major advancements and major ETS's are already in place.
      That puts a lie to the statement that the US & China are doing nothing... it's a blatant falsehood.

      Commenter
      Econorat
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 8:57AM
    • Well said.who are those people? Just look around these people do not care at all. They say who cares ,they will deal with it. Libs are relaing on stupidity of these people and there is no shortage of these people in australia. Bad luck

      Commenter
      Peter
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 8:58AM
    • One of those people are people like andrew bolt and the rest of murdock pupies. What pity story is that. And the pensioners who can not tell difference between water and beer. SPBs(south pacific bogans)

      Commenter
      Peter
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 9:04AM
    • Hi Ross - I agree. Good politics and good outcomes are two very different things. Failure to globally act on emissions is to everyone's detriment.

      Commenter
      Flanders
      Date and time
      June 28, 2014, 9:12AM

More comments

Make a comment

You are logged in as [Logout]

All information entered below may be published.

Error: Please enter your screen name.

Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

Error: Please enter your comment.

Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

Post to

You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

Thank you

Your comment has been submitted for approval.

Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

Featured advertisers