Home' Ausmarine : February 2010 Contents Two thousand "officially" registered delegates and their PAs,
security, staffers, drivers, demonstrators, caterers,
accommodation staff, plus the media teams and assorted
hangers on... The hot air from the political posturing alone
must have accelerated global warming.
What I found very amusing was the decision by our evening TV
news presenters to run the coverage of the Copenhagen crowd
behaviour directly behind the local crack down on drunken hoons
in our late night grog venues. I had trouble working out which was
which until I cottoned on to which lot of besieged cops were
decked out in riot gear.
There is something tired and stale about the conduct of these
organised mob protests. As competent as their organisers may be at
accessing grants and subsidies to wage their fringe group campaigns,
they fail dismally when it comes to mounting mass protests that
capture broad public goodwill and achieve the goals that a half
decent strategy would dictate.
Those who have been around for a while will tell you that this
type of protest is reminiscent of their youth. We often went along to a
protest for the fun of it or because our mates and, more importantly,
some liberated lasses were going. We chanted the same old chants,
sang the same old hymns, shouted similar slogans and scuffled with
authority. In itself it didn't change anything much, being more often
a reflection of a prevailing community concern than a fuse for action.
Stop the war! Ban the bomb! No uranium mining! All used the same
tactics adopted by the Copenhagen zealots. Confrontation,
disruption, noise, property damage and some violence.
There are better ways of doing it. Given the number of students
and recent graduates participating, it was not unreasonable to
hope some of the protest organisers had heeded the advice of the
great movers and shakers: Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela,
etcetera. Mass silence can, at times, be more effective than mass
noise and building will be more abiding than breaking. If all the
money spent on shouting themselves hoarse at Copenhagen had
been used to drag some of the waste plastic from the North Pacific
Ocean there would be a sight more support for some of the climate
warning rhetoric than will be gained from bad behaviour of a mob.
A salt by a miner
When the desalination plant was proposed to supplement
Sydney's water supply the opposition to it was swept away pretty
quickly. Sydneysiders had only recently been subjected to water
restrictions and were being warned of dire rationing consequences,
along with future cost increases if the plant didn't go in.
As far as I recall, the local fishermen barely rated a mention, let
alone consultation. Hardly surprising, given the way the New
South Wales government set about castrating its state industry
associations. Even the upgraded sewage outfalls, to clean up
politically sensitive beaches, were sited near trawl grounds.
Over in South Australia things are just a little different.
Although they have copped a hammering of late, the South
Australian industry associations are still able to pull the right levers
and put up a fight. BHP Billiton is planning a uranium mine. The
water they need is to come from a desalination plant. The heavy,
salt-enriched outfall will be in Spencer Gulf. BHP's spokesman
claimed four years of environmental study indicates no negative
impact on the productivity or ecology of the Gulf.
That's a claim long-time Spencer Gulf prawn fisherman Barry
Evans vehemently disagrees with. He points to the shallow nature
and unique tidal movements of the gulf and asks how the heavy
salt water can be dispersed on the two days each month when
there is no tidal movement.
The prawns are not the only creature at risk. Giant squid use the
Gulf as a breeding ground. Barry is not simply another NIMBY
fisherman having a whinge. His concerns were echoed by an
oceanographer from Flinders University who was interviewed on
the ABC. If four years of study by BHP as to the environmental
impact did not identify a risk well known to local fishermen and a
state university, we are surely entitled to question the rigour of
What is of even greater concern, is the suspicion that this may
be a case of an applicant simply going through the motions,
ticking all the boxes to satisfy a government that has already given
(albeit informally) the green light to the project. It wouldn't be the
first time the fishing industry has been elbowed aside to make
room for a royalty and investment providing miner.
[Disclosure: Members of the Baird family or companies in the Baird
Publications group own shares in BHP Billiton]
Battery charge short on power
The radical vegetarian coalition is at it again. They can often be
found lurking within stronger groups such as "The Greens" where
they can include their lentil and tofu propaganda as part of a
Having enjoyed a measure of success at demonising live
animal exports, feed lots, piggeries, sheep mulesing and egg
producers of Australia, it was time to loosen their lentil-laden
bowels over our fish farmers. "No better than the battery hen
farmers" they cried, to an eager media. "Polluters and disease
spreaders," they yelled.
Fish farmers and fisherman are getting too much favourable
publicity about the health benefits of their product to suit the
"we-will-tell-you-what-you-can-eat" Nazis! Something had to be
done before the punters started spending up on Christmas prawns,
salmon and oysters. A pre-Christmas fish farm scare campaign was
My Indian vegetarian friends were quick to disassociate
themselves from this nonsense. Choosing to be a vegetarian, they
say, does not entitle one to belittle the dietary habits of others. It's
a pity some of the level-headed tolerance and understanding of the
cultural vegetarians doesn't rub off on our domestic idiot fringe.
A personal comment from Ulladulla's very own
Barry McRoberts on Management Matters.
February 2010 AUSMARINE
Links Archive Jan 2010 March 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page