Tag Archives: Mathias Cormann

Ants and politicians

30 Mar

by Dr Stewart Hase

I have a question. ‘When the barometer is dropping, and it is about to pour with rain and possibly flood, does one ant make the decision to quit the nest, to jump ship, with all its valuables and invade my kitchen and then tell the others, or do all the ants simultaneously?’  I guess, either way, the aim is survival: as base an instinct as it is possible to have.

So it was that I started thinking about the disingenuousness of politicians and how they use it to survive when there is trouble on the horizon, when it is time for them to serve their needs and their needs only. I think it is their disingenuousness that is at the heart of our disgust of politicians. 

It’s not just a matter of trust but the way in which they will do what they need to do without any consistency of values or morality. It is the pure pragmatism that wears us down. We expect our leaders to stand for something, but we find the emperor is naked because we discover that they stand for nothing, other than their own short term political aims. 

It is like the person who runs down a cyclist with their car and drives away because no-one saw the accident and the cyclist is left in agony on the side of the road. Expediency, knowing that you can get away with your transgression.

As an exemplar, Mathias Cormann comes to mind, but I could use any number of other examples including the cover ups, lies and deceit surrounding rape and other sexual assaults in our supposed seat of democracy, our Peoples’ House. When it comes to cynicism, however, Mathias Cormann, takes the cake. As you know he recently become the Secretary General designate of the OCED thanks to a taxpayer funded effort that I am sure he will repay from his exorbitant salary. There was considerable opposition from some quarters due to his rather obvious problems with action over climate change. 

In his inaugural speech to parliament on August 15th 2007 Cormann said,

Climate change is a challenge we are facing as a global community’. 

It is notable that ‘man made’ doesn’t feature in this comment. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see that he went on to espouse the Howard Government’s emission trading scheme and offsets for trade exposed industries, policies designed to protect big business, the big polluters. He went on to protect his constituency of Western Australia by claiming our contribution to reducing the effects of climate change could be in the form of exporting clean energy in the form of gas and uranium, clearly looking after the interests of the coal and gas industry.

Cormann helped cripple Australia’s effort at attacking climate change as a member of the Abbott government by destroying the Clean Energy Finance Commission. He and Joe Hockey in a media release said:

‘The Government does not believe it is appropriate to keep borrowing money to underwrite a $10 billion taxpayer-funded bank that cherry-picks investments in direct competition with the private sector’

And with that Cormann tried to abolish the CEFC but were prevented by the Senate. So, instead they set impossible return targets for the agency.

Prior to that Cormann opposed the Gillard Government’s price on carbon by saying that, ‘the push to put a price on carbon on the basis that it would help reduce global greenhouse gas emissions is a very expensive hoax’. Carbon pricing has been promoted as one of the centrepieces, along with a green recovery, of an urgent climate plan proposed  by non-other than the IMF. 

I wonder what his response to the IMF might be now. As part of his campaigning for the OECD job, Cormann said that he would provide leadership towards achieving net zero emissions by 2050: a target that a government in which he was Finance Minister has consistently refused to sign up to. 

What is so infuriating in all this, and it is a common model when it comes to analysing the real values and morals of our current crop of politicians, is that toeing the party line and staying silent (the conspiracy of silence) is the modus operandi of the day. Bugger conscience, just do what’s expedient to stay in the job. And say what’s necessary to get the next one.

So, we come to the misogyny, the sexual assaults, the white male supremacy rule of Our House. It’s all about expediency while truth goes begging. It is the silence that is so deafening, making you wonder what the values of our politicians might be. If they have any. 

The inaction says it all.

Back to ants. So, is this a trait of all politicians or does the predilection of one, the leader, drive the rest? Almost a rhetorical question.

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