Australian Green Party Leader: U.S. Climate Denial Machine “Being Directed Straight into Australia” Via Murdoch’s News Corp

The Winning Aussie Strategy: Fighting Back Against Deniers and Talking About Climate Change

If President Obama needs a role model for his stance (or lack thereof) on climate change, he should look no further than the Deputy Leader of Australia’s Green Party, Christine Milne.

In a wide-ranging interview with Climate Progress at the COP 17 climate talks in Durban today, Senator Milne outlined her strategy for helping pass a comprehensive climate bill in Australia this year — even when faced with “a massive campaign against the climate science” that rivals the War on Science being waged in America (see Aussie Scientist: “The Murdoch Media Empire Has Cost Humanity Perhaps One or Two Decades in Battle Against Climate Change.”)

One of the main reasons the Australian Parliament was able to pass a price on carbon, said Milne, is because proponents actually led by talking about climate change. And they didn’t back down or shift their talking points when the attacks picked up.

“We fought back. It was a totally committed strategy,” Milne told Climate Progress. “This is about saving the planet’s climate. That is what we are here for. This is why you need real leadership and not just a response to the populist views echoed from the vested, self interests.”

In other words, the exact opposite strategy of the Obama Administration in 2009 and 2010 as it let a climate bill slip down the legislative priority list and allowed the Tea Party to hijack the issue as a completely bogus War on Freedom (see Can you solve global warming without talking about global warming?).

Unlike Obama and Congressional allies of the 2009 climate bill, Milne has explicitly called out the organizations working overtime to derail action on climate policy. The same players funding the Denier Industrial Complex in America — the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Heartland Institute and the Murdoch Press, among others — exported their tactics to Australia to battle the climate bill, said Milne:

“Australia has been heavily influenced by some of the major think tanks in the United States that are funded by Big Tobacco, Big Oil, Big Fossil Fuels interests. We’ve already seen the American Legislative Exchange Council and the Heartland Foundation [Institute] supporting Australian politicians going over to the United States and picking up those tactics to the point where one Australian politician was exposed recently for fake websites, a tactic straight out of those kind of foundations.”

“We have seen a heavily funded negative campaign being directed straight into Australia, straight into conservative think tanks and onto the front pages of the Murdoch press.”

“The Murdoch press is a very big problem in Australia. It owns 70% of the print media and has run a massive campaign against the climate science and against the climate pricing policy that we’ve delivered in Australia. And it will continue to do so in the hope that the opposition is elected and the whole thing is repealed. This is a critical time in Australian politics and for the climate.”

Milne lamented the bullying of climate scientists in Australia, many of whom were moved into different facilities after receiving death threats and threats against their families. “It is shocking, and we need to stand up to it,” she said.

The Greens stood up to it by not wavering from their stance on the urgent need to address climate change.

In 2010, when the Labor Party led by Prime Minister Julia Gillard came out of the elections with a hung parliament, they turned to the Greens for support. In exchange for their support, Milne demanded that the government push for a price on carbon by the middle of 2012.

This November, a comprehensive climate bill designed to cut carbon emissions 80% by 2050, invest $13 billion in renewable energy, and invest $1.7 billion in sustainable agriculture was signed into law. The price on carbon will be $23 per ton for the top 500 emitters, rising 2.5% per year in the first three years, and then transition into a floating market. After the first five years of implementation, the program will be re-negotiated to account for changes in international policy and scientific findings.

But the battle is not over yet. The opposition party has sworn a “blood oath” to repeal the law if it comes into power after the 2013 elections.

The bill gives Australia more credibility coming into this year’s climate negotiations in Durban. But Milne says she’s still concerned about her country’s push for lax deforestation standards standards that would allow Australia to meet short-term emissions targets through creative accounting, rather than actually doing something. Australia has also balked on supporting a second commitment under the Kyoto Protocol.

The Australian experience is representative of what’s happening around the world. With very little progress on binding global targets for emissions, action will be coming unilaterally from countries. But the cumulative action of those countries don’t get us to the needed emissions reductions scientists say we need to stabilize temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius.

That’s why we need to continue to make bold choices, both domestically and internationally, said Milne.

“There’s a huge disconnect between the science in the politics. The science clearly tells us that global emissions need to peak in 2015 and start coming down after that. We can’t wait until 2020. We will be beyond tipping points.”

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28 Responses to Australian Green Party Leader: U.S. Climate Denial Machine “Being Directed Straight into Australia” Via Murdoch’s News Corp

  1. Leif says:

    Love it… Go Green/s

  2. BillD says:

    Thank you Senator Milne! It’s great to hear from a poltician who is well informed, articulate and has the guts needed for this stuggle.

  3. Wes Rolley says:

    You should get similar results if you listen to Elizabeth May (Canada) or Dr. Jill Stein (GPSU).

  4. klem says:

    “The opposition party has sworn a “blood oath” to repeal the law if it comes into power after the 2013 elections.”

    And I can guarantee that there will be money coming from many sources to support the oposition party in its fight for the financial and social freedom of all Australians, against the tyrany of the environemntal left which has taken control in Australia.

    I look forward to it.


  5. Mike Roddy says:

    Good for Milne. We almost never hear that language from our politicians and scientists, and when we do, it often comes from women- Sibelius, Walter, Boxer, Shakhova, and the Naomis.

    Maybe it’s because one of pollution’s endocrine system effects is to feminize American men, whose young sons sometimes grow breasts, and become the prey of aggressive girls during adolescence. Maybe the women and girls of this country are just filling the void.

  6. Raul M. says:

    Gee, and I thought they were wanting to talk about the weather and how it affects their own homes and communities. And just a guess but their Ins. agents probably took notice of the weather of this year.

  7. Murdoch’s climate change denial machine is a threat not only to scientists, but to the security of nation-states. The giant megaphone that is Newscorp is a blantant attempt by corporate interests to silence democracy and science all with one giant hammer-blow.

  8. Santa says:

    A report on Monckton and other oil related persons campaign against a carbon tax in Australia:

    – The Nasty Side Of Christopher Monckton

  9. Robert says:

    You’ll have your fight, but it won’t be with the human opposition you’re looking for, it’ll be with droughts and forest fires, heavy rainfall and damaging winds, crop damage and dead livestock. Your battle will then shift towards the insurance industry, who are watching these events with a keen eye, ledgers at the ready. I’d offer you a “Good Luck”, but you’ll need more than that, and you won’t find any help, anywhere, as the insurance industry is poised to make a killing on climate change issues. In America, they’re already quietly raising rates and changing policies on the east coast, as sea-level rise and storm-surge are taking their toll. You and your denier-troll buddies better enjoy the good times now, so party on. The next decade is going to be a helluva ride down the rabbit hole…

  10. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    klem is pretty typical of the Dunning-Kruger rabble on the Right over here. His type infest the MSM Comments because the Thought Police censor other opinions, which quickly deters people. Therefore you get the impression that the average IQ in the country is 60 and that the populace only cares for money and could not give a stuff what happens to their own children and grandchildren. But I must reiterate the Dunning-Kruger link. These creatures really think that they are so very clever, clevere than ‘smart-arse’ so-called climate scientists, and are encouraged in this mass delusion by an absolute dominance of the MSM, total in the Murdoch apparatus, and highly evident at the ABC and Fairfax (under the rubric of an ‘evenhandedness’ that they never display in other controversies)of the crudest, most raucous and most mendacious denialists.

  11. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The Murdoch Evil Empire is, in my opinion, a great machine of bigotry and bias on every subject. It pushes climate denialism, it reviles Moslems incessantly, it favours the 1% over the rest, and its hate and fearmongering ‘opinion-makers’ peddle contempt and antipathy for all those that Murdoch despises, which appears to be most of humanity. And as the phone-hacking affair in England, and the open evidence of decades of experience show, Murdoch uses his apparatus to blackmail, intimidate and control politicians throughout the West, to his Empire’s advantage. ‘Power without responsibility’ the harlot’s prerogative, but also power without morality, power without remorse, power without conscience.

  12. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Are you insinuating that there is another side to Baron Monckhausen?

  13. Zetetic says:

    Interesting how you talk about “freedom” (while ignoring the infringing of the rights of others by pollution from large companies) instead of discussing the scientific reality of the situation.
    Why is that I wonder?

    Where is that oh-so elusive evidence that positively supports the denialist dogma that climate change is due to natural causes? We’ve been waiting for decades now but it’s yet to appear.

  14. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Full credit to Christine Milne and Bob Brown and also to Greg Combet and Julia Gillard who had to negotiate for just about ever to get the numbers up, and particularly to JG who had to endure the most appalling abuse throughout this period.

    But don’t forget that this was also fought out around kitchen tables and community BBQs and on the streets across Oz where many groups such as Getup, the Youth Climate Coalition and the ACF came together in demos to support the process. This, as much as anything, acted as a counterweight to the concerted attack by the deniers, ME

  15. Lionel A says:

    Ah! klem. A refugee from DesMogBlog perhaps having been shown the door there for rants without valid backing. I recognise the style.

  16. Fran Barlow says:

    As a member of the Australian Greens I’m very proud of the role our party has played in ensuring that the consensus view in Australia that there should be robust action on climate change (it’s worth noting that at the election of August 2010, a clear and substantial majority of the population gave their primary vote to candidates supporting a price on carbon), underpinned by a price on CO2e triumphs over the special pleading of the world’s filth merchants and their dupes.

    We are fortunate indeed in this country to have people of the calibre of Bob Brown and Christine Milne.

    Very considerable credit should also go to two of our conservative-minded rural independents (Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor) who withstood a ferociously abusive campaign in both supporting the government and carbon pricing. They (and a third independent from Tasmania, Andrew Wilkie) showed integrity in standing by their pre-election declarations well above and beyond what one normally expects of politicians. While I don’t endorse all of their policy views, these people have at least shown that they are men of principle and intellect. Without their support, the government could not have legislated the package announced in late June 2011 and passed a few weeks ago. It’s also worth noting that since that time, the squealing and carry on from the right has somewhat abated, and the government has begun to recover in the polls.

    Two years from now, when carbon pricing is seen not to have driven the economy into a ditch and Australia remains one of the few countries in the world with GDP growth, low unemployment and a policy of acting on climate change, the odds of the government winning and defending its reforms should be good. Tony Abbott’s blood oath will hang like an albatross around his neck as he is forced to put at risk arrangements made by business to mitigate emissions.

    Watch this space.

  17. Rob Jones says:

    There is no doubt that what you forecast is true however the doubt is that the fools who deny scientific evidence will be swayed by it.

    Murdochs media in Australia has created a divide in political interest in Australia where emotion has risen to the fore and intelligent debate has been sidelined and academic credentials are derided.

    People have chosen positions over climate change as if physics can somehow be partisan.

    If one takes a long-term view it could be reasoned that the inevitable long-term consequences of global warming should wipe out all traces of support for the political parties attempting to dismiss it as a funding inspired hoax. However that would require an honest media to keep reminding our most politically disconnected that blame for global warming inaction rests with one side of the political divide.

    Media is owned and run by vested interests over here and it is unlikely that they will become more honest when every indicator on that front shows how honesty and integrity within the media are disappearing at an exponential rate.

  18. DogzOwn says:

    Good onya Christine, Greens and Independents, step by step. Meanwhile, what can we do about this biggest threat to the planet, the toxic sludge of Murdoch media. So little news and so much self righteous propaganda. Julia Gillard called it crap but it’s worse.

    Of course, we do have self regulation with ACP(Australian Press Council), for the print media. Needless to say, the Murdoch hacks just keep writing controversy for the sake of controversy. No hope of any sensible retraction, except for smallest print, at inside foot of page of back of Sporting section.

    Have actually tried to read The Australian lately. It appears to be so certain about so much but makes so little sense.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Zetetic, you sound like a denizen of the ‘reality-based community’. The denialists inhabit a corner of the universe where, thanks to the wonders of ‘magic thinking’ and neuronal decay, reality is constantly being created to suit the prejudices of the denialati. Spontaneous creation (that’s why they are ‘Creationists’) of any substance, theory or physical law that they wish. Now that’s power.

  20. adelady says:

    Murdoch’s The Australian has been toxic for almost as long as I can remember. I had to cancel our order for the dreadful rag 20(?) years ago after a vile editorial on the Mabo decision. (For non-Aussies, this was a landmark land rights case for indigenous Australians/Islanders.)

    And the cancer has spread to cover 70% of the Oz press.

    dogzown “Have actually tried to read The Australian lately. It appears to be so certain about so much but makes so little sense.” It wasn’t _quite_ so bad 20+ years ago. You always knew it was a conservative viewpoint, but they had some reasonable writers so you could read it without throwing it at the wall. I wouldn’t know now, but seeing as Tim Lambert is fast approaching number 80 in the ‘War on Science’ series, I suspect I’m not missing much.

  21. Alex says:

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think Australia has to deal with a legislative process that allows a single Senator to kill legislation like with the filibuster in the U.S. Senate. If not for that, the U.S. would have passed something.

  22. Joe Romm says:

    Yes, Aussie bill narrowly passed. 60-vote “requirement” is fatal in U.S.

  23. pudge1671 says:

    I’ve been saying for a year now we should make the deniers pay for disasters.

  24. inconvenient truth says:

    Yeah, Greens generally can’t handle the idea that things can be published that don’t fit their agenda. Whatever the outcome of these policies continuing or being scrapped here the result will be zero impact on climate change so it’s pretty funny to see people getting so worked up about symbolism and pouring money into overseas abatement to pretend we’re making an emissions cut that won’t do anything anyway.

  25. petros says:

    Christine Milne is indeed an asset in the political fight to hold the line against Murdoch and his minions. News Corp is an insidious force in Australia: exaggerate any scientific doubt over global warming, and the cost of doing anything about it; downplay or ignore the continued findings that emissions and warming are at the high end of forecasts. The good thing is that much of the Murdoch press in Australia is in the process of going behind a paywall, while its papers are seeing circulation wilt. (Unfortunately, the outlook for its main rival in Australia – Fairfax Media – isn’t much brighter.) Anyway, good on Joe for singling out Milne.

  26. Zetetic says:

    Guilty as charged! It’s a bad habit I just can’t seem to break.

    Pity that our drive-by troll didn’t provide more sport.

  27. Bill G says:

    Rupert Murdoch is a destructive force in many western democracies.

    Steve Jobs said the same.

    Richard Branson said Murdoch would cost us our democracy in America.

    Murdoch has had such a negative impact (now his organization is under criminal investigation for phone hacking in the UK) something needs to be done to stop him.

  28. Lew says:

    Would you please take Murdoch back? He has single handedly ruined America.
    His media empire has dumbed down a significant portion of the conservative population.