Imagine, it’s 1912, and you’re a passenger on the cruise liner the Titanic, heading towards New York. It’s evident something’s amiss, as the ship seems to be going down. People are freaking out, but then the captain appears before them, and says, “Calm down. There’s nothing to worry about.”
One would be forgiven for comparing this scenario to the leader of this country appearing on national radio as our eastern states were raging with unprecedented fires and claiming that these blazes had nothing to do with the climate crisis, even though scientists globally have linked them to it.
This ship is sinking, and the clown, who appeared in parliament a few years back waving a chunk of coal around like it was some holy grail, won’t admit it. How can Australia be held accountable for these fires, when the country only produces 1.3 percent of the world’s emissions? the PM asks.
Well, the truth is, sir, Australia is one of the highest per capita carbon emitters in the world. If we include our exports in the equation, every Australian has a much larger carbon footprint than individuals living in China, the US and India do. And yes, the country is still on fire.
She’ll be right, mate
Just days after the PM told us not to worry about the loss of houses, lives and natural habitat to fire – because it’s obviously the fault of someone else – social media sites lit up with photos of Morrison struggling to walk up a hill and holding onto a fellow trekker to help him make it.
The prime minister was commendably out on a 10 kilometre walk through the Blue Mountains with a group of First Nations youths to promote a program that encourages them to participate in school. As for his struggling up the hill, he told 7 News that “at my age, you feel it”.
However, Morrison is only 51 years old. And there are tonnes of people his age, and older, that can easily make a walk of that distance. So, hopefully, the PM thinks about getting into better shape, so a trek like that isn’t so much trouble for him.
Then again, perhaps he won’t, because he sure as hell isn’t making any attempt to preserve the planet he was having difficulty walking upon. And while denying one’s health could be better is a personal decision, condemning future generations to an uninhabitable world is criminal.
The religious prejudice bill
So, what has Scott Morrison prioritised during his time as PM? Well, one of his most favoured projects has been the proposed Religious Discrimination Act. It’s a piece of legislation that nobody was really calling for, and one that there’s no real proof is even warranted.
It’s been termed the bigot’s bill by some in LGBTIQ community, because not only does it deliver open slather discrimination against them, but it also creates a path for prejudicial treatment of women, First Nations people, people of colour, people with disabilities and single parents.
However, religious organisations recently joined together to tell the Morrison government that the exposure draft doesn’t go far enough, because while it allows “religious bodies” to treat individuals with bias, this doesn’t extend to “commercial activities”.
In response, the Pentecostal PM announced his government will redraft the legislation over the summer. But, meanwhile, when Torres Strait Islanders asked him in September to visit their low-lying islands to see how climate change is already affecting them, he told those Australian citizens he had no time.
Paul Gregoire is a Sydney-based journalist and writer. He has a focus on human rights issues, encroachments on civil liberties, drug law reform, gender diversity and First Nations rights. Prior to Sydney Criminal Lawyers®, he wrote for VICE and was the news editor at Sydney’s City Hub.