Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Living Treasures and Vogon Poetry

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Living Treasure Clive Palmer told the ABC’s 7:30 Report last night that he intended to challenge the government’s carbon legislation on the basis of a constitutional challenge to its tax status:

CLIVE PALMER: Well, our advice is that the carbon tax in its current form is unconstitutional, and that’s recognised in the legislation itself when it says it’s found to be unconstitutional, the Government will (inaudible) us through other acts – that’s in the legislation.

CHRIS UHLMANN: On what grounds is it unconstitutional?

CLIVE PALMER: Well the grounds are set out in legal advice and they’ll be coming in the High Court.

Neither Uhlmann or Palmer acknowledged the benefits of the legislation:

CLIVE PALMER: The rights – and I’m not putting my hand in my pocket. I’m not doing anything. The companies I own who are large corporations have got the rights to go to the High Court. That’s what it’s set up to do, you know. That’s the country we live in: freedom of speech. We’ve all the got the right to say what we think. You may not agree with it, but that’s a right we’ve fought for in many world wars. So, I’m a supporter of freedom of speech and democracy in this nation.

So when do companies get the right to vote? Oh, that’s right, they cut out the messy democracy business and donate to and lobby political parties direct. I must admit, Clive gives good copy and some of his opinions, such as on refugees, are to be admired. But his activities are causing long-term global harm for short-term profit, which he overlooks in favour of the immediate flow-on benefits to the economy:

You can’t really tax carbon.

The other thing about it of course is it’s a joke because the air moves right around the world. If you tax something in Australia, those initiatives will go offshore, those jobs will go offshore and the same amount of carbon will be emitted in the atmosphere. What we need is a global approach to the taxing of carbon or the regulating of carbon, regulating of industry. We don’t want something that discriminates against Australian industry and Australian workers.

Spot the logic bomb? You can’t really tax carbon and What we need is a global approach to the taxing of carbon. Spoken by an altruist with impeccable ethics.

Which brings us to the subject of Vogon Poetry, the third worst in the universe according to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy but challenged by Gina Rinehart. She has generously donated the following words plaqued on a 20 tonne boulder of iron ore in Perth. Those with delicate constitutions should look away now.


The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife
And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life
Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth
And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth
Is our future threatened with massive debts run up by political hacks
Who dig themselves out by unleashing rampant tax
The end result is sending Australian investment, growth and jobs offshore
This type of direction is harmful to our core
Some envious unthinking people have been conned
To think prosperity is created by waving a magic wand
Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled
Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world
Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores
To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores
The world’s poor need our resources: do not leave them to their fate
Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late.

We have to celebrate free speech when our national treasures speak up and tell us exactly what’s on their minds. I can only applaud.


Written by Roger Jones

March 15, 2012 at 11:14 am

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