Australian news, and some related international items

Scott Morrison, comfy in his Morrison bubble, trashes Environment Department

Morrison torches Environment Department, Independent Australia, By Stephen Saunders | 15 December 2019, For a time, Arts and Environment were in the same federal department. Both functions have taken a hit, in Scott Morrison’s Christmas departmental reshuffle.

Australia’s first federal Environment Department debuted 1971. The function has carried forward to this day, under varying departmental banners. Since 1993, “Environment” (or “Sustainability, Environment”) has always been the leading item in a departmental title.

Not any more. “Busting” congestion, blindsiding the public service, Morrison has reversed recent history. The Environment function of the previous Environment and Energy Department goes into the Agriculture Department. It’s never been parked there before. The Industry Department mops up most of Energy and Climate.

Apparent wins there, for fossil fuels and land conversion. And never mind the fire and smoke. Brand-new Environment chief David Fredericks has been recycled as Industry chief…….

With endless growth running the show, the Department has won battles and lost wars. Our first State of the Environment report surfaced in 1986. When you decode the polite language of the scientific committees, successive reports reveal steady decline up to 2016.

It’s simplistic to say, but the Department has prospered more under Labor……

In his [Morrison’s] inflated opinion,  ministers can always be relied on to “set the policy direction” correctly. As they surround themselves with increasingly docile public service chiefs.

On top of all this, he cashiers the Environment Department. And puts Energy and Climate under Industry. His religion and ideology seem to be clobbering reason and science.

Labor’s bulldog adherence to Big Coal and Big Australia undermines their credibility to oppose environmental overreach. Still, Morrison’s arrogance might come back to bite him.

Over its first 30 or 40 years, the Federal Environment Department attracted a keen cadre of officials, whose commitment and knowledge could be turned to disparate environmental issues at short political notice. They had notable successes and signal failures. But their relationships with ministers held more nuance than the feudal deference that Morrison now demands.

You can’t throw the switch, to recharge independent and vigorous environment policy advice at a moment’s notice. Rationally speaking, we need those skills, more than ever.

Weather, rain and fire are visibly different, within our own short lifetimes. Environment and growth problems have never been more obvious. The environment has returned to the public consciousness bigtime.

The “bubble” isn’t around Canberra. It’s around Morrison himself. Sure, the weakened Environment and Climate bureaus will have to answer, to him and his ministers. The physical environment may not be so obliging.,13415

December 16, 2019 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, environment, politics

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