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The following is a response from Mark Parnell MLC to an article published by Dean Jaensch, regarding the Greens' stance on hazard reduction. This response was not published.
Sent: Wednesday, 20 November 2019
Subject: Response to Dean Jaensch
Over a long academic career, Dean Jaensch has formed strong views on politics. Sadly, over the years, he seems to have lost the ability to fact-check. Instead, he lets his imagination and prejudices run wild, as evidenced in his latest opinion piece on bushfires. (20th November).
Take for example the following claim: “The Greens are implacably opposed to backburning and landclearing hazard reduction to a level that every leaf is sacred (to sort-of quote Monty Python).” He might get a few laughs, but what he can’t do is point to one shred of evidence to justify this assertion. I have represented the Greens in State Parliament for nearly 14 years (and before that worked in conservation for 16 years) and never have I said anything publicly or privately that indicates an “implacable” opposition to hazard reduction burning. In fact, my Greens colleagues and I have always supported scientifically-based hazard reduction burning programs whether conducted by National Parks staff on public land or approved controlled burning on private land.
Jaensch’s claim that talking about climate change and bushfire is somehow bringing party politics into it, misses the point entirely. It’s not politics, it’s science. If some politicians and commentators want to ignore or belittle climate science, that is their business. However, to deny the link between human-induced climate change and the increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events including droughts, floods and fires, is to deny the scientific consensus.
Climate change means that bushfire season is starting earlier, that forests and grasslands are drier, igniting more easily and burning more readily, and that there are more and more days of very high, severe, extreme and catastrophic fire risk. The major cause of climate change is the mining, burning and exporting of coal, oil and gas.
When you delve further into Jaensch’s “logic”, you find that he has swallowed hook, line and sinker the conservative view that because climate change is a global problem and Australia is a small nation, nothing we do here can possibly make a difference. This is a view that leads to inaction (or minimal action at best), until the rest of the world also shows resolve. It is a lazy and irresponsible approach and rightly rejected by the next generation who will inherit the disaster we are creating.
Young activists, like Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg and the school climate strikers, don’t accept that this is the wrong time to talk about the impacts of climate change on people and the environment. They are mostly too young to remember Monty Python, but they certainly subscribe to even older tenets such as “If not us, who; and If not now, when?”
SA ANIMAL WELFARE LAWS FALTER AS HORSES TO RACE DESPITE HEATWAVE
Thoroughbred Racing SA have indicated they will go ahead with their planned meet at Morphettville Racecourse this Friday, despite the current heatwave and a forecast of 44oC that day.
The Greens have condemned the decision for Friday’s races to go ahead pointing to a lack of preventative powers in the state’s animal welfare legislation as a major hurdle for bodies such as the RSPCA to prevent cruelty to animals used in this industry for entertainment and gambling.
Tammy Franks MLC, SA Greens’ Spokesperson for Animal Welfare, has said that this is yet another reason why we need stronger animal welfare laws in our State.
In 2019 Ms Franks introduced a bill for animal welfare law reform which would strengthen the ability of RSPCA Inspectors to act to prevent animal cruelty. She will push that bill to a vote in the new year.
The following quotes are attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:
“Our state is facing a severe heatwave, we rightly have a code red for those that are homeless, various events have been postponed across the state to avoid the heat and we rightly have alerts and reminders out for the protection of native and companion animals alike but those warnings have not been heeded by the horse racing industry, who have disturbingly insisted that their show must go on.
“That they are pushing forward with a horse race in a heatwave shows how out of touch they are. Taking a gamble that the weather will change just in time rather than waiting even one more day to better ensure the safety and welfare of these animals speaks volumes about where their true priorities lie.
“This industry has form when it comes to cruelty. An industry based on making money from animals as entertainment and gambling. We can’t possibly now just trust them to do the right thing on the day. If we had a prevention power in the Animal Welfare Act we could see the RSPCA step in.
“This is why our state Animal Welfare Act must be bolstered to allow powers to prevent cruelty, not just prosecute after the fact. To our shame we have the weakest animal welfare laws in the nation, and once again we may well see harm being done to animals in the name of entertainment and profiteering which should be entirely preventable.
POKIES NOTE ACCEPTORS BULLDOZED THROUGH SA PARLIAMENT THIS WEEK
After a marathon debate in the state Upper House (over three days and long nights into early morning) the controversial bills that will ‘turbo charge gambling harm’ by allowing note acceptors in SA poker machines has drawn the condemnation of Greens’ MLC Tammy Franks.
Despite the lengthy debate and dozens of amendments put to the Bills by the crossbench members the bills passed the South Australian parliament after 8pm last night with not a single Labor or Liberal MP allowed to exercise a conscience vote and never once supporting an amendment to the bills - giving rise to repeated suggestions in the chamber that a ‘deal had been done’ well before the debate even started. The Greens, SA Best, and Advance SA all voted against the Bills.
Greens and SA Best amendments put that all MPs from both the major parties rejected:
- Maximum $1 bets
- Ensuring Labor’s required facial recognition technology is only used to actually reduce gambling harm rather than (as it often used by Casinos) to groom gambling behaviours
- Liquor Licensing fee concessions for ‘Pokies Free’ Pubs
- Increased penalties for allowing children in gaming rooms
- Penalties for advertising inducing children to gamble
- More money into the gambling rehabilitation fund and a stronger voice at the advisory table for the social welfare sector and those with lived experience of gambling harm
- Various transparency measures around reporting including making timely statistical information on gambling expenditure more readily available
- Protection for a person to be barred from bureaucratic delays having their barred status lapse
The following quotes are attributable to Tammy Franks MLC:
“In the debate the Treasurer’s modelling for this legislation predicts gambling revenue to now go up by $2m (then $3m) each year and that may well be reflected in this month’s mid-year budget review figures, but the figures for poverty, suicide, mental health and harm in our state will also increase and along with that the costs to our social services sector will balloon over those same years.
“The crossbench MLCs put up some basic protections and safeguards in amendments. In what was quite unusual for a state Upper House debate every single one of the dozens of crossbench amendments were flatly rejected by both Labor and Liberal MPs on the floor.
“The debate was an appalling display of public spin winning over legislative substance as Labor’s deal with Government to introduce these note acceptors with purported protections was shown to be flimsy and false. On being caught out on this the Opposition simply shrugged their shoulders and blamed the Government.
“Without facial recognition technology (FTR) protections in the Act to ensure the use of FTR is to prevent harm rather than to groom or promote gambling, the Labor amendments are worthless. In fact, tonight they might as well have put the fox in charge of the henhouse by pretending a tool (FTR) to manipulate behaviours will not be used to do so.
“Under the scrutiny of the chamber’s questioning Labor’s so-called ‘strict’ $100 limit on these machines turned out to be as illusory as Labor’s pretense that they were not complicit in the Bill from the start.
Last night the Legislative Council passed the Coorong Environmental Trust Bill 2019, which received unanimous support from all sides of politics. The legislation, which has been called for by the local community, will establish the Coorong Environmental Trust; an independent body with the objective of driving the restoration of flows and ecological stability within the Lower Lakes and the Coorong, with a strong focus on the Ramsar principle of sustainable use. This will put science and community back into the heart of our understanding of the Coorong and Lower Lakes.
Confucius Institutes are a key plank of the Chinese Communist Party's global soft power effort. There are 14 Confucius Institutes in Australian universities and 67 Confucius Classrooms in Australian schools.
In South Australia, there is a ‘Confucius Institute’ (CI) at the University of Adelaide, two Confucius Classrooms in our state's public schools (Salisbury High and Plympton International College), and one Confucius Classroom in the private sector at Christian Brothers College.
After first appearing in Perth, another car has now appeared in Adelaide imitating a Chinese police vehicle, alarming members of the public and in particular ex-pats from China. There is currently speculation that this fake police car may have been part of an intimidating ploy against pro-democracy protesters rallying in solidarity with those in Hong Kong over the weekend.
Currently under South Australian law it is an offence to impersonate a police officer, but it is unclear if this incident is an offence under our state’s legislation as it does not refer to police vehicles or the impersonation of police from other countries. There needs to be greater clarity around these laws to protect the community.