My respect goes out to the Hazelbrook station master for putting this little note on the station’s notice board yesterday. Nice touch to raise political awareness of the Labor goverment and in particular of one of its most disgusting, spineless and hypocritcal apostates.
A small addendum: Garrett’s back flip on uranium mining is not his first sellout; here is a small number of other turnarounds:
- At the end of January 2009, Garrett announced he will give the go ahead to the $110 million expansion expansion of an open cut mine that will divert the McArthur River in the Northern Territory six kilometres off course. His ministerial decision overruled the Federal Court that said that the original approval was granted inappropriately. The survival of migrant birds and fish that depend on the McArthur are threatened through Garrett’s decision; Aboriginal groups who have fought hard to cease the expansion said they were ignored. Xstrata, the company in control of the mine, has refused since 1993 to pay compensation to Aboriginal people and has been accused of denying traditional owners access to sacred sites. It should be remembered, that Garrett as the former lead singer of Midnight Oil was famous for his protest songs in support of indigenous land rights and self-determination.
- Gunns’ Limited, while battling significant public pressure and repeated setbacks trying to build a pulp mill in Tasmania’s Tamar Valley, has enjoyed numerous concessions from both the previous Coalition government and now Garrett. While trying to appear tough on the controversial pulp mill plans, Garrett has followed the same environmental approval procedure that was arranged by Malcolm Turnbull when he was environment minister in 2007. Turnbull, for his part, was accused of “doing deals” and accepting donations on behalf on the Liberal party from Gunns throughout his term, the October 2, 2007 Australian reported. Choosing to ignore massive public disapproval and outrage — an internet poll on January 15 found that 47% of Tasmanians strongly disagree with approving the pulp mill — Garrett has indicated initial construction can start if the company chooses to doso. He indicated he will give full approval once his “tough conditions” are met. The “tough conditions”, however, are exactly what Gunns offered to abide by in the first place.
- On August 28, 2008 Garrett approved expanding the Beverley uranium mine in South Australia’s far north-east. The Beverley mine is known for a burst pipe that leaked 62,000 litres of radioactive material in 2002. The mine also is owned by an affiliate to one of the largest arms dealers in the world, General Atomics, which will own the just approved Four Mile mine.
- Soon after, when the WA Liberal government announced lifting the ban on uranium mining on November 18, 2008 Garrett offered no challenge. “We knew that Western Australia had a policy for opening up its uranium mining — that’s a decision that the West Australian government has taken”, he told the Australian on November 18, 2008.
- Instead of demanding “let’s pay the rent, let’s give it back”, as he sung in “Beds are Burning” and call for an end to the racist Northern Territory intervention, Garrett offered this for Aboriginal people on May 26, 2008: “We should be introducing it [income management] here, in my electorate, in [the Sydney suburb of] La Perouse”.
- Rather than continuing to oppose the US/Australia military alliance — as Garrett urged in the classic protest song “US Forces” — Garrett backtracked in 2004 saying “I don’t believe [US military facility] Pine Gap should be closed.” He also “unreservedly” supported the establishment of a US military spy facility near Geraldton, telling journalists on February 17, 2007: “Of course you change your mind about some things over time.”
Garrett’s conversion from activist to conservative politician and the accompanying values sellout isn’t a new phenomena; he telegraphed his political backsliding before he took office. He confirmed suspicions of many by telling the 7.30 Report on June 10, 2004, he was “ready to come mainstream”. “I’ve matured my views”, he said. And he has justified his conservative politics as “a part of growing up”, according to the Herald Sun in 2004. Garrett also was present when the ALP voted to drop its “no new uranium mines” policy at the national conference in 2007. Then shadow environment minister, Garrett did not fight the decision and instead pledged to accept and promote it, wanting to be a “team player”, said The Age on April 29, 2007.