Post election strategy: Hit Abbott’s weak spot

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Post election strategy: Hit Abbott’s weak spot

Aaron Packard – Australia <>
5:36 PM (3 minutes ago)

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Dear Friend,

I think we all know that the outcome of the election was not a success for tackling climate change, and if we’re to be honest, it’s probably most adequately described as a climate disaster.

You do have to wonder if Tony Abbott’s blood oath to repeal the carbon price counts for anything as there was actually no blood involved. But here at Australia, we’ve concluded that while a price on carbon is and has been a very important step for Australia, Abbott’s plan to cut it is likely to be a distraction* from the area we can actually win in – their weak spot: coal expansion. We need to win this one, big time.

Here’s how.

The Government is fighting a losing battle to expand coal exports

Abbott and the Premier of Queensland, Campbell Newman are desperate to rapidly expand Australia’s coal exports. But they’re going to have a tough time. The international price of coal is low and is likely to remain low as demand for coal is not growing as fast as the industry predicted it would. China for one is busy putting in new legislation to decommission coal power plants and ramp up alternatives – meaning that the country is on track to peak it’s demand for coal much earlier than the consensus outlook had prothesised. The international price pressure, coupled with the divestment pressure, and the great work community groups around Australia are doing to fight these projects is making financing big coal projects increasingly risky and undesirable. Just last week, Glencore Xtrata shelved it’s massive Wandoan coal project for these very reasons.

Over the coming year, we’ll continue to build momentum and pressure with Divestment campaigning. We’ll also issue a direct challenge to the fossil fuel industry – through Summer Heat Australia (more to come soon).

Alongside those two, we’re going to be figuring out ways to challenge the ideology of extraction that would see Australia dug up no matter the social or environmental cost. Naomi Klein defines that ideology as ‘extractivism’:

It’s an approach to the world based on taking and taking without giving back. Taking as if there are no limits to what can be taken – no limits to what a functioning society can take, no limits to what the planet can take. When crisis hits, there is only ever one solution: take some more, faster. On all fronts. So that is their story – the one we’re trapped in. The one they use as a weapon against all of us.

We mustn’t just target Abbott and Newman for their extractivist agenda, we must target the small number of powerful people in Australia pushing extractivism. We must name it and shame it, and at the same time push forward strongly with the progressive, science-based path of development that treats the planet and people like they actually matter. That’s a big project, but it’s time to begin it. We’re always keen to hear your ideas – just hit reply to this email, or post them on our Facebook page!

There’s a few other parts to our strategy, which we’ve summarised in this post-election climate organising checklist:

  1. Rational argument won’t win the day – the Coalition is deeply ideological. It’s a power fight.
  2. Government lobbying won’t work. We have to challenge power with power.
  3. Divestment is now more important than ever – it’s our most effective strategy to fight the extra power the coal and gas industry has just received with the change in government, because it gets to the financial base of the industry. We don’t have to faff about with the Government.
  4. Things will move fast. We need to get ready to respond. But we mustn’t get caught up with just responding. We need to go on the offensive.
  5. Support alternative media. Create alternative media. We have to divest ourselves from reading and believing the Murdoch press. Invest our desire for news into media that is fact-based and unbiased.
  6. Be ready for non-violent direct action
If this resonates with you, the main thing we want you to do is stay active and stand with us over the coming months. The other thing that helps a lot is if you would become a monthly donor to Australia. Click here to find out how. We are a small team, and treasure every dollar that comes our way. Your ongoing support will enable us to rise to this challenge.
Thanks for all that you do, onwards!
Aaron, Blair, Charlie, for Australia
*We’re not saying that people shouldn’t stand up for the carbon price – but our analysis is that it will draw considerable effort for questionable results, and we’d rather put that effort into the weak

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