Monday, 15 December 2008

The beginning of a what if nobody agrees strategy?

Getting the pictures right is a key component of the Kevin Rudd strategy of staying popular during troubled times. He knows that most of us have only scant understanding of what all that global warming and carbon emissions stuff is all about. So the Prime Minister just looks and sounds serious and earnest as he says the words, as I am sure his National Press Club appearance will show, while concentrating on giving us a vision that will leave us with an impression that he is doing something. 
He started the picture thing about global warming yesterday by posing with Queensland Premier Anna Bligh at a solar power farm in Windorah before flying to Canberra to prepare for his NPC appearance to release the white paper on climate change. The hard hats on the political heads, against the background of five 14 metre reflective reflective mirrors, certainly created the impression that this Labor Party lot are actually doing something innovative and new. 
While the critics from left and right argue in Canberra whether the White Paper goes too far or not far enough, Mr Rudd will be off to Western Australia to give us another illustration of a government that is doing something and not just talking about it. Last week in Labor's so-called "nation building package", $195 million was provided to be spent this financial year to support economic development in the East Kimberley region. 
The WA State Government has plans to double the size of the Ord River irrigation scheme from 4,000 to 28,000 hectares and the federal finance will help it speed up the development while providing plenty of happy snaps of a Prime Minister at the largest fresh water dam in the nation. The hope of the image makers is that there will be at least a subliminal message left in some minds that Labor is prudently preparing Australia for the day when global warming means that the irrigators in the Murray-Darling Basin down south are forced out of business. Expect to see lots of lovely melons and mangoes and plans for sugar mills on the television.
At another level, the Rudd visit up north suggests that he is beginning to turn his mind to the real problem this country will face if the nations cannot reach agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures do rise in the way the scientific experts predict. We should all be thankful for that as the latest round of international talks which finished in Poland last week hardly give cause for optimism that there will be a meaningful cut in emissions anytime soon. 
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