Ukraine, Climate Change Floods And A Look At The Australian Progressives

The war in Russian invasion in Ukraine is escalating, and it’s difficult to know how this will end. But Vladimir Putin has already lost, irrespective of the outcome: a crashing Russian economy, the Rouble has collapsed, and receiving opprobrium from most of the rest of the world.

As well as what populist dictators hate the most: removal of the Russian football team from World Cup games.

And is has also provided an opportunity for the Australian Prime Minister to talk tough. It’s obvious Scott Morrison wants to be seen as part of a war-time government, but it’s hard to convince the Australian public. He’s doing the right thing to call out Russian aggression in Ukraine but Australia is not at war.

It’s also hard to think that if there wasn’t a federal election coming up, the government’s response would have been close to nothing. After all, that’s all they did when Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014, and almost as much during the wars in Bosnia and Croatia in the 1990s.

Australia doesn’t have very much of a relationship with Russia or Ukraine: the electorate would like Australia to provide the support needed to end the conflict, but it’s a far away conflict and it probably won’t play on the mind of the electorate at the next federal election.

There is one Australian connection, however, that needs to be looked at: Rupert Murdoch and Putin do have a close relationship. Putin facilitated the sale of Russian media companies to the Murdoch empire in the early 2000s, a time when Murdoch was having financial difficulties. And now the favour is being repaid, with favourable pro-Russian commentary on the US Fox News channel, which is now being replayed on Russian television. A friend in need is a friend indeed, and 20 years later, Murdoch is propagandising on behalf of Putin.

There is very little governments could have done to stop the floods in Queensland and northern NSW – except for introduce climate change mitigation about 30 years ago – but, even still, there is action that can be taken to be prepared when the inevitable effects of climate change arrive.

A report outlining the climate change events that would hit eastern Australia up until April 2022 was delivered to National Cabinet in November 2021, but it seems the government failed to act upon anything, and the communities now being affected by these floods were caught totally unawares.

Preparing for a crisis and acting when the crisis arrives is the primary reason for the existence of governments – offering protection and support when the community needs it – but the federal and NSW governments seem to think that it’s best to do nothing. If you lose your house, it’s your fault. If an entire town is flooded, what’s that got to do with the government? Should have prayed a little bit more, otherwise this wouldn’t have happened to you.

It’s the most narrow-minded perspective of what governments should be doing – or not doing, and it’s hard to see either the federal government or the NSW Government being able to win their respective elections with these types of ideological approaches. Governments are there to help and assist, not avoid people and punish them when a crisis arrives.

And in our ongoing series on independent candidates and minor parties, David Lewis is in conversation with Therese Faulkner, the president of the Australian Progressives, to look at their ambitions at the next federal election.

Music interludes:

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