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The Brown Speech

June 30, 2011

Bob Brown’s strident attack on foreign investment in Australia would threaten growth of renewables. There is no significant wind and solar development in this country that hasn’t got overseas capital. Indeed when consortia bid for federal government approval – and subsidy – to build industrial scale photovoltaic generation the following foreign firms lined-up: Fotowatio Renewable Ventures (Spain) Suntech (China) and BP Solar (UK). After all, globally BP is the biggest investor in wind and biofuels. It has invested over $5 billion in the last five years. Why would you discriminate?

The debate about foreign investment is pure nostalgia, a throwback to the late 60s.

BHP recently attempted to purchase potash in Canada and got rejected by the Canadian government; Australian mining firms invest in resources throughout Africa; and BHP Billiton has investment in seven US mines.

Old small-c communist influence is one strand of Green Party opinion. This is confirmed by Bob Brown’s call for a “global people’s assembly” to tackle nuclear proliferation, currency speculation and global hunger. Not, incidentally, over-population, which is the underlying cause of food shortages, entrenched poverty and national conflicts. Population leaves the Green Party uncomfortable.

In the 60s the Communist Party of Australia called for a “peoples’ parliament” to resolve Australian involvement in Vietnam, despite the fact that Australia, unlike every country ruled by a Communist Party, had regular contested elections for an authentic parliament established by a constitution.

Any global assembly would consist largely of blocs of members nominated by their nation state. Happy days when we sit down with robots representing China, North Korea, Libya, Cuba and Saudi Arabia, all trouping in to take their seats and assiduously clock-on for their travel entitlements.

Bob Brown, what about a global Community of Democracies? A nation gets admitted when they allow their people to choose their rulers?

Egypt might be just about to achieve that status, for example, and Cuba, when they have their inevitable 1989-style Berlin Wall peoples’ revolt against Leninist dictatorship.

10 Comments
  1. June 30, 2011 12:20 pm

    What are your thoughts though on them purchasing large tracks of farmland to be used for coal seam gas. This surly puts a strain on our local land prices for farmers thus raising the costs at the shop for consumers? Not to mention the loss of farmable land.

  2. Daniel permalink
    June 30, 2011 12:22 pm

    Bob I think Brown was saying that the whole thing needs reviewing. His mention of foreign investment was in relation to food security and farmland. On the issue if the talent it has been successive Labor and Liberal governments inaction that have killed off the brains trust in these industries here in Australia.

  3. boy on a bike permalink
    June 30, 2011 12:45 pm

    All our wind turbines are also made overseas.

    Greens love public transport – better not tell them that the new trains are being made in China, sourcing components from Japan and Europe etc. And the buses use drive trains manufactured overseas. Could we have built the desalination plant without overseas corporations providing technology and know-how?

    This highlights how the “political spectrum” is more like a circle. We now have Pauline Hanson and Bob Brown having a meeting of policies.

  4. Gordicans permalink
    June 30, 2011 12:54 pm

    Quite true Bob, but what Brown does is open up the debate. The two major parties are pretty similar in terms of policy and their beholdenness to the interests of the power elites in industry, whereas Brown is refreshingly less influenced by these groups so brings a different perspective to the debate and to policy.

    The debate as to how the mining industry should be taxed is framed by the two major parties about benefits that are brought to the current generation rather than benefits that may accrue to future generations. It is the latter that is the important test when applied to policy in this area and done poorly (if at all) in this country. Norway makes us look pretty dumb. As an aside, our implementation of population policy (what policy?) falls into the same category.

  5. Keith permalink
    June 30, 2011 1:12 pm

    It’s okay to call Brown mad you know. Totally, completely, utterly barking mad. On any policy issue. Totally gone in the head.
    To advocate for a “people’s global parliament” simply points to his dissatisfaction with Australia’s democratic processes. Brownshirt is an enemy of democracy. He also advocates for the initiation and passage of legislation in the Senate without government support. Total idiot or total fascist. He also wants a “reform” of House of Reps procedures and rules, but nothing similar for the Senate. Clearly the Senate is a nurturing environment for Green subversion, and must not be touched, while its powers are extended.
    Brownshirt is anti- the Constitution, anti- democracy, and anti- Australian, and ultimately anti- human. The Greenslime must go.

    • Gordicans permalink
      June 30, 2011 4:34 pm

      Keith, you’ve done well. Your ad hominem attack on Brown is one that the Murdoch press would be proud of. You’ve managed to slag Brown and the Greens without mentioning a single fact of any substance.

  6. June 30, 2011 6:04 pm

    Bob – on target again. FIRB has been too restrictive (eg Qantas) and mining and development of renewables requires capital. I have no problem with it. Instead of being concerned about his, we should be fast getting on our bikes to become a knowledge economy, generating large export and domestic revenue from being smart.

  7. Gordicans permalink
    July 1, 2011 2:44 am

    Watching the media tonight, Abbott says “miners are putting in billions and taking out millions” and Short is saying “we’re happy that asians buy our stuff so we shouldn’t be afraid of the future”. Is that it?

    Labor and Liberal dodge the issue, and are too shit scared to rock the apple cart. Their careers are far more important than the future of the country. Where’s Peter Walsh when you need him? This current mob are self serving lightweights in comparison.

    Despite what Keith above says, it’s ironic that the Greens, the minor party are the only party to question the benefit that Australia actually derives from turning the country into a quarry. Labor and the Liberals certainly are not asking any questions. But that’s what happens when politicians are goaled on short term outcomes unexamined in the media. That’s why we have a high growth population policy. It’s all about what’s good for the elites, not what’s good for the country. Gives me the shits quite frankly.

  8. July 1, 2011 8:10 am

    Sometime ago I subscribed to posts here via email and so far, am glad I did.

  9. thejackalscodex permalink
    July 2, 2011 9:08 am

    Bob, there is such a dearth of critical journalism on the Greens. As a former journalist who worked with the Greens, including Lee Rhiannon, do you think it would be a good idea for you to write about some of the events that you witnessed firsthand in NSW?

    It would be good to have more stories out there about how the Greens used the powers of the NSW upper House to procure highly confidential documents, fighting it out in court and then never even looking at those documents.

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