Wednesday, June 4, 2008

How not to go green

Seven months into Kevin Rudd's Prime Ministership in Australia, and it looks like sections of the op-ed commentariat are jumping ship. Elizabeth Farrelly fires a pretty heavy spray against the Federal Labour government in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

Farrelly finds it hard to contain her impatience, not only with Rudd, but with the electorate. Lurking here is a funny understanding of strong leadership, which Farrelly wants as long as, and only if, it is to implement the policies she wants.

This leads to the following intriguing statement on citizenship:

And maybe that's just human nature. But human behaviour can change, and be changed by tax. So we must reject the bad parenting our leaders pathetically offer, demanding instead the tough love we need. Demand, for our own sake, the increased fuel prices that can make change smooth, not catastrophic. That's moral courage. That's citizenship.

I thought that citizenship was about people voting for their political representatives, and having a say on how they are taxed, and how their taxes are used. No taxation without representation, and all that.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm not a climate change denier, I think that cutting fuel taxes at the moment is a dumb idea, and I think we need to be moving towards smaller cars, better public transport, better designed cities etc.

But the idea that citizenship is about leaders forcing policies on voters is precisely the way not to build an awareness of these issues, in my humble opinion.

1 comment:

Jason said...

Agreed, Terry - Farrelly is renouncing her own responsibility for making her arguments in the public sphere, and persuading her fellow citizens. She's come out with this sort of stuff before - she seems to be uncommonly impressed by the possibilities for "strong leadership", in a way that I, for one, find unsettling.