Hogsback on coal-hating independents

HOGSBACK was wondering the other day “When is a Green candidate not a Green candidate?” The answer: when the candidate is an Independent.
Hogsback on coal-hating independents Hogsback on coal-hating independents Hogsback on coal-hating independents Hogsback on coal-hating independents Hogsback on coal-hating independents

In some ways seven so-called independents are even more Green than the Green candidates because they have signed an agreement with the Australian Conservation Foundation pledging their support for the fight against climate change.


It has been signed by the Member for Wentworth Kerryn Phelps, Member for Denison Andrew Wilkie, and fellow independent candidates Zali Steggall (Warringah), Oliver Yates (Kooyong), Helen Haines (Indi), Rob Oakeshott (Cowper) and Julia Banks (Flinders).


They are a mixed bunch, however, what they have in common is a hatred of coal.


The Greens meanwhile is imploding with several defections including one from the New South Wales branch by legislative council member Jeremy Buckingham who declared the NSW Greens to be riddled with "dysfunction and toxicity".  


There are no public displays of disillusionment by the independents, at least not yet. It is all smiles and air kissing instead.


Veteran climate change activist and former Australian of the Year Tim Flannery admitted he was thinking of running for the seat of Warringah but knew he would lack the required appeal in the blue-ribbon Liberal seat so he decided to back local barrister Steggall  instead.


The two are in close contact about all matters environmental and climate change.


ACF CEO Kelly O'Shanassy said the signatories were by no means the only independents running on strong climate change platforms at this election.


The implication of that is if a sitting member who is a member of a major party does not toe the ACF climate change line they will have to face an ACF-backed independent who does.


These independents do not appear to have any such intimate links with the mining industry, despite the very real prospect that they will be deliberating on the future of the nation's most important export industry from the cross-benches.   


If they bothered to check, they would find the Australian mining industry understood and endorsed the need to manage climate change.


Minerals Council of Australia CEO Tania Constable said the Australian minerals industry acknowledged sustained global action was needed to reduce the risks of human-induced climate change and supported a measured transition to a low emissions global economy.


"This includes participation in global agreements such as the Paris Agreement, which would hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels," she said.

Hogsback hopes some of these starry-eyed independents familiarise themselves with the facts about the mining industry and climate change before they go to the polls.