Pacific step-up or business as usual?
A thought for all eventualities

An open letter to our Pacific friends

Who would want to have these three as family? Scott Morrison, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton share a cruel joke at the expense of Pacific islanders, their attitudes and hypocrisy on public view


TUMBY BAY - On behalf of all concerned people in Australia I would like to extend a sincere apology to the nations and people of the South Pacific.

We apologise for the misguided, inadequate, cowardly and reckless actions of our Australian federal government in failing to take seriously the dire consequences to you of climate change.

I would also like to make it clear why they are being so callous and stupid.

In doing so, I quote the 32nd president of the United States of America, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a 1938 message to the US Congress when he warned:

“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself.

“That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.”

This is precisely why our federal governments, both past and present, have not acted on climate change, despite all the warnings given over many decades by knowledgeable scientists.

Our federal government, along with other leaders in the developed world, have allowed themselves to be taken over by vested interests, particularly the fossil fuel industries.

These industries extract coal, gas and petroleum from the land to burn in factories producing electricity, chemicals, computers, pharmaceuticals, cars, trucks, trains, ships, aeroplanes, machinery, weapons, fertilizers, pesticides and countless other ‘consumer’ products for the ultimate purpose of profit.

In their pursuit of greed they have largely forged the kind of world in which we now live.

These industries are supported and have their practices propagated by millions of people in dependent industries, including the media, academia and in government.

These are the fascists Franklin Delano Roosevelt warned about and which governments like our own in Australia find too difficult to challenge, regulate or abolish.

In this cut throat, dog-eat-dog world there is considerable collateral damage and I’m afraid that many Pacific nations are in this category.

The sympathetic rhetoric about Pacific ‘family’ and ‘neighbours’ emanating from our federal leaders, including those in opposition like Richard Marles, is hollow.

For your own sake, whatever these people say and however they adorn what they say with flattery and in smooth words, do not believe them.

It is crucial to understand this. You may have seen an example of this behaviour in a notorious news video, filmed in Canberra in 2015 when some of Australia’s most senior politicians were awaiting a media conference and thought the microphone was not switched on.

In the video, current prime minister Morrison, then prime minister Abbott and present defence minister and prime ministerial aspirant Dutton joke about climate change and rising sea levels in the Pacific islands

Speaking derisively of what he terms ‘Cape York Time’, Dutton says to the amusement of the other so-called leaders: “Time doesn’t mean anything when you’re about to have water lapping at your door.”

This is what they are really like. This is what they really think about you. And I believe you know this.

Open letter to Morrison
Pacific islands' leaders open letter to Scott Morrison

In 2020 14 Pacific islands leaders wrote an open letter to prime minister Morrison pointing out that their “homelands and cultures face certain devastation from climate change” and describing Australia’s target for reducing emissions as “one of the weakest” globally.

Six in ten Australians know enough about this issue to understand that Australia’s approach to climate change has a negative effect on its relationship with Pacific island countries.

So I offer this apology to you on behalf of the Australian people.

I cannot include Australia’s leaders in this apology. Australia’s leaders are out of step with most of the Australian people.

Most Australians are appalled by the attitude of our federal government and find its acquiescence to the interests of corporate fascists embarrassing and distressing.

If it is any consolation I offer the gloomy fact that it is not only your beautiful part of the world these stupid and dangerous individuals are irretrievably damaging but our own majestic land so beloved of its original Indigenous inhabitants and most of us who have arrived since.


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John Greenshields

Climate change is real. A major cause is over-population and non-sustainable growth and greed.

Thirty years ago, ZPG was the buzzword, which has disappeared from all political party platforms. Over-population is likely 5-10 times what earth can support, meanwhile we are consuming the planet.

Growth paradigms fostered by communist, totalitarian and capitalist states alike are in a giant Ponzi scheme that’s raping the planet.

Pacific countries like PNG and the Solomons could do more by stopping logging, and replacing it with forest carbon credits like LEAF, but this needs to price carbon, a forlorn hope in Australia, but not in other countries.

The cancellation of illegal SABLs in PNG is threatened by legal action against the State by the forest industry, which controls much of the economy and governments through bribery and threats.

It’s a sad scene, looking at a clear-felled forest, and seeing kwila [merbau] decking for sale in Bunnings, knowing where it comes from. Sustainable timber my arse.

Philip Heiner

Australia has a problem with arbitrary deprivation of citizenship. I’m born Australian in Australia to Australian parents with Australian heritage to the 1800s and know only Australian ancestors and lived only Australian culture.

Govt decided I’m not Australian when I lived in Australia, not emigrated or naturalised. Reason? Irish post nuptial Irish citizenship in relation to my marriage to an Irish national in Melbourne received in the post in Melbourne. That’s it. Over the past decade, decision was made 5 times on different reasons but not according to law or fact. I am banned from Australia and was denied entry to spend time with my sister or later with family at her funeral.

I am denied legal representation to appeal the last decision by Federal Court of Australia [2021]FCA212. Minister for Home Affairs wants appeal dismissed because it is “foredoomed to fail”.

Why? High Court ruled in [2020]HCA3 that government has no power to make a citizen of Australia an alien. Avoid an arbitrary decision being found by making another and another. Australia, downunder and sinking. Grab the togs.

Stephen Charteris

Andrew, are you suggesting that as a nation we should stand idly by and watch our grandchildren’s and their grandchildren’s future go up in smoke?

As a privileged and wealthy nation that has outsourced its manufacturing, and hence its CO2 emissions, and which is also the world’s largest exporter of natural gas and coking coal, Australia is as much a part of the problem as any nation.

It is incumbent upon every nation to drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels by 2030. Drastically - meaning a reduction of 45% or more over the next eight to nine years.

Australia of all nations on the planet is possibly best suited to drive the installation of the technology required to do this and to export 'clean' electricity in the process.

We have every reason to be at the forefront of leading this transition. Please understand that business as usual serves nobody’s interest, let alone yours.

Philip Fitzpatrick

Hi Andrew - It's perhaps presumptuous of me to suggest I represent people in Australia concerned about climate change so I can hardly claim to represent people in China and India who feel the same way.

Your argument is one promulgated by climate change deniers in Australia who don't realise that we once had a reputation as a progressive and caring nation to which the world looked as an example of good practice.

That reputation has been trashed in so many ways by the current federal government but especially so on climate change and the treatment of asylum seekers.

Andrew Brown

Exactly what would be the impact of Australia doing anything when China and India are adding our total output to their tallies every 12 months?

You would be unable to measure any impact from Australia at all. If you're not intending to 'bell the cat' in this argument then suggest you change the subject.

Garrett Roche

Phil, well written. Overseas media have taken note of Scott Morrison's inadequate response to the the recent report on climate change.

One would hope that more people within Australia will challenge the politicians to have a more effective response.

Media here in Ireland have reported that the AOSIS (Alliance of Small Island States) group (the group comprises 39 states including Cuba, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and the Maldives, the world's lowest-lying country) have called for definitive action in response to the recent report.

The report on Irish media states: "Many world leaders reacted to the report by calling for immediate action to curtail the rise of the world's temperature. But Australia's conservative prime minister has rejected growing calls to adopt more ambitious emissions targets."

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