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.
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.