To the ALP: I have never grieved like I am grieving now

The following is an email sent to a federal Labor MP in regional Victoria. The contributor who wishes to remain anonymous originally emailed her MP regarding her ‘concerns about this catastrophic fire season, the whole mess about Adani’, and her ‘grief regarding the tragic loss of our wildlife and birdlife’.

Her MP’s response included the following:
‘Coking coal is needed to produce steel to assist the transition to renewables.  It’s an essential ingredient to building new wind turbines and solar farms.

Our contributor says she ‘didn’t argue that point because I am not a scientist. But I did respond to the effect that nothing whatsoever justifies Labor’s support of the Adani Coal mine’.

The following is the subsequent letter our contributor sent to her MP:

‘Yesterday morning on the ABC (thank God for the ABC!) there was an interview with Professor Ross Garnaut who is a well accredited economist with a credible understanding of the scientific alternatives to the use of coal to produce steel. Professor Garnaut made it clear that the technology for producing renewables without coal has been suggested several years ago.

I think that it’s simply expedient for politicians (both Liberal and Labor) to continue to make claims about the need for coal as a transition to renewables. And it isn’t true. Whatever the science says, what I believe is that if there is not currently a way to do so then we have to STOP what we are doing RIGHT NOW, not in 2 or 3 years from now, I mean RIGHT NOW, and pour our scientific pursuits into developing these alternative processes, again RIGHT NOW!

I think it is despicable for the Labor party to support Adani, no matter what the proposed justification. Because there is no legitimate justification. To those of us out here who care and care deeply, it just confirms in our minds that the Labor party is just like the Liberal party – the only thing that matters is money – the unholy $. For the Liberal party is big business $, for the Labor party it’s union $. When Albanese came out and made those ridiculous statements about Australia’s coal being superior to other coal and therefore we are doing the right thing by selling coal I just laughed at the pathetic rationalisation for appalling leadership and political behaviour.

I agree people from the mining industry need retraining. But they won’t even consider that until they have to… Don’t get me wrong. I am not blaming specific individuals. I know that none of us are innocent in this. We all use products that rely on energy. I fly in aeroplanes frequently. I sit in office blocks with air conditioning and/or heating. We all know that we have to change our lifestyles so none of us are innocent. But coal mining is particularly at the forefront of the need to change and change NOW.

About me: I am 68 years old. I was born on a wheat and sheep farm out the back of NSW. I vividly remember being about 5 (maybe 6) years old the first time my father gave me a hessian wheat bag and taught me how to put spot fires out. Beside my sister I stood in front of our farmhouse and beat those spot fires with my hessian bag while my father and mother and the other local farmers worked closer to the fire front. I’ve lived through repeated droughts. I moved to the city for employment and spent many years in urban Australia. But I made sure I raised my children within arms length of the bush because I wanted them to know what Australia means beyond the tram tracks and the city lights.  I am what you would call dinki-di, true-blue, ridgy-didge, and I’ve got a Vegemite rose in every cheek. I am Australian to the very core, my roots go deep into this soil of our land.

I have never grieved like I am grieving now. I find myself in tears every day, unpredictable, unexpected, and inconvenient tears when I least expect it. I can’t speak to my husband without crying. For the past 20-30 years I have donated funds to Australian Wild Life causes every week, from every wage I receive (and yes I am still working). Poor Fellow, My Country!!!! And we have our politicians to blame for ignoring our pleas for help. Money, always money, that’s what wins. Development before Environment. Jobs before Environment. Every time. Political gobbledespeak, justifications, rationalisations, denials, placating, and on and on it goes. Now they’re going to blame the undergrowth………and then they’ll burn more of our animals and birdlife out of their homes month after month. There have never been fires like this. And recently I choked when I saw a news article stating something like: “Climate Scientists say Australia has recovered from fires in the past and we can do that again”. Already they’re out there with the political ‘spin’ to try to deflect the anger. It sickens me and I am not deceived.

I am gratified with the youth response to climate change. When I marched in Melbourne against the Adani Coal Mine many of the young people around me thanked me for being there. You know what? We’ve been there for decades before them…….we’ve laid the groundwork….but maybe it’s now that the very real crisis is upon us that our future generations will be seen to lead us forward.

I am grateful for the replies from your office. But if you really do understand and care, then “go gettem girl!” Stop hiding behind the “we need jobs” banner which is just another excuse for doing nothing to govern this land for our future. History will respect you.

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