Today, The Guardian’s editor-in-chief, Katharine Viner, published an honourable letter apologising for The Guardian founder’s involvement with slavery 200 years ago. However, over at The Australian, the editor excoriated the Greens for advocating stronger measures to curb the disastrous impacts on humanity, and all life on Earth, of deliberately opening more coal and gas projects.
While it is difficult to see the Murdoch clan apologising for putting more money for themselves ahead of more suffering for millions of others, the parallels with the failure to adequately reject slavery and compensate those who suffered it two centuries ago are obvious. The day will come when there will be a Murdoch mea culpa. However, that does not excuse the arrogance of the mega-rich as represented by The Australian, or the similar money-before-planet editorial in the Australian Financial Review, today.
What set The Australian into such conniptions was the comment of Greens Senator Nick McKim after the Greens, having gained some modifications, agreed to let the Albanese government’s patently inadequate climate emergency measures through the parliament. The alternative was to block the measures, bring down the usual Labor-led condemnation on the Greens, and have Labor’s leaders in the position they would like most of all – no action, to the delight of the Labor-backing fossil fuel juggernauts.
McKim said that negotiating with the Albanese government is akin to dealing with a “corrupt, ecocidal government of a petro-state that was prepared to hold a gun to the head of future generations by threatening to blow up climate action unless they could continue to approve massive new coal and gas projects.” What The Australian didn’t make clear is what part of that statement could possibly be faulted.
Maybe it is the word ‘corrupt’ in a nation where Labor and Coalition take massive donations from fossil fuel companies but it is seen as smart political practice. As to the rest of it, once again, what is there about McKim’s words to be faulted?
It seems he struck a sensitive nerve down at The Australian. Will it take 200 years for the Murdochs to come to grips with the cruelty – economic as well as environmental – of enslaving future generations with an Earth super-heated by greenhouse gases which could have been so readily kept in the ground in our own times.