Petition and counterpetition

In an earlier post, I noted that Alex Robson and John Humphreys, lead sponsors of the Kyoto counter-petition hadn’t mentioned their association with the Australian Libertarian Society.
On the comments pages of this blog Jason Soon made the reasonable argument that it was the content of the petition, not its provenance that mattered. I demurred, noting that although I agree with One Nation about Telstra, I wouldn’t like to sign a petition they’d organised.

Alex Robson has now settled the dispute. In an opinion piece in yesterday’s Canberra Times he referred, in the opening para, to the original petition as being sponsored by “the Australia Institute (a Canberra left-wing think tank)”. So he obviously thinks that it’s important to know who’s behind a petition.

[ The statement isn’t exactly correct – of the four sponsors of the petition, only Clive is formally affiliated with the Institute, I’ve done work for them and Glenn Withers and Peter Dixon have no association. But the organisational support of the Institute was openly acknowledged].

The counterpetition now seems to have become a joint project of the Australian hardline right. Both the Institute of Public Affairs and Gerry Jackson’s New Australian, normally bitter enemies, are promoting it. Despite what’s said in the counterpetition, these groups are opposed to any governmental action or international agreement to reduce carbon emissions, not just the specifics of Kyoto.