My latest piece in Inside Story, and also the Canberra Times, is headlined Punching above our weight looks like getting us knocked out (CT slightly varied). The key point is that having picked a fight with China, the government is alienating potential allies through its climate donothingism. Key para
Australia is a lightweight, and we are fighting out of our class. If we want to succeed on issues like our trade dispute with China, we can’t afford to poke our potential allies in the eye by suggesting, as Scott Morrison has repeatedly, that our climate policy will be determined by our own national interests and not by our obligations to the rest of the world.
That point has been illustrated again by an article in the New York Times on China’s boycott of Australian coal. The government would doubtless have liked a story along the lines “Plucky Aussies bullied by Chinese dictator”. Instead, it’s more like “Climate cheats get well-earned comeuppance“. The opening para “China is forcing Australia to confront what many countries are concluding: The coal era is coming to an end.”
We are fighting on two fronts and losing on both.
There’s been a lot of publicity for Morrisons. exclusion from the speakers list at the recent climate summit and resistance to our push for Matthias Cormann as head of the OECD. One thing that hasn’t attracted much attention is an earlier insult we delivered to the OECD when we appointed a climate denier, Alex Robson, as our Ambassador to the OECD. Robson was closely associated with the IPA, and contributed to their denialist volume Climate Change: The Facts I engaged in a dispute with him in the ANU magazine Agenda, but can’t now locate his piece.