The Climate Institute is closing its doors this week. But there there doesn’t seem to be much mourning going on – perhaps because activists are busy brushing up their work resumes for the plethora of enviro-campaigning jobs on offer.
All around the country, activist groups are hunting for campaign co-ordinators and/or campaign managers.
These are well paid jobs, generally higher than the average wage. And in many cases, there appears little link between the organisation’s reason for being (judging by title) and the campaigns being undertaken.
We have included a sample below, but this is the tip of the iceberg, among the 600-odd registered environmental organisations getting taxpayer benefits for campaigning – and doing very little for the actual physical environment, a matter the Federal Government is currently seeking feedback about.
Fans of the disappearing Climate Institute apparently need not fret about their message being lost.
As the organisation has explained, its ‘intellectual property’ and ‘significant remaining funds’ will be passed on to self-proclaimed ‘think tank’, The Australia Institute.
This means a tradition of unsubstantiated claims and economic mumbo-jumbo is likely to continue.
In fact, judging by what took place in the Northern Territory recently, TAI may be looking to step up its slanging approach.
Lock The Gate’s Naomi Hogan hosted a presentation by self-described “Canberra blow-in” TAI Head of Research, Rod Campbell. Rod is one of 20 staff at the TAI (according to its web site).
His presentation, which was recorded for posterity and briefly appeared on Facebook (since removed), was conducted with beer in hand (because that’s the way they do it in Canberra, right?), and was notionally a criticism of the economic benefits which would flow from development of natural gas in the NT.
What it turned out to be was a diatribe (at times assisted by the audience) against the NT Government, the Federal and NSW Governments, Darwin-based politicians and journalists and economic firms Deloitte and ACIL Allen.
There was a “compliant media” in the NT, supposedly exemplified by NT News Business Editor Ashley Manicaros, who was singled out for attack and pictured on a presentation slide with a childish moustache drawn on his face.
“Poor old Ken Vowles” (NT Government Minister) was another to cop it. He was part of a political “tribe” not doing their jobs, focussed only on power, not on the advice of economists.
Perhaps the work of Deloitte and ACIL Allen might be subjected to a more rigorous examination – particularly as this was a stated focus of the presentation. This was the claimed area of expertise for Mr Campbell.
But what followed appeared more about dubious theory than a detailed look at the work of Deloitte and ACIL Allen of which Mr Campbell was so dismissive.
Perhaps his opening gambit at the Darwin presentation was a clue.
First checking who was in the room, Mr Campbell then told the audience they did not need any qualification to consider themselves economists.
“Anyone can be an economist,” he said. “You just have to be able to look people in the eye and say ‘I am an economist’.”
Mr Campbell and his host, Lock The Gate, made it clear they will be vigorously active during the current scientific inquiry into hydraulic fracturing in the NT, lobbying MPs and filming meetings and consultations sessions.
They also made clear they will not accept the decision of the inquiry, if it recommends any form of hydraulic fracturing be allowed – no matter what regulations and safeguards may be recommended.
Most of this is pretty common for Lock The Gate, but is not the behaviour commonly displayed by a member of a group which describes itself as one of the country’s most influential think tanks.
When Mr Campbell actually got to points of economics, his utterances were interesting, to say the least.
He seemed to be employing some kind of twisted Modern Monetary Theory to explain that there was no real fiscal problem in the debt-saddled NT, as the Government was free to issue to credit to pay for projects. He then used Japan as an example where “the central bank created credit”. Yes that is the same Japanese economy which for 20 years has been struggling with entrenched stagflation which is stifling the economy.
Mr Campbell elaborated:
“The Government can create as much credit as it likes,” he said, skipping past the recent experience in Greece and other debt-laden European countries. “Instead the Government here has said ‘we are not interested where credit goes’. We have outsourced that role to the banks.” Yes, banks which are required under law to avoid recklessly issuing credit.
Having not finished with his nationalisation mantra, Mr Campbell went on to claim foreign investment had done nothing for Australia.
“Australia does not need foreign investment,” he said. “That is demonstrably bullshit.”
Thank you, spokesman for the Banana Republic.
Activist job openings available this week:
- #StopAdani Digital Campaigner – GetUp – Sydney NSW
- Environment Campaigners – Melbourne or Sydney, Employer: GetUp Australia , Location: Sydney, GetUp are looking for sharp, savvy creative with a wicked sense of humour who lives and breathes environmental issues. Various Levels
- Volunteer Coordinator / Organiser – 350.org
- Program Coordinator – Earth Assist
- North West Gasfield Free Communities Coordinator – North West NSW
- Campaign Manager – Newcastle, Wilderness Society
- Organiser – GetUp!
- Wilderness Defender Campaigner – Sydney, Wilderness Society
- Media Advisor – Cities Power Partnership Project – Climate Council