Tony Abbott: Australia's New Prime Minister Has No Use For Science


"Down under" now refers to both Australia and its recently axed Climate Commission. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott abolished the independent research organization that informed Australians on environmental issues. While Abbott is supposedly streamlining the government bureaucracy, there's a clear anti-climate change agenda here as he considered the fate of the Climate Commission "absolute crap". Unfortunately, this isn't a radical move as it represents the next step in what politicians who oppose fighting climate change are doing.

The Climate Commission was established during the previous Labor Party-controlled government. According to the Commission's site, it was established to "provide all Australians with an independent and reliable source of information about the science of climate change, the international action being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and the economics of a carbon price." It is the primary organization for pushing policy on climate change.

It's not in Abbott's interest though, whose platform emphasized economic recovery through diversifying business and growing the private sector. One of the top priorities is to repeal Australia's carbon tax. The carbon tax, a tax on pollution, is the largest of its kind in the world. Repealing the tax is actually the third step in a 12-step plan for Abbott's government. The abolition of the Climate Commission takes away a vocal opposition to this plan.

The abolition of the Climate Commission is unique in that it seems radical in comparison to similar politics around the world. In the U.S., big business and GOP lawmakers fight hard against environmentally-based taxes. The difference is that the government hasn't shut down organizations like the EPA. Is Australia totally radical in doing this? No, it's just taking the agenda a step further.

Big business and free market enthusiasts have always opposed carbon taxes and fighting climate change. Abbott is no different than politicians of the same persuasion around the world. The end of the Climate Commission is significant because it's an example of what politicians can actually do to further their agenda, which is to silence opposition. The commissioner and prominent Australian scientist Tim Flannery said it best when he stated, "I believe Australians have a right to know, a right to authoritative, independent and accurate information on climate change." Abbott would rather have business growing.

The Climate Commission had a monopoly on monitoring and evaluating environmental issues in Australia.It was too easy for Abbott to shut it down, and that's why this move shouldn't be shocking. If the opportunity to silence environmental opposition exists, it will happen. Australia has shown that.