26 May 2019

Jeff Sparrow on the so-called ‘coal constituency’ of Queensland: “It might be noted that, despite all the memes about the supposed backwardness of the Sunshine State, the Greens outpolled One Nation in the Senate there. In fact, as Jonathan Sri notes, after a five per cent swing to the party, the state now represents one the Greens’ strongest constituencies, a fact that undercuts any idea that Queenslanders innately hate the environment. Yet for a program of climate action to win mass support, it must address ordinary people’s legitimate concerns about jobs and wages and conditions. That’s the significance of the so-called Green New Deal being discussed in the United States: it links environmentalism to an explicit program of structural change. Without that, a climate program doesn’t seem serious — and will struggle for traction. The takeaway from the 2019 election shouldn’t be a retreat to less ambitious goals. The lesson’s quite the opposite — on climate, you go hard or you go home.”