Property Council of Australia "Nation Building Congress 2008"
This conference affords many insights into the values and sophistication of the growth lobby community, which has such undue influence over the lives and freedom of Australians, with an impact that extends world-wide. The pressures for high immigration and massive urban expansion from this lobby group are responsible for the quasi-normalisation of a declining quality of life, freedom and natural environment in Australia.
Short review of some of the content of films from this conference.
In this particular segment, entitled, "Immigration", Bob Carr reminds me of a man gingerly attempting to convey the concept of vegetarianism to a community of cannibals.
"Immigration - a social good. On economic terms - neutral. But, on ecological terms, on environmental terms - very very high risk, for a country that resembles Northern Africa."
The Property Council and the Prime Minister cannot say that they were not warned.
Bob Carr gave good value in the so-called "Vision" section of the congress as well.
"I was reminded of what John Kenneth Galbraith said, that the ruling caste of any country will just blithely identify its interests with those of the nation."
Some of the comments preceding his were of the cart before the horse variety, for instance, one young person indignant that government didn't just name a goal then work out how to get there in the Rudd 2020 summit. That seems to sum up the PCA tunnel-vision, actually. Hard to imagine how Rudd can be seen to fail them; they were the ones invited to his 2020 summit [it wasn't Australia's summit] and his Big Australia 'vision' seems made to order for the PCA - or a psychiatric facility, unless you allow for a religious belief in human destiny to 'progress' materially forever.
The remarks below are also in the 'vision' clip above.
Whatever objections may be raised about Carr's government record in New South Wales, his comments in the "Environment" section are worth recording, as I have done below.
"I think there's some very useful stuff ... for instance in the South Australian plan on biodiversity, it says, 'Objective number one: lose no known native species as a result of human impact.'
Now, that is a terrific goal; that is a quite inspiring goal, to say, 'We're going to draw a line over the dramatic loss of species that has occurred since 1788.'"
Stabbing his finger at a document, for emphasis, he says, kindly but forcefully: "It's going to be hard to implement."
One is reminded of an overworked schoolmaster trying to get four-year-olds to focus on the difficulty they will encounter in building and testing a rocket to Mars during the Xmas break.
"And, a challenge for this industry sector, is that you might only achieve this by calling a halt to development that's going to achieve other objectives in the plan - for example, housing affordability. You might have to say, 'The only way we achieve this objective is by protecting as bushland land that would otherwise have gone to urban expansion on Adelaide's fringe'. So, the challenge for people who are enthusiastic about plans is that one inspiring objective can undercut another inspiring objective. So you get back to the 'old rule of politics'. 'Politics is a choice between different goods; between different good outcomes. Or, politics, as one American put it, is choosing between the unfortunate and the catastrophic.'"
(Gurgling from the audience.)
"Very often it is," Carr insists. "Or, as Henry Kissinger put it, about decision-making in the White House, 'Most decisions are made on the basis of a calculation that's 51 to 49'. So, your plans ... I think your plans are useful in providing an agenda for the minister and his or her head of department, so you can say, 'How are we going on this front. How are we going on that front? But it doesn't overcome the traditional tension of the political process."
Apart from Bob Carr's very important example of biodiversity, in this series of conference recordings, most of the participants seem to understand 'the environment', at most, as limited to climate change considerations.
Energy strategies are discussed, disclosing a poor understanding of what 'renewables' (flow energies) can deliver and the state of nuclear breeder reactor development. Bob Carr seemed to be the most technically knowledgeable of the people in the video, yet he talks as if we already have Generation IV reactors, (whereas they are only experimental) and he also says that it might be 20 years or more before renewables "could conceivably" supply base-load energy ... 'infinitely available energy'. Film clip on energy from the congress
He was probably thinking of deep geothermal, but there is not guarantee that we will overcome the technological problems of how to get water back when it is sent down immensely deep lateral drill-holes in rock.
Carr explains the policy of intensifying development and population density around train stations as a means of planning for peak oil, whereas the usual explanation for this style of development intensification in Victoria is to accommodate population growth. Carr also tries to convey the growing unmanagability of population growth and development, saying that we are running at high risk environmentally, of collapse of the Murray Darling Basin and running out of water, so it is very high risk to grow the population. He says that he would lower immigration, although he says he knows this is
"like going into the lion's den in the Property Council and poking it in the eye."
Carr describes the NSW Government as having needed to 'force' people in Karingai, Sydney to accommodate intensification around railways. Carr blames the previous Howard government for the high immigration which is causing this problem. This chilling admission of the adoption of force seems to be accepted with no difficulty by the big population advocates of the Property Council of Australia. Indeed, this will come as no surprise to anyone who has been observing the damage to democracy involved in forced population growth all over Australia in the past few years. There is more talk about moving people around as if they were cattle without any citizens' rights. Population growth is never questioned. (Note that there is a 'Population Debate congress' scheduled for March 2010 when the PCA will no doubt expect to dictate the terms and have its own way as usual.Film clip here)
From these film records of the 2008 congress, one gets a glimpse of the intellectual level and educational scope of participants. One should not overestimate the capacity of this group to understand the democratic consequences of their behaviour, the concept of human rights to self-government, and the impact of their (enormously energy and material-intensive activities). Going by the tenor of Carr's explanations to them, they need education in the absolute basics of Australia's ecology and human rights. We know that the people in the property development lobby range from engineers with good understanding of the thermodynamics of building materials - but who seem to be naive about energy technologies - and probably have almost no idea of biological ecological systems, through to accountants, financiers and land-bankers, who may have had the narrowest of educations, lacking even science. In short, a population that has lived to one side of the world that people who love nature and freedom value. In that mix there must also exist some outstanding individuals - and maybe even some who have some idea of what we are all up against. If so, they have yet to make their impact in the industry lobby forums, and one cannot imagine their opinion being welcome in a self-satisfied organisation which expects to have its cake and eat it.
The Property Council You-Tube Channel is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/Propertyoz#p/u/193/dzE-wa9viMM. More reviews by other writers would be useful for candobetter.org