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Byron Shire
July 15, 2024

The incredible shrinking ambition of Peter Dutton

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Small target, small ambition, unfit to lead. Cloudcatcher Media.

Last week, Peter Dutton’s Liberal-National Coalition formally abandoned Australia’s legislated 2030 emissions reduction target.

When Scott Morrison was prime minister, the stated plan was for a 26-28 per cent reduction of 2005 level emissions by 2030. After Mr Morrison lost government (and a series of blue ribbon seats) over inadequate climate policies, amongst other things, new leader Peter Dutton spoke about a 35 per cent reduction, as opposed to Labor’s vaunted 43 per cent.

Now… nothing. Apparently Australia is going to magically reach net zero in 2050 without slowing down decades earlier. This flies in the face of science, economics and reality.

Respected climate scientist Dr Joelle Gergis has recently warned that on current trends we will breach 1.5 degrees Celsius as soon as 2028, with a further two degrees of warming expected to be reached in the following decade.

Climate scientist Dr Joelle Gergis. Photo www.joellegergis.com.

‘The consequences of such high levels of warming on the Australian way of life and on our national security, health and unique ecosystems are profound and immeasurable,’ says Dr Gergis.

‘Australia is in peril, and yet the consequences of a warming planet on our sunburnt country are still poorly understood by most people outside of the scientific community, let alone by our government.

‘What happens every single month during the next handful of years is crucial.’

Cold calculation

For Peter Dutton and his colleagues, their latest edging away from the Paris Agreement is a cold calculation that future catastrophe can be ignored in favour of political short-termism.

With large swathes of the country becoming uninsurable due to the climate crisis, and famine, war and chaos on the horizon for those alive now, and even worse in store for generations to come, Dutton and friends are going to talk up their nuclear fig leaf while fossil fuelled business as usual continues, and renewable energy initiatives are thrown back into uncertainty.

Instead of doing the job of opposition, and forcing the ALP to raise its own inadequate targets (a 56 per cent reduction by 2030 is actually required as a minimum), it seems we are going to return to the absurd climate wars, and pretend Australians are facing a choice between cost of living issues and doing something real about the climate emergency.


The Coalition claims that 43 per cent is unachievable, which may be true, but significant progress has already been made, despite the stranglehold of old energy industries on the Australian political system and media.

Recent data shows that Australia’s emissions have fallen 29 per cent on 2005 levels, thanks largely to national renewable energy targets, and the investments of ordinary Australians in rooftop solar.

Cloudcatcher Media.

Peter Dutton’s argument that doing more would destroy the economy is unfounded, and hypocritical.

Is it okay to destroy the economy to save the climate in 2050, but not now? Does he really believe Australians will accept and fund nuclear power stations all over the country within the short time frame required? Or is the Coalition planning to abandon net zero as well in its next announcement? Perhaps when Barnaby Joyce gets control of the energy portfolio?

Australia’s international reputation is under threat as we potentially join countries like Libya, Yemen and Iran in their rejection of the Paris Agreement, which is what this backsliding amounts to, no matter how the opposition dresses it up.

Will fear or science win?

With rationality being abandoned with each new announcement, Peter Dutton appears to be gambling everything on a belief that Australians are as small in their ambition and understanding as himself.

He has proven himself entirely unfit to lead a major political party, let alone this extraordinary country.

David Lowe
David Lowe. Photo Tree Faerie.

Originally from Canberra, David Lowe is an award-winning film-maker, writer and photographer with particular interests in the environment and politics. He’s known for his campaigning work with Cloudcatcher Media.

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  1. Dutton is doing to poor old Albo / ALP what Abbott did to Rudd & Gillard / ALP.
    Dutton doesn’t care about climate science, he is tapping into the punters who in general keep slipping in and out holding climate as THE priority issue. Conveniently for Dutton the moment has landed for him, immediate issues to trumpet like cost of living, to relegate climate science as a back page item.
    Dutton the cunning pollie at work, the polls show he is whacking Albo out of the park and turning PM Albo into a ‘Oncer’.

    • Why would Dutton be wacking Albo out of the park Joachim ? I will tell you why ..just as you have
      Suggested climate change for most in this Country
      Joachim is a back seat item ..many more pressing
      Issues for the nation’s people’s…

      • Barrow, Dutton has come from the clouds since the unsuccessful Voice referendum result. He led that, succeeded and has continued ever since to take political skin off poor old Albo / ALP.
        Dutton’s messages connecting with the punters, Aldo isn’t anymore.
        The punters are are switching off Albo and marking him down, down, Albo is down.
        When the punters stop listening to you, you are cooked. With the ALP and Albo tanking in the polls stay tuned for an ALP leadership change before the next election – Jim Chalmers to be leading ALP at Election25!

        • Joachim my man, I see you have changed your line of attack on the Labor party, no more “$300 helpers for Gina and Twiggy”, has the word come down from “leader Adam” and the Greens hierarchy to all you inner-city Green activists to campaign hard on undermining Albo and the Labor Govt. You crazy ideological extremists have no idea of the resulting turmoil if a Coalition Govt were to be re-elected. I can’t believe we actually give you ideological ratbags preferences, you are worse than the Coalition.

          • Keith, do keep up, the stench over Billionaires and Multi Millionaires collecting the $300 helpers hasn’t gone away. Kylea Tink MP for North Sydney has also added her voice to this waste of $’staxpayer hard earned.
            The Albo / ALP is in polling free fall, no wonder you gone all so quiet on the polls. Sigh.
            Dutton / Coalition returning to government is all on the hapless ALP. Where is Scott Morrison to save the ALP. Lol.

          • No my poor man wrong again, the confected outrage about “$300 helpers to Billionaires” has gone away, it’s just fanatical stirrers like you who try and misrepresent genuine cost of living help and try and milk it as much as possible, who keep flogging a dead horse. You really do need to lift your game old son, but you are weighed down by incompetent members and an underperforming party, checked your own polling lately, OUCH ? I hope you Green fanatics will be happy with a nuclear future, you deserve it, like I said, why we give you inner-city ratbags preferences is way beyond me.

            , OUCH, the Like I said old son, just why do we give you

          • Like you, Kylea Tink has given no alternative way of a quick and efficient distribution that doesn’t leave out half the people most in need of assistance! You STILL haven’t answered the challenge – just conveniently ignored the last time I put it to you.

            Let’s to get too excited about the polls hey? Let’s wait and see.

            And it’s not as if polls and focus groups should determine the policy of conviction surely. Unless you’re in the Greens or the Coalition perhaps?

          • You wouldn’t be drawing a rather long 🏹 here would you Joachim? Who would have thought giving people a few bucks in a cost of living crisis would turn the tide of political opinion?

          • Keith, Keith, Keith, your faux concern for ‘cost of living’ is noted.
            From the dude who prescribed the answer to those on PovertyKeeper, condemned to living below the poverty line, it is really just a ‘cost of lifestyle’ issue for them. They just need to lower their standards and get off the arses, right Keith.
            All whilst PM Ablo wastefully slings $300 helpers to Billionaires and Multi Millionaires to presumably help them so they don’t need to lower their standards.
            Only the ALP dreams up this stuff and thinks it all good.

          • Just what is it with you “inner-city” Greens, is there something in the water down there in the big smoke? You clowns need to get out in the regions a bit more where people live in the real world, where jobs are harder to get and reliability of energy supply is of the utmost importance, save the Greenspinning lectures for your “inner-city” mates old chum, you might impress them. And just who is the Einstein who dreamt up the terminology pertaining to the “$300 helpers”?, it’s unlikely you would be smart enough, surely it must be one of your helpers.

      • Lizardbreath have voted for Labor for over 20 years…as previously stated..i vote for the best party and it’s leaders of the time ..always do the right thing i feel when voting..unlike rusted on vote no matter what ..just to prove a point..or not what best for the nation..just with agenda’s…so no i wont be frothing from the mouth anytime soon Lizardbreath if The coalition is elected back in again ..and as most on the echo Article’s have suggested the coalition would be so horrendous under Dutton..however he is leading the in the poles..oh why would that be !

        • Barrow, that is a strong performance to be sure, to have been voting ALP for over 20 years.
          For me, LibNat is never a voting option for me. I was once a rusted on Lab voter but Lab lost me during their previous stint in government. Its been Greens for me ever since.

        • I was actually replying to Joachim Barrow. I really don’t give a flying fig who you vote for – or Joachim. And since everybody is channeling Julia Gillard these days I will too. I will not be lectured to about being “rusted on” by people who spew such unquestioned, unsupported drivel so often.

        • Mr Joachim, “salivating at the coming Greens Govt”, seriously if you are salivating it’s not because of that impossibility, sadly for you it’s far more serious, go and get help my man.

        • Wrong again old son, you really don’t get it do you, what needs help is maintaining the transition to renewables against the massive opposition to it, if you inner-city Green thought more about the country than your own small world of idealistic opportunism, you might be taken more seriously.

          • Keith, what part of the transition to renewables that means no new fossil fuel adventures do you and the reckless, dangerous ALP not willing to understand.
            When you / ALP start taking action according to the Climate Science then you might just make a beginning in being taken seriously. But as long as the ALP is bought off by $’shundredsofthousands fossil fuel industry ‘donations’ we know the answer to you / ALP ever taking action in accordance with Climate Science.

  2. Do past LNP voters now feel the FOBIA of never voting to save ourselves from climate change oblivion?

    FOBIA (Fear Of Being Insanely Ambivalent)

    The rest of us certainly hope so..

    • A recent national poll asked citizen to rate their five (5) most serious concerns. The economy (stupid) and cost of living rated 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th. Climate Change – 19th

      • And when the next round of national climate catastrophe events hammer the nation, the punters will flip again to Climate Change 1st.

        • Oh you mean whats hammered the nation for
          1000’s of years Joachim..”we are a sunburnt country of drought’s and flooding rains”
          Joachim ..incidentally lowest
          Temperature recorded in Melbourne city
          19/06/24 uh all those predictions in the past 50 years by Scientists..still waiting Joachim !

          • Yes i have Lizardbreath..it’s gone from 1400
            To 7500..per annum…been in my street for 32 years ..never reached my floor level ..1.5 metres above grade…but good old byron shire council resently informed the insurance
            Companies about where it floods ..hence why iam paying huge overs for nothing ..asked my insurance company why the huge rise ?
            Ask byron shire council they said ?
            Pissed off

  3. Labor and the LNP are now 50/50 in the two party preferred. Proving 50% of Australians are morons. How could anyone want a LNP government under Dutton?

      • Nah, Ron’s partially right. ENOUGH of the population are either absolute morons or don’t give a stuff to create these giant lurches in voting.

      • What it shows old son is that at present the majority of voters are not listening to much at all, including you irresponsible Greens, they are so focused on cost of living pressures they’re ignoring everything else. When there is a proper election campaign, they’ll start engaging again, and that is not going to happen for some time, so you fanatical Greens should be careful about being presumptuous and celebrating a return of a Coalition Govt, you may just be disappointed.

        • Keith, Keith, Keith, you infatuated with the Greens so much it has developed into an unhealthy phobia.
          Best you and your handlers at ALP HQ start focusing on your own side of politics, you ain’t doing so well these days, sinking in the polls with an election coming soon.

          • And by the way, regarding the “failing to connect” claim, is that why the Greens can only struggle to gain 12% of the National vote?????, do try harder my man.

          • Keith, Greens are going okay, holding their own and not shedding votes like the hapless ALP are.
            Its a bit like The Voice Referendum with the ALP’s polling, gone into a freefall death dive testing historic lows in its polling support.
            The continued obsession of yours with the Greens is understandable in a way because without Greens preferences….well you know where you / ALP would be sitting.
            And at Election25, the ALP is going to need those Greens preferences like never before.
            Happy to help, again.

          • Oh dear old son, you and your ilk really do live in a world of fantasy down there in the “big smoke”, don’t you now. The ALP could still form a majority Govt without Greens preferences unless you irresponsible mob specifically directed preferences to the LNP in every seat , and that’s highly unlikely, however there would be NO Greens in either the HOR, and Senate without ALP preferences, now wouldn’t that be a great thing. You clowns need to remember the old proverb “people in glass houses should not throw stones”, happy to help again, sigh !!!!

          • Keith, sure, your ALP mob ‘could’ form majority government without Greens preferences but let me help you out with that perennial ‘numbers’ problem of yours.
            The ALP with a primary vote testing 30% won’t form majority government without preferences from ‘Others’ including the Greens. Please do remind us again, how many HoR seats the ALP won at Election22 without needing to go preferences. Lol.
            Greens preference flow of around 70% to ALP helped your ALP fall over the line to form government.
            Keith, ‘numbers’, never been your strong suit my man.

          • Joachim old chum, I know reality and maths are not your strong points but let me bring you up to date, if your petty little party did not receive ALP preferences there would be NO Greens in any of the Australian parliaments, OUCH, I did remind you of that old proverb my man, you should really listen before you put your big foot in your big mouth.

          • Keith, do share the ALP’s path to “could still form a majority Govt without Greens preferences.”.

          • Joachim old son, do explain just how Greens candidates can get elected without ALP preferences, I can help with the maths if you get stuck, good luck.

          • Keith, you been caught out again making claim that you can’t back up. Just like your accusation about who has done the damage to MP electorate offices – you provided proof to the Police?

  4. Tunnel vision on vital issues defines Dutton and his Cronies. Who can every forget ‘community leader’ Barnaby Joyce lying drunk on the footpath mouthing expletives? Are we meant to take these men seriously? Should we abolish the Paris Agreement? Let alone vaguely consider Going Nuclear? Their desperation for power reveals a deep inner sickness.


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