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Vital reading

29 Aug

1. The Herald series on migrant workers continues to unearth disturbing stories: A lonely death among the pines and Calls for action to save foreign employees. Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews adopts the legalistic Mary Poppins position: “the workers could freely complain about their employment conditions.” That is making several assumptions about the actual power such workers have culturally, socially and linguistically, and is ignoring on-the-ground factors such as access to such mechanisms and isolation.

2. There is a real stoush happening in Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s electorate over the Gunns pulp mill project in the Tamar Valley in Tasmania. Opposition spokesman Peter Garrett is also in the frame. You may read the article that inspired Geoffrey Cousins to take on the Tasmanian Government, the Howard Government, and the Rudd Opposition at The Monthly: scroll down to Richard Flanagan’s “Out of Control” (May 2007) — and stay on that site to read some other articles while you are there. I am so glad The Monthly now gives free access to some of their excellent essays.

3. Through an ad on The Monthly site I went to High & Dry — that is a generous extract from the book — by Guy Pearse.

Guy Pearse joined the Liberal party in 1989 and spent the past eighteen years studying environment policy and working in the political ‘dark arts’. He’s been an industry lobbyist, political minder, consultant and spin doctor. He wrote the speeches of Australia’s former environment minister, Robert Hill. While studying at Harvard, he moonlighted on the advance staff of the Clinton-Gore White House and re-election campaign.

More recently, his PhD research exposed the self-dubbed ‘greenhouse mafia’ – a cabal of lobbyists working for our worst polluting industries. What Guy discovered about the pervasive control these industries have over Australia’s response to climate change persuaded him to leave the dark arts behind to write High & Dry – his first book.

Read the extracts linked above in advance of APEC, and as you contemplate the coming Oz election.

4. While I suspect the blogger who notes this does not entirely disapprove, I was amazed to read U.S. Leads The World With 90 Guns Per 100 People.

5. Daniel quotes in full a terrifying article by what I hope is a total ratbag and not a typical American, and certainly not, please God, an American with any clout whatsoever. This barking mad individual really needs therapy! See Some Americans are Dangerous and shudder!

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