I'm going to be serious and quite frank with you here as the issues I am about to raise will be contentious not only amongst coalition MP's but also my own party.
Every age comes up with a witch to burn, a sect that apparently if it is not succumbed will bring about the destruction of an empire, an issue that occupies the rigours of the day.
It is almost as if those in the position of power and their surrounding Illuminati with time to spare are terrified of the banality of daily existence and so search for an issue that demands blind obedience to conquer it.
The most dangerous place to be in these times of immense fervour is in the counter position that calls in to question the logic of the euphoria. Those who dare to question are held as heretics. There is a communal life fest in being part of the pack or staying silent.
It is hard for them to separate from the reality that the world is fairly constant and predictable and that things of the greater nature of the universe have remained beyond our control in the past and generally shall remain so into the future.
It was interesting to hear the recent discussion between Freeman Dyson, Emeritus Professor of Physics at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, with Robyn Williams, on The Science Show on ABC Radio National, when he rightly stated that the world has many problems but global warming is not one of the biggest ones. As Dyson said:
"Sea level rise has been going on much longer, long before global warming, and it probably has very little to do with human activities. All we know for sure is that sea level has been rising steadily for about 10,000 years and we'll have to do something about that."
I don't pretend for one moment to be a scientist but in my role in the Senate it is implicit in my job to be a sceptic , to question and to consider all sides and be open to the views of many rather than one view.
My current concern with the emissions trading scheme is that a religious fervour has built up around the altar of global warming. Those who serve at the altar have become ruthless in their denigration of alternate views. This fervour has now received its imprimatur by reason of a new tax, or should it be tithe to be paid to the Rudd Labor Government.
The similarity in this newest forte of socialism can be defined by the ultimate purpose of divesting the individual of their asset or income stream on the premise of an apparent greater moral good.
But who becomes the benefactors of this divestment? The administrators and the traders. Their pockets are lined with the property and income of others.
I don't remember anybody paying rural Australia for the vegetation that was divested from their asset, rural land, during the tree-clearing legislation so we could meet our Kyoto target and unfortunately I don't hear any chorus of questioning as to why in the future rural producers, after trying to feed the nation and others, will have to be dragged into an emissions trading scheme that could make many of them unviable.
Where is all this heading?
The National Party has been at the forefront of saying this is all getting beyond ridiculous and becoming dangerous. They are also being supported by unlikely allies such as the Australian Workers Union who see their own members, who have been part of the process of delivering wealth to our nation from their labours have had their industries now termed ‘dirty' by the new environmental high priests. In this new Orwellian frenzy everyone is looking over their shoulder.
Australia is going down a path of an ETS without the co-operation of the major emitting countries. It says that it is morally right to do so. The Rudd Labor Government and others say that unilateral action is a moral imperative. I look forward to that same fervour of moralistic rectitude as they approach the Mugabe issue in Zimbabwe. He is certainly in the wrong and it is on this new platform of morals that we await our dear leader to launch an attack in a very worthwhile and immediate practice of ridding our planet of this tyrant, Mugabe. That is something that would be of an exceptional benefit.
The government is currently honey-coating the fact that it will be collecting a vast amount of money from the Australian people. The ETS will collect $11.5 billion in its first year, $12 billion in its second, it will force up the price of goods and services, it will encourage industries to move to where an ETS is not present.
Australia generates 1.5 per cent of global greenhouse emissions and this ETS will reduce world levels by the smallest sliver, which self-evidently will have nil effect on global climate whether you believe in climate warming or not.
People will lose their jobs or their businesses because of the ETS. They will be the modern-day witches burning on the environmentalist fanatical pyre because their role in this new dynamic was unacceptable.
For regional Australia we look forward to the ridiculous prospect of 34 million possible hectares of forest to take the place of farming land, formerly the backbone of so many regional towns and generations of good, honest working Australians' lives.
The history of human civilisations has the disturbing trait of devising ways to put themselves out of business, sometimes through no more than their own excesses and belief structures of their governing bureaucracies. The only protection against these excesses is the capacity of the general population to question, to doubt and to disagree.
I have no doubt that as a world we must become efficient with the utilisation of our resources. We must give the greatest number of people the greatest access to the highest standard of living, it is only fair.
Efficiency, more than emissions, must become the trading scheme that brings a cleaner, fairer future. Encourage efficiency and keep the government's hands out of people's pockets and off their assets and that will bring a greater propensity to a long-term broad-based better world for all of us.