Here's an issue that the Labor Opposition could really use as a point of departure from the Government. They could manage it in such a way that the unions would be onside, rural voters would be onside and lefties too. I wish it would, could happen.
In Labor's Policy White Paper, "Our Drowning Neighbours", the Federal Opposition calls on Australia to take an initiating role to assist in collaboration with other Pacific Nations in the intake and relocation of residents of countries such as Tuvalu, Vanuatu and the Carteret Islands off Papua New Guinea. Australia, which is now on the record as a country with the highest average annual temperature in 2005 since recording began, is also by far the largest contributor in the southern hemisphere to the destruction of climate balance in the Pacific.
The people on the Pacific Islands do not dirty their environment, Australia does that for them, yet up till now the Howard government conveniently closes its eyes to the issue. Australia needs to increase its annual refugee intake, and create an unconditional new category of Climate Refugees intake for the nations in our neighbourhood. It is remarkable that countries like Canada pays the bill for relocation of some Pacific Island Nations, while Australia does nothing, and that should change. Pacific Island spokesman Bob Sercombe said it was impossible to judge how many people might need resettlement — but the combined population of Tuvalu, Kiribati and the Marshall Islands is barely 175,000.