Browning Australia

Despite the looming environmental crisis facing the world, leader of the Greens, Senator Bob Brown (pictured) says if you can put a smile on the imaginary faces of your grandchildren and great grandchildren because of the work youre doing now, you can feel happy.

He also has an optimistic vision for Australia in 20 years time.

The world will be in a worse environmental situation, he said. But Australia will be in a much better frame of mind environmentally. We are beautifully placed to be a leader in solar technology. We wont be digging and damming. People from all over the world will come to Australia to see the stars in an unpolluted sky, breathe fresh air and to learn from Indigenous culture. Australian pride is not about a flag, but about Australia showing a better way.

The senator is coming to the North Coast to give a talk and be a part of an open forum on climate change on Saturday, February 10, at the Byron Bay High School hall.

Hes a man of many talents. Not only is he a medical doctor he was working at the London hospital when Jimi Hendrix was brought in after his fatal overdose but he can now add performer to his CV.

He recently appeared in a comedy revue called Me and Mr Brown with comedian Dolly Putin in a show based on her desire to marry Bob. (She impressed him with her decision to combat global warming by leaving the fridge door open.)

The show played the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Woodford Folk Festival and it was, he reckoned, quite an experience. He didnt marry her. He shut the fridge door and has no plans to change careers at this point.

On a more serious note, when asked about Australian of the Year Tim Flannerys comment that the Howard government was dragging the chain on climate change, Mr Brown replied that not only were they dragging the chain they had thrown away the steering wheel.

He said water was the big issue currently facing the nation, but meanwhile Australia continued to export and burn coal as a power source a major contributor to creating greenhouse gas emissions.

Water shortages are due to less rain which is due, at least in part, to climate change, he said. But Australia is the leading exporter of coal in the world.

Mr Brown said he had issued a challenge to both Malcolm Turnbull, the new Minister for the Environment and Water and shadow minister ALPs Peter Garrett, to debate with him on climate change.

When asked about Peter Garrett, Mr Brown said the former Midnight Oil front man now supported allowing nuclear ships into the ports of Australias major cities.

But will he support a carbon pollution tax? he asked. We have to have one if clean and renewable energy is to compete with coal and oil.

Mr Brown said he believed rural Australia wanted sustainability and strong environmental policies to combat the devastating effects of climate change. And yet he rated The Nationals environmental policies as poor.

Its a lost opportunity for The Nationals, he said. (They) are totally behind coal exports and back unnecessary and damaging dam building. There has been a complete failure of the Howard government to address climate change, so theres a real need for the Greens to gain the balance of power in the Senate.

Tickets to see Bob Brown speak are $12/10 and available from local bookshops. The talking starts at 7pm.

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