A Decade of Drift

Dr Martin Parkinson, AC PSM

A Decade of Drift
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A Decade of Drift

Dr Martin Parkinson, AC PSM

The erosion of public trust in government has been a characteristic of liberal democracies in recent years. How much have the twists and turns in climate change policy over the past decade contributed to this in Australia? As a senior public servant during six prime ministerships, Martin Parkinson had a front-row seat from which to watch the inability of successive governments to tackle climate change.

From an emissions trading scheme through to a National Energy Guarantee, this is a story of science and expertise ignored, short-termism, wasted opportunities and international disappointment. Climate change demands both a local and a global response, just as do pandemics, mass migration and ocean pollution. The increasingly urgent question is whether governments are up to the challenge or are prepared to bear the consequences of inaction or indifference. The history of climate change policy in Australia is a sorry story which should leave Australians demanding more courage and commitment from their political leaders.

In the National Interest is a new series in the Monash University Publishing list that is focused on the challenges Australia confronts. The series informs, influences and inspires public discourse. Showcasing experts both from within Monash and beyond, these short, thought-provoking and accessible books will address the major issues of our times, from public policy to governance and government.

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