Australian elections, wilderness and the lost billions (editorial)
Recher, H.F. (1998) Australian elections, wilderness and the lost billions (editorial). Pacific Conservation Biology, 4 (3). pp. 177-178.
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As I write this editorial, Australia is in the final week of national elections. Apart from the appearance of a strongly nationalistic, and minority, party which the media has promoted as racist, it is unlikely that Australia's election has received much notice outside Australia. Yet there are aspects to this election which should disturb anyone interested in achieving global ecological sustainability and the conservation of global biodiversity. First, there has been a conspicuous silence from the major political parties concerning environmental issues. To be sure, the sitting conservative government has rolled out the pork barrel and grandly announced funding for local conservation initiatives ? especially in marginal seats ? but there has been no debate on issues nor have environmental policies been afforded even a small fraction of the attention given to the economy, unemployment, health or education. Moreover, the projects funded do nothing to resolve the underlying causes of Australia's declining environmental quality (e.g., land clearing, unsustainable logging practices, over grazing, and excessive demands on fresh water). This is despite the fact that respondents to polls continue to list the environment among the most important issues concerning Australians.
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