Great Barrier Reef: Australia's climate politics and the media

Newlands, Maxine (2019) Great Barrier Reef: Australia's climate politics and the media. In: Abstracts from the Australian Political Studies Association Conference. 221. p. 89. From: Australian Political Studies Association Conference 2019, 23-25 September 2019, Adelaide, SA, Australia.

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The Great Barrier Reef is a global icon and its future health is a metaphor for Australia’s environmental politics. A weakened climate change policy, unprecedented back-to-back-bleaching (2016/2017), port development to feed expanding terrestrial mines, plastics and poor water quality are all adding to the declining health of the world’s largest eco-system.Despite the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act (1975), that formally seals shared stewardship between the Queensland and Federal governments, there remains clashes between state and federal politics that are as old as the Act itself. Whilst political ambition and advocacy drove the first campaign to Save the Barrier Reef (1967-1975). The federal governments’ thwarting of Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen plans to mine the Barrier Reef, set up a contentious relationship between the state and federal government that remains today.Today, conflict between the Queensland coal lobby and the ‘environmentalists’ continues to drive much of Australia’s climate policy. In the last ten years, the Liberal dismantling of four federal climate change programs, new Queensland legislation and a joint attempt to temper UNESCO worries, are yet to show solutions. UNESCO made the Great Barrier Reef one of its World Heritage properties (1981) and Australiaguardians of the world’s largest eco-system. Another bleaching event could do irreparable damage, and UNESCO has concerns over whether enough is being done. Australia has an environmental plan –the Reef 2050, but is it enough?This paper explores two fundamental environmental politics questions, 1.Why did the Great Barrier Reef become a trope for Australia’s environmental politics? 2.What political influences do lobbyists and the media exert on national policy?

Item ID: 60605
Item Type: Conference Item (Abstract / Summary)
Keywords: barrier reef, politics, historical, environmental
Copyright Information: Retained by the author
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2020 02:29
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1606 Political Science > 160605 Environmental Politics @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9402 Government and Politics > 940299 Government and Politics not elsewhere classified @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950299 Communication not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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