It was only last month that the Leader of the Victorian Greens, Samantha Ratnam, called on the government to ensure that all rental properties contained ‘compulsory air conditioning’ as part of a minimum standard requirement in a letter to Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, Melissa Horne.
Air conditioning is an energy-consuming monster.
While those of us who are comfortable living in the modern world feel no guilt about the advances in technology that allow humans to wear a jumper inside when it’s over 45 degrees outside – the Greens hail from the apocalyptic ‘end is nigh’ pool of thought. They are prepared to send Australia back to the caves armed with candles through their relentless pursuit of policies that dismantle Australia’s energy security, but sure, let’s mandate air conditioners?
While the Greens terrify children and incite them to skip school and stage mock ‘die-ins’ in capital cities, they don’t mind arguing in favour of air conditioning to drag votes from the hot and sweaty poor (who are being made more poor by Climate Change policies).
This month, the Greens are back on track, calling for the luvvies in Canberra to give up their vehicles on ‘car-free’ days and try out ‘car-free zones’ in the city. Mind you, this might not be necessary as fuel prices continue to rise on the back of Australia’s dependence on internationally-sourced oil (because ideological zealots fight against domestic resources).
Jo Clay, the Greens’ transport spokesperson, released a discussion paper containing the above proposals along with the usual cash splurge on footpaths, bikes, and – of course – dramatically lowering speed limits so that cars have to expend more fossil fuels to go nowhere.
The paper also suggests mucking around with traffic light sequencing to make life miserable for motorists and leave cars pumping out fumes while bikes and pedestrians take priority. Or if that doesn’t suit, other recommendations include removing roads entirely to make ‘more space for the community’. Pesky things like on-street parking are listed as a ‘loss of space for little real gain’ – aside from having somewhere to park, which is a pretty big gain for motorists.
‘Canberrans love active travel,’ Clay insisted. ‘We have the highest level of cycling in Australia and almost everyone uses active travel at some point. Even those who drive most places will still get out of their car and walk or wheel to their final destination.’
According to Clay, these car-free days and zones are meant to offer the people of Canberra a way to ‘experience a different way to use our roads’ because exploring transport options for fun is probably high up on the list of activities for struggling businesses and families desperately scrambling to recover from Covid health orders.
Australians are more likely to believe in ‘active transport’ when representatives of the Greens permanently exchange their government-funded cars for push-bikes and cycle to Parliament in the pouring rain, freezing cold, and sweltering heat of Canberra. If they want us to believe that the working-class need to give up their cars for the ‘greater good’, Greens MPs should set the example by refusing to fly around the country and instead hop on long-distance trains or buses.
‘We have to do more to help Canberrans choose the original zero-emissions transport method of active travel. We need to make active travel fun, accessible, and safe for everyone.’
How does this declaration work with the paper’s recommendation to trial off-road bicycle exemptions for helmet requirements? Helmets are widely regarded as the most important safety advancement for cyclists – something openly acknowledged by the paper – but people don’t like wearing helmets so the Greens reckon we should just ‘ditch them’ because cycling ‘participation dropped when helmet laws were introduced’. Sure, but fatalities also dropped by 46 per cent.
‘This off road exemption could be trialled and the effect on participation measured to see if this increases cycle commuting, especially for short distances within suburbs.’
The original zero-emissions method of transport has been common with the peasantry for thousands of years – walking – although we are yet to see that less-glamorous mode of transport kick off with MPs screeching ‘Net Zero!’ from the chambers of Parliament.
Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.