act of cultural vandalism

An open letter to my elected, so-called representatives

This present Australian Government is trotting dog-like down the path to destruction behind its conservative counterparts in the US and elsewhere, bent on transforming us into a society where the environment, the economy and the national social conscience are left to the tender mercies of the free market and corporate “self-regulation”.

Stockpiles of coal at the Hay Point coal terminal are a source of coal dust particulate pollution, Queensland, Australia. Captions and Photo source: ©© Greenpeace / Hamilton
Stockpiles of coal at the Hay Point coal terminal are a source of coal dust particulate pollution, Queensland, Australia. Captions and Photo source: ©© Greenpeace / Hamilton

Already under threat from human-induced climate change, the Great Barrier Reef now faces the added burden of an assault by coal producers. The hard won – and publicly supported – World Heritage areas of Tasmania are facing fragmentation, and for no appreciable economic benefit. In Western Australia we are witnessing the greatest act of cultural vandalism ever perpetrated by one culture against another and the eventual destruction not only of a priceless legacy of art, but of an entire archipelago. We expressed horror when the Taliban destroyed effigies of Buddha in Afghanistan but the miners and industrialists have been given carte blanche to destroy numberless ancient petroglyphs in Australia’s north-west and an archipelago that was once a coral garden and a breeding ground for whales, dugong and sea turtles.

And, as if to deliver the final blow to a people’s aspirations for the country that cradles them, in a few short months we will again have to wait while politicians, beguiled by the blandishments of financiers and industrialists, debate the future of what remains of Australia’s fisheries. The gem fish have largely gone, the orange roughy, the barracouta, the huge runs of sea mullet and blue swimmer crabs have followed them, and the men and women who fished them have faded into the masses of people displaced from occupations that once meant something to them, their boats rotted onshore, broken up for the timber or bought as collectible trophies. Now life in our deeper, offshore waters is at the mercy of self-regulating fishing vessels owned by interests whose definition of sustainability only extends to boardroom mega-bonuses and share dividends. Allowing super-trawlers to strip our waters of life and wreck the sea-floor in the process will bring very little return to Australia. Replacing fillets with fishcakes in the national diet will do nothing for the national economy and add to the country’s already declining collective health.

We need to say no to unsustainable industry, to the hedge and equity fund managers who have seized control and take back our country for its rightful owners – the ordinary people, the populi whose vox TV producers and politicians pretend to care about.

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Frank Povah

Frank Povah

Arriving in the USA in late 2008, Frank Povah moved to Stamping Ground, Kentucky in mid 2009. Passionate about the written and spoken word and constantly bewildered by non-verbs and neo-nouns, Frank trained as a typesetter - though he has worked at many things - and later branched out into proofreading, writing and editing. For many years he has been copy editor, consultant and columnist with a prestigious Australian quarterly along with running his own editorial and typesetting business. His other interests are many and include traditional music, especially that of the south, folklore, natural history, and pigeons.