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Menzies House is doing its best to make people aware of the appalling censorship of public comments on the laughable (and depressing) “Clean Energy Future’ legislation.

A parliamentary joint select committee (I always thought a joint committee was impartial, but perhaps not if it is ‘select’) called for public submissions on the 1000 page plan to impose a tax on Carbon Dioxide.

An unprecedented 4500 Australians took the time to write to submit detailed submissions to the committee. All of these were rejected, with only 70 (mainly pro-tax) submissions published. At no time in the history of the Australian Parliament has a Committee flatly rejected to even consider the opinions of the Australian people.

In contrast, the government was more than happy to receive previous submission in support of the carbon tax, even if they were as simple as “I am writing to express my support for the government to legislate to put a price on carbon. I urge the government to move ahead with the Carbon Tax” (Rob Feith). This two sentence email was accepted as a submission by the Department. Yet 4500 detailed submissions by Australians opposed to the carbon tax were rejected.

Gillard’s government really wants to hear your views, as long as you agree with it.

Amongst people who agree with the Gillard/Brown government are the cheerful souls at Say Yes Australia. You can add your voice by creating a sign expressing your opinion about the proposed CO2 tax. The expectation is that your opinion will be some variation of ‘Gosh yes, let’s stop carbon pollution and save the planet for our children.’

Those who can think for themselves might have a different view.

I added ‘Are you nuts? CO2 is not a pollutant.’ Other possibilties were: ‘CO2 is the basis of all life.’ ‘CO2 is a positive by-product of cheap energy.’ ‘Plants need CO2 – more CO2 means better crops.’

Go and make a sign of your own. But I dare say none of those will be appearing on their website, or the lawn of Parliament House.

Also on the Menzies House website, a link to a wonderful review of Rob Lyon’s wonderful book, Panic on a Plate:

Here are a a few bits of the review, from the blog Velvet Glove, Iron Fist:

In the last eighty years, the proportion of household income spent on food has dropped from a third to less than a tenth. Fruit and vegetables from around the world are on the shelves all year round. Women are no longer chained to a life of domestic drudgery. Malnutrition and rickets are a distant memory. For the first time in history, we who are lucky enough to live in the West do not have to worry about food.

But worry we do – about genetic modification, fast food, BSE, childhood obesity, adult obesity, salt, margarine, cholesterol, fat, pesticides, red meat, food miles, carbon footprints and school dinners. At the very moment when we should be most relaxed about the food supply, we are bombarded with fears. Fast food is “addictive”, so we are told, and the food industry is trying to kill us for profit. Unless we take drastic action, most Britons will be obese by 2030.

As Rob Lyons patiently explains in this splendid plea for sanity, these beliefs owe more to ignorance and prejudice than fact. Take the humble hamburger, which obesity crusaders have chosen as their very own Moby Dick. On the face of it, it is bewildering why “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun”—to quote the old Big Mac slogan—should be the embodiment of evil. A burger is only bread, meat and salad. Each Big Mac contains 500 calories – a fifth of a man’s daily ‘limit’ – and you wouldn’t want to copy Morgan Spurlock’s silly experiment of eating nothing else, but it is no more fattening than the supposedly more wholesome alternatives. Ketchup is rich in vitamin C and so are fries – surprisingly, a portion of fries contains between a quarter and a third of an adult’s daily recommended vitamin C intake. There are better candidates for demonization in every middle class kitchen. “Cheese is roughly one third fat. Parmesan is also pretty salty. Olive oil is pure fat. Butter must be, by law, 80 per cent fat,” writes Lyons. “Honey and raisins – usually regarded as ‘good’ – are practically pure sugar. Orange juice is 87 per cent water, almost all the rest is sugar.”  

“Don’t eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food,” says the writer Michael Pollan. Mmm, all those handpicked vegetables and buxom maidens toiling over churns of butter. Jumpers for goalposts. Marvellous.

Or perhaps not. Your grandmother would probably not recognize spaghetti, hummus or kiwi fruits as food, but she would certainly be familiar with bread and dripping, gruel, fried everything and the early symptoms of scurvy. The range and quality of British food has improved immeasurably since the turn of the last century and supermarkets have broadened our horizons considerably.

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