Today, January 26, is that day of the year when Australia’s have another holiday and are encouraged to get together with their mates for a beer or wine and to feel good about being Australian. It is also the day when the ruling elite thrust somebody whose values they share upon us and we are forced to suffer comment from that person for the rest of the year – or stop listening to the ABC. Today it is Simon McKeon. He is the fellow Julia Gillard has nominated “Australian of the Year’.
McKeon optimizes the values of the new elite. He is a bourgeoisie-bohemian*: throughout his life he has valued commerce and also worked to save the planet. McKeon was a merchant banker and he is now a climate change activist – at the highest level.
McKeon was recently appointed chairman of the CSIRO – officially Australia’s premier scientific organisation and an advocate for the introduction of a carbon price and emissions trading scheme.
McKeon was also once a sailor and this has given him first hand experience of climate change phenomena. Speaking to The Age newspaper in 2008 Mr McKeon explained that in the 1980s and 1990s a consistent wind blew from the southwest across Waratah Bay near Wilsons Promontory. But since at least 2004 that wind has evaporated. This observation helped convince Mr McKeon to begin minimising carbon emissions and become a business community ambassador for Earth Hour and in particular to suggest businesses switch all their lights off for one hour every year.
*read David Brooks’ book Bobos in Paradise