It was a solemn moment at the Preston Town Hall (Vic.) on October 26, 2018, as Darebin Council raised the Intersex flag for Intersex Awareness Day. Councils don’t come more woke than Darebin, which includes Melbourne’s green-hued northern suburbs of Northcote, Preston, Thornbury and Fairfield. It was an even more solemn day on December 5, 2016, when Darebin became the world’s first council to declare a “Climate Emergency”. Since then about 85 Australian councils have rung out their own “emergency” declarations, plus 1300 worldwide, including New York and London. In the UK some 60 per cent of councils have declared an Emergency. The Australian numbers are astounding. Nearly 7.4 million — roughly 30 per cent of the population — are covered by councils’ declarations.
You’ve probably never heard of Bryony Edwards (left) but she inspired Darebin which then inspired the (Western) world. She and long-time colleague and partner Adrian Whitehead now run a body called CACE – Council Action in the Climate Emergency – to help councils and agitators follow through on their declarations with supposed planet-saving action. (To hear Ms Edwards and other Darebin councilors and lobbyists detail in their own words how easy it is to get elected and what to do when seated, go here. The embedded audio files are most instructive.)
Ms Edwards has campaigned on climate since she was nine, when she “began stuffing rubbish up car tail pipes to reduce pollution.” Greens are not radical enough , so she seeks a far-reaching social transformation towards zero economic and population growth. Victoria, she urges, should go onto a war footing for zero emissions by 2028. Her bold goal is to restore the globe’s temperature to pre-industrial levels, i.e. back to the Little Ice Age, to avert ecological and social collapse. Her credo: “Business as usual ceases and action is taken as though the house is on fire.”
Australia’s average Joe or Mary think the council declarations are just harmless virtue signalling. Not on your nelly! Climate zealots, rebuffed in their state and federal ambitions, are targeting councils as the easily penetrated underbelly of Australian politics. It’s not hard for determined agitators to convert or elect a couple of councillors, take over the council and then redirect its spare staff, funds and powers to economy- and environment-wrecking green ends.
Consider, for example, the recent bushfires and the fuel loads that made them unstoppable. When criticised for local government restrictions on land-clearing, tree-lopping and hazard-reduction burns, the standard response has been to assert that greenish sorts are always the minority and don’t set or dominate town hall debates and policies. Well they don’t need to, as there are other ways and devious methods of exerting control and imposing Gaia’s perceived will on ratepayers.
Smart folks could dismiss all this as typical climate-sceptic tripe. Except that CACE web-publishes openly its instruction manuals for council takeovers. We have been warned.
The game plan is first to purge the council of backsliding staff from the CEO down, stack positions with fellow-zealots, divert discretionary funds to climate warfare, and turn the council into a climate campaign tool against state and federal governments. Sophisticated? The methods are state of the art. Right now they are busy reframing the very English language to reflect their climate manias.
In the words of Darebin Council’s Sally Moxham, “By declaring the Emergency we [Darebin] are past individual appeals like recycling bins and individual action. We are now acting more like a not-for-profit or non-government-organisation to say to residents, ‘it not just about riding bikes, we want you to mobilise and mobilise now’.” Moxham is Manager, Climate Emergency and Sustainable Transport, and runs 30 staff. They don’t come cheap to ratepayers – she advertised for a climate coordinator last June on a $120,000 package.
Darebin was a plaything of Labor Party factional warlords till 2016. For example, in 2014 in the middle of a State Ombudsman’s inquiry into misuse of council funds, dodgy planning issues and conflicts of interest, the councillors upped the pay of their chief executive to $400,000, second only to the CEO of Melbourne City Council ($420,000). Soon after, the CEO resigned (effective immediately) to enjoy more family time and “pursue other opportunities”.
Once a battlers’ province, Darebin homes at mid-2018 were fetching $358,000 above the state average, as incoming government workers and bourgeoisie forced out the ethnic manual workers and their offspring. The arrivistes in 2016 helped elect the current council of four Independents, three Greens, and two Labor, who run a $185-million budget and 770 staff for Darebin’s 160,000 population.  These days Darebin takes governance seriously and practices good transparency.
The most overtly woke councillor is deputy mayor Susanne Newton, a Green who enjoys “driving the courageous decisions that reflect the progressive community” such as the Climate Emergency and the Australia Day “Change the Date” flim-flam.
Darebin in 2017 got an Emergency motion adopted at the high ground of the Victorian Municipal Association’s state council. This decree says that warming threatens humans, civilisation and all species, requiring “the restructuring of the physical economy at the necessary scale and speed.” And “the MAV has a particular role in assisting local governments in this regard.”
Darebin’s Moxham spoke at a Melbourne University Sustainable Society seminar for climate cultists last month, under the banner of crazed teen Greta Thunberg. (I’ve already written up two of the other speakers here and here). Moxham told of Darebin planning against climate-imminent food insecurity, homelessness, and a need for safe havens against heatwaves. “Every day we will see that, we are already seeing that,” she said, hyperbolically. She described as “fabulous” the recent school-kid climate strikers and mushrooming action groups. “We see our council as an enabler and supporter and say, ‘this is what we would like you to start doing to lobby the state government’.
“The council also wants to work through an emerging organisation called Climate Emergency Australia for mobilisation and empowerment.”
After declaring its “emergency”, Darebin received advice from a UK-based think tank, PIRC, on effective language to use with ratepayers to “empower” them, rather than alienate them. “We are not in an Emergency at Darebin but we want to get there in a way that will be supported without the risk of political failure. So yeah, watch this space,” she said.
I noticed that she was due to speak with Darebin’s mayor to a Lord Mayors’ Climate Emergency Round Table in Darwin two days later, and assumed the flights would put out a lot of emissions. But on checking I found they had given their speeches from Melbourne by Skype. Good work, girls.
Once a council declares an emergency, CACE provides a template for a Vyshinsky-style purge of staff backsliders, starting with the CEO. Only fealty to CACE’s wildest climate fantasies can save the CEO’s hide. A separate purge expels wayward contractors, banks and insurers: “Simply put, your council should boycott any company profiteering from global warming.” The most hated is consultant GHD International, with 10,000 staff, for its work for Adani coal.
CACE is incensed by council CEOs and managers who dilute the green agenda.
Many organisations have filled climate emergency roles with staff or CEOs who immediately pull back from the strong messages and programs they were employed to implement, and instead adopt soft messaging, a more limited scope and weak goals and targets. If this occurs these staff should be removed from their positions…
…It would be difficult if not impossible to implement a climate emergency response if the CEO is a climate sceptic, a denier, opposes cultural change or is apathetic about this issue. Perhaps you need a new CEO?
Hence the CEO should be hauled in (I assume under a 500-watt lamp) to be asked
# are you a climate sceptic or denier?
# do you view a climate emergency response as merely a hindrance to council’s normal business?
# do you understand the threat climate change poses to our world, our country, our community, themselves and your family?
# do you understand the role of councils in getting action by higher levels of government?
# are you willing to change normal business practice to implement an emergency response?
# will you be able to manage, motivate and inspire cultural and operational change within the organisation focused on climate emergency action?
I must say Darebin’s top brass would fail the interrogation. Their latest annual report has just a few lines on the council’s purported emergency, to do with a couple of conferences or webinars and hosting a dinner for 80 climate careerists.
CACE wants to deal a similar harsh fate to a CEO’s wayward subordinates.
If senior management do not respond or support the processes, the councillors will have to deal with the inaction through their CEO and through the development of specific work plans that detail action and can be linked to KPIs [in executive contracts] and performance assessments, or those particular staff can be replaced.
To further galvanise laggards, voluntary community activists (think Extinction Rebellion types) can be inserted into the councils’ back offices. In CACE’s words,
However, you may require a significant cultural shift in the way your council works for this to be effective, and as a minimum an openness by staff to work in a collegiate fashion with community members … Council staff may have to under gone [sic] some culture change training to be able to use and work with an expert advisory committee effectively…
Unfortunately the investment of hundreds of billions of dollars [eh?] by the carbon industries in discrediting climate science and in lobbying our politicians has succeeded in creating public confusion and misinformation about global warming.
For example, 40 per cent of the public don’t believe in human-forced climate change – and some of these people will be your staff. The majority of staff, managers and councillors will believe in human-forced climate change but their understanding of its current, near and longer term impacts will be clouded by the confusion that has been created.
To re-educate the laggards, CACE urges cultural sessions run by catastrophe speakers such as Beyond Zero Emissions types and David Spratt (author of an absurd polemic Climate Code Red). These influencers will explain why we have no time left to delay action to “reverse global warming”. As for councillors, at each meeting the Mayor has to “treat the climate emergency response as the first order of business”. This procedural template applies also to managers and minor team meetings.
Once in power at the town hall, the zealots will demand that
a council focus all spare resources, seek additional resources, mobilise community resources and review existing programs to free up resources to respond to the climate emergency.
You will need to answer questions like, ‘Do you build a $2.5 million bridge to provide an off-road crossing of a local creek, or do you build a well-resourced community education team? Can you halt a major retrofit of a sporting venue for 10 years? Is that playground really so out of date that it needs to be replaced? Are there other programs that can be cut or redirected to a climate emergency? These are the sort of decisions you will need to make with your limited budgets.
The council will need to find funding for range of needs, including additional [climate] staff, staff training, community outreach and education, engagement with other councils and state and federal government, measures to reduce a council’s own emissions, and practical community programs in the areas of mitigation and resilience.
A climate emergency response will feel hollow without a range of flagship practical programs implemented by council but the most important element of the response is still the role a council can play leading the climate emergency response by undertaking a full mobilisation and the education of your community around the importance of emergency action and what role each level of government can play…
Fundamentally, everything would change – rates, roads, rubbish, planning, greenspace, verge plantings etc.
Rates will be diverted to $100,000-style job sinecures for Extinction Rebellion-type activists and advisory councils, i.e.
Your current staff and managers may not have the ability, experience or drive to do this [Emergency response].If this is the case, you can consider employing additional staff to support an existing team, or find new leadership within or outside of your organisation who are up to the challenge…
CACE is concerned to keep out of councils any luke-warmists:
Unfortunately the current pool of experienced climate emergency campaigners is very limited and many potential candidates will have background in opposing emergency action or supporting suicidal goals and targets [i.e. weak emission targets]. Hence the selection of any new staff would need to include an assessment of their understanding of the why and the what of the climate emergency and their willingness to implement a full climate emergency mobilisation by council and a commitment to emergency framing.
The role of commissars from the zealots’ central committee includes “engaging other council staff” to promote “deep understanding of global warming and the solutions needed to return to a safe climate.” (Presumably, by council bureaucrats dictating emission cuts to China’s Xi Jinping).
CACE lets the politics cat out of the bag by disclosing (after all its hype about local green actions), “Remember the priorities should be to facilitate upwards action to drive emergency action” by higher levels of government. Local mitigation and resilience activities “support this but are not the number one priority.”
CACE outlines in stunning detail the techniques to install a majority of “Climate Emergency” candidates into a council. It has a clear-eyed view of the corrupt nature of council elections, replete with fake and dummy candidates, party hacks posing as independents, and candidates pretending to climate orthodoxy. It advises how its workers should interact with each such group.
Local activists learn the dark arts of persuasiveness-plus-pressure to convert existing councillors or get non-conformists replaced. For example, if a councillor is religious, the warming screed should be couched in terms of “protecting God’s creation”. Depending where they live on the east coast, they can be warned of the climate destruction of the Barrier Reef, northern mangroves or southern kelp forests.
Special tricks include that if a councillor or would-be councillor agrees to the Emergency agenda, the activist will immediately photograph him/her holding up an A4-sized pledge – locking the person in to impossibilities like net zero CO2 emissions by 2025. “If they refuse to sign, perhaps arguing that it’s not a council’s business, you can use that against them at election time”, mobilising pals to hit them with a barrage of complaints and petitions and “naming and shaming” them in the local press.
Come at them sideways. Perhaps you are good friends with a Councillor’s husband or wife or a member of their family or one of their good friends or business partners. Try and convince these people about the Climate Emergency and the role councils can play and ask them to talk to the Councillor.
Schools should also be used for posters and banners, which says something about teachers’ complicity.
A council resolutely refusing to go along with the “Emergency” should have its meetings swarmed with red-clad activists from Extinction Rebellion. CACE also recommends using kids to shame councillors about the kids’ (adult-promoted) climate fears. CACE also recommends using the threat of climate lawfare against climate-recalcitrant councillors.
On alliances, CACE warns they can be damaged by people with “toxic personalities” – possibly themselves, they concede, and/or spies. Activists should link up with other wholesome groups like those trying “to shut down the local aluminium smelter” and agitators against “diary (sic) farmers” over cattle emissions.
CACE’s vision of our future is worth noting. It’s confident that warming will lead soon to “a simultaneous collapse of multiple food production areas around the world, a “multi-breadbasket failure” leading to a global food crisis.” Food prices skyrocket, millions starve or become climate refugees, “numerous countries” will declare martial law and even extreme food rationing will not prevent their collapse.
The Intersex Flag flies proudly in Darebin.
Councils should therefore maximise local food growing. They should “encourage residents to have an emergency food supply of at least one month up to a year”. Councils “in the short term” must reshuffle surplus food into relief programs for the hungry poor. But since the global breadbasket failure will eliminate food surpluses, the hungry poor shouldn’t have high expectations of council-provided sustenance.
CACE says, “Councils should identify mechanisms and locations for controlled distribution of food rations during an extreme national or global food crisis, assuming food is made available by higher levels of government.”
Councils will splurge ratepayer funds on “immediate and massive” expansion of community and kitchen gardens, and disability-friendly backyard crops for the disadvantaged.
Hapless developers will be told that subdivided blocks must be big enough for a food garden per house or unit. Presumably they will price-in the cost.
Councils should also do contingency planning to stockpile garden tools, soil and seeds, and blue-pencil useful land for food production. Golf courses are suitable, being already cleared, fertilised, watered and flattish. They beat hands-down vacant but polluted land like industrial estates laid waste by CACE’s parallel anti-business policies.
Other changes to your lifestyle coming down the council turnpike include
# Junking your gas appliances “at emergency speed”. I didn’t know gas emissions were worse emitters than electricity but CACE tells councils to use anti-gas subsidies and sanctions. “Councils can seek to ban gas from new building developments or major home retrofits. Darebin Council is creating a new brown field development which is gas free.”
# Stop eating sausages and chook and switch to brussels sprouts and tofu, with councils offering vegan-only catering.
Animal agriculture is a massive contributor to global warming and the ecological emergency. Changing you (sic) diet by eating less meat and high emission foods particularly beef, lamb and dairy is an instant way to lower your personal emissions. Councils have responded by creating a local meat free day, educating people about the nutritional benefits of eating less meat, banning meat within council for functions etc. or encouraging home food growing, community gardens or school gardens.
# Drop off your car at the scrap yard and either buy a Prius or walk and catch buses. “City centres could be closed to vehicles or restricted to low or preferably zero emissions options. For example, Munich has had a low emissions zone in its city centre since 2008, similar model [sic] could require zero emissions.
The Emergency councillors’ ambitions extend to supporting Extinction Rebellion to organise “a Citizens’ Assembly” as “a great tool for mobilising the community and advocating up to higher levels of government.” So much for parliaments. (Boris Johnson’s UK government has agreed to the demand by Extinction Rebellion for such an assembly, notwithstanding that UK anti-terror police had listed ER as an extremist group).
Another local brainwave:
Get a sitting MP/representative to introduce or support the passing of a Climate Emergency and Mobilisation Act, requiring [the MP] to become an independent if necessary. There can be carrots in the conversation but big sticks are key. They’ve seen the crowds and the public sentiments: they will be nervous with a strong campaign in their electorate.
At federal level, Prime Minister Morrison’s team aren’t folding. Responding to a ludicrous suggestion this month to declare a national climate emergency, environment minister Sussan Ley declined, saying councils ought to stick to rubbish recycling and “practical action they can address locally”.
How much of the rabid CACE agenda will be implemented by our “Emergency” councils? Who knows, but as Sally Moxham of Darebin says, “Watch this space.”
Tony Thomas’s hilarious history, The West: An insider’s tale – A romping reporter in Perth’s innocent ’60s is available from Boffins Books, Perth, the Royal WA Historical Society (Nedlands) and online here
 The Intersex flag (below) “is not derivative, but is yet firmly grounded in meaning”. The circle is described as “unbroken and unornamented, symbolising wholeness and completeness, and our potentialities. We are still fighting for bodily autonomy and genital integrity, and this symbolises the right to be who and how we want to be.”
 One city council, Georgetown in Texas, achieved global eclat via Al Gore with its transition to 100% renewable electricity. But its fixed-price contracts for wind and solar uptake have become a multi-million disaster for the citizenry and the mayor is trying to sue his way out of the losses.
 Her 2019 federal election blurb said she was standing to avert sea level rise, firestorms, and droughts by zero emissions and drawdown of CO2 from the atmosphere.
 Current pay of CEO Sue Wilkinson is about $350,000.
 A curiosity is that Darebin adults lose an average $1000 a year on pokies.
 The Greens put three members onto the council in 2016 after a united front where Greens candidates preferenced their team leaders ahead even of themselves. As one candidate explained, “We’re running as a party, not a group of individuals.”
 Darebin also has more than 6% LGBTIs and 1200 residents identifying as Aboriginals.
 Darebin last year demanded that governments in Australia achieve zero emissions by 2030. This would require the equivalent of more than eight nuclear power plants of Hazelwood capacity being installed per annum.
 I wonder if the Climate Emergency Acknowledgement takes precedence over the Aboriginal-friendly “Acknowledgement of Country.” This would make a good discussion on the ABC’s The Drum.
 CACE overlooks the detail that after 1degC of warming in the past century, the globe’s population enjoys its greatest-ever level of health, foods, leisure and longevity, and crop yields continue to climb.