I don’t agree with those mocking red-necks (a less evolved species than green tree-huggers) who have been making fun of Senator Bob Brown’s Third Annual Green Oration. Admittedly it is unusual for someone who has instituted an annual oration to deliver it himself, but what Senator Brown had to say was of such moment that he can be excused for taking over the platform himself.
You don’t know who Senator Bob Brown is? He is the inaugural Parliamentary Leader of the Australian Greens and was the first openly gay member of the Australian Parliament. Brown was elected to the Senate on the Tasmanian Greens ticket, joining with Western Australia Senator Dee Margetts to form the first Australian Greens Senate party in the 1996 federal election. He was re-elected in 2001 and 2007, and with additional Greens elected in 2010, the party holds the balance of power in the federal Senate. They also have an MP in the House of Representatives whose vote is crucial to the minority government of Prime Minister Julia Gillard, hence the Greens have a stranglehold on her environmental and development policies, and when they say “jump”, she asks mildly “how high?”
As a consequence, when Senator Brown speaks, everyone (except some of the aforementioned red-necks) pays attention, especially when he addresses us all grandiloquently as “fellow Earthians”. That greeting set the tone for the stunning message he had to deliver from Outer Space.
You have to understand that all those Earthian telescopes pointed hopefully at stellar space, vainly searching for any signs of life, let alone intelligent life, amidst all the cosmic chatter and radio waves that emanate from our ever-expanding universe, have been pre-empted by our enterprising senator. He has now held inter-galactic conversations with, or at least has reached some form of understanding with extinct civilizations on other planets in the known and unknown reaches of our universe.
You may well ask how he could hold conversations with extinct life forms, however intelligent he and they might be. Well, it is all a matter of timing — although extinct for some millions of years, these messages are only now reaching Senator Brown because those civilizations were situated on planets in galaxies millions of light years distant from our planet Earth.
I must admit I find it a relief to know that these alien civilizations are extinct, because I was brought up to fear aliens landing in space ships, abducting helpless Earthians, experimenting on them, impregnating some and generally playing havoc with our occupational health and safety laws. And why were the Aliens doing this? They felt threatened by the fact we have developed The Bomb, for one thing, and they didn’t much like Sigourney Weaver either as she stood between them and World Domination.
To get back to Senator Brown’s musings: what were the messages he was channelling from Alpha Centauri or wherever? They all seemed to say the same thing, and being so advanced they knew exactly with whom to communicate among the far distant seven billion Earthians. Their messages were apparently addressed to The Great Senate Leader, Parliament House, Canberra — and that was obviously a misprint for The Green Senate Leader. Some errors in transmission can be expected to occur across billions of miles and centuries of time travel.
The messages said they had despoiled their own planets and ruined their environments to the extent that they were shortly to become extinct, because their planets were becoming uninhabitable. They deplored the fact that they did not have Green-dominated parliaments in their own worlds so that they could have heeded the policies advocated by Senator Brown and his colleagues. Their tragic messages were a last desperate warning, rather like sailors on a sinking ship sending a frantic SOS as their vessel is engulfed in a stormy sea.
But, apart from raising the carbon tax to $1000 per tonne, what are we Earthians to do to avoid a similar fate? I am particularly concerned about the hapless ET – the extraterrestrial who landed on Earth in 1982, according to the Steven Spielberg film. How do we break the news gently to ET that there is no point in calling home? That there is no one there – they are all extinct? Maybe ET could be adopted by a gay, green couple as part of a diversity adoption program, so there could be a happy ending for him after all.
And somewhere in the dim recesses of Senator Brown’s mind there appears to be a faint understanding that mankind is a unique creation, not just part of the animal kingdom as alleged by that famous Australian, Professor Peter Singer, who accuses those who claim mankind is special of “speciesism”. (In 1996 Singer coauthored a book, The Greens, with Bob Brown and stood as a Greens candidate for the Australian Senate but somehow failed to capture the popular imagination. Perhaps he needs some lessons in rhetoric from Brown.)
Senator Brown began his oration by saying: “Never before has the Universe unfolded such a flower as our collective human intelligence, so far as we know.” (Heavens above! Is he hinting at an Intelligent Designer?) The senator went on to describe human intelligence as “a one-and-only brilliance….on the brink of extinction”.
Maybe there is hope for all of us yet, because that brilliant human intelligence can be harnessed to save us and our beautiful planet — if only for the sake of other far-off messages that have yet to be received, and the Green orations that have yet to be delivered.
Babette Francis is the National and Overseas Co-ordinator of Endeavour Forum Inc., a pro-life, pro-family women’s lobby. She has never, so far as she can recollect, ever been abducted by an alien spaceship crew.