Radio 'shock jock' attacks bid to silence eco-critics

Australian radio 'shock jock' Alan Jones is hardly a greenie. 

Jones in pontification mode

Jones in pontification mode

The flamboyant conservative commentator -- and wildly popular radio personality -- has declared that he doesn't believe in significant human-caused climate change and has suggested that Bob Brown, the former leader of the Australian Green Party, be taken out to sea and drowned.

So when someone of Jones' ilk comes out in strident opposition to the Australian government's scheme to hamstring eco-critics, it has to grab your attention.

What is going on? 

In a recent ALERT blog, we highlighted the scheme by the conservative Tony Abbott government to undercut its many environmental critics -- by making alarming changes to the country's Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Conservation (EPBC) Act.

This all arose over a government gambit to build one of the world's biggest coal mines.  After facing stiff environmental opposition, the Australian government responded by calling its opponents “vigilantes”.  It then proposed to wipe out the right of environmental groups to challenge decisions that violate the EPBC law.

This isn't the first time the Abbott government has attacked environmental groups -- but it might be the last, if Jones has his way.

Jones has lambasted the Abbott government, saying that "I may live nowhere near the Liverpool plains or the Great Barrier Reef, but I sure as hell am concerned that they are protected."

“The latest move by the Abbott government puts at risk not just our environment but our very democracy.  It is quite simply unbelievable," said Jones.

“This legislative restriction is divisive, it isolates us.  It means we are not allowed to care,” he said.

Jones has not attracted a lot of fans among the environmental crowd, though no one disputes he is unafraid to speak his mind. 

Maybe the Australian government will finally begin paying attention.  When a prominent and popular conservative turns around and bites it, perhaps it's time to start listening.