Liberal senator Bill Heffernan is looking decades into the future with his talk of a new climate change driven 'Asian Invasion' and proposes the mass development of underpopulated northern Australia as a mechanism to deal with the problem :
Heffernan's comments follow the warnings raised by federal police commissioner Mick Keelty, who said climate change posed the most important and looming national threat to Australia's security, a threat worse than international or regional terrorism.
"Without being alarmist, it would be better for us to do it than letting someone else," he told the (Bulletin) magazine.
"We're not talking tomorrow, but in 50 to 80 years time. If there are 400 million people who have run out of water – Bangladesh or Indonesia – well, you've got to have a plan."
Senator Heffernan said northern Australia was a soft entry point in security terms."If we go to the level of climate change that science is predicting, where you're going to have 50 per cent of the world's population water-poor and you're going to have the Arctic melt and rising seas, it will be a very attractive proposition."
Keelty's claims were hosed down by defence minister, Brendan Nelson, who wants the Terror Threat to remain at the forefront of Australians minds when it comes to the things they should fear.
John Howard, at first, said that the threat of terror was also much worse than the climate change induced mass migration scenario posed by Keelty, before being advised by his staffers that recent polls showed Australians were far more concerned with climate change than terror. Howard quickly rejigged his message to say that both terrorism and climate change posed "equal threats'.
It will be interesting to see if Howard finds a way to use the reality of climate change and the new 'Asian Invasion' scenario now being popularised by his close friend Bill Heffernan to go after the Rudd opposition. Perhaps he will claim that Rudd Labor is "soft" on dealing with the threats of mass migration that "will possibly result" from climate change?
Presumably Howard will steer clear of associating himself with a new fear campaign based around a climate change induced 'Asian Invasion', while refusing to rein in the likes of Heffernan, and other Liberal Party bulldogs who can be expected to capitalise on Heffernan's start.
Tying the reality of climate change to the bedrock century old popular Australian fear of being swamped by an 'invasion' of illegal Asian immigrants, and then claiming that Labor would do nothing to stop such an 'invasion', just might be the new Tampa-style fear and smear election issue the Howard government has been looking for.