Rudd also ‘yesterday’s man’ (APR)

16 February 2009

Media Releases 2007

29 April 2007.

Kevin Rudd’s commitment to endless population and consumption growth makes him

just as much ‘Yesterday’s man’ as John Howard, according to Sustainable

Population Australia Inc (SPA).

National President of SPA, Dr John Coulter, says Kevin Rudd should be careful that

his own house is in order before he calls John Howard names.

“At present the Labor Party is as committed as the Coalition to endless growth, yet

such growth is clearly environmentally unsustainable,” says Dr Coulter. “Both parties

should heed last week’s report by the Australian Bureau of Statistics that said

Australians were getting materially richer but the environment – particularly

biodiversity – was getting worse.

“As Senator Christine Milne reminded us last week, the economy is a wholly owned

subsidiary of the environment. Destroy the environment and you destroy the


Dr Coulter criticised both Labor and the Coalition for taking growth of Gross Domestic

Product (GDP) as a surrogate measure of human welfare. People may have more

money but have higher housing and food costs, or less time for relationships as they

work harder and longer.

“By using GDP as a measure of human welfare, both parties are caught in a time- 

warp of the 1950s and 60s,” he says.

Dr Coulter says GDP counts the rapidly expanding exploitation of non-renewable

resources as adding to our wealth yet does not measure how much we have left.

“When the coal, oil, gas and uranium are all gone, this misleading index of GDP will

tell us that we have become richer. This is analogous to a spendthrift taking all his

money from the bank, frittering it away, and then saying he is richer by the amount

that was once in his bank account.”

Dr Coulter says that if Kevin Rudd is to become ‘tomorrow’s man’ he must adopt

another measure – other than GDP – of human welfare.

“He must come to understand the real meaning of environmental sustainability and

embrace its requirements. If Australia is to have an environmentally sustainable

future under a Rudd Labor Government, then Kevin Rudd and his Shadow Ministers

have quite a bit of catching up to do.”

For more information:

Dr John Coulter, National President, Sustainable Population Australia

08 8388 2153


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