AGL creates gender-neutral coal.

Energy company AGL has been applauded for creating the world’s first gender-neutral coal as a source of energy for commercial and residential use throughout Australia.

“AGL is a leader in corporate diversity and inclusion, and gender-neutral coal is just another exciting initiative in our quest to embrace the LGBTQ+ community,” announced the company, on the same day thousands of school students across the country protested against AGL and other fossil fuel companies.

“Gender-neutral coal does not identify as male, female or any other gender. It was developed by our outstanding research and development team, in close consultation with our marketing department, and cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Every Aussie should be enormously proud of this, and the fact that Australia has the largest per-capita carbon footprint of any country on earth.”

AGL then explained that gender-neutral coal damages the planet as much as gender-specific coal, and helps the company to debunk myths that the mining industry is male-dominated and not welcoming of other genders. It also looks like ‘normal’ coal

“…but we transport it in rainbow-coloured containers.”

It is not the first accolade AGL has received in this sphere. The company was recently awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards while simultaneously earning the title of Australia’s biggest domestic contributor to climate change by Greenpeace. Greenpeace argues that AGL emitted 42.2 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2019-2020. Greenpeace data confirms that the energy company creates,

“…24.6% of electricity sector emissions and 8% of Australia’s total emissions, which primarily comes from the coal burned at the energy giant’s three coal-burning power stations: Liddell, Bayswater, and Loy Yang A. AGL’s own data confirms that 85% of energy generated by the gentailer comes from burning coal.”

At the same time, AGL boasts publicly that:

“This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status, and the fifth year that we have participated in the AWEI. Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014. The network focuses on providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our employees – while also advocating internally and externally for gender inclusion beyond the heteronormative binary.”

The announcement provoked a mixed reaction.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Energy Minister Angus Taylor and Environment Minister Sussan Ley welcomed the news, despite being famously conservative and reluctant to embrace non-heteronormative agendas. The three leaders applauded AGL for using the LGBTQ+ community to distract Australians from their environmental destruction, and thanked the company for giving the Australian delegation something tangible to take to COP26 in Glasgow later this month.

Critics argue that gender-neutral coal is not real, and never will be. They claim that coal is an inanimate object with no gender, and thus cannot be declared gender-neutral. Many suspect the announcement is yet another attempt to win public favour while the rest of the world appears to be transitioning to renewable energy.

AGL rejected assertions that gender-neutral coal is not a real thing, stating;

“It’s as real as Clean Coal”

Angus Taylor launches Pay Now Pay Later.

Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor has announced a world-first national energy supply system called Pay Now Pay Later, under which Australians will pay more for their electricity in the present while paying for climate change in the future.

Pay Now Pay Later is a game-changer,” boasted Taylor, from outside a newly-opened coal mine.

“The world-first energy consumption system ensures that Australians will pay higher electricity bills in the present and will pay for the environmental costs of the energy grid well into the future. We will soon be the only country in the world which forces its citizens to pay with their wallets and their futures.”

Taylor was confident that Australians would embrace Pay Now Pay Later, just as they have embraced systems such as AfterPay, BPay, Before Pay, Buy Now Pay Later, Pay It Forward and even the old-fashioned Lay-By.

“Plus, it’s not like they have a choice,” he scoffed.

The system relies on one central component: the burning of fossil fuels. Taylor and his LNP party will ensure that the majority of Australian businesses and households are forced to secure their energy from fossil fuels such as coal and coal seam gas, rather than from renewable energy. Consumers will therefore pay more for their electricity now, and will contribute the destruction of the planet.

“We will continue with our plans to open new coal mines, to push the fallacy of clean coal, and to burn fossil fuels to supply energy to Australian businesses and households. We will do everything in our power to ensure that the majority of Australia’s energy grid is supplied by fossil fuels.”

For the system to succeed, renewable energy such as wind and solar must be suppressed for as long as possible.

“We will employ myriad tactics to suppress renewable energy. We will utilise our propaganda wing, which Australians know as NewsCorp, to spread fear and misinformation regarding renewable energy, and to perpetuate the falsehood that fossil fuels will keep energy prices down for the everyday Aussie. We also thank former rugby league player Darren Lockyer for his valuable service in this regard.”

“What’s more, Pay Now Pay Later will have the greatest impact on people who are not even paying for electricity now – children.”

Taylor also promised to use the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to funnel more taxpayers money into the fossil fuel industry, for the benefit of fossil fuel companies, under the guise of a gas led recovery.

“We will also continue to wind back schemes such as the solar rebate for Australian households, and will instead use this public money to prop up the fossil fuel industry, most of which is foreign owned.”

Australians will pay later as climate change causes more severe storms, droughts, floods and fires, which will cost the country millions of dollars. Australians will also pay later when the international economy deals primarily in renewable energy.

“While Australian energy consumers will Pay Now, the whole world will Pay Later.”

Adding his support to the scheme was current Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, who helped lay the groundwork for the scheme as long as six years ago. Frydenberg used his power as federal Minister for the Environment to prevent energy company AGL from dumping coal and embracing renewable energy in 2016.

His underhand tactics were exposed in an article in The Saturday Paper by Mike Seccombe on July 10, 2021, and they centre on the appointment of chief executive Andy Vessey. The article outlines how Frydenberg called board members of AGL personally and pressured them to remove Vessey because the boss planned to transition the company to renewable energy, and to close the Liddell coal-fired power plant in the NSW Hunter Valley, which is described as:

“…one of Australia’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power stations.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison was also present at the announcement and was asked for a comment. All he could do was smirk and hold up a lump of coal.

Image: Darren England

Are LGBTQIA+ people being exploited?

Embracing the LGBTQIA+ community is trending. Corporations, governments, organisations and high profile individuals in Australia are embracing or being seen to embrace people from this community. This is a sign of a fairer and more equitable world, but is it also an example of exploitation?

Are LGBTQIA+ people being used by organisations to improve their public image or to distract the public from the organisations failings in other areas?

Why would they do this?

Support for inclusion and diversity is trending. Organisations seen to support the cause can position themselves as responsible corporate or social citizens, especially if they can successfully publicise this support. The organisation is less likely to be labelled unethical, and can also use inclusion and diversity to distract the public from their unethical or questionable practices in other areas – unethical practices which are destructive to society, including the LGBTQIA+ community.

AGL

AGL is an Australian energy company with one claim to fame: it is Australia’s biggest polluter. Australia is one of the world’s biggest polluters. AGL epitomises the exploitation of the LGBTQIA+ community for Public Relations (PR) purposes and distraction.

The AGL website states that:

“In 2014, AGL implemented a LGBTQ+ Inclusion Strategy, and in 2015 we were rated as one of the best performing first-time entrants to the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI). Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014.

In September 2015, AGL announced our support for marriage equality in Australia. Our position was strongly endorsed by the AGL Board, our senior management, and AGL Shine members.”

What exactly is involved in supporting marriage equality?

Posting a message on the company’s official platforms stating support of marriage equality. Not particularly difficult. AGL made the statement in 2015, when the movement had gained such strong momentum that same-sex marriage was legalised in Australia in 2016. Hardly groundbreaking or brave.

The statement continues:

“In 2020, we were proud to be awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards. This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status.”

How hard it is to promote inclusion and diversity?

Including people of diverse backgrounds essentially means treating people fairly.

How much does inclusion and diversity cost?

To have been continually awarded for inclusion, the company must have made some financial investment.

How much does transitioning to renewable energy cost?

In the short term, a lot. In the long term, AGL would apparently make a profit because the global economy is embracing renewable technology. Convincing shareholders to invest in diversity and inclusion seems much easier than convincing them to invest in renewable energy. AGL is a business and bases all of its decisions on profits. Transitioning to clean energy is undoubtedly more expensive in the short term than embracing the LGBTQIA+ community.

Interestingly, while AGL was publicly supporting marriage equality, it made a deliberate decision not to transition to renewable energy. The company had apparently appointed a new boss in 2015, who was tasked with overseeing a move away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. However, pressure from the then Minister for the Environment, Josh Frydenberg, convinced the company to reject clean energy sources and continue burning fossil fuels.

AGL wins considerable social credibility and brand enhancement through its inclusion polices and support for marriage equality, at exactly the same time that it actively rejects a transition to renewable energy.

Coincidence?

AFL

The Australian Football League runs the premier Australian Rules football competition in the country and is well-known for its support of LGBTQIA+ people. It has held a ‘Pride’ round since 2016 to promote inclusion and diversity.

The AFL is more public in its support of this issue than other major sporting codes, and this could be motivated by honest intentions or by its commitment to its women’s competition, AFLW, in which many players are openly gay. Cynics might argue that the governing body is chasing the pink dollar, but that criticism is not constructive.

Interestingly, despite having held a Pride round since 2016, not one male AFL player has come out as gay. Are there any gay AFL players?

The AFL appears sincere in its acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, is the organisation equally sincere in its attempts to tackle racism and misogyny? The AFL also holds an Indigenous round (since 2008) and claims to embrace women, not just those involved in the ALFW.

However, just days before this article was written, a popular AFL player, Taylor Walker, was outed for a racist comment during an Aussie Rules football game, and his public apology was widely criticised as inadequate. This followed revelations earlier in 2021 of widespread racism within the Collingwood Magpies club, one of the nation’s biggest, as well as the brutal racism directed at former player Adam Goodes. The racist attacks on Goodes were so vicious, incessant and damaging that they forced him to quit the sport, and they spurned two documentaries.

Treatment of women within the AFL is also far from ideal. Numerous players have been found guilty of misogyny, harrassment and even assault of women, and this history of toxic masculinity is documented in The Frownlow Medal and The Frownlow Medal Hall of Fame.

Thus, the AFL has failed to sufficiently address issues of toxic masculinity and racism, but derives positive publicity from its support of the LGBTQIA+ community.

IOC

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) was praised for its decision to allow an Australian female Rugby 7s player to wear headgear with a rainbow coloured design. The rainbow design promoted awareness and acceptance of issues facing the LGBTQIA+ community, and commentators explained that the Australian player was given ‘permission’ by the IOC to wear the protective equipment with that particular design.

According to media reports:

“Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team Ian Chesterman threw his support behind the celebration and Williams for lodging the request.

“It’s wonderful for our athletes to celebrate their identity as well as promote all of our Olympic sports as safe and inclusive,” Mr Chesterman said.

“I’d like to thank the IOC for their support in allowing Sharni to wear the headgear and thank Sharni for sharing her story with us during the games.”

The IOC has been the subject of countless articles and documentaries questioning its ethics and accusing it of bullying and rampant corruption. Furthermore, Olympic athletes are given strict and detailed instructions to refrain from any form of protest or activism on any issue at any time during the games. But, they let a rugby player wear rainbow headgear.

Tiwi Islands Mardi Gras

The Tiwi Islands lie to the north of Darwin and are home to Indigenous Australian communities. In 2017, 30 Tiwi Sistagirls, or transgender women, travelled to Sydney to take part in their first ever Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The inclusion was hailed as a victory for the Sistagirls and the LGBTQIA+ community in general. The inaugural journey received widespread media coverage and many organisations associated themselves publicly with this event. They could be accused of jumping on the bandwagon (or float).

Some of these organisations, including government departments, are responsible for solving many of the problems which plague remote communities such as those on the Tiwi Islands. These problems include societal decay, low life expectancy, loss of language and culture, drug and alcohol abuse, poor school attendance, violence, incarceration, unemployment, poor literacy and numeracy, and discrimination.

If the mainstream media and organisations celebrate the participation of Tiwi people in Mardi Gras, does it create the impression that life is improving on the Tiwi Islands and for Indigenous Australians in general? Does it distract Australians from the reality of life for Indigenous Australians and the need to do something about it?

Furthermore, how hard is it to get Tiwi Islanders to Mardi Gras? How hard is it to book a few flights and hotel rooms?

How hard is it to effect real change in Indigenous communities? Apparently very difficult. According to Pat Turner, Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Peaks and CEO of the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, only two of six Closing The Gap (CTG) targets were on track: early education and Year 12 attainment.

This means that after 12 years since the release of the first CTG report, little or no progress has been made in areas such as child mortality, employment, life expectancy and education.

Once again, it could be said that LGBTQI+ people are being used to distract the public from the failures of various organisations.

Supporting LGBTQIA+ rights is important. It is a question of equality and fairness. It should not be exploited for positive PR by organisations seeking to distract the public from their unethical or incompetent practices in other areas, or to shield the organisation from public criticism.

Image: Vector Stock

AGL awarded Gold Status for including LGBTQIA+ people.

AGL has been officially recognised for actively including the LGBTQ+ community in its destruction of the planet. The energy company was awarded Gold Employer status for LGBTQ+ inclusion at the AWEI Awards while simultaneously earning the title of Australia’s biggest domestic contributor to climate change by Greenpeace.

Greenpeace argues that AGL emitted 42.2 million tonnes of carbon emissions in 2019-2020. Greenpeace data confirms that the energy company creates,

“…24.6% of electricity sector emissions and 8% of Australia’s total emissions, which primarily comes from the coal burned at the energy giant’s three coal-burning power stations: Liddell, Bayswater, and Loy Yang A. AGL’s own data confirms that 85% of energy generated by the gentailer comes from burning coal.”

At the same time, AGL boasts publicly that:

“This is the third year we have been awarded Gold Employer status, and the fifth year that we have participated in the AWEI. Our employee-driven LGBTQ+ network, AGL Shine, was created in 2014. The network focuses on providing a safe and inclusive environment for all our employees – while also advocating internally and externally for gender inclusion beyond the heteronormative binary.”

Data from the environmental activist group indicates that:

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Lesbians

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Gay people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Bisexual people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Trans people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Queer people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Intersexed people

AGL is accelerating the climate crisis for Asexual people

AGL is also accelerating the climate crisis for hetero-normative people and for any other possible definition within the gender and sexuality spectrum that has not been acknowledged above.

The company reinforced its commitment to treating everyone on the planet equally.

“AGL understands that the natural environment in crucial to the survival, prosperity and wellbeing of every single person on the planet, regardless of gender, sexuality, race, religion, colour, age or nationality. This is why we have ensured that no one single group or sub group of Australian society or any other global society is discriminated against by our destruction of the natural environment.”

“We will all suffer together.”

AGL is the biggest polluter in a country with the highest per capita carbon footprint on the planet.

Critics of the energy giant highlighted the futility of supporting the rights of one particular group of society, when every group in society will suffer from the burning of fossil fuels, to which AGL replied:

“Even toxic rain makes rainbows.”

Image: Vector Stock