Spy warns there could be a war over water

HE is the spy who came in from the cold, endured the heat, experienced the chill and was burned in the process. Little wonder Lance Collins is pushing the cause of climate change.

Lt-Col Collins, head of intelligence operations for General Peter Cosgrove during the East Timor conflict, triggered a series of high-level Government inquiries three years ago with explosive claims about a series of failures by Australia’s spy agencies.

Now he is forecasting that unless global warming and the effects of climate change are addressed, Australia and the Asian region face a bleak future in which countries will go to war over dwindling resources, including the nation’s most precious commodity – water.

“Water is going to be a crucial resource in the years to come,” he said yesterday.

“Wars have always been fought over resources and with climate change, if most of our water is to be found in the north, which is relatively undefended, then we’ll have to rethink our strategies on defending northern Australia.

Lt-Col Collins, who co-wrote a book about the Australian intelligence scene, has now entered the political arena as an adviser to Margherita Tracanelli, the Climate Change Coalition candidate for the Prime Minister’s seat of Bennelong. Lt-Col Collins, who says he has not seriously contemplated a future role in politics despite several approaches to stand for Parliament, first met Ms Tracanelli while serving in Dili in 1999.

Ms Tracanelli, a human rights advocate , said yesterday Lt-Col Collins’ advice “has been invaluable”.

Lt-Col Collins’ move into the political arena follows the decision by former intelligence officer Andrew Wilkie to run on the Greens Senate ticket in Tasmania. Mr Wilkie unsuccessfully challenged Mr Howard in Bennelong as an independent in the 2004 federal election.