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Coalition backs off « Previous | |Next »
May 20, 2009

I notice that the bring it on pose of the Coalition---"we will block everything so bring it on"--- has shifted to a more realistic stance of passing legislation such as the alcopops tax. Why the change of tactics? They are in a weak position: they need time to build up their debt/deficit message on the economy and they would do badly in a double dissolution election.

Moir overdoes it but you get the general idea:


So what will happen with the emissions trading scheme? Will the Coalition fight to the last man in the trenches or back off. Back off with lots of smoke and spin from the conservative noise machine is my guess.They have to fight on their own terrain and that is the economy and economic management. The conservative base may be onside re the irresponsible government message--judging from reading the comments in the Australian---but not the middle section of the electorate.

As Paul Kelly notes the Liberal Party has got its election issue, which is pinning

the brand of "higher debt, higher unemployment and higher deficits" on Labor, and [asking]: "How many years, how many decades will it take us to pay off hundreds of billions of dollars of Rudd Labor debt?"....This budget draws the battle lines for the next election with the economy as the dominant issue. Rudd will campaign as the leader whose decisive actions saved Australia from the worst brutality of the global recession and Turnbull will campaign to liberate Australia from another long night of Labor deficits.

The Coalition will not deny Rudd's carbon emission scheme and create the basis for a double-dissolution election.Their hardline stand against emissions trading will melt over time in the face of political reality.

By pricing carbon, a cap-and-trade programme would have a tremendous number of beneficial spinoffs from providing incentives to make the shift to clean energy at the provider level and to making individuals more efficiency minded and on and on down the line. But it is not the end of the story, as it will do little to change peoples' driving habits, or to reduce the price of renewable forms of energy.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:14 AM | | Comments (7)


the politics on the cap and trade legislation is simple. The dirty energy producers and soi disant centrists in both parties, will work to either weaken it further or kill it off entirely.

Yeah we can expect that the array of right-wing media outlets that do the Coalition's partisan bidding will engage in a classic fear campaign thinly disguised as journalism.

It will be interesting to watch the rhetoric on economics develop from here. The Libs have the easier message to sell, but Labor have laid the groundwork of the GFC. The wisdom of the Libs giving treasury a thumping is questionable from an electoral point of view as well. Are they suggesting that they are the depository (suppository?) of all economic wisdom?

In a sense it would be smart for them to keep rejecting legislation and push for a DD. They have buckleys of winning anyway, but if the public won't punish Rudd for anything else, they might at least punish him for an early election.

If the Fremantle election is any indication, that could play better for Greens and independents than for the Libs, but their object is to erode Labor support.

Well the Treasury and Reserve Bank should be criticized for their poor analysis of the global financial crisis. They just didn't get it until very late in the piece, then consistently downplayed the negative effects. China was seen as the bulwark.

And we should have a debate about the way that Treasury framed the budget in terms of the short, medium and long term forecasts.

Trouble is the Coalition is a bit shot on the intellectual fire power these days and doesn't really understand the underpinnings. So they just thumb the table and talk in a loud voice.

Gary (re the cartoon) care to nominate a Borodino?

The battle at Borodino was a pivotal point in Russian campaign, since it was the last offensive action fought by Napoleon in Russia. By withdrawing, the Russian army preserved its military potential and eventually forced Napoleon out of the country.

The fight is over the economy. We only have skirmishes at the moment but the debt scare is starting to get some traction.

Peter Hartcher puts the retreat well in the Sydney Morning Herald and suggests that the battle at Borodino could well be fought over the emissions trading scheme.

Hartcher says that though Turnbull wants to closely shadow Kevin Rudd, and then seek just a few key points of differentiation, his Liberal party, increasingly, won't let him.

By instinct, by nature and by calculation, Malcolm Turnbull is a political centrist. He is a moderate, cosmopolitan, republican environmentalist. His electoral strategy fits neatly with his nature. He wants to hold the Coalition's core voter base of perhaps 35 to 40 per cent and to win over another 10 to 15 per cent from the centre of the electorate. He wants to do this by agreeing with Rudd on the mainstream of issues where there is clear majority support in the electorate, such as climate change, and to fight him only on issues where he thinks Rudd is out of step with the mainstream.

He says that Turnbull wants to do to Kevin Rudd what Rudd did to John Howard - pick his fights carefully, on issues of his own choosing, where he can win votes at the centre of Australian politics. On everything else, Turnbull would like to "me-too" Rudd.

However, the parliamentary Liberal Party is more conservative and more combative than its leader.A big chunk of Turnbull's backbench would rather keep the faith with the conservative base than win votes from the centre. They want to stand and fight on emissions trading legislation.

'Stand and fight' means blocking it. Doing the bidding of the Minerals Council.