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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

after the smoke clears « Previous | |Next »
June 23, 2009

So the political crisis that the Liberals promised to engineer in the OzCar affair has fizzled to little more than the standard Parliamentary squabbling and bile. Can Turnbull use his finely tuned barrister skills to turn things around, reignite the blowtorch, and turn it on The Treasurer? How wounded will Turnbull become from the Labor counterattack on his big character?


For the moment people will just switch off now as the fizz has gone and there is no blood flowing as the arrows have missed their target. Some will see the ongoing political spectacle as the politicians throwing the switch to avaudeville understanding of a blood sport. Should we sit back and have a good laugh at the clown's doing their resignation act? Will this act be pushed aside by another act about spooks or moles?

What has been lost sight of with the switch to vaudeville is the politically significant "debate" in the Senate about whether Australia should take a legislated position on carbon reduction to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen next December. Or whether, like the US, Australia should decide its emissions trading policy after Copenhagen. Australian policy on carbon reduction really matters because it has a direct impact on both jobs and exports and on the necessary shift to a low carbon economy.

How is the big "debate" going? On the one hand, there is a Coalition filibuster on in the Senate to avoid having a debate on cap and trade or the ETS scheme. Delay, delay, delay is their tactic. On the other hand, the Rudd Government has ended the funding for stand alone renewable energy in remote locations of Australia whilst saying that Australia needs infrastructure funding to help soften the recession. Yet another renewable energy programme bites the dust because it is too popular.

What is going on here with Labor? They have even linked the 20% target for renewable energy to the ETS scheme, which is dead in the water in its current form. All the talk from Wong is about pressuring Turnbull to pass the GPRS legislation, when it is clear that Turnbull will delay as long as he can. Putting pressure on Turnbull has been Wong's standard rhetoric for ages.

Neither side of politics seems to have much to fear from voters on this issue, despite the popularity about households making the shift to renewable energy through putting solar panels on their roofs. Consequently, the politicians can afford play their parliamentary games in the legislative tussle with each blaming the other for no action. Maybe our legislators prefer to do nothing at all---so they promise environmentalists they could promise really tough emissions trading reform while also reassuring business (Big Carbon) that no such law is going pass.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:44 AM | | Comments (10)


Did you hear Michelle Grattan say on ABC National radio last Friday am that Malcolm asked the Business Council of Australia last Wednesday to write amendments to the CRS so that the Opposition could put the same forward in Parliament and then the BCA could publicly praise their and the Oppo's amendments?
In other words he volunteered to be a parliamentary sock puppet for big business.

the Liberals are fracturing big time. The Coalition is splintering on a range of issues. Four Coalition members crossed the floor to vote with the Rudd Government on the alcopops tax on Monday night.

Turnbull will face a rebellion from social liberals in his ranks over a coming immigration bill--given the shadow cabinet decision to oppose a bill that would free asylum seekers from having to pay for the cost of their detention.

The Nationals and rural Liberals have split over climate change.

The Liberal party is going in different directions and little is holding it together. The old amalgam of economic liberalism and social conservatism that held together under John Howard is fracturing along the fault line.

So the Coalition deals with Rudd's proposed carbon emissions trading scheme - by postponing it until August. There is no debate!

Xenophon wants to delay things so that more modeling on the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme (CPRS) can take place. He is talking about needing to model a variant of the Canadian scheme--whatever that is--- by the Productivity Commission. Supposedly, the Canadian ETS gives better environmental outcomes and costs business less. He claims that the Rudd government is not really interested in anything but their own scheme.

Fielding is nowhere to be seen. If he was serious he would be supporting Xenophon's efforts to come up with better policy to deliver better economic and environmental outcomes.

True. On the other hand, the Coalition say that they are in support of the 20% renewable energy target, and they say that it is a mistake to link this legislation to the postponed emissions trading scheme (GPRS).

I agree with The Greens ---the best explanation is that the Rudd Government is wrecking the development of the solar industry and it is doing so in order to defend coal.

"Maybe our legislators prefer to do nothing at all---so they promise environmentalists they could promise really tough emissions trading reform while also reassuring business (Big Carbon) that no such law is going pass."

That's where my money is. Whatever the current proposed legislation is trying to achieve, it has little, if anything, to do with reducing pollution.

It's sickening. All Turnbull is doing is avoiding giving Rudd a double dissolution trigger with the ETS legislation. (That is why he backed down on opposing allcopops in the House). The Coalition have nothing useful to offer on reducing CO2 pollution or shifting to renewable energy.

I have to agree with those who argue that the Rudd Government has played politics with the ETS from the outset and seen it primarily as a tool to damage the Coalition and only secondarily as a mechanism to address climate change. As Crikey points out:

Even now, in persisting with a link with its Renewable Energy Target bill, the Government continues its stunts and spin.At no stage has this Government acted in good faith in regard to its ETS, except when negotiating with big polluters, whose handouts have been vouchsafed and ratcheted up repeatedly.

None of this hapless jaw-boning is surprising--its what MP's do best.

Not surprising Peter, but depressing.