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

an election strategy « Previous | |Next »
February 1, 2010

I tuned into the ABC's Radio National Breakfast this morning before I went to the gym, and I heard the Coalition selling its retail politics. It was Barnaby Joyce doing his standard rave thingy on climate change. The ETS is a gigantic big tax, it's a revenue raising mechanism to pay off the huge government debt, and we'll all be crushed by the big tax and gigantic debt. Outrage outrage. Anger anger. Bad bad bad. He's running a campaign.

At least Joyce didn't go anywhere near the comic figure of Lord Monckton, currently going around Australia tilting at windmills:

MorelandClimatechange.jpg Morten Moreland

Barnaby Joyce slowed right down when he was asked about his cost free climate change policies. He kinda sounded deflated. Aw shucks, I have to say something sensible here. Yeah we'll have something soon he said. No details though until just before the election. It wont be a consumption tax like Labor's and off he went on the talking points of the big tax rave crushing us all again. He's in election mode firing up the conservative base with the talking points of his politics of fear.

The Coalition may be firing up the conservative base, with its campaign, but it is still struggling to establish its credibility on economics, the environment and the digital economy whilst confronting the reality of losing the 2010 election. They are strapped for cash and will be hoping that consecutive increases in interest rates cripple the Rudd Government.

It is not plain sailing for Rudd Labor either. As Andrew Norton observes, the:

wide disparity between climate-change aspirations and ETS readiness creates major problems for reformers. Though there are many precedents for governments pushing ahead with unpopular policies, the ETS is potentially unusually politically difficult. Its effects will be felt by every voter, but especially those without children or on higher incomes. They face substantial and uncompensated additional costs. ETS benefits will be hard for voters to perceive; the scheme comes with a promise that fewer bad things will happen rather than that life will eventually get better.

The ALP is going to play down climate change, ETS reform and the shift to a low carbon economy. The politics of climate change has done its job----fractured the Coalition. It doesn't need to fight an election with its ETS as the central issue. Given its lack of reform so far, it will campaign on it how it has a long-term economic reform agenda: ie., the need for productivity improvement and fiscal discipline to address the challenge of an ageing population.

The Rudd Government faces the prospect of a Senate controlled by the Greens after the 2010 election, and that must make them rather uncomfortable.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 6:00 AM | | Comments (15)


I have a vague feeling that the Liberal Party will try and scrap the national broadband network so as to find money to pay for its election promises.

That's entirely possible Nan, but it would put Barnaby in a bit of a spot given rural and regional areas stand to gain from the NBN.

yes it sure would. The Liberal Party and the Nationals are in conflict over the building of the national broadband network. The former is basically opposed (its big government intervention and big debt), whilst the latter is all in favour--not withstanding their opposition to big government debt. I'm sure Queensland rural populism will find a way around the contradictions. What's a few contradictions anyhow?

Seriously, though they need a wedge issue to take spotlight off themselves. I've been trying to think of one. Immigration given Rudd's embrace of a Big Australia? What else is there?

re "Lord Monckton, currently going around Australia tilting at windmills"

Lord Monckton holds that greenhouse gases are not playing a significant role in global warming, that the world is in fact getting colder, and that this cooling is being hidden by scientists and governments.

The made up problem of global warming is an excuse for governments to expand their power and to exert more and more control over ordinary people.

The climate change deniers are not actually rushing to embrace Monckton. They do have a campaign problem. They are obliged to have a policy on an issue their leadership reckons doesn't exist---climate change is a leftwing plot.

So they will need to come up with something that can then be quickly crossed off their agenda and they are able to cover up its flaws from criticism through question avoiding and dodging the issue. Joyce was doing this on Radio National breakfast this morning.

too many scientists are still stuck in the ivory tower and shrug off and ignore wrong media reports about climate science. They don't seem to recognize that public perception matters and that they should not leave the public debate to people with a political agenda.

I like the way the cartoonist manouvres Lord Monckton around, for the last frame in the sequence, where Monckton has morphed into something closely resembling an especially vacuous Toad of Toad Hall.
I think the ominous prediction concerning the Senate and the Greens says more about the politics of development and the dishonesty involved in Labor's policies on this front. If they had nothing to fear, after proper explication and transperant implementation of sustainable polices, they would have nothing to fear from environmentalists and Greens.
But, getting back to Joyce, we can see we will get only beat-ups- the forty year pattern of lack of engagement with ecology, characterised by ridicule toward it mixed in with innuendos about socialist plots, makes it plain that science will continue to be quarantined, in favour of neo McCarthyite night-terrors waffle from the fearful, inspired by denialists "with a political agenda".

an easy case could be made that increased productivity and so increased economic growth and prosperity would come from innovation in the renewable energy and clean tech sector.

Rudd isn't making that argument. It is explicitly excluded from his nation-building narrative (the National Broadband Network, the "education revolution", health reform and infrastructure spending (on roads and ports etc to ship coal exports).

Consequently, Australia's economy will be continue to be powered by cheap and dirty fossil fuels with minimal change. Climate change is just a weapon Rudd will use to whack the Coalition whenever the need arises.

Will there be an extended battle over health care in this election year? My gut feeling is that there will be no movement on health reform in 2010 by Rudd Labor. The reform impulse dies during an election year. I hope that I am proved wrong though.

I had to endure Abbott's fatuous 'great big new tax on everything' childishness on the ABC Asia network at 5am while I was getting some kids off to school (poor Manila schools work two shifts). I thought surely it is too idiotic even for Australian voters to swallow, but maybe I am too optimistic.

Wayne Swan seemed unconvincing to me today. He looked to be jumping around a bit too much too.

where the Coalitions' one big tax talking point re the ETS cuts in is that the cost of a Labor's ETS is not balanced by any environmental benefit. So what is the point? Secondly, the Rudd Government has done a very poor job in selling the ETS to the public preferring to whack the Liberals over the head.

Ken Lovell, never over estimate the intelligence( as opposed to brute cunning ), of the electorate.
Multiple choice ( anything beyond the single object ) is a clear path for disaster with it, for a start.
I think we're back to deciding how the debate on econmics is framed.
We are told we can only have an "economy" if its predicated on "growth" and "development".
But we know that, as employed in contemporary dicourse, such terminology is kept vague in definition, so that terms "growth" and "development" always elude a hard and fast definition. We realise that what some people think "the economy" is and what it could be for, is much different to what others see it as, but so much that is anti rational is paseed off as proper scientific theory because there are vested interests competing over what the economy can yield in the way of access to wealth and peace of mind.
For my part, I've reached the stage where I want economists and pol economists to tell me and the rest of the great unwashed, whether it is necessary, for the survival of the economy, only to have high population growth.
This is because I keep getting this funny idea that the Ruddite neolib agenda is more about keeping the public quarantined while the economy is not so much nurtured but divvied up at a banquet of the Vanities, where certain political and developer formations have ensured their own privileged position at the top of the table.
Much as happened during the Howard years, I might add!

The cost of cutting carbon pollution would be borne by budget cuts under a Coalition's climate change plan to pay incentives to farmers and businesses that make cuts voluntarily. Budget cuts means the public pays the polluters who don't have to reduce their pollution.

The Coalition's relies on polluters willingly cutting emissions in return for handouts from an emissions reduction fund worth $2.6 billion over four years. Willingly? No way. Without any penalty for forcing emissions down they would continue to increase.

Yep, business as usual does not result in any penalty under Abbott. It's a fig leaf.