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Canberra watch: Gillard spins her retreat « Previous | |Next »
July 23, 2010

The ALP is camouflaging Gillard's retreat on climate change with its citizens assembly to forge a national consensus on action on climate change and advisory panel of scientists to help inform its deliberations. I though t that parliament in a liberal democracy was the citizens' assembly. Does Gillard mean a big focus group?

Oh, Gillard also recommits Labor to carbon trading, and pledges that it will be introduced only when "the Australian economy is ready and when the Australian people are ready". That's in never never land.


What we have from the ALP is a poll-driven retreat covered by a public relations exercise designed to head off new versions of the opposition's "great, big, new tax on everything" campaign.The tougher emissions standards that will be implemented to ensure energy generation is "cleaner and greener"---standards that would ban the building of new "dirty" power stations ----do not apply to the 15 coal-fired power stations already on the drawing board in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.

Labor would also spend $1 billion over 10 years to make it easier to connect renewable energy projects in remote regions to the national electricity grid. That should have been done a decade ago and it is designed to make the ALP look as if it is doing something when it isn't doing anything. The retreat is complete.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:59 AM | | Comments (15)


A carbon price appears to be a third-term Labor ambition--sometime in 2013. And we've already voted for an emissions trading scheme in the 2007 election.

I thought that governments made executive decisions about issues that affect the national interest. Isn't that why they are elected?

Gillard has effectively outsourced the decision to forge action on climate change to a "citizens assembly". It's like something out of Monty Python.

I was wondering how Gillard apologists would justify this. I didn't have long to wait. It's 'participatory democracy' apparently and genuine progressives ought to be ecstatic that government by the people is here at last.

George's description is apt. There are so many flaws in the proposals I can't be bothered starting to list them. Perhaps a statistician could explain that 150 not-randomly-selected people aren't really a representative sample of a population of 20 million. But I'm sure the apparatchiks are smirking with admiration at their own cleverness in neutralising another election issue.

Trouble is the clear-the-decks exercise has been so successful, it's hard to see what Labor actually intends to do if they are re-elected. Nothing, it seems, making them the ideal conservative government.

Leadership overboard.

Given that almost 50% of voters are stubbornly Labor and the same proportion are unwavering Libs... what hope for a fruitful citizens assembly outcome?

This is more of the "empowering" bullshit we saw coming from corporate management back in the 80's. When a question is too curly... just "empower" the plebes to work out a solution. Never mind that they have neither the skills nor resources to make it work. The important thing is that it off-loads the tough decisions indefinitely.

This government is bloody pathetic!

If the citizen assembly became a bit like the neighbourhood watch scheme was it would be a good thing. People could put a sticker on their letterbox and go to a monthly meeting. They could inform local business, others in the community and council about areas of their operation that could be improved.
When its a choice between nothing and that the assembly is a good idea.

good idea. I'll be voting green for the House and the Senate and writing 'emission trading scheme now' on my ballot paper. Gillard's climate change policy is an elaborate way of saying that a Labor government will not commit to delivering an emissions trading scheme at any particular time, and perhaps not ever. Why? Because it would be too difficult to sell the idea of rising electricity prices, caused by an emissions trading scheme, to marginal voters.

Gillard has always been opposed to implementing an emission trading scheme.

Turnbull would of been the better option for those that wanted action. Funny that.

Gillard is spooked by the future. What Gillard means by sustainability is no more change. The ALP is gripped by fear.

Gillard is no Turnbull

I didn't have high expectations about Gillard's climate change policy, but this is only marginally less pathetic than Abbott's green army idea. Don't remember ever being less enthused by an election.

Ken makes a good point. Neither side has signed up to actually do anything. So far it's all about not doing things and stopping doing other things and outsourcing anything else. What's the point? Where's the governance?

Yes Gillard is a caretaker P.M at best.If they lose the election Swan will have to go too so likely Crean will step in. If they win the election I don't see her lasting a full term now that we have seen a successful sacking of a P.M based on polls and thuggery. It will be much easier next time.
Re your comment. Yes I think he has a backbone.

It isn't governance. It is survival on a daily basis thats all.

One major point of difference is the national broadband network---Labor's massive labour-intensive $43 billion nation building project.

The Coalition's threat to scape, or shut down the NBN, is to throw away the billions that have already been spent and to take us back to a Telstra monopoly. They are opposed to competition in the market place, even though Australia is well behind the rest of the world in relation to broadband affordability and high-speed connectivity and Telstra has a long record of delaying and frustrating broadband competition.

I read somewhere that in the marginal seats of Sydney’s west and along Queensland’s east coast where the politicos say this election will be won and lost social conservatism rules. The electorate opposed to a Big Australia and are fearful of being swamped by boat people. It also reckons that if gays were allowed to get married, that bedrock of our society, the family, would be seriously undermined. Gee that sure sounds just like Victor Harbor.

Both Abbott and Gillard have agreed that gays should not be afforded the right to marry---too destabilizing for their polls-driven policy.

What is the consensus the Gillard Government is looking for on climate change when a majority of Australian are in favour of an emissions trading scheme.

Is it reaching a consensus with The Greens in the new Senate, if the Greens win the balance of power? Unlikely. Labor doesn't give any indication that it would negotiate with the Greens on an ETS or a carbon tax.

I suspect that the consensus they are looking for and rebuilding is a bipartisan one--- a consensus with the Liberals. Yet Abbott has said that he would never support a price on carbon pollution.

Labor looks increasingly incoherent on this issue.