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

the irony « Previous | |Next »
January 28, 2011

So the Gillard Government's one off flood levy to help pay for the $5.6 billion anticipated flood damages is relatively modest, temporary and progressive. The flood levy will fall on those who can pay; people earning less than $50,000, pensioners and those who have received a disaster recovery payment will be exempt. It will raise just $1.8 billion.

Gillard will meet the shortfall by deferring $1 billion worth of infrastructure programs and finding $2.8 billion by scrapping, raiding or "re-profiling" a dozen government programs, including those that were supposed to reduce emissions. How ironic. Cutting from climate programs to fix railways needed for Queensland's coal industry. That says it all.

MoirA Gillardfloods.jpg

In fairness, some of the programs abandoned were dogs. Few will mourn the loss of cash-for-clunkers, which would have done next to nothing for the environment. This was to pay $2000 to each motorist who traded in a pre-1995 car for a more fuel efficient one.The Green Start home energy assessment program that replaced Labor's Green Loans program will itself be axed and payments of the solar hot water rebate, solar homes and communities rebate and LPG car conversion grants will be capped.

That's half a billion dollars out of solar. Yet subsidies for fossil-fuel industries remained untouched. There is no shift to feed-in tariffs and loan guarantees. What does that do for the Gillard Government's credibility on climate change? So much for the development of the cleantech industry in Australia--nascent or infant industries need support.

The indications are that a carbon price with real bite – somewhere between $50 and $100 a tonne to generate the technologies that are needed in the future---is just not going to happen under a Gillard Government.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:13 PM | | Comments (14)


Could the floods be Julia Gillard's Port Arthur massacre? You know, the national tragedy that allows a PM with a reputation for being rather uninspiring break the shackles and show true leadership qualities?

Apparently not.

Gillard is cutting spending on proposals to aid development of alternative energy and limit green house gas emissions. I presume that this is something the Greens will find it hard to accept or support.

Gillard is going to need their support after July 2011.So why go out of your way to antagonise them?

I find meself standing midpoint betwen the two conclusions already listed, I'd have to say that Abbott and co seem to offer nothing as an alternative. Can there be a worse government than the Gillard one?
I really don't find the idea of Abbott getting a chance to prove above right or wrong a particularly inviting proposition.
Post Oz day 2011, I think many have come to the conclusion that a purportive Australian democracy is well and truly bushwhacked, a safe point from which to start contemplation of the present and future, employing the past.

Once again Labor finds a good excuse not to do stuff.
C'mon its not their fault.

Maybe Gillard is taking the opportunity to scrap some programs which weren't vote winners anyway.

She gets to dump the burden and box the Greens at the same time. Because... if the Greens make too much noise, they'll just be painted as elitist, one-issue radicals, out of touch with the suffering of "normal" Australians.

As for "the irony"... I was gob-smacked at an ABC-TV News story which concentrated on the money being lost by the waterlogged Qld coal mines. I really don't know how the reporter managed to keep a straight face.

I'm struck by having a "one off levy" for something meteorologists say will happen again, versus no levy for a supposedly "one off" financial meltdown.

Tax the rich?
Egad Dave!
The "one off" levy still has some point if it's actually spent where needed, including a bit of floodproofing.
No doubt there will be a bit of buttressing and nuanced pork barrelling its the same as a wink for a blind horse.

Commentators are asking whether Gillard can steer legislation through the Parliament this year to establish a price on carbon.

The prior question is whether the Gillard Government will establish a price on carbon.

The Coalition expects the cautious, timorous Gillard Government to crack under pressure and not go a full term. Hence Abbott's pressure on the Independents.

Gillard will last the distance. It's whether the Gillard Government can achieve anything.That depends on Fielding, given the Coalitions's opposition to everything proposed by Labor.

As Peter Hartcher points out in the SMH the Coalition is playing politics with the levy.

So the Coalition gives in-principle endorsement to the levy mechanism, and approves of the purpose, and we know the opposition doesn't want the government to borrow any more money, so why the objection to a levy?
The opposition says it wants the Gillard government to instead pay for the flood damage by making cuts to other government spending. In other words, the opposition is trying to force the government into a difficult position. It has urged Gillard to dump the national broadband network to find the savings, for instance. This would anger some voters, breach an election promise, and create havoc with a part-built system.The opposition, in short, is playing pure, unadulterated, 100 per cent politics with the recovery from a national, natural disaster.

Hartcher reckons this is an error of judgment.

Gillard found most of the savings by cancelling or capping carbon abatement programs. Her explanation was that her plan to impose a price on carbon was a more systemic and efficient way to cut carbon output. True.

Yet Labor has been promising a carbon price for five years and is nowhere delivering anything. The uncertainty this causes results in an investment strike in building new baseload power plants to meet the rising demand for electricity.

Gillard has reduced her climate change policy to a single stand-or-fall element---reducing carbon is to be done by increasing the price of carbon.

Having a carbon price means that we don't need any other policies.

Maybe Gillard + Co will eventually take the advice of the Australian and The Weekend Australian?

The advice is that the existence of human-induced climate change is highly debatable, and that any action by Australia to reduce its emissions would be economically ruinous and politically foolish.

$5 a ton is all they get from the public. If that.