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

triangulation « Previous | |Next »
June 27, 2011

The message from the Liberals is that Julia Gillard will be gone by Christmas if they keep their collective foot on her neck. In the cartoonish or soap opera version of politics fostered by the hard rightwing faction of the Liberal Party, and supported by the Canberra Press Gallery, Gillard is the bad ''girl'', the liar, the fool who doesn't deserve to be PM. The Liberals are only one vote from government.

MoirAGillardstruggles .jpg

Even though Gillard Labor has big problems---the polls say that if an election were held next week the Coalition would win with a thumping majority---- I cannot see the Gillard Government falling over in the short term. It will go full term, barring defections, resignations, or deaths. It will use up its political capital as it continues to plod on with an agenda that is basically the reform platform outlined to the Australian people in 2007.

What we do have is a knock down political fight over the introduction of a carbon tax. Its a fight to the death for the political right that is supported by Big Coal and its ideologues and the Gillard Government is under siege.

The carbon tax is the Right's chance to destroy what they see see as the bastion of social engineers on the left of the political spectrum who favour a high-taxing, big-government with nanny state tentacles that reaches into every aspect of our lives.

The political right's tactic is one of triangulation --- that is lifting the political gaze above the Left-Right battle zone to a target that can galvanise widespread support so that their anti-carbon tax politics is no longer seen as defending a rather nasty industry protecting its short term interests. Politics is about winning and warfare and any political weapon will do---including bumper sticker politics--- if it can harm the enemy.

The climate crisis conflict is a struggle over the identity of Australia---the old one powered by energy fossil fuel with its greenhouse gas pollution and the new low carbon one. It's a political struggle over decarbonizing the economy and society. For those representing the old order green policies are only ever a burden and never an opportunity, no matter how clearly Germany and China think otherwise.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 8:50 AM | | Comments (12)


you could be brutal and say that the climate change deniers who hang out in the Australian's pages and who vote for the Coalition will start to die off.

trouble is we cannot afford to wait for the ranks of the climate deniers to be thinned out by natural attrition.

The right wing faction in the Liberal Party that was led by Senator Minchin before he retired cannot be called compassionate conservatives.

THe climate-denial mood in this faction is very strong. They cannot be called moderates.

The hard Liberal right is composed of people who are not at all interested in having a serious debate about policy, or the science, and who simply presume that it’s all a con, a hoax, a massive and devious plot for population control, world government or whatever.

The world is not warming; or maybe it is, but it’s perfectly natural; or maybe we’re headed for another ice age. Nope, it's definitely getting colder.

You could say that this is the village idiot end of the Liberal Party.

It isn't just one issue (climate change) that is weakening the Labor Party. What we have is more Labor denialists and they don't need scientific evidence to see that Labor hasnt live up to expectations. People had expectations of things being better going back to Kevin 07. Yes, there have been external forces involved but it would be fair to say taking the whole period up to now into consideration the performance has been less than good and that is coming from all voters across the parties.

There is of course diehard laborites keeping the campfires burning in hope of something but at the end of the day after all those years in opposition with all that time to plan their turn the balloon just went fizz while they just sat around bickering over how much air to put in it and who was in charge of blowing it up.

a fair assessment Les

As I watch this carbon tax fiasco unfold, I am deeply grateful for one thing...

As a nation, Australia emissions do not contribute much to the global problem.

While I am disgusted at our ability for face the moral challenge... our pathetic, immature, frightened, self-absorbed attitude isn't the biggest nail in the planet's coffin.

Well said Les.

Expectations were unrealistically high when Kevin Rudd was elected, but he went weak at the knees about once a week and his failure to call a double dissolution over climate change was the end of him. Julia Gillard has continued that failure to meet expectations, even though they were much lower for her.

We keep hearing that Tony Abbott is "winning" with his endless bitching about everything, but as someone pointed out on Q and A last night, it's not a matter of who's winning. It's a matter of who's losing the least badly.

As far as real life is concerned, if the compensation for the carbon tax makes life outside the mining industry feel a bit less like a recession Gillard could gain some ground. But this government could probably figure out some way to wreck that for themselves as well.

Bob Carter's claim is that the climate has been cooling since 1998. John Cook points out in The Age that:

But with 2005 and 2010 being the hottest years on record, he resorts to cherry-picking which dataset to use. Rather than use temperature records that cover the entire globe, he opts for datasets that do not include the Arctic region, where warming is the strongest. These temperature records underestimate recent warming and are the darling of those who wish to deny global warming is happening.

So Carter is a climate cherry-picker who makes false, but plausible assertions. Carter also claims that reducing carbon emissions will result in the closing down of the Australian economydespite the fact that numerous economic analyses find the benefits of climate action outweigh the costs several times over.

"As a nation, Australia emissions do not contribute much to the global problem."

True, but Australia, is one of the highest carbon emitters per capita. Those who argue that Australia is an insignificant player underestimate our role on the global stage and our potential to be a leader in reducing carbon pollution.

There will be life after death for the Labor Party but it wont be life as we know it. As with all parties we are now in the age of instant facts and information and those parties need to adopt an ethos of change. But by change I mean they need to accept that the mood of the public does change on issues between election and implimentation because of this speed of knowledge they now have.

Les, I think that applies to both parties. People do expect things to move much faster than they used to, but I'm not holding my breath for the major parties to catch up any time soon. They seem to take about 10 years to catch up on anything.

Neither of them seems to have a clue why they're there.

Nan... I hope you realise that I was just trying to take a "glass half full" look at Australia's failure.

I don't dispute that we're moral midgets when it comes to the environment.