tip off

What turned the Liberal party off climate change action?

A week out from polling day it’s safe to say John Howard has left it too late to commit to any emission reduction target for Australia. On that basis, voters are entitled to know just how poorly the Howard government’s current position compares with the Liberal Party’s previous policy commitments.

You won’t find the 1990 campaign brochure ‘A fair go for the environment’ on the Liberal Party’s website or even in the Parliamentary Library I’m told—indeed I may be the only person who has an original. Chris Puplick’s glasses were reason enough to keep it, but the greenhouse policy commitments were also noteworthy.

Andrew Peacock committed the Liberal Party to cutting Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20% by the year 2000. He also committed to a 20% reduction in energy use by government authorities, and specific reductions in emissions from motor vehicles and power stations.

Even more startling to some people, in the early 1990s John Hewson retained the 20% national emissions reduction target for 2000 as part of his Fightback package. For more on that see my pre-election presentation here.

15 years on and three IPCC reports later, John Howard still has a far weaker greenhouse emissions reduction policy than Andrew Peacock and John Hewson. He is busy ‘going for growth’ with Australia’s emissions on track to rise 70% by mid century.

If this is leading the world on climate change, Andrew Peacock must have led the universe.

For that reason, the following flier goes out to letterboxes in marginal seats from today—in the hope that the Liberal Party will once again take climate change seriously. (Click on image for full flyer.)

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  • 1
    Dave Bartlett
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Tony, there are a million and one reaons why environmentalist policy is beneficial for development. Why? Because government priorities change to planned UD, Planned PT & PI upgrades, and quality of lifestyle. Future Planning is fundamental to success.

  • 2
    dermot J mcGuire
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Howard the great tony? Drivel Howard altered the balance that had applied since Menzies and destroyed the liberal party i belonged to and was proud of with its broad range of opinions and its care for more than the economy.

  • 3
    Tim
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    Good work Guy!! I’ve read your book and found it very interesting. Its amazing how much John Howard just doesnt understand how the economy is dependant on the environment. Well only 8 days until hes gone. And those glasses are a disgrace…even for 1990!!

  • 4
    Matt
    Posted Saturday, 17 November 2007 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Howard the Great? I am ashamed that I voted for him in 1996. So ashamed that I got involved with my union, joined the ALP, and now a union organiser. I believe in a building a caring society more than ever now. History will not treat Howard well.

  • 5
    Claire
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Fair question Tony. I can’t speak for Tim but I’m willing to bet that he, like I and a lot of other mainstreamers are willing to give up a little comfort for the cause. Better a little now than a lot later.

  • 6
    Tony Papafilis
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Do you uderstand, Tim, how dependent is your lifestyle onthe economy? How much are you really willing to give up? Would you like to live like so many environmentally friendly yet empoverished people around the world? I bet not.

  • 7
    Vicki
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Do you understand Tony, how dependent your lifestyle is on a healthy environment? How are you going to live when the rivers dry up, mineral resources run out and climate change leads us to an economic crisis?

  • 8
    Alex Millier
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    For a video on the Howard Govt’s record on climate change http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=AgvLNnWm_3w

  • 9
    Tony Papafilis
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Phew, that was close. Thanks for remidning us how close Chriws Pulpick & other Manchurian Libs came to confusing the Libs political gender identity in the 1980s. Thank goodness that circumstances produced Howard the Great.

  • 10
    Vicki
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Do you understand Tony, how dependent your lifestyle is on a healthy environment? How are you going to live when the rivers dry up, mineral resources run out and climate change leads us to an economic crisis?

  • 11
    Alex Millier
    Posted Friday, 16 November 2007 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Lifestyle change? “I can do that!” with combined efforts of sensible govt infrastructure, incentives, town planning, and individuals modifying their behaviour. eg walk/cycle/train instead of short car journeys. Oh and Tony, I think you meant IMpoverished

  • 12
    Jared Pearson
    Posted Sunday, 18 November 2007 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Why should skeptics support action on climate change? If you take emotion out of the debate and focus purely on a logical risk assessment the answer becomes very clear, as shown in the following video.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDsIFspVzfI

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