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Gillard abandons leadership on climate change

It’s hard to describe just how truly wretched Labor’s new climate change policy is. It makes the CPRS, its dog of an emissions trading scheme, look like a model of best practice. It is a spectacular failure of leadership.

Julia Gillard’s “citizens’ assembly” has effectively outsourced responsibility for climate policy to “ordinary Australians”, on whose “skills, capacity, decency and plain common sense” Gillard will rely to tell her about the community consensus on climate change. In effect it institutionalises what is already apparent — this is a Government controlled by focus group reactions.

Labor has been playing politics with climate change for three years and it hasn’t stopped. But whereas for most of that time it used climate change to damage the Coalition, now it is having to defend itself against the issue. It will only be with the political cover afforded by this nonsensical Assembly that the Government will take any action on a carbon price.

Rarely has so much goodwill and political capital been wasted on such an important issue.

The consensus the Government insists it needs the protection of before acting already exists. It’s not just in the opinion polls, which show time and time again that the majority of voters want action on climate change and supported the Government’s CPRS.  In 2007, let’s not forget, both sides of politics told Australians they were going to introduce an ETS. The 2007 election endorsed a community consensus on the need for action.

Instead, in 2010, neither party will commit to any sort of carbon price mechanism for at least three years. Instead, they’re offering excuses as to why they don’t want to take action. We’ve done anything but move forward on climate action.

Gillard’s interim actions are little better. The new emissions standard she proposes won’t even apply to four coal-fired power stations being built or brought back on line currently. They may not apply to two more, the massive Mt Piper and Bayswater projects in NSW, which will together add 4% to national CO2-equivalent emissions when they come on line. Holding the baseline for the CPRS at 2008 levels won’t give electricity generators any more investment certainty when it remains unclear whether there will ever be an emissions trading scheme in Australia. Nor does it change the simple fact that State Governments continue to drive Australia into a coal-fired future.

Labor’s craven pandering to key outer-suburban electorates in its population and asylum seeker policies was bad enough. But abdicating executive responsibility for action on climate change is a new low in cynical politics, beyond the depths even reached by NSW Labor. Politicians are elected to lead. Deferring every controversial issue back to the electorate is a clumsy variant of leadership by polling and focus groups.

So blatant is Labor’s refusal to lead that it raises serious questions about its fitness for government. The only problem is that the alternative is an economically-illiterate party whose leader doesn’t believe in climate change at all, but who insists on wasting $3b on the most expensive possible means of addressing it.

What a choice, two major parties incapable of leadership and unfit to govern.

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  • 1
    rossco
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    The only positive thing about this climate change “policy” is that it will definitely lock in a solid vote for the Greens - balance of power in the Senate and a couple of Reps seats at least.

  • 2
    John
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Today is the day Julia Gillard began to lose the election. Her climate change non-policy is the biggest political hoax I’ve ever seen. The Labor Party is a joke. Julia Gillard has become a laughing stock. She lacks any credibility. She will be lampooned mercilessly. This vacuous back-to-the-2020-Summit farce is proof that she is unfit to govern. She is a pretend prime minister, a sham: full of faux and signifying nothing.

  • 3
    paddy
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    I’m actually beginning to wonder, why does Julia want to be PM?
    There doesn’t appear to be *any* actual policy that she thinks is worth fighting for.
    What a sad and sorry state of affairs. :-(

  • 4
    Liz A
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    hear hear, this “policy” is a monumental FAIL - I have already contacted my (labour) member Nicola Roxon and complained.

    What damn good is a group of 150 “Joe Blows” when those who we elect to govern can’t even make a tough decision…. it is COMPLETE AND UTTER CRAP.

    There is some irony to the fact that Minchin was just on ABC 24 saying that the greens were a “radical left wing party” and that he “fears for the country” if they are given the balance of power in the Senate… well if it does turn out that way (and I hope that there is backlash on this issue), then HE ONLY HAS HIMSELF TO BLAME.

    Words fail to describe how angry I am at the current state of affairs. I did note vote Labour at the last election because I was afraid of workchoices, I voted because KRudd was going to do something about pricing on climate change… what a waste of my vote.

  • 5
    Lynchpin
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Well John, what do you expect. The main stream media, the LNP and the general commentariat that passes for “journalism” in this country does not want change. We have all contributed to the current situation by giving licence to the media to pore over every word and criticise every aspect that a politician utters. We reward the naysayers. Turnbull beaten by Abbott. What does that say? Rudd assassinated by a vicious media, full of journalists with huge egos trying to get the next scoop. You think Abbott would do better? Don’t think so. The Greens? They will never be in power in their own right. Get used to it. This is democracy.

  • 6
    dragonista
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

    While I also think the Citizen’s Assembly is a transparent stalling tactic, I am puzzled at Mr Keane’s shirt-rending despair at the folly of Labor’s abandonment of the CPRS/ETS.

    Surely he has realised by now that most people calling for an ETS thought it would be as painless as Kyoto ratification. Only now are political focus groups picking up that voters now have woken up to the fact that it will be very painful for the hip pocket nerve.

    Any price on carbon is designed to make fossil fuel based products so expensive that their climate-friendly alternatives look competitive in price and, given the choice between these equally expensive options, people will choose the green one.

    The low rate of uptake in green energy schemes shows that people just aren’t prepared to pay more to be greenhouse friendly - and now politicians have been faced with this fact.

  • 7
    Bogdanovist
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Tanner quitting makes even more sense if he knew this was in the works. Labor have a snowballs chance in Hell of holding Melbourne after this effort.

  • 8
    Michael Wilbur-Ham (MWH)
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    It will be interesting to see how the pro-environment lobby groups respond.

    So far all these groups have wanted to remain a part of the negotiations with Labor. This means that they have of course been able to criticize Labor, but they have never campaigned against Labor. ACF in particular seems to praise Labor as much as it criticizes them.

    In the Higgins by-election, possibly the closest we will ever get to a referendum on climate change, none of the major environment lobby groups were active. Clearly the knew that if they campaigned for The Greens that this would put them in Labor’s bad books.

    One thing that the last four years has proven is that the environmental groups policy of trying to stay friendly with Labor so that they can influence Labor to do more has been a spectacular failure.

    If any of these groups actually care about the environment (rather than caring about staying on good terms with Labor), they should campaign hard on behalf of all candidates who are committed to the large cuts which the science says are needed, and campaign against those who have not made this commitment.

    In major party terms, this means that they should campaign for The Greens and campaign against both Labor and Liberal. (They should also support any independents or other parties that support full action.)

    But even with today’s proof that Labor is all spin and no action, I expect that not even one of ACF, Beyond Zero, WWF, Wilderness Society, Greenpeace, Get-Up, etc , will take the step of campaigning against Labor.

  • 9
    cairns50
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    bernard, when are you going to write what has really happened with politics in this country

    julia gillard is not allowed to have a climate change policy because the born to rule right wing elite in this country will not allow her to

    they comprise approx 40% of the population, but in effect they have a veto on any progressive policies that a labor government might want to implement

    witness what occured with the mining tax

    witness what has transpired today with andrew forrest and clive palmer once again threating a campaign against the modified tax, because labor and the greeens have reached a preference agreement

    those bastards are threating and telling australian voters that they are NOT allowed to vote green

    what do you expect julia gillard to do annnounce a carbon tax and be defeated at the forthcoming election?

    we do not have a democratic system of government in this country at the moment

    what we have is a system of government that dictates that the right wing will be and remain in control

    this is true of all so called western democracies

    what choice is there in australia

    a right wing labor government or

    a right wing racist redneck government run by the liberal and nationl party lackeys of big mining big business aided an abetted by the murdoch press and there like

    thats a fact, thats the only choice the australian people have

    under these circumstances in our so called democracy i will be voting LABOR every time

    it sickens me that is has come to this, boy has that bastard john howard got a lot to answer for

  • 10
    Oscar
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    @All,

    Gosh - some people are just never satisfied!

    The Liberal’s have had much the same policy for months now, but instead of saying how much crap it is, the MSM (including Crikey) has been more interested in the contents (or lack thereof) of the fruit loop’s budgie smugglers.

    Finally Labor acknowledges that the Libs had it right all along and adopt essentially the same policy - but they get pilloried for it!

    Where’s the justice in that?

  • 11
    JamesK
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    If this doesn’t lose the election for Labor I don’t know what else could.

    Rudd’s grandiose quite insane rhetoric unchallenged by a lay down a roll over cabinet containing quite a few intelligent people started it.

    Now the perceived need to keep the loons on the left onside after Rudd’s ousting not by cabinet level colleagues but the backbench should break them.

    And Labor thoroughly deserves it.

  • 12
    Dionysus
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    What an absolute shambles. I am depressed.

  • 13
    Astro
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Just been to a fineral of a young women who had Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease (Mad Cow).

    This stupid Gillard government wants to import overseas beef from know Creutzfeldt–Jakob disease countries.

    Absolute Madness.

    Lets get rid of them, please

  • 14
    zut alors
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    Leapin’ lizards, it’s now a race to see which of the major parties has less vision - ALP currently nosing ahead.

    The Gillard mantra about Moving Forward needs a small modification where climate policy is concerned ie:

    Moving THE DATE Forward.

  • 15
    David Gibson
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    @OSCAR, I think the MSM (and crikey too) didn’t give the Liberal party’s policy very much attention because it didn’t really seem to deserve it, it is barely a policy in so many ways and no one seems to be under the impression it was anything but tokenistic.

    This has all changed because Gillard has out-tokened the Liberal’s tokenistic policy. Labor had a policy (which admittedly was seriously undermined after negotiations with the Liberals) which having been dropped, cost the last PM his position. How is it she can justify this policy? Rudd’s fall from grace was primarily driven by pulling the ETS off the table, now Gillard is refusing to put it back on the table. I fail to see the strategy here, it is truly mistifying to me.

  • 16
    Lorna
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    The Policy or more correctly the thought bubble on Climate change is as farcical as Kevin Rudds 2020 love in at Canberra, the only thing that has changed is the number down from 1000 to 150. At lease Abbot’s policy at the end of the day will improve our local environment where as the ETS would improve that of India and other “cheap” countries - it will not reduce carbon output here in Ostralia.

  • 17
    harrybelbarry
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    MWH , do all of these groups receive funding$ ?? I will be voting Greens 1 , and will choose the order on the day , except for the Fiberals last spot. Both parties will pander to Big Coal or they get the media to work them over .Get-up is labor union back room and out front. We are all doomed to a dirty future. Why?

  • 18
    Oscar
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    @David Gibson,

    Yes, exactly. I’ve been saying for a while that the real problem we face is that the government knows the opposition is simply unelectable with their current leader.

    So they don’t really need to do anything to win the election except drown out the opposition’s dog-whistling.

    Sadly, they have been very effective at this.

    The most depressing part is that we have another three weeks of this to go!

  • 19
    Rush Limbugh
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    Joint Transcript-Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Greens Senator Bob Brown.

    2 December 2009
    Press Conference
    130PM Wednesday

    …and I quote…

    Delay is the same as denial and the costs of inaction are far greater than the costs of action.”

    …that was the full line unedited..

    Rudd was the worst PM in our nations history, but if Gillard does win, I guess she could challenge for that title.

    What I don’t get is why the greens are on board with this? Socialists sticking together? Reds under the bed together?

    You may hate the coalitions green army proposal…but its better than a citizens assembly and it would start July 1, 2011.

    Why are the Greens preferencing Labor again?

  • 20
    Greg Angelo
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    As my post is awaiting moderation I’m not sure whether it is the noble military term “clusterfuck” or likening Julia Gillard to a milkshake that has caused the moderator some concern.

    For the benefit of the moderator I am providing the following definition from the “Urban Dictionary” - a highly reputable source of modern definitions.

    Clusterfuck - “Military term for an operation in which multiple things have gone wrong. Related to “SNAFU” (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up”) and “FUBAR” (Fucked Up Beyond All Repair). In radio communication or polite conversation (i.e. with a very senior officer with whom you have no prior experience) the term “clusterfuck” will often be replaced by the NATO phonetic acronym “Charlie Foxtrot.” “

  • 21
    Mark Duffett
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Yep, unless there are any even more disappointing developments during the campaign, that’s my vote decided right here. Has there ever been a clearer demonstration of lack of leadership?

  • 22
    John
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    @Lynchpin
    Kevin Rudd should not have assumed his desired outcome for Copenhagen, but he should have had the courage of his “greatest moral challenge” convictions to call a double dissolution election in February. The people would have backed his government at the beginning of the year and a joint sitting would have passed his bills into legislation.
    Instead, he whined about the Liberals’ obstruction in the Senate. That’s why the Constitution allows double dissolution elections.
    Julia Gillard should have a fair dinkum policy and have the courage to put her leadership to the test at a double dissolution election. Otherwise, she ain’t fit to govern.

  • 23
    rogerrabbit
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Wow I didn’t think Labor could sink any lower on its 07 election promises, they haven’t even tried to throw a bone to the significant number of voters who want strong action on Climate change. Will be interesting to see if there will be another spike in support to the greens such as what happened when Rudd ditched the CPRS.

  • 24
    Altakoi
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    The link between politics and politicians has almost completely disintegrated. In the same way that changing a middle manager in a major corporation doesn’t overly change the character of the organisation, it appears that who is actually in office is now largely irrelevant to what actually occurs. The labour party and liberal party are just two applicants for the same position whos job description they both understand has been written by other people. All they can hope for is good super and the opportunity for travel.

  • 25
    Troy C
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    Why are people so surprised by this “policy”? Was it not Julia Gillard who talked Kevin Rudd into scrapping — sorry, delaying — the ETS earlier this year? Ms. Gillard has always been, and remains, a climate skeptic.

  • 26
    Johnfromplanetearth
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    What’s the problem? People in Australia have a lot more to worry about than bloody Climate Change!

  • 27
    stephen
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Maybe it’s the new political correctness to say you’ll do something about climate change nodding to the majority who want change, but then do nothing.
    At the same time winking at sections of business who are running an effective scare campaign through the media and lobbyists, by exaggerating costs and job losses, and confusing or denying the science.
    Our craven reponse as a populace to the bodgey threats from miners over the RSPT is a graphic illustration of how collectively the only thing we are lead by is our fears.

    Maybe it’s the only way you can get elected these days.

  • 28
    David Allen
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    It’s all cynical politics. The Labs know they have driven me, and a few others evidently, to the Greens. They also know that they’ll still catch my preference before the Libs do.

  • 29
    Gratton Wilson
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Most of these comments reveal the stupidity of a lot of Australians. We all agree something needs to be done about climate change. But what? We will all have to pay for our avarice and of that of our forebears. But when it comes down to it - how many of us prepared to repay the planet for past behaviours. I guess some scientists are good citizens but the avaricious will squirm and twist to ensure they pay the minimum. After all that is what Abbott is about - protecting the haves from the have-nots. There are land owners who object to wind farms to produce green electricity because it might alter the panorama from their lounge room window - how petty can these people be? It will only be when the weight of public opinion far outweighs the views presented by Abbott and his ilk that we will get positive action.
    The PM’s fora for citizens and scientists as communicating tools are excellent opportunities. In the meantime maximizing renewable energy and strict guidelines for new coal power stations is to be commended.

  • 30
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    It’s more than clear that modern democracies are incapable of enacting the people’s wishes. In the US, a majority has wanted universal single payer health insurance (for at least 20 years poll after poll has shown this), but did they get it? Nup. Not even Obama could get that passed, and we all saw Hilary’s effort slapped down by the rightwing fear campaign in the 1990’s.

    And likewise here. Climate change was an issue that had a consensus until the rabid wingnuts and the MSM eroded it with the blabbering of clowns like Monckton and his ilk.

    So we’ve now got the politicians we deserve: incapable of making big changes for fear of the political heat.

    Face it, our political system has descended into farce.

  • 31
    Oscar
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    @John,

    I also used to think that Kevin should have had the courage to call a DD. However, I think the internal polling showed that he would not gain control of the senate anyway, so there was not really much point in doing so. That’s basically when the wheels started to fall off the whole “climate change” thing.

    @Troy C,

    Put aside your dislike of Labor for a minute, and acknowledge that Climate Change is probably not really a winner for either side. We may think so, but out there in the “real world”, Australia (like America) is full of people who are simply CC deniers. In this category I’d also put anyone who still claims to be a CC skeptic - since the science is now “in”, anyone who still claims to be a skeptic is either too ignorant to ever be convinced, or is simply being mischievous.

    Actually, given all of the above, maybe Julia is not so silly after all. Nothing is going to happen until we can educate people a little more. Talk about it for a while. Discuss options. Take away people’s fear and they may begin to be a little more rational about the whole thing.

  • 32
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    It is becoming blindingly apparent that the Labor Party’s concern for the people of Oz is exactly the same as the Coalition’s concern for the voter.

    About minus fifty degrees?

    Perhaps we should all take our concerns to the people who really run this country.

    The mining companies.

    It is ludicrous; our so-called political leaders just regard us as a bunch of whores for which they expect us to be grateful for their handouts?

    This year, 2010, sees the nadir of Australian politics. We should all express our contempt for the people who have brought us to this sorry state.

    As of now, I couldn’t give a damn who gets elected; it will be a politician.

  • 33
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Like the bulk of others here I too am scandalised and it simply underlines my determination not to preference either of the major parties.

    This morning on Fran Kelly’s Breakfast, Richard Dennis (Australia Institute) described the “Citizens’ Assembly” as completely meaningless.

    He was wrong of course. It means that Gillard wants to delay action for even longer and to persuade people that contrary to what they know, there is no consensus on what to do about mitigating AGW. This canard is the most dangerous of all propositions to offer the opponents of action.

    What a scandalous and reckless cop out clown this woman is proving to be!

    Delay, as Penny Wong said quite rightly, is denial, and this is arbitrary delay dressed up as consultation.

    TroyC called Gillard a climate skeptic.

    There’s no such thing. Nobody is skeptical of climate. Indeed, nobody is skeptical of climate change.

    Indeed, I would argue that nobody is skeptical of anthropogenic climate chnage, since skepticism implies a grasp of the corpus of work in the field, the usages of the science, the flaws in various theories within the corpus including in those that depart from the consensus position and a willingness to engage in scholarly review.

    There are no such persons in Australia (or to my knowledge anywhere) calling themselves skeptics in relation to the mainstream position on the post-industrial climate anomaly at all. There are merely some culture warriors and snake oil salesfolk self-identifying as skeptics to make themselves appear less ridiculous than their apparent credulity for ignorant nonsense would imply.

  • 34
    EddyAl
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    Alby Schultz Never heard of him? Never mind. He was my local member for yonks- some long standing incumbent liberal who wants to farm national parks and not say sorry to any MoFo. I wanted to give him a right Roos this election but they moved my boundary. Now for all my bleating I have Ms George’s retiring is seat about as ALP as the punch up at my local on closing.

    Leading them is the two part leaders playing how small a target can I be. Teeny weeny minded politics. My new member for throsby is a ALP hack. Abbott has made some great gaffs about everything under the sun and now is a meek as a lamb. Miss Ranga with her pop vox leadership style. Pewk.

    Simple ideas are a plenty. Make the mining tax less palatable by diverting it 100% to re-newables, give sustainable power a tax break and it will go better than ripping off old ladies for their insulation. But these two leaders are as goalless as the socceroos. Sure the coal miners and mr forest will get cranky but so f’k’n’what they always are aren’t they. what there going to take the tonka set to africa and start up there.. right you are boys off you go.

    Give me Alby, at least he gives me the shits because he stands for something i can aim at. He stands for crap, but crap I can point at not all this soft product control leadership.

    yep I have gone green At least the buggers stand for something, pox on the rest. Gen x now has no x factor

  • 35
    davidk
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    I agree with most of the above. I remember somebody saying once that Australian’s would end up being the white trash of Asia. If we don’t get smart soon we well may.We are certainly well on our way to being Asia’s quarry. One mined by convicts I’m inclined to add, with a population convicted of apathy.

  • 36
    CHRISTOPHER DUNNE
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    And just for a bit of irony, China has just announced they’ll have an ETS in operation within 5 years (while they pump alternative energy as only a centrally planned economy can).

    And take a look at the interview with one of our Reserve Bank board members on Business Spectator,Warwick McKibbin. He reckons that investment in electricity generation is drying up because we don’t have a price on carbon, and that we’ll have one in the next parliament regardless of who wins! He also claims that only the Greens have anything like a sensible policy.

    It’s refreshing to hear an adult talking about the issue. What he’s saying is that business will push government to action…Abbott or Gillard, it won’t matter.

    Meanwhile, the public has this charade from both the major parties.

  • 37
    nicolino
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Yet another talkfest and then a review, the results of which will be shunted off to an archival home and forgotten about.
    A curse on both major parties.

  • 38
    JamesK
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    @Fran Barlow.

    I’m sceptical of catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

    So too are many others including climate scientists including atmospheric physicists.

    Please don’t make silly assertions and ascribe ownership to me.

  • 39
    Troy C
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Nothing is going to happen until we can educate people a little more.

    Oh, what pollywaffle. Why is nothing “going to happen”? Who is stopping anything from “happening”? Perhaps, it’s Labor’s notorious inability to sell its policies. Surely, after the election, with a workable Green-Labor majority in the senate, the legislation could gain passage. How many more opinion polls citing majority support for an ETS do you need to see?

  • 40
    joelisabeth
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Yes a curse on both parties, I couldn’t agree more…but I’d love to ask the bunch of crikey journo’s why is the media leaving Mrs Abbott alone. As a possible “first lady” and “keeper of her daughter’s gift’s to “man”kind she has a big role to play. where is she. The media are usually not that kind!

  • 41
    Syd Walker
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    Flanked by Penny Wong and Martin Ferguson, Gillard’s Press Conference sent more than a dog whistle to the Coal Industry.

    Big Coal certainly is ‘moving forward’ in Queensland - no doubt about it. The Labor Party has shown once again it’s unwilling to stand in the way. Not a tiny bit.

    Labor wants a nice happy climate for the well-regulated, monitored and censored working families of the future - but just can’t kick the coal habit. So we get more improbable drivel. Gillard announced a promise to build only ‘carbon capture ready’ new coal plants, if I recall correctly.

    Why doesn’t she insist all new cars are ‘perpetual motion ready’? It would sound good too. Perhaps the government should also finance a gigantic research effort into perpetual motion machines?

    Outside on the lawn, their distant angry voices occasionally wafting through Gillard’s speech, Friends of the Earth protestors tried to inject reality into the proceedings, holding aloft a banner prominently featuring this URL:

    http://www.sixdegrees.org.au/

    It’s well worth a look.

    Good solid response from Christine Milne too:

    http://greensmps.org.au/content/media-release/gillard-moving-backwards-climate-crisis

  • 42
    Aphra
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    The PM is merely acting as a consummate politician. She knows where the votes which really matter are and that’s not with any of us.

    She will win.

  • 43
    Troy C
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    but I’d love to ask the bunch of crikey journo’s why is the media leaving Mrs Abbott alone.

    Please leave Mrs Abbott out of this. Nobody gives a flying stuff about Tim Mathieson. Equally, why should anyone give a stuff about Mrs Abbott? Let’s focus on our potential leaders, not their spouses. Leave them right out of it.

  • 44
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    I wish people would stop voting for the duopoly.

  • 45
    John
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    @Johnfromplanetearth
    “What’s the problem? People in Australia have a lot more to worry about than bloody Climate Change!”

    It is not a matter any longer of first order versus second order political issues.
    It is now a question of character for Julia Gillard.

    @Oscar
    “I also used to think that Kevin should have had the courage to call a DD. However, I think the internal polling showed that he would not gain control of the senate anyway, so there was not really much point in doing so.”

    Rudd didn’t need to gain control of the Senate to have a majority at a joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate to pass the Bills which had already been rejected by the Senate. That was an excuse which Rudd trotted out but it was a red herring.

  • 46
    Oscar
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    @Troy C,

    Something “almost” happened a couple of months ago - remember? When your party rolled it’s own leader to prevent it?

  • 47
    joelisabeth
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    I don’t care for the the political family either, the attention makes me sick, that is not the point. The media makes much of them, whether we like it or not, that was my question.

  • 48
    hopeleft
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    As usual, Crikey is the only news source that cuts through to the issues.

    Twelve new coal-fired power stations are being built in Australia, which will send greenhouse gas emissions shooting up no matter how many focus groups or schemes are put in place. Expanding coal power is extremely unpopular and makes a farce of democracy. I’d like to see more naming and shaming of the unelected corporate lobbyists who fought climate action tooth and nail, watered down the mining tax and even shunted the prime minister of the country.

    This is why the climate camp movement is growing. This year it will be held at Bayswater power station, where the biggest of the dirty dozen power stations is planned to be built. Political compromise is not going to appease the laws of physics or stop the Pacific Islands from being wiped off the map, and it won’t stop the growing movement of people taking non-violent direct action (not Tony Abbott’s version of direct action) on coal.

  • 49
    Oscar
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    @John,

    Sorry, you’re right - that was indeed what I meant. If the Greens and the Liberals (and that Fielding lunatic - assuming he was re-elected) all voted against it when it came to the joint sitting, what would have been the point of a DD on the CPRS?

    In fact, what would have happened to the government in such a case - i.e. if they had called a DD, won the election (with a small margin) but not control of the senate - and then lost the crucial vote in the joint sitting? Is there any precedent?

    I don’t really know whether that would have actually happened - who does? - but I do know that getting the CPRS (as it stood) through a joint sitting was by no means guaranteed, given the Green’s ongoing opposition to anything they didn’t think of themselves, and the fruit loop of an oppostion leader who can’t seem to understand that there is more to being in opposition than simply opposing EVERYTHING.

  • 50
    dragonista
    Posted Friday, 23 July 2010 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Could somebody please explain to me why Australia should hike the cost of fossil-fuel based products to drive emissions down by, say, 50% by 2020, when this will have ten fifths of bugger-all impact on global emissions? Do you not realise that Australia emits less than 1.5% of global emissions - are you all serious in suggesting we should impose considerable financial pain on all Australian households to reduce global emissions by less than 1%?

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