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Broken promises and price rises

So, welcome back to the politics of climate change, Australian style, which wrecks leaderships, sunders parties and, like a kind of green haze, induces fury, ill-judgement and bizarre alliances as a matter of course.

Quite what the Government announced yesterday is hard to describe. It’s an agreement, though only with the Greens – Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott only “agreed” to its release – and then with only the vaguest of principles, with such minor issues as the level of the fixed price and household and industry compensation left TBA. Also To Be Advised was Labor Caucus, which was not asked to consider the proposal.

This provided new vigour for the Opposition’s long-running campaign on electricity price impacts. One has to say, however, that, it would have more credibility on the issue of electricity prices if it had been able to maintain a consistent line on the matter over the last two years. Having long campaigned on the electricity price impacts of carbon pricing, back in August 2009, the Opposition unveiled modelling by Frontier Economics, commissioned by Andrew Robb and Nick Xenophon, demonstrating that the Government’s CPRS would force electricity prices up by $260-280 a year.

After tearing itself apart over the issue and installing Tony Abbott as leader, the Frontier findings were abandoned and the Opposition adopted a new tack, claiming Labor’s CPRS would lead to a total increase in costs for households of $1100. A NSW electricity pricing regulator ruling was also used to claim the CPRS would increase electricity prices by 62% alone, although later in Parliament Greg Hunt cited another figure, “19% over two years”.

But at some point, perhaps as an example of rhetoric inflation, Hunt started claiming that the $1100 figure was for electricity prices alone, not all household costs, as a consequence of a $30 a tonne carbon price. That line of attack took him up until the start of this week. Unable to stand Hunt’s constant repetition of the $1100 figure, and the innumerate journalists who reported it, John Quiggin methodically shredded Hunt’s claims, showing that his $1100 line was out by a factor of 5.

Perhaps it was a coincidence that after this takedown, Hunt and his colleagues abandoned the $1100 line. This week, their electricity price claim was lowered back to $300 from $1100. Why? The Australian Industry Group had produced a report with modelling claiming a carbon price of $26 would increase electricity prices by $300 a year.

How Hunt got from a carbon price of $30 a tonne causing electricity price rises of $1100 to a carbon price of $26 a tonne causing electricity price rises of $300 a year is anyone’s guess.

What the Opposition never mentioned is that under the CPRS, low and middle income earners were all fully compensated for the price rises. In fact, many were overcompensated, just to make sure. The Opposition knows this perfectly well. Why? Well, cast your mind back to November 2009, when Ian Macfarlane and Penny Wong were negotiating an agreed position on the CPRS (passage of which, you’ll recall, Tony Abbott had been strongly in favour).

One of the issues was, naturally, electricity price rises. Eventually the Government and the Turnbull-led Opposition agreed to reduce electricity price rises by massively increasing handouts to the electricity generation sector. This meant they slashed compensation to households for electricity price rises – in effect transferring compensation from households to the foreign multinationals and incompetent state governments that run our electricity generation sector.

All that’s now superfluous detail, of course, in the race to claim that householders will somehow be out of pocket from electricity prices, by $260, or $300, or $1100, or whatever other number will spring to mind. No one remembers in the perpetual present of the media cycle.

The Opposition’s other line of attack has far more credibility – the gulf between what Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan said about carbon taxes before the election and what they say now. The contumely directed toward Labor is richly deserved, given the extraordinary cynicism and political stupidity that informed its election commitment. Perhaps Karl and Mark can cough up for some focus groups on how to square that particular circle?

The Right will hammer this endlessly — Alan Jones left even more froth on the microphone than usual this morning — although if Tony Abbott wants to talk about “people’s revolts” he might watch some Al Jazeera and examine some pictures of murdered Arab protesters first in order to understand why that might be a tad inappropriate at the moment.

Whether the “broken promise” line has any legs will be the first question of interest as we plunge back into the green haze. Are voters more likely to see the Government’s move as a breach of faith or a reversal of an extraordinarily dumb decision? And have we all got the emotional energy to reach the same heights of hysteria as in 2009?

Although there’s one minor problem with it all. It’s funny, but I don’t recall any such fury when the promise by both Labor and the Liberal Party to introduce an ETS after the 2007 election was deliberately broken, first by the Liberals in 2009 and then by Labor in 2010.

There’s very little consistency in either the Government or the Opposition when it comes to climate action.

  • 1
    Captain Planet
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Bernard, please keep the commentary coming on this, the single most important story of 2011.

    You criticise that the Opposition, “… would have more credibility on the issue of electricity prices if it had been able to maintain a consistent line on the matter over the last two years.”

    Why should they bother? When you can hoodwink huge swathes of ignorant, selfish and reactionary voters with reasoning as specious as “Great Big New Tax on Everything” it is hardly worth the effort to present a consistent argument, just make sure that your soundbites line up with one another this week, appeal to the lowest common denominators of fear of change and self interest, and watch the punters line up to back you.

    Abbott and the Coalitions gradual fall in popularity, according to latest opinion polling, gives me hope that a significant proportion of the electorate may be less easily fooled, after all.

    The lack of detail in the release yesterday strikes me as evidence that the Government is going about this process with an attention to detail (ironically) and planning which has been lacking from its policymaking of late. It is part of a coordinated and considered campaign to keep the public informed at all stages of what is going to be a long and (hopefully) careful process to thrash out the details. I think the delicate balance of power ensures that careful negotiation will be necessary to ensure this works. Rather than being condemned for providing little detail at this point, the government is to be lauded for its transparency. This is no accident - Gillard, it seems, has learnt from Rudd’s mistakes of autocratic, zero consultation policy making on the run. Let’s hope so anyway.

    The “broken promise” line is indeed the one which will get the Coalition furthest, and it is in keeping with the present Coalition rabble’s moral standard. It will appeal to the sexist conservatives to depict JG as a liar - the fact that John Howard was the ultimate master and overlord of the broken promise in recent political history, will be glossed over as gloating sexists whine to themselves about how JG “can’t be trusted”.

    There is a very good argument that JG’s statement about ruling out a Carbon Tax under a Labor government, is null and void. We don’t have a Labor government, we have coaltion of labour, greens and independants. This doesn’t excuse JG from culpability for political naivety - One should not make promises or rule things out, unless one is absolutely certain that no conceivable situation can arise in future, where one can be depicted as having “broken a promise”. This is really quite difficult, but therein lies the difficult path politicians must learn to tread, if they are to be viewed as having integrity. JG should have been a bit more circumspect in how specific she was with her commitments - the approach with the Carbon Tax release yesterday suggests that she, and the government, have learnt this lesson.

  • 2
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Julia Gillard has the ability to explain the economics of this carbon tax much better than Kevin Rudd ever could. The electorate will forgive her for her broken election promise just so we can move forward, progress sensibly, mitigate our economic losses and not lose any more PM’s, governments and opposition leaders.

    The electorate was and still is supportive of action on climate change. They executed John Howard for failing on climate change policy and they were prepared to execute Kevin Rudd for lacking the ticker to crash through a DD election for his CPRS.

    Alan Jones did his cause a great disservice by branding Julia a liar. The Australian electorate doesn’t like that degree of vulgar and personal attack on our PM.

  • 3
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Nice article and balanced
    I love the comments and polls on several of the newspaper web sites.
    Its as if there was a rallying call to haters to comment and vote until you collapse from exhaustion.
    How can polls that opened late at night get near ten thousand votes by 7 a.m.?
    Let alone hundreds of negative comments in the same time period.

    Me thinks a small handful of folk who think the world has been cruelly unfair to them just went for it.
    And then without any embarrassment the radio hacks use this stuff as “evidence”
    Pity they don’t travel frequently to many countries and they would be embarrassed by the nonsense they are encouraging – oh sorry forgot that solidifies there audience share and the advertising spend.

  • 4
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    She is a liar? WTF!

  • 5
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    Agree more with the comments than the article, although you are right about Abbott’ s antics. When you have Mitchell and Jones offside you must being doing something right, as there are few more odious players in the shock-jock pantheon. These radio goons are no better than the hacks that litter the air-waves in the US, preaching their brand of down-home nastiness, whipping the tea-party set up into a lynch mob. Here its the crypto-Hansonite set, the permanently credulous pygmy intellects that tune into these fools for their daily fare of fear and loathing. It won’t be long before they establish a link between a price on carbon and the downfall of Western civilisation…

  • 6
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Bernard, I reject the nonsense about Julia’s alleged ‘promise’ as though she’s completely gone back on ALP policy or commitment to climate change action?

    Let’s look at the facts ; Labor tried 3 times to have the CPRS passed. The Libs are the ones who’ve ‘flip-flopped’ over this, in particular, Abbott. He’s as Greg Combet asserts, a ‘political opportunist’? I don’t believe that Abbott gives a toss about this country or the people in it. He got rid of Turnbull and the non-partisan agreement on action on climate change; and he and his colleagues are the ones living a lie. Every time I hear Greg Hunt’s protestations I want to scream - another one who’s only interested in his power and the Coalition’s. The business sector knew this was coming, their whining makes me sick! They don’t give a damn about anyone either, just today, and today’s profits!

    On the other hand, Kevin Rudd’s electoral victory was due in a large part to support for action. He lost his way and allowed himself to be pushed onto another path - to his detriment. Labor and the Independents and the Greens were elected as the govt and they consistently had a policy on climate change, not the Opposition. The Greens increased their vote, and together with Labor’s is a strong answer by the electorate, that they favour their policies over the Coalitions. I wish someone would point this out to Abbott; I wish someone would persist with the question of whether Abbott would remove the tax on carbon if elected. He’s refused to answer the question on several occasions. A decent journalist would persist with that question until he answered it, or just cut the interview. I’m fed up with the focus on Julia Gillard while Abbott gets off almost unscathed! He can’t even say whether he agrees with his Treasury spokesperson Hockey on his point, that once in place for 12 months a Coalition govt would find it difficult, impossible even to remove!

    I just went them to get on with it. I’ve supported this action for years, and am sick of the bs.

  • 7
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Why, why, why does no one talk about agriculture, specifically livestock and animal industries, and the significant contribution they make to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, through methane (x80 the impact of carbon dioxide), and nitrous oxide? Land clearing, deforestation, massive application of fertiliser to increase feed yield, to grow grain that could be fed to human animals? Protein production via animals is ridiculously inefficient - requiring some 7lb of feed to produce 1lb of beef, for example. To that, add the manure that comes out of intensive (and intensely cruel) factory farms, plus all the antibiotics.
    Then, there’s aquaculture - fancy a fish that’s been swimming in its own faeces while it’s been fattened up on wild fish - just as inefficient as growing livestock.

    It’s about time we had this debate in Australia, before we are left behind. The world simply cannot afford its increasing dependence on animal products. The coalition says farmers will never be affected by any climate change system. That’s madness.

  • 8
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Captain Planet - You said it all.

    Puddleduck - Have you even seen a farm? How many pounds of feed does it take to produce one pound of puddleduck (something tells me it will be les efficient than beef) not to mention the manure and antibiotics.

  • 9
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Note what that Frontier Economics report actually said:

    The improvement in the economics of the CPRS (which we recommend) is mostly due to a reduction in the economic distortions arising from Government’s revenue churning (which) occurs, for example, when the Government charges electricity consumers for the full cost of greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production and then returns the money it collects to various groups it believes are deserving of Government support to compensate for the financial hardship arising from the CPRS. If this reallocation of funds is made an in-built feature of the trading scheme, rather than a distinct exercise that relies on the Government to intercept and reallocate permit funds, this ensures lower electricity price increases, which is better for the economy.
    Furthermore, if the reallocation of funds is an in-built design feature of the trading scheme it further removes the Government from the carbon market and this will give investors greater certainty since the hand out of permits will not be at the discretion of the Government, as it is in the CPRS. This will increase the probability that investors will commit the funds to build the infrastructure necessary to efficiently achieve the emissions target.

    Translation: the CPRS as presented to the Senate was a self-defeating policy with some of the downside (complexity, distortion, compliance costs) of a neutral ETS, as well as a high level of rentseeking opportunity, and none of the environmental upside. Bury it in unconsecrated ground, and use a completely different approach this time.

    Do not provide compensation directly to sectors such as industries or households. Instead, recycle the carbon-tax revenue through the economic mulching machine by lowering the company tax rate. As I explain here, that mulching machine will make Australian households $1.40 richer for every $1.00 recycled in across-the-board reductions of company tax.

    Aussie battlers can then choose to spend the extra $0.40 on the higher electricity bills, or they can look for ways to reduce their electricity usage, and pocket the difference.

  • 10
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    @PUDDLEDUCK - Let’s wait for all this premature nonsense to get out of the way, then hopefully we’ll discuss all the important issues relating to climate change. I agree with you about farming. A steak is a very expensive way of getting some protein - in comparison to lentils or some other equivalent. I wonder how many trees have been cut down since colonisation for farming use? Scary isn’t it?

    Incidently, Abbott’s nonsense about growing trees - I understand it takes 5 yrs before said trees do anything constructive re climate change. Of course, he doesn’t say anything about not cutting down native forests or being against Gunn’s proposed pulp mill etc. He’s worse than an idiot - he’s a dangerous idiot! A Rhodes Scholar??????I doubt it! Perhaps he’s just pure evil then!

  • 11
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    She might be a liar, but theres one thing she isn’t, insane. To actually think the majority would ever forgive Labor for backing out on the ETS again is

  • 12
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    She might be a liar, but theres one thing she isn’t, insane. To actually think the majority would ever forgive Labor for backing out on the ETS again, well thats just plain stupid.

  • 13
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I am with you on this one Liz45.
    The sooner we get the ball rolling, the sooner we will have the GST non event that we have now.
    I thought JG served it up to that clown on 2ue this morning and she gave a lot better than she got.
    Just like that other talking flatus tube in Adelaide last week, his rudeness in not letting her answer his so called questions, (read dribbling, hysterical, bully girl na na na na na naas), showed him up to be the Malcolm Fraser/Number 96/ Play School script writer that he is.

    Why is it that the ABC in particular, does not pursue Rabbit for answers? He avoided answering whether he would remove the “great big tax” a number of times in different interviews and no one pinned him down; and if negativity for the sake of it is going to be his line, then we need to know if he is serious about cancelling the legislation the moment Hockey or Turnbull takes power in 2025.

    The way Rabid is going, he wont see the change in the senate in July.

    JG made a non core promise. Suck it up girls. We had to.

  • 14
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Gillard: “Oi Believe in cloimate change”

    Reminds me of Wong’s moronic refrain: “the science is settled”.

    This IS about Belief. The mere fact they have to say it exposes their insecurity.

    What just happened? Both major parties explictly rejected a carbon tax, the govt. lost its majority and now we’re getting a carbon tax…

    Climate cult decline was one reason for the ALP’s flop at the polls. This political reality is countered with…a nasty “climate” tax. Forget the fatuity of the whole exercise (Australia with 1% of global emissions…) and the transparent nonsense about “not being left behind”. All the Right has to do is hammer Gillard’s hypocrisy, the regressive nature of the tax, inflationary effects and consequent pressure on interest rates. Some fat Nat will be told to sit on Greg Hunt’s face until after the next election- because Greggy really is a Believer.

    The only way Gillard can get away with it is to make the tax so small it won’t hurt. The Greens will whinge but they’re already at their high-water mark -so they’ll have to wear it. The tide is going out, Bob.

    The backlash hasn’t begun yet. The waste, the class discrimination, the sheer silliness of this gratuitous self-harm will hit home.

    If he doesn’t gaffe himself to death, Abbott will fall into power…

    Good news for the real environment, eh?
    Rednecks everywhere are dribbling with anticipation.

  • 15
    Son of foro
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    There’s no way that GST will ever be part of our policy. Never ever. It’s dead. It was killed by the voters in the last election.” John Howard.

    Alan Jones can froth all he likes. He’d do better to know his history, mind.

    Howard broke his promise, then went to the polls and got back in. Gillard is trying exactly the same approach and will either win or lose at the next election. Everything else is mere hot air, as it were.

  • 16
    Roger Clifton
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    On the contrary, carbon tax puts money in our pockets.

    That much revenue coming from carbon means that much less income tax I have to pay. In fact, I will have more cash in my pocket. Moreover, I have been given the choice on whether to spend my extra money on now-expensive items or on something I couldn’t afford before.

    Since gas-fired electricity is going to be that much more expensive, perhaps it is time to check whether our questions on the now-cheaper nuclear have been answered.

  • 17
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

    Saying electricity prices will go up is meaningless because they are going up already. Some say its because uncertainty about a carbon price and necessary infrastructure is being delayed. Either way we are paying higher electricity prices now and will continue to do so it seems with or without a carbon tax.
    Its sad or comical that Greg Hunt Turnbulls chief backer for a carbon reduction policy is presently dancing to a different tune with Abbott. Then again Abbott did the same thing having formerly backed the Turnbull/howard policy.

  • 18
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    This IS about Belief. The mere fact they have to say it exposes their insecurity

    A gentle reminder that all scientific method is about developing a theory based on observations, repeatededly tested, prodded,bitten laughed at , disclaimed at, but which repeatedly comes up with the same result. It is a system of BELIEF that is based in predictability. Many people throughout history have dismissed theories as mere beliefs, often because it conflicts with their own beliefs that , for them, require no degrees of certainty and are sufficient in that they seek comfort in them.

    Remember where the mad Abbott comes from. Julie may be Lady MacBeth but Abbott is the ghost of Bob Santa Maria come to haunt us all.

  • 19
    colin skene
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s ok for Alan Jones to leave more froth on the microphone than usual, but surely we all know he is a card-carrying memberof the conservative elite and, at the same time, a totally dicsredited public figure. Why don’t we just keep reminding him of the numerous defammation cases he has lost and that rather, ermmm….(alleged) …unfortunate incident in the toilets of the London underground? Let him defend them for christ’s sake. And, while I’m at it, wasn’t it both Mr Jones’ and Mr Abbott’s knight in shining armour, Mr JW Howard, who went to an election declaring we will “never, ever” have a GST??? The article here convinces me that Labor is too concerned with the power and influence of the wrong people. It is us, who want to believe in the Labor capacity to act in the public good, that will chorus our unhappiness. Much more loudly and vehemently that Jones and Abbott could ever do.

  • 20
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    @COLIN - I agree. I’m not big-noting myself, but I don’t have any other income except my pension - and I have no problem with having to try and save energy and pay more - for the future of my grandkids and all kids!

    By the way, has anyone remembered Abbott’s promise of 2004 re Health Rebates? How soon was it after the election that he had to do an OOOOOOpppppppsssss! guess what folks? It’s going to cost more than I thought! I’m going to have to take back that promise and wind it back, quite a bit! Remember? He didn’t get hauled over the coals by the MSM, oh no! It just gently slid off the scene. Howard didn’t even chastise him, he kept his Health portfolio from memory, and the Jones, Bolts and others were, well silent - it was deafening! Abbott’s promise was ‘set in stone’ or ‘set in concrete - rock solid’ lock it in etc etc - and repeated it many, many times! Will someone please remind him and Jones and others, or perhaps I’ll ring his office on Monday and remind them!

    Remember Abbott’s ‘chat’ to Cardinal Pell over private school funding prior to ‘07 Election I think? And he got caught out by Tony Jones, Lateline, and had to admit to visiting Pell?(anyone watch that interview? if looks could kill, Tony would no longer be with us - what a hoot!) Another lie! He’s told more lies in 10 yrs than my 3 boys did when they were little kids? (well, as far as I know?)

    Howard went to the Election in 2004 and said that unfair dismissal laws would only apply in workplaces of 20 or less - then, after he got a majority in both Houses, he jacked it up to 100? Another lie! I have a print out of many Howard ‘lies’?

    Another was University fees - guess what? Nobody would pay $100,000 for a uni degree - not even medicine? Guess what? Yep!

    Costello introduced 30 taxes or increased charges in his first term?(the article in SMH was prior to ‘98 election or ‘01) - he promised there’d be none. Not only that, but when he was asked this question in Parlt, it took him 16 months to answer.

    It would probably be a good idea for me to do some homework over the weekend, and drag those articles out of storage! It will give me the greatest pleasure to read off a dozen or more! NO, I won’t ring Jones or that other rude, arrogant bastard - they’re not worth it!

    I heard a bit of Julia this morning re Alan Jones - via ABC - not his ‘show’, more like a rude arrogant rant! Go Julia! She’s good - I wouldn’t like to be on the receiving end - she’s really good on her feet too!

  • 21
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

    When it comes to “boat people” it’s been reported “one Liberal MP” said “It works well for us in outer metrpolitan electorates” - obviously any other issues (like morality, or facts) are subverted to “the greater game”.
    So “Politicians aren’t bound by the same onus of reponsible behaviour - in their positions, having been elected to represent us - as ordinary people”?
    Is this Coaliton “policy” any different? All sound and fury - and “Gillard lies!!”, from “Abbott”, with his record of veracity?
    Besides, wasn’t that performance of Abbott’s in parliament so much like the Oscar winner he put in, when “Shadow Finance Minister” Joyce was in all that hot water (from his own utterances), when Abbott tied “Garrett’s culpability in industrial manslaughter” in all those roofs? Where is Scott “Reith-Morrison” in all this?

    And when it comes to “that little runt Greg”, it seems “that hack from the Oz” might have been talking about his “moral develpoment”, and not his physical - he is, very possibly, “Mike”, to some people?

  • 22
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    I can’t understand why “socialist personalities” enter “Gloria’s Lyin’s Den” - they know they’re there for ratings, commercial advertising air time and a slap around the head with a hand-bag!
    Maybe they’re into S&M too? Maybe that’s whe….

  • 23
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    LORRY what the hell are you on about? Apart from demonizing the Jewish people in our country? Julia Gillard is a self-confessed atheist/agnostic (previously raised Protestant/Christian, if the media is to be believed). What a lot of obscene rubbish!
    No doubt you are a dyed- in- the- wool conservative supporter, but please get your facts right.

  • 24
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really like journalists pressuring politicians for specific promises before elections. If they volunteer them, then they dig their own graves. Imagine if you were interviewing for your new company CEO, and you asked: “What new product lines will we be offering? What will our next acquisition be? Are you going to settle the litigation or contest it? Exactly what will it cost us?”

    More useful would be a statement of priorities and methods. What are the most important issues you want to address? What resources (party, public service, academic research units, etc) will you be using to form plans and respond to new information? What is your attitude (as opposed to a precisely costed plan) towards X, Y, and Z? I would find that a lot more meaningful. As far as I’m concerned, a politician who makes specific decisions before the election and then does the analysis after the election is a fool and I have no use for him.

  • 25
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    For those who might be interested!

    35 Lies told by John Howard……and counting!

    Go to - http://www.awu.net.au/109589607626152_5.html?H%7C19%7C109589607626152%7C1650569191203

    In Mr Howard’s response to the 27 lies on 23 August 2004(some more were added - obviously?)

    3 times, his excuse is that his comments are being read out of context.

    4 times, he passes the buck, claiming he wasn’t told or had wrong advice.

    9 times, he avoids facing up to his lie-instead, diverting attention by talking about a different issue.

    11 times, he tries to wriggle out, with a slippery, evasive response, adding new qualifications and conditions there were never there in his original statement.”.

    I should send this to Jones, the Murdoch rags and the ABC! I think the ALP should get on the job with lies pertaining to Howard, Abbott, Hockey and others!

    If you put 35 John Howard Lies into your search engine, you come up with 1,340,000 sites? How about that!

  • 26
    Gratton Wilson
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    The price of electricity is going to go up no matter what happens, tax or no tax. It’s a tradition for prices to go up. Individuals can do a great deal to keep the price at a managable level. They can stop wasting electricity for a start. It would be a rare household or business that could not find ways of reducing the use of electricity. If the price of your electricity goes up by $300pa then perhaps you are not really trying.

  • 27
    Frank Campbell
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 8:33 pm | Permalink


    (science) is a system of BELIEF that is based in predictability.”

    Indeed. We “believe” when we enter a lift…

    Just look at the IPCC’s predictions (and the Royal Society’s recent warnings). The predictions vary wildly, from minimal to Armageddon. The time scales range from “already too late-start the piss-up” to a century and more.

    The observational evidence is limited in time. GW is observed from the mid-19th C, but most sophisticated data is post-1975. The AGW hypothesis is hanging on by the skin of its teeth. My guess is that it will be weakly confirmed. Projections are based entirely on computer modelling. One tweak of an assumption and a different piece of shit hits the fan. That takes a real leap of faith.

    Tribalism determines 95% of opinion on AGW: progressives yes, the Right- No. That should be a warning. The gullibility of the Left sickens me- because nearly all the desperately silly, premature and incompetent “action on climate” thus far succours the hard Right.

    Gillard did not lie when she said “there will be no carbon price under a govt. led by me”. She’s not leading the government. It’s being led by climate Savonarolas- to destruction.

  • 28
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 8:35 pm | Permalink

    I have a dream …” that Gillard can use this issue to further the recommendations of the (idiotic & self serving) review of the failing party base.
    Many Crikey commenters have deplored the lack of visionin the mechanisic machine that passes for the Labor party.
    Could this be the PRINCIPLE that revitalises them? Actually arguing a wildly unpopular idea, against the tide as did Evatt with the Communist Dissolution Bill, day after day, arguing the case for our better angels (if any - I remain to be convinced though, like Mulder, “I WANT to believe”).
    PM, you are currently just about afloat, use this opportunity, show us that you have something approaching integrity, vision, ability and the strength to get past dinosaurs like Mar’n Fer’son and that nasty lurking piece of shite, Cassius Shorten.

  • 29
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

    Well now - it’s time for the Greens to actually articulate, persuade and deliver !!! All this pfuffing around, gazing down from the high ground ( moral ) banging on about this and that. OK - here’s your chance. If they can’t get this up, they will go the way of the Democrats. No pussyfooting, no shillyshallying - time to get down get dirty and actually try. After their last pathetic efforts - even Turnbull was a better advocate - and their fear of grubby compromise, STEP UP NOW. NO MORE EXCUSES.

    What are the odds ?

  • 30
    Captain Planet
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    @ Liz45,

    (Tony Abbott has) told more lies in 10 yrs than my 3 boys did when they were little kids”.


    The perfectly aimed, accurate put - down for misogynist, control freak Mr. Rabid.

    Great work, Liz.

  • 31
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Bernard to cast this as a left or right issue reeks of the 50’s ‘class war’. There would be Labor and Liberals on both sides here. My question is what is the effect of the tax? The definitive papers on pricing agree that it is effective if there is a substitute available otherwise it has only a price effect and in this case there is no alternative to base load power. Now Julia says we will just use less and therefore the effect will be a reduction in our standard of living but then there is a compensation scheme so those people will continue to consume without reduction so no net effect. I admit that I view threats of disaster from politicians with scepticism and while Garnaut may know something about economics his science could be put on half an Aspro with a crowbar. So I am confused and would like a clearer picture spelt out for me on what the impact of the carbon tax will have on myself and others TOGETHER with the benefits documented. And will imported products be loaded with a carbon tax component or will local manufacturers suffer competitively. Personally I would prefer to tax the user rather than the supplier to make it fair for local manufacturers who hire Australians. SAt the moment this seems to be a policy developed in haste without any understanding of the consequences.

  • 32
    Peter Bayley
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Why Oh Why did Gillard make that crazy pre-election “No Carbon Tax” promise? I can only put it down to new-to-the-job nerves and bad advice. But she has disappointed me greatly by her and her ministers’ repeated side-stepping of the question when it has been put today. Why doesn’t she allow that we have just a little bit of sense and tell us the truth - “It was down to the wire - we negotiated a government that included the Greens (and, by implication, direct representation of all those that voted for them) and a Carbon Tax was the price”. Why continually insult us with apparent deafness when asked time and again - usually more politely than that idiot talk-back pontiff?

  • 33
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    For those Howard Haters, at least Howard had the political conviction to take his altered stance on GST to the electorate and gave Australians the opportunity to vote for it, thereby giving him a proper mandate in his next term!
    Gillard has outrightly lied to us & has indicated it will be implemented BEFORE the next election and when the Greens hold the balance of power in the upper house.
    What a disgrace, this will be one of the biggest changes to Australia’s tax history and it has come about because of ONE voted Green minister in the lower house.
    It is not about whether you believe in climate change, or how to tackle it, but the pure deceit that this person has inflicted on us.
    If she held such strong views on climate change, then she should have the conviction to take it to the last election.
    Though considering how she slimed into power and lied to members of her own party, then why should we be so surprised.
    For those who strongly believe in climate action, dont hold your breath.
    Remember, it was her strong recommendation to dump the ETS before stealing Rudds job. And considering she did not have the firmness of belief to take a stance before the election, then consider her, ironically, a fairweather friend….literally.
    What a sham this new ‘paradigm’ of politics we have today, where Christine Milne openly admits that the new tax has come about because of a power-sharing government…one in which the majority of Australians did NOT vote in…..

  • 34
    William Logan
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Listening to a year of whining about this move is the real detriment to Australia, coupled to the likelihood of a backdown.

    A referendum so we could just decide it once and for all and be disappointed immediately would be just great.

  • 35
    Posted Friday, 25 February 2011 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

    One word mozza Workchoices .
    William its not 1975 and the senate isn,t controlled by the coalition. Maybe a referendum like the republican one with half the delegates picked by the PM and half by the public to frame the question. you know as in not what do we want but what type can we choose from. Muddy the waters so to speak instead of a straight yes or no.

  • 36
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 12:30 am | Permalink

    @MOZZA77 - Talking about people who tell porkies! In case you didn’t read my last two posts -


    Howard’s 35 broken promises! Take a look!

  • 37
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    @CAPTAIN PLANET - Thanks!

  • 38
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 12:40 am | Permalink

    Geomac, what happened to Howard after workchoices…history looks like it will repeat itself.
    Difference is Liberals went from a majority to a minority, Labor, a minority into…

  • 39
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    History may or may not repeat itself (that all depends on which viewpoint you choose to observe history from), but one thing I’m pretty confident of - assuming the legislation is enacted into law, is that if there is a change of government the legislation will not be repealed. That is, carbon pricing will be here to stay.

  • 40
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Abbott with his “cast iron promises” on Health?
    Now it’s Hunt and Abbott - like Noddy and Big Ears isn’t it - “Never trust a golliwog”?

  • 41
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Saint Bob is looking worn down lately. The Greens had 20 years to build their own media outlets and capacity. Have they done enough or will they be bullied into the ground by the News Corp fascist thugs?
    And the ALP as well with them? Will more weather catastrophes continue to be denied by the witless and the wicked (Andrew).

    Even David Rowe is unflattering on the opinion page cartoon yesterday. Back to horse and buggy eh Dave? As I write on my netbook?

    Meanwhile here comes …. Greenland. And mega fire on the NSW south coast, tropical diseases for …. Sydney.

    One day we might see a miracle - Gerard Henderson revealing his funding.

  • 42
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    All Policticians lie, but never before has there been such a blatant lie told by a Prime Minister as she holds the Australian electorate in contempt.

    A lie may take care of the present, but it has no future”

  • 43
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    It is about faith.

    My faith in my religion has been challenged, ( I must have been an ugly altar boy because I am still a virgin and my hair is not permanently parted in the middle).

    They sold Australian icons like arnotts, speedos, BHP , and dismantled our manufacturing base including clothing, and the rest to overseas conglomerates and told us it was good for us.

    The GFC was planned, presented and delivered by the same people that wanted certain battlers and aspirationsls to bite off more than they could chew. They are still chewing like buggery and going backwards.

    There are more women bottle feeding now than breast feeding, and beer consumption in this country has fallen???

    Now you want me to believe that a politician has broken a promise? Even a non core one?

    Suck it up thickheads. We had to for 11 years.

  • 44
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Let me make a prediction: no political party without a workable policy to reduce CO2 emissions will be elected from today onwards.

    The reason is that the science of global warming has moved on from global models to local models. Right down to which streets of which towns will be flooded. The research results are a decade late, mainly because the research was never funded by Bush and Howard, who knew its political consequences.

    This knowledge will harness the power of the NIMBY. People will take a $300 rise in electricity prices, a rise in petrol prices and so on as long as the beachfront doesn’t move through their home.

    Let’s say the Liberal Party’s policy towards CO2 emissions doesn’t change. How long before Liberal voters all those in expensive coastal homes start looking for an alternative for their votes and their donations?

  • 45
    Bob the builder
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    The London Latrine Lurker at it again.
    A man living a lie dares to upbraid others about lying. If only Labor weren’t so p*ssweak, they’d return the compliment.
    These rats might be big on morning radio, but who actually listens - and agrees - to them. Maybe a big proportion of radio listeners, but most people aren’t listening to the radio at that time. They are unrepresentative swill, not some magic oracles of ‘ornry strayns’.

  • 46
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Bob the Builder.

    The only people who listen to the shock jocks are the unemployed and the unemployable.

  • 47
    Captain Planet
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    @ Freecountry, 25th Feb at 7:25 pm,

    I don’t really like journalists pressuring politicians for specific promises before elections…”

    In principle, I agree - with qualification. Your comparison with the business world is quite incisive and illustrates the peculiar nature of the media depiction of politics, that journalists have led the public to believe that such demands for specific promises are reasonable, when expected only of this particular sector.

    As far as I’m concerned, a politician who makes specific decisions before the election and then does the analysis after the election is a fool and I have no use for him.”

    ….. or her.

    In practice, I have to disagree with you here. Partially due to media distortion and partially because it’s true, the Australian public have come to have a very low opinion of the trustworthiness of their politicians’ statements of intention. Accordingly, journalists demand specific promises for two purposes:

    1. In order to cater for the bulk of their audience, who have become so accustomed to the prevailing banal oversimplification of political discussion, that a simple “I promise to do X” or “I promise not to do Y” is what they have come to expect and require:

    2. In order to introduce an element of accountability to politicians and their positions. Very few in the political arena take positions based on strongly held ideology or principles in the current political environment. Expediency and populism dictate that the major parties’ position on generalites and specifics is very much subject to change. People cynically expect a reversal of policy thrust, and suspiciously disbelieve statements of general intention, so specific promises give them some form of guarantee they believe they can use to hold politicians to account.

    For example, the media are busy asking Mr. Rabid whether the Opposition would repeal a Carbon Tax if elected at the next election. Firstly this is a gross oversimplification of the complexities of the situation. Once the tax regime has changed and business and the economy have adapted, it can be destructive to reverse the situation. So it is unreasonable to ask this question, and no wonder Mr. Rabid has ducked it.

    On the other hand, Mr. Rabid can talk up his fundamental opposition to a carbon tax all he likes, if he really believes it is such a disastrous evil plan, he would be willing to risk the upheaval of repealing the tax, if elected. This is the second reason the media pursue the issue: If it means so much to you, lets have a committment about action - a binding one.

    Politicians are damned if they do, and damned if they don’t when it comes to specific promises. If they dodge the media’s request for specific committments, they are seen as deceptive and lacking in conviction. The media know this and manipulate politicians into making firm promises. Its a game at the political level, between interviewer and interviewee: A successful journalist is one who either extracts a solid statement of policy position, for the edification of the public, or extracts a foolish promise in the heat of the moment, for future use to discredit the promiser, depending on the quality of the journalism. A successful politician, in this context, is one who maintains the integrity of their policy framework, gives sufficient specifics to satisfy the public of their conviction, and chooses those specifics carefully enough to ensure they won’t get caught out.

  • 48
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Bob the Builder and Arty
    I read somewhere that the reason why Jones wins the morning ratings is because his demographic is over 55 and therefore mostly retired people who dont work so can afford to listen to the entire show. Adam Spencer has more listeners in the morning but as his demographic consists of non geriatric people who have lives and jobs he isnt the top rater. I would hope his listeners are more representative of the society we live in than Jones.

  • 49
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Frank Campbell

    (Tribalism determines 95% of opinion on AGW: progressives yes, the Right- No)

    In 1956 there were scientists telling people (especially at Wittinoon) that asbestos was harmful to ones health. In 1965 wharfies at London docks refused to handle asbestos because of the health warnings. But you are implying that we should ignore the warnings of thousands of scientists and research bodies because their climate prediction models are only models and might have a flaw in them. Gamble with your own childrens lives but do not include mine.

  • 50
    Posted Saturday, 26 February 2011 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    No one has mentioned the man of steel wool undies` war.

    We did not vote on our involvement,
    there was no discussion regarding our involvement,
    there was no referendum, and there was, (and still is), no honesty associated with his kitchen cabinet`s, (he and his wife), decision to donate our country’s sons and daughters to Haliburtons greed.
    We are still paying, metaphorically and physically, (with due respect to the families who paid the ultimate price), for a war we did not need to be in.
    I wonder how much better our nations bottom line would be if we hadn’t got involved in that pathertic episode.
    Bastard is still lying about it too.