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Crikey Says

Jul 10, 2014

Crikey says: don't blow the carbon challenge

Palmer’s carbon tax wrangling: Keane on what just happened in Canberra. Indonesia’s ‘psy war’ -- Prabowo likely to appeal. Rundle and Razer on refugees. Abbott and Abe’s boot bromance. Crikey’s exclusive watch: which outlets claim the most and how low is the bar? Xenophon: don’t blame crossbenchers for this mess. How the govt makes a windfall from public information. And who will be the next Tassie governor? We get the gossip.

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Clive Palmer this morning …

“We stand today at the edge of time, with an appointment with destiny.”

“The climate is getting warmer and all of us as individuals … have a bigger interest in the future of our world, the sustainability of our planet, and the good life we can give to those generations that come after us.”

“When you’re fighting climate sceptics, it’s a constant battle. You don’t win it every day, you have to be persistent, you inch forward, inch by inch, day after day …”

“What matters in politics in the final analysis is not how many seats you’ve got in Parliament, not how long you’ve been in Parliament, what matters is the ideas you put forth for the nation. Because governments may come and go, but ideas go on forever.”

Fine words, Clive, fine words. But if you don’t want to turn them into hypocritical words, then save the carbon pricing scheme in federal Parliament over the coming months.

Following a morning of parliamentary chaos, in which Palmer declared his global warming conversion in a press conference (see above), the Senate voted down the repeal of the carbon tax just before Crikey hit deadline. PUP Senators voted to keep the carbon tax. So it survives — for now.

But this may be nothing more than delaying the inevitable. The Abbott government will try a second time with this bill, and will expect PUP Senators to pass it. That will be the crunch time for climate convert Clive Palmer.

Australia has a functional carbon pricing scheme in place. Palmer’s elaborate alternative — a zero-price ETS which starts operating when major trading partners bring in similar schemes — is a hoax. It is most unlikely to pass the lower house, and even if it did, the conditions attached mean the ETS would not fire up for years.

If the PUP really thinks climate change is real and Australia should act, there is only one feasible option: keep the carbon price when it is put before Parliament a second time.

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