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Jul 17, 2014

Carbon repeal: condemning our children for cheap political points

The repeal of a functioning, low-impact carbon price is an economic attack on future generations, and they will damn us for it.

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The carbon price is dead. Australia thus slips back into its pre-2007 role as an active opponent of serious action on climate change, having removed a functional, effective and low-impact carbon pricing scheme and replaced it with nothing except the promise of a witless policy of handouts to corporate mates.

In doing so, we undermine the chances of meaningful global action on climate change. We’re one of the world’s most emissions intensive economies — in fact, we’re a carbon junkie, hooked on cheap coal for power, and flogging coal to the world even as the price slides and the mines shut. And apart from the last six years, Australia has tried to sabotage global climate action. What we do matters, even if we only account for a small fraction of the world’s greenhouse emissions, because when we demonstrate our seriousness in tackling climate change, we increase the chances of countries that don’t enjoy our high standards of living also taking action.

Now we’re back to our Howard-era role as an international greenhouse vandal.

We’re also imposing higher costs on our children and their descendants; the longer we delay the process of decarbonising our economy — and one day, we will need to decarbonise it, like it or not — the higher the costs. Or at least, that’s the view of environazis like the Federal Treasury and the International Energy Agency. And to the extent that we undermine genuine international action on climate change, they’ll pay a far greater price in terms of the higher costs, poorer health and lower economic growth that will result from Australia’s exposure to climate change impacts. The cost to the economy of a carbon price between now and 2050 will be trivial compared to the cost inflicted on Australia by climate change.

Future citizens will thus look back on the actions of this government and the senators that supported it and see an intergenerational economic attack on them, in which we used the trivial costs of a carbon pricing scheme as an excuse to saddle future generations with much greater costs from climate change and decarbonisation — for all the Coalition’s incessant rhetoric about not saddling future generations with debt. It’s an attack, primarily, of old white men, men in complete denial about climate change, on the future and on the young.

“Let us wish them all long and healthy lives, so that they can witness how much their poor judgement and opportunism will cost Australia.”

There is some hope: the inability or unwillingness of governments to rein in fossil-fuel energy producers and distributors — who have played a key role in urging the repeal of the carbon price — has meant that Australian households and business are paying far more for energy than they should. As a result, demand for coal-fired power has fallen while interest in renewable energy has surged. We thus have a de facto carbon price on the most critical greenhouse sector, one much higher than the actual carbon price repealed today. And the Renewable Energy Target remains in place for now — although who knows how long it will remain given the capriciousness of Clive Palmer. The unwillingness of governments to impose export restrictions on natural gas will also result in the cost of gas rising significantly in coming months and years.

The decarbonisation of the Australian economy may thus proceed despite the best efforts of Tony Abbott and climate denialists to freeze us in the late 20th century. But if that happens, it will be slow and inefficient compared to the policy repealed today.

This isn’t merely a failure by the Coalition, or the crossbench senators who backed its killing of the carbon price. Australia has gone from the 2007 election, where there was bipartisan support for an emissions trading scheme, to this moment, when a working carbon pricing mechanism — soon to shift to an emissions trading scheme — is being abolished. Kevin Rudd bears much responsibility for his appalling mishandling of emissions trading while prime minister and his view that climate change was simply an issue with which to wedge the Coalition. Julia Gillard also bears much responsibility, not so much for those words before the 2010 election, but for leading the charge against the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme within government in early 2010 and going to the election later that year with a climate action policy of manifest absurdity — cash for clunkers, anyone? A citizens’ assembly?

But ultimately, this is the result of the right-wing putsch in 2009 that replaced Malcolm Turnbull, a man genuinely committed to action on climate change, with Tony Abbott, a climate denialist and rank opportunist who, in a short period of time, had occupied every single possible position on climate change and what to do about it, except the one he ended up advocating as policy — the risible “Direct Action” policy mocked from the most froth-mouthed climate denialist all the way to the most fervent Trotskyite environmentalist.

Let us wish them all long and healthy lives, so that they can witness how much their poor judgement and opportunism will cost Australia.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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82 comments

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82 thoughts on “Carbon repeal: condemning our children for cheap political points

  1. Gocomsys

    Political and/or general amnesia?

    I remember when Bernard Keane idolised TA and touted him to be the best opposition leader ever. Therefore, he and his mates in the incestuous Canberra press gallery gang became an active part in the vicious NewsCorp/IPA/LNP “regime change vendetta”!

    How times have changed! Lessons learned? Too late?

  2. AR

    OneHand’s OneEye world sounds appalling. No wonder he spends so much time here.

  3. Barney Backfore

    “Rupert and co know they have too much to lose.”
    This is the key, somewhere down the road they will overplay their hand so that enough of the electorate will see the desperation and there will be a conservative wipeout such has never happened in this country previously.

  4. Jimmy

    Honest Johnny – you are correct. If the ALP had broken just one of the promises Abbott has so far we would have had wall to wall, front page outrage and wanting this govt thrown out – but so far the response has been muted and generally apologetic. Rupert and co know they have too much to lose.

  5. Honest Johnny

    Patrick, many of us appreciate your sentiments, but don’t underestimate the capacity of the mind-numbed voters in marginal seats to be swayed by the constant repetition of three-word slogans, endless fear mongering about boats and debt, lazy predictions and hyberbole about how much they’ll all be better off with the “adults in charge”, all backed by a chorus of shock-jocks and tabloid newspapers. Abbott’s success rides on this, so his demise, although greatly welcomed, is not a forgone conclusion.

  6. Patrick

    I say this to you brothers & sisters… The day of judgement is looming (aka next federal election due on or before 14 January 2017) when we can rise up and throw off this yolk of oppression! Hallelujah!

  7. Julie Bradley

    Well said. Although I disagree with the last paragraph!

  8. Dez Paul

    A national day of shame. I, too, hope these grubs live long enough to witness and feel the effects of their self serving lunacy. But that they do so in bad health and an abiding fear that those affected remember what they did.

    For the record, if any future generations are reading this – this was not done in my name. I did not vote for this pack of jug heads and wing nuts. If you are doing it tough because the climate is stuffed, I’m so sorry.

  9. rhwombat

    David Hand: You sold it. You wear it. You must be so happy.

  10. beachcomber

    A very sad day indeed.
    I’m sure our grandchildren will delight in the memory of today, when the price of a leg of lamb dropped 20 cents.
    Shame about the planet, but that is not Short Term Tony’s problem.

  11. Jimmy

    “But we are not going to save the world, per capita or absolutely whereas China and the USA can” And both those countries are taking significant steps towards reducing carbon (both have numerous ET schemes in place) and we are moving backwards.

    And while Australia may not save the world by cutting our own emissions waht we do influences others.

  12. David Hand

    Dear Lord,
    Your emissions argument has some merit though I think it doesn’t tell the whole story. For example, we are often compared unfavourably with Europe when Europe’s investment in nuclear power is not acknowledged. Chrispydog did exactly that in #16.

    But the big emitters matter more. The reason is that between 2010 and 2012, China’s carbon emissions increased from 8,286,982 tonnes to 9,860,000 tonnes. That’s an absolute increase of 1,573,000 tonnes. Australia’s total carbon emissions in 2012 were 433,000 tonnes. So China has annually increased emissions by more than Australia’s absolute total.

    If the world is in climate crisis and action is urgent, Australia’s contribution is negligible. We could reduce carbon emissions to zero and China would still make up for it. The sheer scale of what is going on in Asia is breathtaking (literally).

    I think Australia should price carbon and should do it soon. I also think we should move away from coal an a source of energy. But we are not going to save the world, per capita or absolutely whereas China and the USA can.

  13. Jimmy

    David Hand – This is what sank Gillard, not the broken promise but a massive miscalcualtion;
    “After announcing with the Greens on February 24, 2011 that they would be negotiating to develop an emissions cap and trade scheme with a fixed price for the first three years, Gillard made a fatal mistake in an interview that day on the ABC’s 7.30 Report,

    HEATHER EWART: With this carbon tax – you do concede it’s a carbon tax, do you not?

    JULIA GILLARD: Oh, look, I’m happy to use the word tax, Heather. I understand some silly little collateral debate has broken out today. I mean, how ridiculous. This is a market-based mechanism to price carbon.”

    By not fighting harder on the accuracy of the terminology she allowed the denialist and Uncle Rupert to frame the debate not about the merits of the policy but about a broken promise that wasn’t even broken.

  14. Jimmy

    David – It wasn’t the deal making after all Abbott is making the same deals, it wasn’t the broken promise, after all Abbott is breaking promises left right and centre, it was the money of the interest groups, the denialists and teh abilty of Uncle Rupert to create a frenzy around the deals and supposed broken promise.

    And Carbon isn’t going to be priced before the next election and will only be priced after that if the ALP win a majority in the lower house and somehow gain a majority in the Senate between them and the Greens but seeing as the PUP’s and Ricky Muir will be in for the next 8 years, along with Day and Leyonhelm that seems unlikely.

    This can not be viewed as anything other than an unmitigated disaster, and the fact that a price on Carbon is still the widely accepted way forward just makes this step backwards all teh more stupi d

  15. David Hand

    Jimmy,

    The point I originally made on this thread is that it is not climate scepticism that sank the carbon tax but Gillard’s sleazy deal making. It is very faithful of you to leap to the defence of what most of us consider indefensible.

    Your view of reality might carry weight in the telephone box sized electoral sector where Greens and inner urban elites live but out there in suburban voter land, the facts are clear.

    Abbott promised to get rid of the carbon tax and he has now kept his promise.

    Gillard promised not to introduce a carbon tax and broke her promise.

    Hey, this is good news. It means that the idea of a price on carbon is still a widely accepted view of the way forward. I am sure carbon will be priced, and quite soon.

  16. aswann

    Todays front page in the Oz reports about a cotton farmer who with the tax gone will save $20k on his electricity bill which will afford him to pump deeper out of the water table as necessitated by the drought. This cotton farm which is being made unsustainable by climate change, is being propped up for a bit longer through the removal of the very tax which was meant to address the climate change which makes cotton farming unsustainable. It is a contorted world view which sees this short term money grab as a good result against a long and worsening future of drought and difficulty for farmers.

  17. Jimmy

    Also David answer me this, assuming you Gillard broke a promise and Abbott kept his line, under which action is the country better off? With a working price on Carbon that can be easily adjusted to meet higher taxes that economists and environmentalist almost unanimously support introduced by brekaing a promise or with no climate change policy and only the prospect of “direct action” which is almost unianimously derided and is widely predicted to be unable to meet even the 5% target let alone be ramped up on the back of a promise kept?

  18. Jimmy

    Intersting version of the facts there David, firstly as I pointed out previously Gillard didn’t introduce a carbon tax but an ETS with a fixed price period that was branded a tax (just like Abbott has said yesterday he deems any ETS a tax) and Gillard did say she was going to put a price on Carbon.
    Abbott did say he would get rid of the Carbon tax and he did, after doing a deal with Clive Palmer to achieve it, he also said he would get rid of ARENA, teh CLimate Change Authority and the Climate Financing company, all of which he has failed to do.
    Abbott also promised no new taxes, not changes to pensions, no cuts to health and education and he has broken all of those promises.

    As I said earlier you seem to be appl ying double standards.

  19. Jimmy

    Intersting version of the facts there David, firstly as I pointed out previously Gillard didn’t introduce a carbon tax but an ETS with a fixed price period that was branded a tax (just like Abbott has said yesterday he deems any ETS a tax) and Gillard did say she was going to put a price on Carbon.
    Abbott did say he would get rid of the Carbon tax and he did, after doing a deal with Clive Palmer to achieve it, he also said he would get rid of ARENA, teh CLimate Change Authority and the Climate Financing company, all of which he has failed to do.
    Abbott also promised no new taxes, not changes to pensions, no cuts to health and education and he has broken all of those promises.

    As I said earlier you seem to be applying double standards.

  20. David Hand

    Well Jimmy, the following are facts.

    Abbott promised to get rid of the carbon tax and he has now kept his promise.

    Gillard promised not to introduce a carbon tax and broke her promise.

  21. Jimmy

    David – You keep telling yourself that it is different if it makes you happy, but we all know Abbott offered up any short of selling his arse to get into govt in 2010 and failed and now he either has to bend to CLive’s will or be rendered impotent, you can discuss semantics all you want but at the end of the day Abbott will have to do a lot of backroom deals if he wants to achieve anything, just like Gillard.

  22. Glen Laslett

    Morning Lord Muck. Policies (particularly high cost policies) must always be directed at having substantive outcomes within the context that they are framed in. In my view, the correct context is the total level of global emissions rather than the narrow Australian perspective.

    if, as you correctly suggest, there was “action on an international scale” then the local political argument would be winnable and an emissions reduction policy would be sustainable as a result.

    Until the voters see the big polluters taking action, then any carbon pricing policy is going to be nothing more than “lead in the saddlebags” for any party promoting it.

    Your argument about defence spending is flawed by the way. Defence spending in Australia could reasonably be expected to deter agression from our near neighbours while an Australian carbon tax has had no impact at all on the regional and broader international policy framework. it certainly has had no substantive impact on regional or global emissions.

  23. Lord Muck

    Hey, Glen@50, please stop using the old “we are only x per cent of total emissions” line. You have probably heard shock jocks and even Ministers, e.g. denialist and anti-renewables Andrew Robb, spouting this line, but it’s such a ridiculous argument.

    It’s like saying: “Globally, we are only x per cent of total spending on defence, education, healthcare and policing. So let’s not spend anything.”

    If you look at the pie chart of emissions by country, we fall into the “Other” category (28 per cent or so; in combination, the smallest nations contribute the most emissions, more than by China, much more than by the US). So the countries falling in this category should do nothing to address climate change? Are you starting to see the fallacy in the “x per cent only” argument?

    Obviously, we need action on an international scale with targets much bigger than five per cent reduction in emissions.

  24. David Hand

    Oh Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy.
    Compromising with the Senate to get legislation through is how politics must be done in Australia in the 21st century.

    Announcing a policy to axe the tax and then, having won office, negotiating amendments with the cross benches to get your promised legislation through is normal.

    But what rock have you been under since 2010?

    You knife a sitting prime minister who happens to be ahead in the 2pp polls 52:48. Then you call an election. Then you run one of the most inept campaigns possible, including a promise of showing “the real Julia”. Two days before the election, you say, “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”. Then the election result gives you only 72 seats and the evil Tony Abbott has managed an awkward 73.

    But there’s hope! The Greens have won their first lower house seat so off you go to win their support. They demand a carbon tax. So you agree to it, keeping said deal carefully concealed from Oakshott and Windsor who have yet to make up their minds. You sign an agreement with the Greens in a blaze of publicity without divulging the price they have extracted.

    You then bribe Wilkie with the promise of profound pokie reform (which you renege on once you discover Slipper can be lured over with the speaker’s job).

    You bribe Windsor with NBN for his electorate before the next election and wave a cabinet slot in front of Oakshott and hey presto! Government for another three years.

    Now that’s what I and most of the electorate call sleazy.

  25. Jimmy

    Oh and at least Gillard sols her office to elected officials not wealthy special interest groups like the miners, the big 4 banks and uncle Rupert.

  26. Jimmy

    So Gillard does a deal with a minor party to achieve her stated objective and it is sleazy yet Abbott does a deal with a minor party to achieve his and it is all OK?

    No mention of Abbotts broken promises either I note, seems to be a theme of double standards.

  27. David Hand

    No Jimmy,
    Gillard’s problem was selling her office and her government to the Greens with this policy.

    I agree that she wanted a price on carbon at some stage though in the 2010 campaign she was clearly ambivalent but it wasn’t climate policy that sank her it was he sleazy backroom deals.

  28. Jimmy

    David Hand – Gillard broke an unambiguous promise not to introduce a carbon tax by introducing an ETS with a fixed priced period? Gillards problem was allowing it to be called a carbon tax, not the promise or the policy.

    And how many unambiguous promises has Abbott broken so far?

  29. David Hand

    I think most Australians want action to be taken on climate change and would favour a price on carbon.

    The single biggest problem with the carbon tax was the way it was introduced by Gillard breaking an unambiguous promise made before the 2010 election in order to win the support of the Greens. This propensity by Labor to do deals to stay in power and to stab each other and treat the electorate like muppets is why they became so toxic in voter land and one reason why Abbott led the coalition to victory last year. Today is the final act in that particular drama.

    But the problem hasn’t gone away and action will need to be taken. If the Coalition wins another term, they will not be able to avoid it.

  30. Electric Lardyland

    Ah yes, Glen, the great honesty of Tony Abbott and the Coalition. A group largely made up of climate change deniers, who never once had the pre-election courage to say, ‘well, since we don’t believe in the science, we don’t see the need to act’. Instead, anyone who the media bothered to ask, looked down the camera and lied, “Yes, we believe in the science of climate change”. And instead of having the integrity to run on a policy of no policy, they invented the sham policy of Direct Action. A policy that probably 98% of Australians have no idea of how it’s supposed to work: and I suspect that Tony Abbott is one of them. While the few Australians who have made an attempt to grasp it, dismiss it as an expensive, cynical and worthless distraction. A policy whose only real purpose, was to cover up the fact, that Abbott does not have the courage and integrity, to tell the Australian people, that in the face of overwhelming science evidence, he has instead, chosen to align us with the talkback ranters, the tinfoil hat wearers and the most environmentally destructive sectors of the corporate world.

  31. AR

    The next Labor PM is not yet in Parliament. Honestly, even rusted on ALP supporters cannot believe that Shorterm is a Leader’s used tissue.
    The next election will be a chioce between the evil of two lessers.

  32. Glen Laslett

    Well, the Liberals made it very clear indeed that repealing the Carbon Tax was a key plank of their policy agenda. They did exactly what they said they were going to do. The democratic process continues to be open to the critics of the Coalition’s policy. My advice would be to “stop whingeing” and, if you can, convince the Australian people in time for the next election.

    By the way, the effect of the Australian Carbon Tax on total global emissions was always going to be virtually nil. The tax was, at base,an income redistribution measure. It was a feel good ornamental gesture – rather like Australia implementing a Chinese style one child policy to combat global population growth – symbolic rather than substantive.

  33. fractious

    zut #39
    “Abbott won the election because he wasn’t Rudd or Gillard.”

    But mostly because Rupert (and Gina and…) wanted it so.

  34. fractious

    Thank you Bernard for being neither too cagey nor too offensive about those “adults” in charge who have failed not just us, but future generations.

    You say “Future citizens will thus look back on the actions of this government and the senators that supported it and see an intergenerational economic attack on them”. In fact, this is what you might call a “triple bottom line” (remember when that slogan was in vogue?) attack on future citizens’ social, environmental and economic well-being.

    But hey, the “adults” are in charge, and latte-swill like me should just stfu because man date, right?

  35. Barney Backfore

    Turnbull, ah Turnbull, what genuine belief in Climate Change? If he really had any passion or cared about it he would have crossed the floor but no, he just weakly sold out. Didn’t have the ticker after all, just another rich man with a top hat.

  36. klewso

    Let’s not forget, Murdoch – happy playing Propaganda Minister “Comical Ally” to the Coalition of the Shilling – gaily struck up the band to lead us into Iraq too.

  37. klewso

    I reckon it does reflect a sizeable lump of the electorate’s opinion – happy to have someone else to blame in the case of being wilfully misled up a wrong gully?
    The media’s role in selling it this pup can’t be understated. Ever prepared to sit in judgement on any issue, because their opinion is “so important” when it comes to explaining things to us rubes that wouldn’t know our arse from a hole in the ground.
    Murdoch’s Limited News, overtly pro-conservative bent (leading the pack), aside, a large lump of the rest of the media was happy making sport, belittling, and querulous of Labor (showing how smart they were, following Murdoch’s dominant lead) while-ever they made themselves available for exposure : while Abbott, hiding in voluntary exemption from the media spot-light was allowed to look better by default.

  38. Nomad

    Bill Shorten …..where are you ???

  39. tonyfunnywalker

    Keating’s unrepresentaive swill resonates well – mendacious Abbott gloats and the betrayal “judas vote” in return for 50 cents a day was cheap at the price. Judas did better with the 10 pieces of silver – but Abbott and the LNP and PUP may also suffer Judas’ ignominious place in history. To allow climate betrayal for future generations of Australian’s to solve is incomprehensible and unreasonable.
    They can of course follow Murdoch’s crazy advice and leave the coast and live in Alice Springs.

  40. tonysee

    You touch on Malcolm Turnbull and Julia Gillard. While I agree with your assessment, at least JG was caught by the spotlight of minority government. Malcolm has no such excuses he chose to stay with this mob and is now part of a majority government. On this issue history won’t be kind to either, but Malcolm will have more ‘splainin’ to do.

    But he has form of course. Remember the Republic?

  41. CML

    @ Scott That is an argument for a ‘follower’ not a LEADER as Prime Minister. Sometimes governments have to make unpopular decisions for the good of the country, and in this case, for the whole of humanity. Abbott and the LNP have utterly and totally failed the brief.
    And while you are all busy knocking Rudd, it seems it has escaped your notice that the Australian Labor Party has already stated it will be taking an ETS policy to the next election in 2016.
    Now, that’s what I call LEADERSHIP!!

  42. Gerryod

    Poland I hear you say! Well if they are having to ‘suffer’ the luxury of having the EU support their infrastructure and carbon reduction, the count me in! Have a look at what Germany is doing, mate!

    Problem with our ‘democracy’ is that there are a lot of Australians who don’t have enough grey matter to make an informed decision because they are being led by Murdoch’s attack dogs and his only agenda is to garner as much control of Australia’s precious media resource as possible.

  43. Jimmy

    Scott – “For better or for worse, shouldn’t this outcome be held up as an example of quality democracy in action?” No, govt’s often do things that are for the betterment of the country that the “public” don’t want – in this case the “public” did want a price on carbon, numerous polls had the public in favour of it (some poll had above 60% in favour) but a core group of influential denialists got hold of the debate and through fear, misinformation, three word slogans and a compliant newspaper organisation a quality, progresssive and necessary policy gets jettisoned in favour of nothing.

    And lets be honest about what “my vote means” in Australia somewhere around 80-90% of voters have aligned themselves ideologically, of the remainder you could argue 25% live in a seat that is never going to change hands no matter what they do, of the rest (those who actually determine the outcome of an election) how many actually in form themsleves about politics more than what they hear from Mr Blot and the Parrot?

  44. zut alors

    Scott @ #38, I don’t believe Australians were anti carbon pricing but they were well & truly over Rudd/Gillard/Rudd. Abbott won the election because he wasn’t Rudd or Gillard.

  45. Scott

    All comments aside, the issue was that the Australian public did not want a carbon tax.
    And hence, Australian politics has delivered the will of the Australian people.
    For better or for worse, shouldn’t this outcome be held up as an example of quality democracy in action?
    You can call the decision misguided, or inappropriate, but for mine it’s a benchmark of how well our system of Government actually reflects the wishes of the Australian people time and time again.
    You wouldn’t see this in China or North Korea or even some countries in Europe (i.e Poland) which are tied to the EU climate policy. The will of the people doesn’t mean a thing there.
    Celebrate the fact that your vote actually means something in Australia.

  46. Nomad

    Gina will be delighted ….

  47. JMNO

    All you politico journalists keep rubbishing Gillard’s carbon tax but it was a scheme that was working, doing the job it was supposed to do.

    Rudd was more interested in wedging the Libs as everyone has noted, but the carbon scheme he agreed with Turnbull would have been pretty ineffective which is why the Greens voted against it. Many of the undesirable aspects of it were removed from the Gillard scheme which was much better

  48. K.D. Afford

    I cannot sufficiently express my disgust at the lies, the arrogance, the misrepresentation of facts, the slur on scientists, and an ignorant disregard for the future other than profit by pollution.
    My guess this is his demise as people realise that they have been lied to by a puppet of the fosdil fuel companies.
    Any one who think PUP IS ANY BETTER ONLY HAVE TO LISTEN TO JAKIE LAMBI.

  49. K.D. Afford

    I cannot sufficiently express my disgust at the lies, the arrogance, the misrepresentation of facts, the slur on scientists, and an ignorant disregard for the future other than profit by pollution.
    My guess this is his demise as people realise that they have been lied to by a puppet of the coal fuel companies.

    than a tfossil fuelsby this single policy megalomaniac.

  50. Gerryod

    Yes KRudd bears a lot of responsibility for this mess – he lost his bottle when it came to a Double Dissolution which would have given him a clear mandate. And of course the Greens have played their part too – they sat on their high principles and caused the whole ETS to be lost so now they can sit on their principles and sail down the river of deep regret – fools all of them!

  51. Stuart Johnson

    The Greens told Labor what was wrong with it and Labor flat out refused to deal with the Greens, why is it the Greens who get accused of failing to negotiate? The ALP were more interested in wedging their opponents than action on climate change and would have locked in generous handouts to polluters with very little in return. Had the Greens acted differently, they would now be criticised for supporting bad legislation just for the sake of looking like doing something for the environment.

  52. Terrence John Snedden

    The tragedy is that while Abbott is primarily motivated to bolster the prosperity of his corporate mates in the short term and sells this as a benefit to ordinary Australians whose pockets he is pilfering allegedly for the prosperity of our children’s children’s children but really for his corporate mates again, he doesn’t seem to be able to intellectually grasp the magnitude of the climate problem for the nation, the planet or humanity. His stubborn ignorance and head-in-the-sand championing of death-wish, blind faith over science and factual evidence is simply frightening. How did someone that would normally be regarded as a fringe “nutter” become a national leader?

  53. Geoff Thomas

    It is not just today that is a dark day in our history. The other day of disgrace was the day that The Greens refused to support the scheme negotiated between the Rudd Government and the Malcolm Turnbull led opposition.
    Reform is often an incremental process. The Greens showed a combination of reckless obstructionism and crass immaturity to strike down that deal.
    How different the last five years could have been but for that act of political vandalism.

  54. graybul

    The Carbon Tax is done and dusted! What now? We can continue moaning about it, knowing full well Abbott. Hunt et al don’t give pinch of nanny goat shit about scientific advice, tomorrow, or any responsibility to our children, grandchildren or the Globe our Species inhabits. We also know, moaning is a poor alternative to action!
    Climate Change is the Peoples’ War . . and only when majority of Australian Public reject pap and Murdoch Media obfuscation as their source of awareness about Climate Change . . will our National leadership accept responsibility. TALK to neighbours, their neighbours, on Bus/Train, at work, Footy, Church, wherever an opportunity exists. It is all about US! Waiting for THEM . . has not, will not WORK!!

  55. Roger Clifton

    @Markfrank and friends — anyone who is more afraid of nuclear electricity than climate change is horribly ignorant about the consequences of climate change.

  56. Honest Johnny

    Much was made of the $550. Lets look at the figures. We are told that the repeal of the carbon tax will save Australian families $550. What we are not told (by the politicians) is that it will cause a $6.931 billion hit to the budget after various cuts to services are taken into account!. At a population of 23 million people and an average family of 2.6, that’s a negative $783.50 per family. We’ll actually be $233.50 worse off while business is laughing! Australian voters have fallen for this “crap”, hook, line, and sinker. Why are we so stupid?

  57. aswann

    I guess it had to happen somewhere in the world. Just a shame it had to be here. This action will not be forgotten by the rest of the world so quickly. This marks us as a fundamentally bogan nation – and so we are, look at the support Abbot still has.

  58. Jimmy

    Mike Hilliard – The fiarfax press as been pretty scathing of the repeal, so to the guardian and even the AFR has bemoaned the lack of a climte change policy now – but the support from the M – urdoch press has been staunch and triumphal.

  59. zut alors

    Today Abbott has justly earned a place in history ie: as a bigger prime ministerial joke than Billy McMahon. No small achievement.

  60. JohnB

    Marcfranc’s attitude is no better than that of the Old White Men.

    Nothing is more important than the future health of the planet.

  61. Andybob

    So why are they doing it ? Why would anyone do it ?

    There are some who are mendacious: those who invent the cherry picked arguments or invent things and those who hire them. Presumably they do it because there’s a quid in it. You know who they are.

    There are others who are opportunistic: They join in because it benefits them in other ways. Abbott is an example of this. He doesn’t care about the underlying policy, just what political hay he can make. In other circumstances he has embraced an emissions trading scheme.

    But there are some who are doing it because the issue has been politicised and their side of politics supports a particular view. This is the saddest case and I think this is where Rupert is.

  62. marcfranc

    chrispydog, given nuclear power reportedly accounted for 76% of total electricity production in France in 2009 (with renewables at 14% and fossil fuels at 10%), I’m not sure I’d swap our system for theirs.

  63. Electric Lardyland

    Yes, Ian, I like that suggestion.

  64. Electric Lardyland

    I just caught five seconds of Abbott’s press conference, before I flicked the channel to something less offensive: I think it was to footage of more bloodshed in the Middle East. Anyway, in that brief amount of time, I heard Abbott say to Greg (rhymes with) Hunt, something like, “And you must also feel very proud, too, on this day”.
    In response to that suggestion, Hunt looked decidedly uncomfortable. Now it could be the modesty of someone who doesn’t go in for public praise? But since that someone is a career politician, I very much doubt it. It definitely seemed more like a surge of conflicted emotion, from someone who may still actually believe in the need to act on climate change, but couldn’t hide the deep seated guilt that they feel, for their part in the production of the steaming crock of a policy, that has just been foisted on the nation.
    Or to put it more figuratively, it was the embarrassment felt by the figleaf, when the genitalia decided to loudly announce, the presence of unsightly and expanding, venereal disease.

  65. Ian Brewster

    Can I suggest the the superannuation of all the Members and Senators who voted to repeal the carbon tax be compulsorily invested in coal mines? Eventually we will then see justice done for our grandchildren.

    And better, some of our grandchildren get to vote in the next election!

  66. MJPC

    BK, indeed a sad day for this country on so many fronts. The world is changing but not downunder: it’s rip, rip, dig, dig and burn, burn.
    For those who will comment that renewables have no future, the SMH today: Investment in renewables at a stand still in Australia; in China $US19.3 billion into renewables in the June quarter, US investment $US10.6 billion up a third from the last quarter, Europe investment rose a quater to $US14 billion. The carbon tax would have funded our entry into this revolution, well done Abbott and his PUPpet supporters for nothing.

  67. @chrispydog

    Australian electricity produces on av. 850g of CO2/KWh.

    France’s is just 80g.

    Think about it.

    Deeply.

    Which would you prefer?

  68. MarilynJS

    And most of the media bear responsibility for the laziness of their tribal reportage. Everything has been reduced to partisan hacks playing audience at the gladiators ring.

  69. maxcelcat

    Well said. What an embarrassing day for us all.

  70. Roger Clifton

    As the climate disasters hit with increasing frequency, the current decision-makers will defend themselves by saying : “Nobody warned us, nobody told us this was going to happen!”

    It seems that it is time that they were told again, harder and louder. And as for you, you complacent youngsters, it is time you learnt how to protest. Whose future is at risk anyway?

  71. Dogs breakfast

    Sad day.

    It’s not just the environmental vandalism, the global pariah-state, it’s the lost opportunity for us to become world leaders, and very rich, in supplying the technology for the world.

    We are and have been world leaders in an array of renewable technologies. We could be the next OPEC of renewable energy.

    If we really had imagination, and courage, our kids could retire early on the back of their national wealth and hi-tech manufacturing industries.

    But no, we just want to dig coal out of the ground for the profits of multi-national companies.

    Truly visionary.

  72. sean a.

    Nice work Bernard, sad that quality journalism is such a rare thing in the Climate Change debate.

  73. klewso

    Environmental poli-pot.

  74. Saugoof

    And so Australia becomes the Cletus the slack jawed yokel of the world…

  75. klewso

    “P’ss off! What blight from yonder alley breaks?
    Why it’s The Golden Age of Lost Opportunity”?

    Who would have thought when Hockey condemned the “Age of Entitlement”, he was including their expectations re the quality of their future too?

  76. Jimmy

    What a sad day – when a policy that is so universally accepted as best policy by every environamentalist, economist and true liberal is jettisoned in order to “save” the average family $10 a week (more like less than $5 but I will go with Abbott’s best possible outcome).

    The fact that Abbott decried this as a useless tax despite the ANU finding it greatly reduced emmissions just goes to show how disinterested in facts he is.

  77. Justin Wood

    Brilliantly said, Bernard. Thank you. Australia shifts ever closer to being a pariah state, morally bankrupt and utterly unequipped to deal with the coming century.

  78. Andrew Coates

    Well put.

    Can we have a nice clear list of all the House of Reps & Senate members who voted for the repeal please? Maybe some Facebook/email links too…

  79. Karen

    I’m sure the “old white men” would have supported the tax if the cost could somehow be borne by the community, as opposed to big corporate. Oh well, another run on the board to big corporate who are winning hands down against the community in this transfer contest. The score card is looking pretty grim for the community. An embarrassing and painful state of affairs, indeed.

  80. brendan king

    it was fun watching barnaby joyce at a doorstop contradict himself several times per sentence.

  81. mikehilliard

    Bernard, I fear you may be in the minority. Stand by for the MSM Abbott cheer squad to go the full monty.

    A very sad day for our country.

  82. paddy

    It’s dirty day for the country.
    So much vandalism for so little gain.
    A year or two (if that) of political grandstanding by the old white men of a broken carbon economy.
    Feeling deeply depressed and *very* angry.

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