Keep repeating a Wong slogan. Politics these days is largely about repeating glib slogans. Talking about a concern for working families is a prime example but Climate Change Minister Penny Wong is now making a worthwhile contribution to sloganeering. When she is asked these days about the cost of climate change measures she trots out: “failing to act, the cost of not acting, will be greater than the cost of acting.” This is stated as if it is some kind of self evident truth for evidence to support the statement is impossible to find. Much time, effort and energy is being spent by the Government in calculating what the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be but we are yet to see one of those green papers followed by a white paper so fancied by the Prime Minister on what will happen if the world’s nations fail to reach agreement on a reduction strategy.
No progress in Seoul. That the passage to an international agreement on climate change will be a long one was evident again on Monday when the representatives to the U.S.-led Major Economies Meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change in South Korea could not reach agreement on a target to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. The Japan Times reports the failure to agree on a 50% cut by 2050 at the Seoul meeting makes reaching an agreement at the MEM leaders meeting, to be held next month in conjunction with a meeting of the G8 in Hokkaido, extremely difficult.
And difficulties at home too. The Coalition Liberal and National Parties clearly missed out during last year’s election campaign on a potentially vote winning scare campaign. The evidence of recent weeks suggests that then Prime Minister John Howard could have had considerable success claiming that Labor was the party of high petrol prices. Instead, influenced by his Environment Minister Malcolm Turnbull who wanted to appear green enough to appeal to the inner city trendies in his own electorate, the Government chose to go along with Labor’s claim that reducing greenhouse gas emissions by all possible means was necessary. The new Liberal Leader Brendan Nelson has now given that policy the flick in so far as it involves doing anything that puts up the price of petrol. Call it irresponsible if you like but it is sure to appeal to motorists. The theme Dr Nelson will continue with is that expressed by the tabloid London Sun when Tony Blair endorsed the findings of the Stern report: “I’m saving the world…YOU lot are paying” with the I being Kevin Rudd.
Wait for the grumbling. Perhaps it will be the receipt of annual superannuation statements that marks the end of the Rudd Government’s honeymoon. It has been an excellent effort to stay so popular for so long but there is nothing like seeing your wealth go down to take the gloss off a nation’s ruler.
Waiting for an apology. Just over a year ago Ms Margaret Jackson when chairman of Qantas was being pilloried in the financial.press for enthusiastically endorsing an offer of $5.45 for the company’s shares. She was selling the company out to corporate raiders far too cheaply was the cry by all kind of smart analysts. This morning I note that the Qantas share price is hovering around the $3 mark.
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