Penny Wong and Kevin Rudd, both currently in New York, have launched a well-timed propaganda offensive painting Australia as a constructive contributor to the pending climate change negotiations in Copenhagen at the end of the year. The term “honest broker” surely can’t be too far away, even if, as the world’s most carbon-addicted nation, we’re the last people who could ever claim that title in this debate.

The Rudd Government’s real position on climate change is clear from its draft emissions trading scheme, which will amount to a giant paper chase yielding no reductions in emissions, and its partisan and politicised approach to negotiating the passage of the scheme through the Senate. It was also demonstrated by Australia’s and New Zealand’s insistence on gagging those Pacific Island states most at risk from climate change from speaking out in their own defence at the recent Pacific Islands Forum.

Penny Wong’s “plan”, carefully unveiled to Fairfax and News Ltd papers on the weekend, amounts to a pre-emptive Australian agreement to developing countries being permitted a trajectory for emissions abatement, rather than a hard target. It’s hardly a “circuit breaker” but nor is it the “race to the bottom” claimed by the Greens. It’s just more media management from a Government expert in the art.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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