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Feb 25, 2011

Broken promises and price rises

Welcome back to the politics of climate change, Australian style, which wrecks leaderships, sunders parties and induces bizarre alliances as a matter of course.


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.


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148 thoughts on “Broken promises and price rises

  1. Captain Planet

    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. John

    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. gaustin

    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. Johnfromplanetearth

    She is a liar? WTF!

  5. kraken

    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. Liz45

    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. puddleduck

    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. Jimmy

    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. freecountry

    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. Liz45

    @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. warwick

    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. warwick

    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. drmick

    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

    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

    “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

    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. geomac

    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. thegael

    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

    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. Liz45

    @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. klewso

    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. klewso

    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. CML

    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. freecountry

    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. Liz45

    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

    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


    “(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. AR

    “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. Paddlefoot

    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

    @ 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. Catequil

    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

    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. mozza77

    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

    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. geomac

    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. Liz45

    @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. Liz45

    @CAPTAIN PLANET – Thanks!

  38. mozza77

    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. mrflibble

    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. klewso

    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. Tom McLoughlin

    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. Johnfromplanetearth

    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. drmick

    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. GlenTurner1

    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

    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. arty

    I agree with Bob the Builder.

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

  47. Captain Planet

    @ 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. woody.s

    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. thegael

    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. drmick

    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.

  51. Frank Campbell


    I assume you’re referring to Wittenoom.

    It’s remarkable how often these specious comparisons are made. The commonest is smoking. As someone who agitated against asbestos years ago, it’s galling to see such Gaelic nonsense being advanced as argument.

    Of course capitalists resist, cover up, lie etc about innumerable pollutants. Obervational science gets them in the end, but they exploit weaker jurisdictions as long as they can.

    The dominant paradigm is the AGW hypothesis. Anyone with a career in related fields (not to mention unrelated ones like journalism) knows they have to keep their mouth shut if they have any doubts. It’s still a highly intimidatory atmosphere, so to speak. So it’s not a case of brave scientific radicals overthrowing the scientific establishment in the manner of (for eg) the stomach ulcer case.

    AGW’s rise has been driven by a handful of computer modellers. The coup was made possible by hyperbole (the hockey stick), taken up by Gore and other propagandists. The deep insecurity of the climate modeller clique is evident in the Climategate emails. They know they’ve cried wolf. If the damned dog doesn’t appear, they are finished. Fear is a potent motive. The main thing to emerge from the emails is not fraud but tendentiousness. Quite normal in academia.

    Instead of an empirical search for a specific agent (as in the medical examples) AGW is a mass of scenarios based on certain (and highly variable) assumptions. These scenarios seek to predict how chaotic climate systems will behave. The Royal Society specifically warned about this. There are a variety of theories of global climate. All are plausible. None are convincing. It’s far too early to tell.

    That’s why whatever is done should (a) minimise harm, economic and otherwise and (b) have multiple justifications and uses. Instead, the opposite is happening.

    The most sickening thing about the zealotry we’ve seen in the 2000s is that “sceptic” is now a dirty word.

  52. hassett

    “Gamble with your own childrens lives but do not include mine.” Thank you Thegail. I couldn’t agree more.

  53. freecountry

    Captain Planet – As to the reasons why journalists apply so much pressure for specific promises, I think the first reason you give is more plausible than the second. It simply makes good television if a politician said it on your channel first. And it makes even better television if you can replay it, over and over, later when the facts are in and the politician has to choose between good policy and keeping that damned promise.

    Most political journalists understand little and care even less about what the policies actually mean for Australians. So they spend their lives trying to corner politicians into making promises they will later have to break. The all time favourite is, “Will you rule any challenge against your party leader?”

  54. freecountry

    Rule out, that is. “Will you rule out any challenge against your party leader?”

  55. Son of foro

    Bob the Builder

    Yep, our fearless voice is living proof that the squeaky wheel wants to get greased.

  56. Tom McLoughlin

    Frank, I just want to say there is a grain of truth in our curmudgeonly wit. There is a streak in the establishment sponsored greenocracy with career path under the ALP – that streak is one of non accountability for the success of their campaigns. Indeed failure of a campaign appears to be a major criteria for the next establishment sponsored job.

    I was involved in a campaign to shut down a US $3B polluting smetler project in Chile. It was won about 2005. Never heard a word of congratulation from one ngo figure in Australia. But my point locally is that wet forests are being trashed in every state which is madness just creating dry fodder for megafires. Where are the alleged 5 year RFA reviews, the analysis of the failures of anti science resource security in natural heritage? These are career busting policy areas so accountability both within the green ngo sector and in govt itself is sidelined.

    Climate also has the attraction of being unmeasured in terms of personal careerrs over specific timelines. And I do mean either those for or against the reality of human caused climate change. How many times have I heard this last 19 years of my observing the sector ‘there is only ten years left to act’ while most people are in a job for a fraction of that, and never accountable?

    It’s not very healthy or honest and why really I agree with Paul Collins we won’t save this world.

  57. Frank Campbell


    “twenty years of hearing there are only 10 years left to act”

    Exactly. All millenarian cults rely on a sense of urgency based on (often specific) dates. Dates are changed when the prophecy fails. Cults mutate.

    The tragedy of AGW is that because scenarios are so variable, there’s infinite elasticity. Dates are malleable. As are the signs, portents and omens of disaster. The Greens used a dessicated, burnt globe in their 2007 campaign. But we’re as likely to see floods or snow propaganda next time.
    Disaster is always imminent, but in practice recedes like a mirage. The effect of this on policy is appalling. The damage done by zealots stretches into the future, morphing along with the latest variants in AGW scenarios.

    Politically speaking, the carbon tax is idiotic. Not just a broken promise but a tax guaranteed to alienate the majority. A radical change imposed AFTER the virtual electoral rejection of the ALP’s “climate” policies. There’s the rub.

    To witter and twitter on about “selfish” voters (as we see on Crikey daily) just makes things worse. Labour’s ineptitude and Gillard’s cynical opportunism cost them their majority. Now Gillard is ensuring defeat. Succouring the AGW Greens is a fatal mistake. As I’ve said for over a year, the Greens have reached their high-water mark. The tide is going out.

  58. MLF

    @John – Gillard may be able to explain the carbon tax better than Rudd could the CPRS, but that’s because a) they are very different mechanisms, and b) the CPRS was simply bad policy. They didn’t want to explain it.

    Note to the Greens, if you’re reading: Well done on this progress, I mean it. But please don’t go telling people that another tax on petrol is ok because it will mean people will rely more on public transport. That’s just fine and dandy if you live in a city with a decent public transport system and/or you don’t live regionally. You will no doubt find that those who live away from cities and/or live in cities with poor transport systems outside the very centre, see Brisbane for example, are the ones whose income levels will bear the brunt of a petrol hike more.

    Its a cop-out. And its anti-Green.

  59. Astro

    Even 60 Minutes stuck the boot into lying Gillard on the program tonight, caving into Bob Brown

  60. Liz45

    To all those who keep on with the rubbish about Julia Gillard’s lie blah blah!

    To all those who refer to Howard finally taking his GST (the never ever one) to the electorate!

    To all those who insist on just telling bare faced lies re tax on petrol etc.

    JOHN HOWARD, ABC Radio 25 aUGUST 1995

    Truth is absolute, truth is supreme, truth is never disposable in national political life.”

    Kerry O’Brien“Okay, the pledge of no new taxes, no increase in existing taxes for the life of the next parliament. So for the next three years, not even a one cent increase on cigarettes or beer or wine or petrol, no other indirect tax increase, no tax increase of any kind?”

    The Truth:

    By July 2004 John Howard’s Government had introduced legislation for over 160 NEW TAXES or INCREASES in taxes and charges since 1996.
    (Office of the Clerk of the Senate).

    JOHN HOWARDhe GST will not increas the price of petrol for the ordinary motorist…”

    The Truth The price of automotive fuel rose 10.4 per vent in the September quarter following the intoduction of the GST on 1 July 2000, and was 23.6 per cent higher than at the same time the previous year.
    (ABS, ABS @, Time Series Spreadsheets, CPI 6401.0)

    These are just a few of the lies – there are 35 Lies told by John Howard and counting!

    Go to the AWU website or as I said before, just put ’35 Lies/John Howard’ into your search engine!

    Let’s stop all this bs about lies. Abbott told some porkys as I mentioned before. The Health Rebate ‘set in stone’ blah blah promise prior to 2004 – lasted a few months until he realised he hadn’t done the maths and the figure would blow out in time – had to revise his so-called promise!

  61. Liz45

    PS – There’s also promises on the cost of beer and cigarettes. Same result!

  62. Liz45

    @FRANK CAMPBELL – If the electorate REALLY didn’t want action on climate change, why didn’t the Coalition’s ‘answer’ to climate change win more votes? Why did the Greens do so well? Why did Adam Brandt win the seat of Melbourne? Why did the Coalition get behind Turnbull and other individuals in those parties during discussions over the CPRS? The only ones who’ve flip flopped, lied and added nothing better than bs to the debate – to take advantage and say anything to get elected.

    I find it totally amazing, that Turnbull and Hunt and the idiot from the Nationals can sit in the parliament with a straight face – the same goes for ‘Julie I just want to be deputy PM Bishop’? As someone has said before me, Abbott’s had more positions on climate change than in the Karma Sutra!

    Even Howard took action on climate change to the election! Rudd got in because people feel concerned/want action; and he lost the public when he backed off! I don’t know how anyone can deny, that the people want action. Add up the votes of the ALP, the Independents and The Greens!

  63. klewso

    Howard took a lot of “non-core promises” to elections – we just had to vote for him, to find out which were which, after he won. Why would “his” (captive to the industries they are) “climate change” policy have been any different? “Eleven years” – look how long, with their electoral chances, they took to get around to addressing some “Aboriginal issues”?
    It just took the electorate so long to wake up to that “deja vu” that was the one consistent policy of his, he took to every election.
    Tony Abbott gave “cast iron” undertakings on Health – as Howard’s Health Minister – that never eventuated after they won. After “no new taxes” he floated his own (non-consultative) “Paid Parental Leave” policy (to be funded by his own “industry levy/not great big new tax”) by us too. And didn’t he warn us of his own “proclivities” on The 7:30 Report – leaving the door wide open for his own “Non-core Promises”?

  64. shane

    Common, broken election promises, what’s new?
    The ALP needs to take some of Howard and Abbotts battle strategies of deny, deny, deny and when cornered just say the comments were taken out of context, most Aussies can barely remeber the weekend let alone election promises.
    On a more serious note though anyone who actually follows politics would know that the Carbon Tax was never taken off the agenda, Julia Gillard’s promise of “no Carbon tax under her leadership” was made under the assumption that she wouldn’t have the numbers, live to fight another day as it were, but now that she has a chance of getting this through it would be an opportunity lost if not pursued.
    It would be a step forward though if the so called debate could move beyond the “she said/he said” semantics and focus on who’s policy is best but I guess that would get stale pretty quickly seeings the opposition doesn’t have a policy.

  65. green-orange

    “What the Opposition never mentioned is that under the CPRS, low and middle income earners were all fully compensated for the price rises.”

    What you fail to mention is that businesses are NOT compensated. So they will switch sources to imports or shift overseas.
    This is effectively a tariff on locally made goods and services – insane !

    And the compensation has _already_ been allocated – it was given out two years ago when Centrelink payments were adjusted.
    They have _already_ been swallowed up by electricity price increases as suppliers have cut investment in coal just on the expectation of a carbon tax.
    So much for the Treasury’s claim that costs will only increase by 2%.

    I doubt whether this legislation will even get through the parliament.

  66. shane

    Green-Orange. How can you say who is and isn’t compensated and what will and won’t be included in the scheme when the details haven’t even been released yet?
    It’s also a moot point since the whole point of a carbon tax is to make carbon intensive processes more expensive, it’s time to face up to the reality that Australians are per capita the highest emitters of CO2 in the world and also the number one supplier of coal in the world and considering that we are a wealthy country with the economy in full swing it’s time to shoulder some responsibility for the pollution we create even if we have to forego that second plazma for the bedroom.

  67. freecountry

    Shane – Greg Combet has already indicated more detail about the compensation than he has indicated about the tax:
    [“Every dollar raised by the payment of the carbon price will be used to assist people, households, industries most affected and to help assist with other climate change programs.”]
    Note the words “most affected”. We don’t know anything about the tax yet, how it will be levied, exactly what will be taxed, or how much. But never mind, Combet has already promised to defeat the purpose of the tax. He’s turning it into another CPRS racket before he’s even begun designing the thing.

  68. shane

    Freecountry – I think you missunderstand the economics behind the proposal, so I’ll explain:
    Take the example of electricity, a company such as AGL has both coal and gas fired plants, every day they have to bid into the electricity market and decide based on their market predictions for the day whether to use the coal plants or the gas plants and in what proportion (I know this because I’ve been to carbon simulations with the chief economist from AGL).

    At present they try and use their entire coal portfolio before starting up a gas plant because it’s cheaper to do so, under the Government’s proposal the coal plants would become more expensive because of the carbon tax so the situation is reversed and under the new scheme the gas plants would be utilised at 100% where possible and the coal plants used only when necessary.

    The result would be more expensive electricity but the government’s subsidies would cancel this out in one way or another depending on the detail of the final agreement, but the subsidy still won’t change the fact that gas will be the cheaper method of production and lower emissions will be achieved.

    The same economics can be applied to most industries affected although the electricity industry is the one that matters the most.

  69. freecountry

    OK, what’s the hurdle rate before gas starts to be preferable to coal? The penalty tax will apply to both gas and coal, but will hit coal more heavily per MWh than gas. So it’s not the carbon price itself, but the differential between the carbon price on the coal and the carbon price on gas per MWh, that has to exceed the status-quo price gap before gas becomes preferable.

    Meanwhile, most of the low hanging fruit in emission reductions will not be on the supply side but on the consumption side. If the consumer thinks a meaningful reduction in emissions can be achieved transparently to him or her, such that the energy supplier will do all the heavy lifting and the consumer can blissfully continue to waste electricity and be compensated for any pressure on the cost of living–then the consumer is living in a fool’s paradise.

    The only way an emissions price signal can be meaningful is if the entire economy receives a boost by way of relief on some of the high-excess-burden taxes we are paying now. I named the biggest two: capital gains tax and company tax. Labor would sooner put up a portrait of Friedrich Hayek in their Sussex St HQ than ever reduce capital gains tax, so that leaves company tax, which they already offered to reduce as a partial compensation for RSPT.

    So I’m suggesting recycle all the revenue into company tax. It would not be a gift to fat cats; it would be the most efficient and neutral way to give back money to consumers and industry so that they can afford to change their emissions behaviours. The experience of petrol taxes shows that behavioural change does not follow automatically from all price signals.

  70. shane

    I could be mistaken but I believe the hurdle rate was previously calculated to be around $26/tone but that was economy wide not just for the simple case of electricity generation.
    Of course everyone will be expected to pay something, the subsidies are infact tax payers dollars of which the vast majority are consumers not companies. In the case of electricity generation my personal view is the subsidies should go to the producer under the condition that cost increases won’t be passed on to end users but inevitably this will be the detail which will need to be worked out.
    As for the issue of petrol consumption I believe Australians choice of vehicles plays a large part there, during the oil spike of 2009 4wd sales experienced a massive down turn only to be reversed when oil prices subsided, so obviously demand for gass guzlers is elastic.

  71. Scott

    It’s all pie in the sky at the moment. No detail. However, in my opinion, a carbon tax is appropriate, as are subsidies and compensation for both the supply and demand sides of the economy. The Greens will try to get the most for the punters and the bare minimum for industry, but Labor should (and will) fight to give industry a bit as well. This tax will be a bit of a supply shock to the economy, so it is prudent (and Keynesian) for the government to step in to help mitigate the shock’s effects for both consumers and business. Still going to be a rocky few years during the implementation stage, but we will get to the other side.

  72. freecountry

    That’s the problem. The Greens scream the world is ending, but then turn around and use carbon pricing as a trojan horse for social wealth redistribution. Labor are showing early indications (based on Combet’s statements) that they’ll compensate whosoever cries out the loudest, and will continue adjust the compensation politically, year after year, wherever it bites the hardest. Both will defeat the purpose.

    You may at some point have to face the possibility that only a few major figures in parliament both acknowledge the need for carbon reform and actually have the ability to implement it. Malcolm Turnbull, Greg Hunt, and Nick Xenophon. You may find yourself having to choose between carbon reform and your distaste towards conservative types.

  73. Frank Campbell


    “@FRANK CAMPBELL – If the electorate REALLY didn’t want action on climate change, why didn’t the Coalition’s ‘answer’ to climate change win more votes? Why did the Greens do so well? Why did Adam Brandt win the seat of Melbourne? Why did the Coalition get behind Turnbull and other individuals in those parties during discussions over the CPRS? The only ones who’ve flip flopped, lied and added nothing better than bs to the debate – to take advantage and say anything to get elected.”

    I’ve answered all these questions repeatedly on Crikey Liz: Progressives were convinced that Abbott would be an electoral disaster and that Greens would win progressive Liberal seats like Higgins. I said at the time this was fantasy. Abbott nearly won , the simian leader of a bunch of tired has-beens. He managed not to gaffe himself to death, but the main reason was Rudd’s execution and the decline of climate millenarianism.
    The Greens benefited marginally (in terms of seats) by the awfulness of both main parties. But they have a chance only in Green-intensive low postcode seats.

    What then happened was a disaster for the ALP: in thrall to the Millenarian Greens (one Reps seat), they plumped for a “carbon tax”. Rejected by both major parties before the election. And against the tide of public opinion (the vote, and declining AGW poll support since 2006). Even The Age, bastion of progressive Melbourne, has a poll running now (27,000) with the anti-carbon tax vote 10% ahead. Just a straw in the wind, but…

    The Libs waited a few days to see the reaction to the carbon tax: it was generally negative, so they’ve announced today they’ll repeal it. If an election is fought on this, the ALP will be smashed. The Greens will get 10 or 12%, which is their current level and probably their high-water mark.

    Climate millenarianism will have then delivered us a decade of reactionary rule by those who should be politically dead. An unintended consequence of tribal group-think. Crikey played it’s part in this farce, denying space to even the slightest criticism not just of AGW but the economics, politics and sociology which surround it.

    And saying that the Coalition’s “climate policy” is junk misses the point. Of course it is- laughable. A few trees, a tweak here and there…but it threatens no one, unlike the incoherent, incompetently administered rag-bag of govt schemes (now dumped). And most unlike the menacing, regressive carbon tax. As I said on Crikey the other day, Gillard can only survive if the tax is so small as to be painless. Which defeats the whole purpose of the tax. The chaos is evident already, with obfuscation about fuel vs Green demands for it to be included.
    We’re watching a political suicide in slow motion.

  74. Frank Campbell

    FreeCountry@ “The Greens scream the world is ending, but then turn around and use carbon pricing as a trojan horse for social wealth redistribution.”

    This is Rightwing rubbish. Yes the Greens are climate millenarians (which is why their influence on Oz politics will decline from this point), but the “compensation” required by the regressive carbon tax is anything but ideologically-driven “wealth redistribution”. The tax is a desperate gamble. The only way (they think) it might come off is by compensating. Contradictory, self-defeating economics, but politically essential.
    It won’t work. It’s like asking for CPR after shooting yourself in the head.

  75. Captain Planet

    The world is ending!

  76. Scott

    I dont mind the conservative types. In many ways I am one myself. I’m more economic rationalist than environmentalist, but I have a new appreciation for ecological modernisation after studying Sustainable enterprise as part of a business degree.
    The Greens have their demands, as they always do, but the fact that a Green party is calling for an ETS is quite a concession (as generally they prefer command and control measures rather than market based measures).
    One of the reasons why the Greens didn’t support the CPRS originally was the fact that they were excluded from a lot of the negotiations between the Labor, Liberals and business. Because of that, the negotiated solution was too pro-business for them to accept. Now that they are part of the discussion, the end result will be something they have to put their name to and support, including the business support measures that will have to be present.

  77. Liz45

    Oh well, if the people say no and vote against the ETS then I’ll just ‘sign off’ and say to them ‘I’ll be gone – have a nice life and enjoy watching the planet get f****d for your kids’? I’m off to read a book!’
    Just too bloody selfish!

    They’ll spend billions on Melbourne Cup day, but whine about giving a few dollars to their countrymen and women doing it tough(via floods etc), and don’t give a hoot about their kid’s future! Anyone who then whines will get short shift from me! Selfishness can be lethal!

  78. thegael

    I agree, How selfish and plainly stupid people are. Abbott appeals to their short term sefish interests and to thier gullability. He even told them on national television that he tells lies to suit his ambitions yet they fall for his flip flops and spin. His ambition is consuming his morals, and his soul. I would not be surprised if he did a Faustian deal to gain goverment.
    I used to think he had some potential but now I see it is only a potential for huberis. And don’t get me started on the other side.

  79. Liz45

    THEGAEL – Abbott makes my fresh crawl! And many women as well as me.
    His comments to Kerry O’Brien re telling the truth was most revealing – although not a surprise. I wonder if he goes to see Pell and confesses all his lies? He must be there every day!
    Of cousre, while he has the Murdoch press, Alan Jones and others promoting his version of ‘leadership’ it’s pretty frustrating.

    I’m surprised at how damned stupid people can be at times. I’m always amazed while listening to a particular Quiz on the ABC, and some people don’t know the most basic facts, such as, who’s the Deputy leader or some such? Look at how long it took people to wake up to Howard? So frustrating!Ho-hum!

    Years ago, when I used to hand out how to votes for the ALP(not for 27 yrs now) a few people would ask me who they were voting for. Not the candidate, but whether it was State or Federal? WHAT???Where have you been, in Siberia? Depressing! I’m sure there’s still some who ask such questions these days!

  80. Frank Campbell

    @”Captain Planet
    Posted Monday, 28 February 2011 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    The world is ending!”

    That’s why you’re delivering us into the hands of the simian Right.

    The only way out politically is for Turnbull to sink Abbott. Gaffy Duck might self-destruct, but not likely. Turnbull can’t carry the hard Right on AGW, so what can he do? Lead Hunt and a few others to the govt. corral? That’s why he was rolled in the first place. And the millenarian tide has gone further out since then.

  81. Frank Campbell

    Well fancy that. Who’d have guessed? Greens down. 2PP back to where it was before racist opportunism bubbled up from the Liberal’s BlaineyBrained Morrison…:

    “Bernard Keane

    Labor’s vote has reversed its gains of recent weeks in today’s Essential Report poll, with its primary vote falling two points and the Liberals picking up two. With a lower Green vote of 10%, the Coalition has returned to a 2PP lead of 52-48, in effect wiping out the polling effect of two weeks of Liberal infighting.”

    Armageddon will have to be postponed ’til 2021, when Nostradamus predicts the marriage of Archbishop Pell and Tony the Abbott…the groom wears a magnificent dress and the bride just a striped lifesavers cap.

  82. PipBoy

    @ Liz

    People are entitled to understand the mechanisms of a tax forced upon them by an increasingly bizarre government.

    With all your passion, emotion and spare time listening to the ABC and googling the lies of a government that has not been in power for years – get a job? Plenty of call centre work going, maybe even try your hand at some computer programming, seeing as you have the Internet.

    If you relinquish that pension of yours, work like the rest of us selfish, damned stupid people, you might also be increasingly worried about a tax that will more than likely increase your cost of living – and which also comes with doubt as to where the funds will go.

    Those of us that do work, that have bought our first homes, that make the commute to work each day are very worried about this.

  83. Astro

    @ Frank Campbell

    Yes Frank, you are right.

    I think the penny has dropped with the Greens and people now understand how dangerous they are and how much we are screwed in the Senate for the next 8 years.

  84. shane

    Hey Pipboy or should I say little howard battler number 756084896, maybe you should learn about the tax your obviously a media puppet talked into buying a house at the height of the boom obviously using the first home owners scam and I bet the bank asked you “would you like a new car with that?” and you replied “sure super size me” and ended up with a 4wd in the driveway, then you saw on TV the shiny new plazma and the happy faces on in the ad and thought I’d like to be happy so you got a 3 new plazmas and a holiday to tailand.
    Now it’s 12 months later and your finding out that you actually have to pay for it your so on edge that any scare campaign sets you off frothing at the mouth looking for people to blame (the good new for you is that the introduction of a carbon tax would likely causes the RBA to hold on rates for a while).
    My advice is for you to turn off your Tv and read a book, preferably on finance and as for your financial difficulties trade in the 4wd and get a hatch back the fuel savings will offset the annual impacts of the carbon tax in under a month and don’t worry your neighbours won’t laugh and your penis won’t shrink.

  85. Liamj

    @ astro – “I think the penny has dropped with the Greens and people now understand how dangerous they are and how much we are screwed in the Senate for the next 8 years.”

    The Senate is in great shape, now that everyone knows the LibNats can’t do a constructive days work and won’t keep their word. Lab, Greens and Independants know if anyone is going to get the job done, it’ll have to be them.

  86. freecountry


    The Greens view a carbon price as a magic bullet which cannot fail. The inconsistency of this with their antipathy to “neoliberal market fundamentalism” is not really worth analyzing philosophically, because it’s just one of many deep-seated contradictions in their various policies.

    Price signals can be very useful, even powerful, but that does not make them transformative magic bullets for every problem. Look no further than the rising levels of petrol excise over several years. These have done basically nothing to abate road congestion, because there is a lack of alternative transport modes, and because dysfunctional housing markets lock people into living far away from their workplaces.

    Readers have reacted with hostility to my suggestions that most of the elasticity is in the consumption side, not production, and that households will have to change their usage patterns long before new power stations are built. There is a lot of lazy thinking that some Bentley-driving Mr Big out there is going to wear all the pain while consumers persist with business as usual. I suggest, if that’s what they really think, they should give up.

    If the purpose of the carbon price were primarily to convert the supply side to low-emission sources, then a carbon price signal would be the wrong way to achieve it, and it would be more efficient simply to mandate that all new power stations must be low-emission. Expensive, yes, but more efficient and direct than the slow-acting Pigovian signal.

  87. Frank Campbell

    “I think the penny has dropped with the Greens and people now understand how dangerous they are”

    People understand Danger No.1 (millenarian Greens driving “climate” policy) but not the corollary:

    Danger no. 2 is the neglect of the real environment. As a green (and ex-Green) this to me is a tragedy. We need a party of the environment. But the Greens have morphed into a band of millenarian zealots. The excuse is always the same: Armageddon trumps everything.
    The daily gang-rape of the environment by corporate capitalism becomes marginal.

    I’m watching it happen out the window as I write this…the fragile Wimmera River being fucked to death.

  88. Frank Campbell

    Speaking of savage economic damage caused by climate millenarianism, look at the Victorian desal plant, 2nd biggest in the world.

    We now know it will cost the state $24 billion over the next 30 years. We also know it may never be used.

    Water bills are set to double.

    This fiasco is down to the climate cult: the 10 year drought was billed as permanent. Fatuously, even language change was introduced by bureaucrats: not “drought” but “dryness” , i.e. a permanent state of lower rainfall caused by you-know-what.

    After the big La Nina deluge, what are cultists saying? Well bugger me, we can expect a lot more tropical incursions into these latitudes. The current line seems to be nasty droughts and nasty floods. If so, we have the dams to store those floodwaters. Which is why they were built in the first place.

    There’s no evidence that the recent drought or floods had anything to do with climate change. Records are short, FFS. The Brisbane flood was well below 1974. We heard the same rubbish about Black Saturday: “unprecedented” Denied by the Royal Commission. Not to mention a string of megafires going all the way back to 1851.

  89. PipBoy


    ‘Hey Pipboy or should I say little howard battler number 756084896, maybe you should learn about the tax your obviously a media puppet talked into buying a house at the height of the boom obviously using the first home owners scam..blah..blah..blah’

    No Shane, lived in a 1 bedroom unit for 7 years, saved a deposit, bought a townhouse as close to the city as possible (as to negate more travelling costs), bought a modest 4 cylinder hatch and carefully budgeted for every penny. I actually hate 4wd drivers in the city with undying passion.

    We were not legible for the grant as my partner already used hers. And who said anything about financial difficulties? We do want the holiday in Thailand, we do want to get the big screen TV. Sorry, I don’t see anything wrong with that. Only bitter and twisteds would.

    My advice to you is to not be so narrow minded. Try not to generalise about people because they want to know more about how the money they are handing over will be used to save the enviroment.

    That’s not too much to ask.

    ‘don’t worry your neighbours won’t laugh and your penis won’t shrink.’

    I know you’re trying to be funny, but this is just so many layers of moronic in reply to my previous post.

  90. PipBoy

    PS Shane.

    If you work hard, spend hours studying, sacrifice – you too can have your own little pad.

    Try it, it’s rewarding.

  91. Rocket Rocket

    Frank – funny you should mention La Nina. The Southern Oscillation Index (El Nino and La Nina) was first proposed by Gilbert Walker in 1923, but it took many decades until this science was accepted as the major determinant of year-to-year variations in weather around the Pacific.

    In a La Nina event, the water off Australia’s East Coast is warmer. The current La Nina event has had an extreme effect on Australia because the water off the East Coast of Australia is the warmest it has ever been on record. Just a coincidence I’m sure.

  92. Rocket Rocket

    When Tony Abbott finds out that the only Head of State to have mandated a zero-carbon economy for their State is the Pope (for the independent state of Vatican City) what will he do?

  93. shane

    Pip. Thanks for the tip it sounds really rewarding??? I think I’ll stick with my share portfolio though I’m kind of addicted to the higher returns.

  94. PipBoy


    ‘Thanks for the tip it sounds really rewarding???’

    No problem – not surprised though you put question marks after that Mr Gordon Gecko share man.

  95. shane

    PIP. Just saw your other post if you want to know how a Carbon Tax will work in principle (yours and others fears are a bit unfounded since no details have even been released) you can look 16 posts above my original post. As for your generalisations I do own a property in Europe outright not here because property represents a very poor investment in Australia at the moment, i have an economics and finance degrees and before that owned my own business for 10 years, but none of this matters for the conversation at hand.
    You say there is nothing wrong with you wanting it all and to pay for nothing are you not aware that Australians are the highest emitters of CO2 per capita in the world? Are you not aware that Australia is the largest exporter of coal in the world, if you and the 22 million others aren’t to blame who is?
    Last year alone the Chinese invested $51 billion US into renewables even though Australians emit about 4 times as much CO2 as a Chinese person who by the way haven’t enjoyed the benefits of an industrialised economy like we have.
    Anyway enough said theres little chance of me convincing australians of anything, short sightedness, selfishness and ignorance are the halmarks of Australian society these days, this last decade has transformed Australia into the New America, Fat, selfish and stupid thank God theres only 22 million of us.

  96. Scott

    Hey FC

    The whole theory of carbon pricing is to “price in” the externalities of climate change into the costs of production. At the moment, we are paying a cheaper price for energy than we probably should be if the impacts on the environment (and on others besides the buyer and seller) were taken into account. That is what a carbon price is supposed to rectify. It is not just to discourage energy use. It might have that effect, but as you say, that isn’t necessarily a given.
    It will also produce a fairly large dividend to the Government (as they are collecting the externality carbon tax on behalf of Australia). The Government can use these procedes to compensate low income consumers (who don’t have much wriggle room to reduce energy use) and yes, provide incentives for business to adapt. And adapt they will. Business, motivated by profits as they are, will throw money at renewable energy and become more energy efficient if they calculate it will help their long term profitability. Households, as money is not necessarily their primary value, will be alot slower at picking up the price signal (as shown by your example on petrol…for some people, owning their own house is their primary value and they are prepared to pay more for transport to achieve that outcome).
    But to go without a price on carbon altogether, i’m not sure is the answer. The world is heading to a sustainable future, even if it is at a snails pace. It’s time to get on board. I’m also not a fan of command and control measures like your suggestion of mandating new power plants be low emission. That would have more negative impact on energy investment in this country than any tax would have.

  97. PipBoy


    Thanks for the analysis. Albeit not very useful and in no way answering anything.

    ‘You say there is nothing wrong with you wanting it all and to pay for nothing.’

    Sigh. Where did I say that I didn’t want to pay for things I want? There is nothing wrong with working hard and aquiring possessions. It seems it’s OK for you to get a degree, own property and make money – but not OK for me, because I question a tax?

    Why are you twisting words – is it to recoup after sounding deranged? Unfortunatley you still do.

    There is certainly nothing wrong with finding renewable, clean energy sources. Noone debated that. There is a problem with a tax that in your own words:

    ‘no details have even been released’

    If no details have been released are we not right to question getting taxed??????

  98. shane

    Questioning the tax? Why would you ask a question for which there is no answer yet? The details need to be worked out so why don’t you save your irrational fears for when they have been?

    My reference to you not wanting to pay for anything refers to the pollution you create and other people have to deal with, ie 100 years worth of industry emissions to build the roads, businesses and infastructure that you enjoy which developing countries don’t have but are still bearing the cost of in environmental terms.

    Thirdly a carbon tax is infinately more efficent than Tony Abbotts “Direct action” for which the plan would look something like this: step1. announce it. step2. A white paper. step3. there is no step 3.

    On a different note, the word mortgage is derived from latin (mort-gage) and means engaged until death, ever wonder why John Howard started the first home owners grant (scam)? Every economist knew it would result in higher property prices and therefore larger debt burdens, my guess is :
    1. to buy off the baby boomers vote (who owned the properties before the grant) andf therefore profited from selling.
    2. get a short term economic boost from all the borrowed money flowing into the country (banks mostly borrow from overseas)
    3. When the economic boost needs to be repayed and the economy slowed down, the liberals could blame the next government who was due to come into power and be able to mount highly effective hip pocket fear campaigns to regain power come next election.
    (ie ” a great big tax on everything, under labour interest rates will rise”, etc)

  99. freecountry

    Scott – A pricing mechanism is only as good as the designers’ understanding of how it works.

    For example, if you apply the tax to coal exports and not to energy-intensive manufacturing imports, you just drive industries offshore and achieve nothing. Do it the other way round, and you have a de facto emission-consumption tax which will reduce emissions rather than just offshoring them. But the Greens will demand the tax apply to coal exports.

    Include international carbon-permit trading in an ETS, and you bring all the power of comparative advantage into the emission reduction problem. But the Greens refer to this as a “get out of jail free card”.

    Ban nuclear power and uranium exports to India because it’s not aesthetically pleasing, and we’ll all be trying to do this with our hands tied behind our backs. Nuclear power does not cause nuclear weapons proliferation; geopolitical struggles for safety and food security cause weapons proliferation, and cheap low-emission power is one of the best ways we can help people achieve security through clean industrialization, especially now when 1.6 billion of the world’s population still don’t have power. I try telling this to Greens and they call me a crimes-against-humanity denialist.

    Pay out the carbon tax revenue to those who cry out the loudest about rising costs caused by that same carbon tax, and the whole thing becomes a farce. This time it’s not the Greens driving that particular irony; it’s Labor, their culture of “mates”, their anachronistic need to sneak in a redistributionist agenda to dilute every tax reform, and their patronage of whatever big corporations just happen to be winning the competition at the time they write their laws.

  100. PipBoy


    ‘Questioning the tax? Why would you ask a question for which there is no answer yet? ‘

    Are you really that pro Labor? Do you really care that much about a political party that you defend it eyes wide shut?

    And of course you know the cost of living will not rise exponentially. You know there will be no flow on costs associated with this new tax. You know this, because there are no answers to the questions! OhhhKKKaaay!

    ‘My reference to you not wanting to pay for anything refers to the pollution you create and other people have to deal with, ie 100 years worth of industry emissions to build the roads, businesses and infastructure that you enjoy which developing countries don’t have but are still bearing the cost of in environmental terms.’

    Just me? You’ve never used roads? You don’t use a computer to blog that wierdness? Stop being a hypocrite. Stop using the roads, shut down your PC. Grow your own food, get a water tank. What on earth are you talking about?

    ‘On a different note, the word mortgage is derived from latin (mort-gage) and means engaged until death, ever wonder why John Howard started the first home owners grant (scam)? ‘

    For you maybe, but for the rest of us, its ours. And the wall that I’ll build around it will be much higher now – bizarroes like you will never take it.

  101. Scott

    I disagree with you about the carbon tax being applied to coal exports. I don’t think that will happen. Some of the more militant greens may want this to happen but its the burning of coal that causes the greenhouse gas, not the coal itself. The carbon price will apply to CO2 emitted.

    International Carbon-permit trading will happen. Maybe not overnight, but we have an international finance system that works pretty well (we survived the GFC which was a pretty big stress test) and a global ETS will fit into that without issue. All it requires is a few years of domestic emissions trading, some international treaties and we will be away. The developing countries will want a piece of the financial pie after all, and who are we to deny them.

    I agree with you in regards to nuclear energy. To ignore a potential customer like India (and our own potential nuclear power industry) is madness. But that is a separate issue in my opinion.

    But I don’t think its farce if money is paid back to industry and the punters. There are serious concerns from industry and housholds and compensation is the only way this thing will get up. Once the market based ETS is up and running, the government sets a cap on the emissions and then auctions off permits to emit based on that cap. It’s like a carbon IPO. Business decide how much those emissions are worth through the auction and subsequent trading in the secondary markets. But the key point (that everyone forgets) is that every so often, the government reduces the cap, and the carbon price finds a new equilibrium. So emissions do go down, even if the government decides to send back 100% of the proceeds to consumers and industry.

    But this discussion is all in the future when the real detail comes in. Your concerns might be valid if the design of the thing is too anti-business, which could be a possibility (I do hope it’s not). I look forward to that discussion when it arrives 🙂

  102. Liz45

    @PIPBOY – You should think before you start accusing people of being bludgers. I don’t know many almost 66 yr old women in the workforce do you? My eldest son bought my almost new, you beaut computer with widescreen etc – he pays for my Broadband each month also, and has been doing it for almost 8 yrs. He also gave me an almost new car for christmas three yrs ago.

    I was forced out of my 10 yr old job that I loved due to an occupational injury that was preventable. My boss was the NSW Govt, department of education sector. They knew the dangers of the equipment and modes of operation, but failed to either educate me or ensure that said equipment at least functioned properly. Employees like me made up the second highest group in the NSW govt employ, and yet they did nothing to prevent a preventable injury/disease.

    I still have chronic to acute pain, and I approached my employer numerous times for light duties – to no avail. They sacked me! I also wanted to be a teacher, but that was impossible. I tried University but couldn’t do the manual work. I was on workers comp until it was cut off, then sickness benefits, then NewStart or JobSearch. I was the first person in my job to sue the education dept – settled out of court for a piffling amount. Women like me (1980’s) were reviled and treated like criminal bludgers, by ignorant and thoughtless people – just like you!

    Because of how I was treated, combined with lack of knowledge of these injuries and the whole lousy industry, I started a support group which grew into another one – I did this for 8 yrs, and even paid for my own petrol etc. Without my union and others, plus a not for profit medical centre at the time, many women including me would probably be dead now! One woman in each state committed suicide – probably more! The pain is still awful. I live by a ‘do it now, pain later’ scenario!

  103. PipBoy


    Oh so you’re one of those: ‘It’s everyone else’ fault types’. Gotcha.

  104. freecountry

    Scott – Oh, I agree that financial compensation is absolutely crucial to its success; without it you get the ineffectual petrol-tax situation I mentioned. But the mechanism of that compensation must be a system-wide relief which enables any takers (not necessarily the current energy oligarchy) to invest in carbon mitigation, whether it’s alternative sources of power, more efficient generation or transmission of power, or energy-saving devices for consumers.

    It’s not compensation per se that’s the problem; it’s the government playing favourites with who gets it. Once that political selectivity gets started, history shows there’s no stopping it. And it’s unnecessary. Both income tax and company tax carry high excess burdens for consumers–i.e. the costs they add to the prices of goods and services far exceed their revenues. By far the most efficient way to compensate consumers for the carbon tax, is by recycling the revenue into across-the-board. Swapping one weight around our necks for another so we won’t even notice. Not by handing out cash or permits to favour campaign donors or marginal voting segments.

  105. Liz45

    @PIPBOY – Go and grow a brain, or at least do some reading. I could wish this on you, but frankly I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. Get st****d!

  106. freecountry

    (Sorry, I cut off my own sentence.) By far the most efficient way to compensate consumers for the carbon tax, is by recycling the revenue into across-the-board reductions in either of these taxes, especially company tax.

  107. Frank Campbell

    @ Rocket x 2

    “the water off the East Coast of Australia is the warmest it has ever been on record. Just a coincidence I’m sure.”

    And the SOI/temp record is…how many years? Come on, say it…

    Interestingly, this circulation driver is surprisingly uncertain in operation- sometimes there’s a clear correlation, other times none. And this is observational science, not computer modelling from East Bumcrack.

    It’s not not rocket rocket science…

  108. shane

    pip. What a dooche, I would love to pay for my pollution, sign me up for the carbon tax, I’ll happily give up a couple of bucks to do something positive, even the oppostition with all their inflated bs thinks it will be a 25% rise on electricity, big deal for me thats about $200 without any of the promised compensation.
    Seriously you must have a really low paying job (for which the labor government has already cut your taxes over the last 3 years) or must not be able to count if you can’t manage to scrape together $4/week minus the government’s compensation?

    You talk about flow through effects making prices rise exponentially, you obviously don’t know what exponential means or how prices flow through because your not even close, not even by a long shot, once again you’ve been sucked in by the hype, first little johnny talked you into buying a house you couldn’t afford and now his love child is sweet talking you into voting for the guy who wants work choices, higher company tax and the destruction of medicare, yeah he’s your friend, good thinking.

  109. shane

    @Frank. You sound like you know a lot more than I do about climate science but what I don’t understand is why people such as your self so vehemently argue against preventative action of any sort?
    It’s a simple case of risk vs reward think of action as an insurance policy against human suffering and future economic hardship, putting a price on carbon will end up costing the average person a lot less than their annual private health insurance or their car insurance for that matter and given the degree of scientific concensus I’d also say we are many times more likely of drawing on that climate insurance.
    The cynic in me can’t help but think that when people argue that climate change won’t happen what they really mean is it won’t happen in their life time.

  110. freecountry

    Pipboy, Shane, you’re both wrong about “exponential” price rises.

    Pipboy, exponential is a mathematical term meaning that the rate of increase is proportional to the value. Inflation is exponential because when workers receive pay rises, the labour costs of all their living expenses rise too, so workers demand more again, living costs rise again, and so on. Carbon tax price rises, like the GST price rises in 2000, will be a one-off hit in proportion to the tax rate, but unlike GST it will hit different products to different degrees.

    Shane, it won’t just be $200 on your power bill. It will also be the power and fuel bills of the people who bake your bread, grow the wheat, stock the shops, take out the trash, bank the money, drive the trucks, repair the trucks, and so on. It’s a subtle price rise but it’s layer upon layer upon layer. Big, yes. Exponential, no.

  111. shane

    FreeCountry. Yes there will be flow through effects but what is the cost break down of your hypothetical loaf of bread? Maybe 10% of the cost is electricity, pehaps 15% for transport? I don’t know but I would image wheat, labour and rent are the main costs?
    Secondly as I mentioned in a previous post all things being equal if we take the electricity industry in isolation and the subsidies are given to the electricity retailers under the caveat that that their increased supply costs are not passed on to consumers then the effect will be instantly lower emissions from the electricity sector with no price rises in the economy (I explained this in detail about 25 comments ago).

    Where we could see dramatic price rises is if we allow rent seekers to collude under the guise of higher costs, this also needs to be regulated under any transition similarly to what was done during the GST transition.

  112. Frank Campbell

    “why people such as yourself so vehemently argue against preventative action of any sort?”

    I don’t. There’s a great deal that can and should be done. I’ve been banging on for years about it.

    The “insurance” analogy is tempting but false: insurance requires a premium. Your costs are covered if disaster strikes.

    What has the govt done so far?

    (i) spent billions on manifestly idiotic “solutions”: the desal plant ($20 billion, may never be used; now we’re told tropical weather will penetrate these latitudes more often!); wind turbines (sick joke: backed up 100% by FF. Rising emissions in countries swamped by them; Germany and UK retreating to nuclear power because wind doesn’t work). And no need to list the shambolic Rudd schemes now dumped by Gillard.

    (ii) Decided on a “carbon tax”.

    Will a carbon tax reduce emissions? Let’s be charitable and assume a 20% cut in 10 years.
    Will this mitigate global warming? Not a scrap. Oz emits 1.3% of global CO2. 20% of 1.3% is quite close to bugger-all.

    But it’s much worse than this: we suffer considerably higher costs (which are nastily regressive- the poor suffer most. Al Gore’s power bill was $36,000 p.a., so you get my drift), but continue to export the problem. Biggest coal exporter in the world. Not to mention gas.

    World emissions continue to increase. Our “insurance premium” costs us, but there’s no payout for disaster.

    At this point the millenarians fall back on moral arguments: “we must do our bit” (the banal Julia), “set an example”…as if the rest of the world gives a toss about Australia’s ethical posturing. NZ is even more embarrassing: hardly any CO2 emissions, but ready to punish themselves anyway.

    Specious economic arguments also appear: we need to “keep up with the rest of the world”, “mustn’t be left behind”. Behind what? Behind who? The Copenhagen fiasco showed that the rest of the world- esp. the big polluters USA, China etc- will do nothing significant. China builds a new coal power station every week. The Germans are busy too. And the Indians.

    Flagellating ourselves is simply ridiculous.

    What should have been done?

    There are a dozen good reasons to kill off petroleum fuels without reference to global warming. In the 1960s big oil destroyed GMs electric car program. Electric prototypes were ritually crushed- literally. Electric vehicles should have been standard years ago.

    There are a dozen good reasons to kill off thermal coal too. R and D for renewables has been pathetic for decades. The current mess is partly due to false and premature claims about renewables today: not one is baseload at the moment. Most are unproven at any scale. Britain has just abandoned its 50 billion quid Severn Tidal Barrage ( environmental nightmare, unproven, and too expensive). Hot rocks? Industrial solar? Might work. Wind? Can’t work, by definition.

    Renewables have to be economic and baseload. Period. They are neither. Who’s to blame? Governments. Only govts could have funded the R and D we never got. Capitalism is in the business of making money now, not at some indeterminate time in the future.

    That’s why I say climate millenarians are the worst enemy of rational climate action: the frantic urgency causes policy chaos. Vast sums are wasted on premature technologies. Heavy penalties are imposed on thoise least able to afford them. Climate science is abused and exaggerated (Prof.Kevin Anderson: 95% will be dead in 40 years).

    This ugly mess has political consequences: People get cynical. People vote. The nasty Right gets into power. Climate change becomes crap.

    People don’t like cults.

  113. freecountry

    Shane, yes that’s the Ross Gittins formula. I think Ross Gittins is wrong, he’s missing the point that the real polluter is the consumer of pollution. Please see Geoff Carmody in the Australian today (( theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/doing-nothing-as-preferable-to-this/story-e6frg6zo-1226014408604 )). If Crikey readers can suspend for a moment their assumption that every word in the Australian is crimes-against-humanity denialism, you will find that Carmody has outlined the principles of a carbon tax that can actually work to reduce emissions. Make that, the only way the carbon tax can work to reduce emissions.

  114. PipBoy


    ‘pip. What a dooche, I would love to pay for my pollution, sign me up for the carbon tax, I’ll happily give up a couple of bucks to do something positive’

    Straight back at ya High Flyer.

    You can’t see what is wrong with that statement?

    You’re saying you don’t mind paying for your pollution. This obviously means you won’t be changing your habits (driving, electricity usage, flights) – just paying for the right will reduce your carbon footprint? Petrol ain’t included is it – keep on truckin’ then.

    So now that we know the average joe (in your case high flying financier) will more than likely just keep up his old habits, why would this not extend to enterprise? The computers, the lights, the machinery will all still be on. And they’ll just pass the cost of the tax onto the consumer.

    Remind me – how is this reducing Co2 emmissions? Start with yours.

  115. shane

    FreeCountry. Thanks for the link, what Geoff advocates sounds great in theory but theres a couple of points that I’d like to bring up.

    Firstly I believe consumers would be very slow to pick up price signals, the slow take up of online shopping demonstrates this, secondly for all consumers to go and seek out the cheaper green products is extremely inefficent and in many cases they don’t exist, in those cases the end result would just be lower consumption and not a low carbon transformation.

    Secondly I don’t believe the capital flight argument, if Geoff’s so worried about that we could lower company tax by 0.5% or as the government is suggesting provide subsidies for trade exposed industries.

    Thirdly Electricity generation is the main source of the problem, without targeting producers no amount of consumer pressure will change their future investment decisions, with an adequate price on carbon reductions in CO2 emissions would happen instantly there is no doubt about that. Besides that most countries already have a larger portfolio of greener and more expensive generation assets than us.

    Fourth What export industries are we trying to protect, mining? That won’t be going anywhere, Agriculture? If farmers can survive the current exchange rate they can handle a carbon tax. Financial Services? Not an issue. Manufacturing could be subsidised.

    Fifth. Looking long term what will Australian industry do when other countries inevitably make a transition to a low carbon economy and start imposing their carbon reduction mechanisms on our Australian exports, we won’t be able to just transform over night.

    My view to keep things simple is impose a sufficent carbon tax onto the Electricty sector subisdised to the retailer and put a carbon tax on petrol (not diesel or lpg) and return those funds to the economy as tax cuts for all (this could also encourage some personal savings).

  116. shane

    Sorry PIp but you are truly thick, when someone needs the explaination explained to them theres really no point.

  117. freecountry

    Shane, I disagree with all of those points but I’ll just reply to the first one.

    Demand for electricity is more elastic in the long term than in the short term, due to both information asymmetry and investment hurdle costs. First they’ll complain and demand governments subsidize electricity even more than they do already. Then they’ll take shorter showers and maybe even put on a jumper during winter. Then they’ll notice the ads for energy saving products that have been available for years, such as induction stoves, black-panel heaters, evaporative cooling, thermostat and body-sensing switches, optical solar hot water, and so on. Then local tradesmen will approach them with special offers on painting the roof white, insulating, sealing cracks, convection-stack venting, double glazing, and other minor modifications to their homes or design features for new homes. Electricity companies will offer a new tariff rate for consumers who enable remote shutoffs by the power company during peak bursts. Demand for electric swimming-pool heaters will collapse. Aluminium prices will go up and recycling of coke cans will start to become profitable.

    The message will slowly sink in that the consumer is the one responsible for pollution, not the businessman that the consumer pays to do his polluting for him at the lowest possible price.

  118. shane

    FreeCountry. I agree in principle with the availability of efficiency gains for consumers and their shouldering of some of the responsibility, these cerainly should be pursued but what your talking about would take a decade to get half the population doing, renters, low income earners and those under mortgage stress wouldn’t even consider making a capital investment into their homes, we would just hear over and over until our ears bleed how the cost of living is hurting their lifestyle and i can’t think of any politician who would be able to weather that storm through to even the next election.

  119. shane

    Frank. It’s good to hear your passionate about the issue but I didn’t see any solutions to the problem at hand?
    I’m a little disturbed over your protectionist response to what is a global problem, thats exactly the process that assured no agreement was reached in Copenhagen, perhaps I can try that one here, “Only one drink driver, only one tax dodger, only one vandal or only one polluting nation, what difference does it make if I do the right thing I’m only 1/22 millionth of the problem no one will notice?”.
    Putting up man made borders for a problem that has none isn’t going to work, we are wealthy, our economy is in full swing, we profit more than almost anyone from exporting grubby goods and we have enjoyed the benfits of a century of polluting, if not us who?
    You say China does nothing? $51 billion or 15% of last years energy investment is nothing? A few months ago they shut down hundreds of factories, cutting off their power for a month because they didn’t meet efficency targets, Chinese producers have also undercut the competition and driven the price down of solar systems globally boosting up take. All this from a nation where the majority of the population earns less than a waitress in Australia and are also only responsible for only a 1/4 of the emissions per capita.
    But seriously if you know a better way I’d love to hear it?

  120. Frank Campbell

    “what difference does it make if I do the right thing I’m only 1/22 millionth of the problem no one will notice?”.

    This is an analogy often used. Within each jurisdiction, what you do as individual does matter- if it affects others or the environment. Flouting laws or norms may also encourage others to do so.

    So it seems convincing. Except that nations are separate jurisdictions, and their aggregate behaviour isn’t equivalent to individual transgressions. Moral impact between countries is limited anyway, but stands little chance against economic self-interest. Even if that behaviour subverts longer-term self-interest.

    So we can’t make the buggers do the right thing, or any thing.

    If we can’t affect a global problem, the national interest becomes “do nothing which causes local damage”.

    But there are many useful things which can be done without self-harm. Reforestation for instance. Multiple benefits including carbon sequestration.

    China: there’s much misunderstanding about Chinese policies: they still have ancient filthy (in every sense) plants which are a drag on the state and environment. Locals are revolting against the mess, esp, air quality.Their industralisation (lawless and disgusting) has fouled their own nest. All this involves CO2 only incidentally. Emissions are soaring. Coal-fired. Modern manufacturing will help, but the CO2 aggregate will rise for decades.

  121. freecountry

    Shane, it’s not either/or. If they design it the way Carmody suggests, then all these things can be made to dovetail together–emissions reduction in both consumption and production, continued economic growth enabling further emission reductions instead of hitting the wall, and encouragement of other countries to follow suit.

    If they design it any other way, especially if the tax applies to exports, then the whole thing will be about as useful as a chocolate teapot. A showpiece that not so much leaks, as spills, emissions out the side. Trade-exposed industries then will no more pay for emissions than a housing speculator pays income tax. Such a system would serve one purpose and one purpose only: to satisfy the Greens that someone is being religiously sacrificed for the greater good.

  122. shane

    Well I’m happy to agree/disagree/whatever on details, systems can be amended and adapted as time goes on and those decisions should be made by someone who knows more than I do about this but one things for sure it’s time to get cracking, i can live with mistakes along the way but I can’t accept attitudes like Franks who if I understand him correctly believes that developing nations should be paying for our growth.
    My challenge to those in that camp would be to explain to a Chinese factory worker why they should be addressing climate change rather than us, while keeping a straight face.

  123. Frank Campbell

    Shane@: “I can’t accept attitudes like Franks who if I understand him correctly believes that developing nations should be paying for our growth.
    My challenge to those in that camp would be to explain to a Chinese factory worker why they should be addressing climate change rather than us, while keeping a straight face.”

    I’m not saying that. It’s nothing to do with morality. Nothing we do will affect AGW. Nothing we do will affect other countries’ behaviour. Nothing China is now doing will have much effect on CO2 emissions. But popular protest is forcing the vicious Chinese state to clean up Dickensian pollution. Australia’s CO2 emissions are the last thing on a Chinese worker’s mind. They’re being evicted without compensation, poisoned, ripped off and forced to bribe officials…they have the worst of both worlds: feral capitalism plus degenerate stalinism.

    If CO2 AGW is right, China, USA, India have to clean up their act. Don’t hold your breath. And don’t flagellate yourself before the big countries act.

    Solution: Address climate change and post it to Beijing, cc Washington and Delhi.

  124. freecountry


    Actually, if I read your misuse of the term “trade protectionism” correctly, you’re the one who wants to invite developing countries to pay our carbon-tax bills for us, by taxing our coal exports. Completely defying the sound logic behind the GST tax model, which you don’t understand, yet you continue to debate economics.

    Those developing countries won’t pay it, of course. They will instead say:

    “Thanks for the honour but we’ll now buy our coal from the next cheapest source in line, and it will cost us a little bit more than the coal we were getting from you, so a few less of us will be able to afford it. They can remain trapped in subsistence farming economies subject to cyclical food shortages and continue to cost the world more in political strife and warfare than it would cost to subsidize their development, but it will look good on your short-term emission statistics.

    “In the meantime those of us still able to afford coal will go on selling you the (non-carbon-taxed) goods we manufacture with that (non-carbon-taxed) coal energy, and by the way thanks for the terms-of-trade lift against your own (carbon-taxed) manufacturing industries.

    “And by the way, those of us who are still industrializing were considering joining in an ETS with you some time in the next few years, because the power of comparative advantage enables both emissions reduction for you and food security for us. But now our trade-advantaged manufacturing sectors won’t let us do that because it would threaten the terms-of-trade boost you have given them.”

  125. shane

    No FreeCountry you don’t read my post correctly firstly I dont’ mention “Trade protectionism” in a tradition tarriff sense, I refer to Australia trying to gain competitive advantage by continuing to do nothing when the rest of the world is at their own expense.
    I also never mentioned anything about taxing coal exports, I believe it was Geoff from the RIGHTsous Australian that was asserting that’s what people were suggesting which as to date I haven’t heard.
    I was the one who suggested taxing electricity generation and petrol at the pump with subsidies returned to electricity retailers and tax payers.
    To my knowledge the Government hasn’t decided on any details and nobody I can recollect is calling for a tax on exports but it still doesn’t stop the scare campaign from those on the right telling us the skys falling in.

  126. shane

    Before you said you disagreed with all my points on Geoff’s article, I’d like to call you on that, so far you haven’t given any reasons?

  127. freecountry

    Shane, you listed five points. The first and third are both about taxing production rather than consumption and I disputed that immediately afterwards. The second was about capital flight and I’ve just disputed that in my last post. The fourth is a non-argument that “they’re tough so it doesn’t matter” which is addressed by my point on capital flight, above. The fifth is addressed by Carmody and I’ve alluded to it in the last post: taxing inputs to export production will give developing countries an incentive to avoid participation in an international ETS. If you don’t understand the answers, then say so, don’t go around playing the Kerry O’Brien game of repeating “You didn’t answer the question” again and again until people believe it.

  128. shane

    FreeCountry obviously you chose that name as a token to your neo-liberal masters?
    You really haven’t addressed anything, you contradict yourself saying a tax on coal would result in capital flight of our coal industry but then say developing countries would be paying our coal tax on exports?
    You carry on about taxes on exports, not on imports which nobody has suggested, when cornered you keep referring back to an article in the Australian as though these are your own original thoughts?
    I wonder why someone who clearly follows the right wing view would be so into reading crikey but never the less considering there is more disinformation in this age than information I’d suggest taking your quotes from a more reputable source that doesn’t have a political agenda, perhaps you could try monday message board on John Quiggin, they’re having a similar discussion and surprise surprise your or should I say Geoff’s view is not supported.

  129. freecountry

    My “neo-liberal masters”? Is that the best you can do? You don’t really know anything, do you. You’ve never picked up a single text on economics, but you read Crikey and Ross Gittins and Lenore Taylor and consider yourself qualified to debate on capital flight and end users paying our taxes as if they were mutually exclusive. When challenged you fall back on wisecracks about my “neo-liberal masters”.

  130. shane

    Ok good luck to you F.
    “We’re not in the business of selling tabacco, we’re in the business of selling doubt” Remember that infamous quote? That stalling tactic was used for the tabacco industry, recently against the science of global warming, now cornered by facts the peddlers of doubt turn their attentions to how to address climate change.
    Why else would someone like you be in a Crikey blog? If you really had something to offer the debate you would be offering suggestions on Quiggins site but instead of doing this you choose to try convince Crikey readers that delay, delay and more delay is the best course of inaction, your only reasoning is that the australian said so.
    Just to set the record straight I’ve never read Ross Gittins, Lenore Taylor and this is my first time in Crikey, what I say are my own opinions not the second hand dribble from a newspaper with obvious commercial and political interests.
    So I ask this of you: Instead of wasting your time here talking to me, why not air your views on John Quiggin? Here’s the URL if that helps: http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2011/02/28/monday-message-board-189/comment-page-1/#comment-275244

  131. freecountry

    Oh, god. Of course, generation Y. The ones who were taught: What matters is expressing your own opinion. But once you’ve decided that opinion, don’t forget to go back and find some justification for it.

  132. MLF

    Classic Free.

  133. shane

    So freecountry isn’t just a right wing, 1980’s, neo-liberal, “greed is good” type, he also spend his free time discriminating against the youth.
    The picture is becoming clearer now, your a self funded retiree who lives off the dividends from his mining shares, you have 10 years left on this planet, climate change presents no danger to you so you thought you would protect your investment by spreading a bit of disinformation amongst the Crikey readers and present it as fact with your liberal party branded toilet paper as your authoritive evidence.

  134. Sir Lunchalot

    @ Free Country

    Dont worry. I get pasted by Labor / Green one eyed people as well for criticising Federal and State Government (NSW). It just so happens that both are Labor.

    I also get critised for saying we should get rid of State Governments, cause they are a waste.

  135. shane

    Most conservatives aren’t idiots but it just so happens that most idiots are conservatives.

  136. Sir Lunchalot

    And some are Fools, and we just heard from one

  137. shane

    FreeCountries the only conservative around here, I hope he doesn’t see your comment, he has one hell of a temper……SIR…..(seriously who gives themselves a knighthood?)

  138. freecountry

    Sir Lunchalot, do you think having multiple banks, broadcast networks, and book publishers, is wasted duplication too? Let’s have criminal justice laws on mandatory detention or homosexuality all decided by one central authority. After all, the federal government does such a sterling job on terrorism laws and boat people, what! Perhaps you’d prefer a government like NSW Labor be able to trash the entire country, instead of only a part of it while citizens have an open border if they ever really need it. If you want to abolish the states, you must think Canberra is so enlightened that you trust it to do all the taxing, all the spending, all the imprisoning, all the legitimate power to stick guns in your face, and you think the evidence shows that your puny little vote will ensure it uses that power more wisely than our governments have used it in the past?

  139. Sir Lunchalot

    @ Freecountry

    Doesn’t matter State NSW & Federal Labor Governments both blow money out their behinds with gusto and then raise taxes and levies to pay. Get rid of the State and we have less public servants / bureaucracy and waste. Still get the same level of incompetence, just we have saves BILLIONS

  140. freecountry

    Do you know where most of the waste is? State governments have been trained not to be answerable to state voters until they’ve first answered to the federal government, because that’s where the earmarked grants (Special Purpose Payments or s96 SPPs) on which they depend come from. If they don’t satisfy the Prime Minister that they’ve earned their SPPs with good behaviour, their allowance is reduced. Reduced allowance = reduced spending = reduced chance at the next election, so the federal government trumps the state voter. A large proportion of state public service is therefore devoted not to raising productivity (and thus revenue) or even addressing citizen concerns, but to applying for federal SPP grants, and reporting back against the criteria for those grants in order to get the next one. A large proportion of federal public service is devoted to evaluating those applications and reports against SPP grants. When you find that someone you lent your car to has been abusing it by putting the wrong fuel in it, do you solve the problem by throwing away the car?

  141. Tom McLoughlin

    wow that is a string.

    FC has raised some cannards worth replying to saying records are short as if big events are natural variability.

    1. the flood in Brisbane was bigger about 1974, but the Wivenoe dam was not built then, so the flood was smaller this time with a flood mitigating dam, but still very big. Actually there is no point in comparisons because land use has massively change din 30 years.

    2. scientists have shown the bushfires, and presumably megafires, are more frequent since european colonisation via charcoal deposits over large time periods. So the question really is what did the colonists do to increase bushfire risk? The obvious contender is destruction of wet forest unlike the indigenous who didn’t cut down big trees and destroy humid micro climate. In other words land clearing for european style farming, but then also industrial logging in the last 60 years.

  142. Frank Campbell


    Fair points. Impacts of course change with land use, population density etc. Records are very short. Formal Ballarat rainfall records for example date from only 1908. This fact bedevils the entire “debate”…global temp records may be reliable only post-1975 for example. This lack of observational depth is why the AGW thesis is so fragile.

    re bushfires, that is certainly the current assumption and there’s no doubt that drying out of wet sclerophyll gullies for eg is critical. But a big drought creates awful conditions every 25 years or so. The common claim is that the biggest fire was 1851, before Europeans had much chance to wreck the ecosystem…

    It’s remarkable how often conventional wisdom is overturned re bushfire etc: I always doubted the “alteration of Australia by aboriginal fire” thesis (so beloved of rednecks). Latest research claims to invalidate this.

  143. Had Enough

    Interesting Piece. Had no idea that the Co2 was so low.

    How Well Has The Media And Government Informed The Public About CO2 Levels In The Air?
    Ask yourself, your friends, family and work associates if they know the answers to the following questions about Carbon Dioxide (CO2). Be sure to write your answers before looking at the following pages.
    Question 1. What percentage of the atmosphere do you think is CO2?
    Question 2. Have you ever seen the percentage given in any media?
    Question 3. What percentage of the CO2 is man-made?
    Question 4. What percentage of the man-made CO2 does Australia produce?
    Question 5. Is CO2 is a pollutant?
    Question 6. Have you ever seen any evidence that CO2 causes a greenhouse effect?
    I have asked over 100 people these questions. Virtually everyone says they don’t know the answers so ask them to tell you what their perception is by what they have learnt from the media, the government and Green groups. Let them know there is no right or wrong answer as you are just doing a survey as to what people have perceived the answers to be from these sources.
    The answers to these questions are fundamental to evaluating the global warming scare YET almost no one knows the facts. However, without this knowledge we can’t make an informed decision about whether Climate Change is natural or not.
    On the following pages are respondent’s perceptions followed by the correct answers. The bulk of the respondents (over 100 to date) are educated fairly well to very well. They comprise business managers in a diversity of large and small companies, those in medical profession, accounting, law, sales, engineering as well as scientists and trades people.
    Q1. What % of the air is CO2?
    Respondent’s Answers: nearly all were 20% – 40%, the highest was 75% while the lowest were 10%- 2%.
    The Correct Answer: CO2 is less than a mere four 100ths of 1%! As a decimal it is 0.038%. As a fraction it is 1/27th of 1%. (Measurements for CO2 vary from one source to another from 0.036%- 0.039% due to the difficulty in measuring such a small quantity and due to changes in wind direction e.g. whether the air flow is from an industrialized region or a volcanic emission etc)
    Nitrogen is just over 78%, Oxygen is just under 21% and Argon is almost 1%. CO2 is a minute trace gas at 0.038%. We all learnt the composition of the air in both primary and high school but because most people don’t use science in their day to day living, they have forgotten this. Also, the vast bulk of the population have very little knowledge of science so they find it impossible to make judgements about even basic scientific issues let alone ones as complex as climate. This makes it easy for those with agendas to deceive us by using emotive statements rather than facts. For a detailed breakup of the atmosphere go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmosphere_of_Earth#Composition
    Q2. Have you seen a percentage for CO2 given in the media?
    Respondent’s answers: All said ’No’.
    Q3. What % of CO2 do humans produce?
    Respondent’s answers ranged from as high as 100% with most estimating it to be between 75% to 25% and only four said they thought it was between 10% and 2 %.
    The Correct Answer: Nature produces nearly all of it. Humans produce only 3%. As a decimal it is a miniscule 0.001% of the air. All of mankind produces only one molecule of CO2 in around every 90,000 air molecules! Yes, that’s all.
    Q4. What % of man-made CO2 does Australia produce?
    Respondent’s Answers ranged from 20% to 5%.
    The Correct Answer is 1% of the 0.001% of man-made CO2. As a decimal it is an insignificant 0.00001% of the air. That’s one, one-hundredth thousandth of the air. That is what all the fuss is about! That’s one CO2 molecule from Australia in every 9,000,000 molecules of air. It has absolutely no affect at all.
    We have been grossly misled to think there is tens of thousands of times as much CO2 as there is!
    Why has such important information been withheld from the public? If the public were aware that man-made CO2 is so incredibly small there would be very little belief in a climate disaster so the media would not be able to make a bonanza from years of high sales by selling doomsday stories. Governments and Green groups would not be able to justify a carbon tax that will greatly raise the cost of everything. Major international banks and the stock market would not make massive profits out of carbon trading and many in the science community would not be getting large research grants.
    Q5. Is CO2 is a pollutant?
    Respondent’s Answers: All thought it was a pollutant, at least to some degree.
    The Correct Answer: CO2 is a harmless, trace gas. It is as necessary for life – just as oxygen and nitrogen are. It is a natural gas that is clear, tasteless and odourless. It is in no way a pollutant.
    Calling CO2 a ‘pollutant’ leads many to wrongly think of it as black, grey or white smoke. Because the media deceitfully show white or grey ‘smoke’ coming out of power station cooling towers, most think this is CO2. It is not: it’s just steam (water vapour) condensing in the air. CO2 is invisible: just breathe out and see. Look at it bubbling out of your soft drinks, beer or sparkling wine. No one considers that a pollutant – because it’s not. CO2 in its frozen state is commonly known as dry ice. It is used in camping eskys, in medical treatments and science experiments. No one considers that a pollutant either. CO2 is emitted from all plants. This ‘emission’ is not considered a pollutant even though this alone is 33 times more than man produces! Huge quantities of CO2 are dissolved naturally in the ocean and released from the warm surface. This is not considered a pollutant either.
    The two large cooling towers are emitting only steam. A tiny amount of CO2 is trickling out of the thin chimney at centre. It is only barely visible due to a small quantity of smoke particles, most of which is filtered out nowadays. The media doesn’t like to show skinny CO2 chimneys emitting nothing visible because this is unimpressive and not the least bit emotive so it doesn’t make for sensationalist journalism. So they typically choose to deceive the public by showing cooling towers.
    Q6. Have you seen any evidence that CO2 causes a greenhouse effect?
    Respondent’s Answers: Most did not know of any definite proof. Some said they thought the melting of the Arctic and glaciers was possibly proof.
    The Correct Answer: There is no proof at all. The Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (the IPCC) has never produced any proof. There are, however the following proofs that it can’t cause a greenhouse effect.
    • It is true that CO2 can absorb heat a little faster than nitrogen and oxygen but it becomes no hotter because it cannot absorb anymore heat than there is available to the other gases. This is against the laws of thermodynamics. All gases share their heat with the other gases. Gas molecules fly around and are constantly colliding with other gas molecules so they immediately lose any excess heat to other molecules during these collisions. That’s why the air is all one temperature in any limited volume.
    • Even if CO2 levels were many times higher, radiative heating physics shows that it would make virtually no difference to temperature because it has a very limited heating ability. With CO2, the more there is, the less it heats because it quickly becomes saturated. For a detailed explanation go to: http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html
    The following facts show that even high levels of CO2 can make almost no impact on heating the atmosphere.
    1. Glasshouses with high levels of CO2 – hundreds of times higher than in the air to make plants grow faster – heat up during the day to the same temperature as glasshouses with air in them. This is also true for bottles of pure CO2 compared to ones with air.
    2. The planets Venus and Mars have atmospheres that are almost entirely CO2 (97%) yet they have no ‘runaway’ greenhouse heating effect. Their temperatures are stable.
    3. The geological record over hundreds of millions of years has shown that CO2 has had no affect whatsoever on climate. At times, CO2 was hundreds of times higher, yet there were ice ages.
    4. In recent times when Earth was considerably warmer during the Roman Warming and the Medieval Warming, the higher temperatures then were totally natural because there was no industrialization back then.
    • Water vapour is 4% of the air and that‘s 100 times as much as CO2. Water vapour absorbs 33 times as much heat as CO2 making CO2’s contribution insignificant. But like CO2, water vapour also gives this heat away to air molecules by contact (conduction) and radiation, thereby making the surrounding air the same temperature.
    • The Earth’s atmosphere is very thin so its heat is continually being lost to the absolute coldness of outer space (-270 C). As there is no ‘ceiling’ to the atmosphere, surface heat cannot be retained. The Sun renews warmth every day.
    Over the last few years Earth has had much colder winters due to very few magnetic storms on the Sun. These four increasingly colder winters have been particularly noticeable in the northern hemisphere where most of the land is. Because of this, the Arctic has re-frozen and glaciers that were receding are now surging due to the heavy snow falls. The Arctic showed some melting around its edges from the mid 90s to the mid 2000s due to the very high level of solar storm activity at that time. But as the Sun is now entering probably 2-4 decades of low solar activity, this is expected to cause global cooling. For more detail, see the following page.
    The climate has always been naturally cyclic and variable due to numerous natural drivers of which CO2 is not one. Over millions of years the climate has shown far greater changes in the geological record than we have seen over the last 200 hundred years – and there was no industrialization back then. The very minor variations we have witnessed over the last 100 years have all occurred several times even in that short period. Today’s changes in climate are common and completely natural. There are now over 50 books that provide numerous reasons why man-made global warming is false.
    The Effect of the Sun on Earth’s climate
    It has long been known that the Sun is by far the major driver of all weather on Earth because it is the source of all heat and energy. There is absolutely no real-world evidence that the temperature has continually risen as we were led to believe. The hottest records in the USA and Greenland were in the 1930s due to a strong solar cycle. It became cooler from 1940 to 1970. This was due to a weak solar cycle. It has again become increasingly colder since 2006 due to another weak solar cycle. The Sun’s magnetic storm activity has now moved to an extended minimum so the next 2-4 maximums are expected to be much weaker than the last few have been. By 2011 the solar cycle should have risen half way back to its 11 year maximum but it hasn’t! It’s only just started. The last time the Sun acted this way was during the Dalton Minimum from 1790 to 1830 which produced 40 years of very cold winters with subdued, wetter summers globally – just as we are expiring now. From 1450 -1750 a more intense Maunder Minimum occurred which caused the Little Ice Age. The next 2-4 solar cycles will very likely be low in solar activity causing noticeably cooler global temperatures for a few decades.
    For details see: http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/02/02/solar-cycle-24-update
    and http://www.climatechangedenier.com.au/climate-change/another-dalton-minimum/
    The effect of the current Solar Minimum is particularly obvious in the northern hemisphere where increasingly colder winter temperatures have caused massive snow falls disrupting transportation across Europe, Asia and the US.
    Despite more than a decade of continual doomsday predictions of increasing temperatures and never-ending drought globally, the opposite has happened. There have been lower temperatures globally with greatly increased rain and snows over much of the planet since 2006. This has caused floods across most of Australia and most other counties, as seen on the TV news. This ended the global 10 year drought conditions from the mid 90s to the mid 2000s. There has been no drop in CO2 to cause this: in fact, CO2 has risen. There is no correlation between CO2 levels and climate. The reason CO2 levels have gone up a little is most likely due to the surface of the oceans warming very slightly during the later half of the century and therefore releasing a little CO2. (The oceans are currently cooling very slightly.) Mankind’s contribution to CO2 is so small it’s not measurable.
    Polls on Climate Change
    Polls in western countries now show that believers in man-made global warming are now in the minority with a sizable percentage of over 20% who “don’t know” if CO2 is causing any change. The obvious change to a cooler, wetter climate combined with the revelations of climate fraud shown by the Climategate emails has led to the change in public perception. Polls asking people what is the most important threat to them out of a list of 20 issues, place global warming at the bottom!
    Popular beliefs are not fact
    The bulk of the population of the western world believed that the 2000 Bug would destroy much of our technology on New Year’s Eve 2000 yet not one disaster occurred anywhere. We were told CFCs caused the Ozone ‘hole’ yet after billions of dollars were spent removing CFCs over 30 years, the slight depletion of Ozone at the South Pole has not changed. Scientists now think it is natural. Popular beliefs are often based on blind faith, ideology and profit rather than proven scientific evidence. History is littered with popular consensuses that were wrong.
    A Carbon Tax
    Taxing CO2 achieves nothing for the environment; in fact, it deprives real environmental issues from receiving funds. A carbon tax will have a disastrous impact on lower and middle income earners. Even if drastic measures were imposed equally on all countries around the world to reduce the total human CO2 contribution by as much as 30%, this would reduce total CO2 by an insignificant percentage. It would have no affect whatsoever on the climate but it would totally destroy the economies of every country and dramatically lower everyone’s living standards. Most people and politicians are making decisions emotively, not factually about a complex science they know virtually nothing about.
    Gregg D Thompson
    Climate Researcher
    Author of two science books
    Business Manager and Director of 3 companies
    Author of science magazine articles
    Designer and project manager of special effects attractions
    Nature photographer
    Has a great interest in most sciences
    Loves creating innovation in art

  144. Bob the builder

    How much Kool-Aid in your water?

  145. shane

    @Had Enough??? What a load of BS, climate scientist my ?#$^#, even a lay person could pick apart that rubbish. So I thought I would google Gregg D Thompson if that even is he and what I found was an amateur astronomer and DreamTech designs located in Surfers paradise and no business web page???
    Would you trust this man?
    Hell no!
    Funny thing about the Gold Coast is everyone you meet there is apparently an expert in something but despite this the town has nothing to offer other than T-shirts and real estate scams.

  146. Had Enough

    Even Labor is attacking Extreme Greens Today

    RESOURCES Minister Martin Ferguson has attacked Labor’s minority government partner the Greens as “basket-weavers” and taken a personal swipe at leader Bob Brown.

    “We can all sit under the tree and weave baskets with no jobs, if that’s what some people in the Greens want.”

  147. AR

    Ma’rn Fission Fer’son is such a robotic apparatchik that he can’t even think of a new insult – I think that it was Nifty Nev in in the late 70s who originally used ‘basket weavers’ to insult “lefter than Sussex St” types though PJK certainly took it round the block too many times.

  148. Liz45

    @HAD ENOUGH – We’ll see what the future holds. Those affected by climate change in the future will be the first to squeal when reality sets in!

    Of course Ferguson doesn’t mind being paid by “basket weavers” or “extreme Greens” and I’m sure he’ll hold his hand out for the very generous pension paid for by those same people he denigrates. . He’s in favour of nuclear power – to assist the big polluters. I’ll take the “basket weavers” any day. At least they’re doing something worthwhile with their time.

    Of course, this term is pretty grotty, as frequently its persons with a disability who engage in these types of skillful tasks. Now why doesn’t it surprise me, that so-called responsible adults, paid out of the public purse use offensive language to denigrate anyone who has a contrary point of view.

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