Feb 14, 2018

The political cost of climate flip-flopping for fickle pollies

Malcolm Turnbull's position on climate change has undergone a remarkable range of gyrations. The same is true of Queensland Labor. Such flip-flopping always comes at a price.

John Quiggin


Politics is about choices. We elect leaders to make choices about war and peace, taxation and public expenditure, environmental protection and economic development. But, while we want our leaders to make choices, we punish them for making choices we don’t like. Unsurprisingly, politicians respond with creative use of ambiguity, giving different messages to different audiences, and trying to appear decisive without offending anybody.

Nowhere is this more true than in relation to climate change. When he was a believer in a market-based climate policy, Malcolm Turnbull accused Tony Abbott of being a "weathervane" on the issue, "first publicly advocating the blocking of the [emissions trading scheme], the passing of the ETS, the amending of the ETS and, if the amendments were satisfactory, passing it, and now the blocking of it".

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3 thoughts on “The political cost of climate flip-flopping for fickle pollies

  1. The Curmudgeon

    I think it is the case that Abbott admitted to being a “weathervane” on climate change; it wasn’t an accusation by Turnbull. He was proud of it.

  2. Evil Garry

    It is beyond dispute that the worlds largest coal-plant developer is now in India. It is also beyond dispute that if Adani doesn’t get its coal from Australia, it will have to source it from another nation, so in terms of world carbon dioxide emissions it’s a zero sum game, no matter what conflated logic the Greens try to put forward on the issue.
    I, like many others, have serious doubts about the number of jobs the project will create in Australia, but that’s a different argument altogether. In the end, it needs to be a decision for the voters of QLD, rather than the latte-swilling voters of Batman, and Shorten will understand clearly that the next federal election will be won in QLD and WA, and not Victoria.

  3. Jay Lawson

    Banks will not lend to Adani. Does he have a line of credit anywhere? Is he subject of criminal investigations? What about environmental history?

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