While Liberals may think Gladys Berejiklian is a dream candidate to dislodge Zali Steggall in Warringah, she herself will have to completely abandon her climate views in order to sign up Scott Morrison’s fossil fuel donor-dictated policy of climate inaction.
It’s only a couple of months since then-premier Berejiklian, with NSW Environment Minister Matt Kean, was proudly announcing that NSW would be pursuing a 50% cut in emissions by 2030 — the sort of figure that’s getting close to the kind of action needed by developed countries to prevent climate disaster.
Berejiklian said that target would create 9000 jobs, tens of billions of dollars in investment, and slash electricity bills.
By running as a federal candidate, Berejiklian would have to abandon all of that. She’d have to argue that Morrison’s target of just half NSW’s was appropriate, and that Labor’s target of 43% would be catastrophic and jobs-destroying, despite all the jobs she claimed would derive from a 50% target.
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Go back further and certain words of Berejiklian’s will come back to haunt her. In 2020 she said legislating a target of net zero by 2050 was a “dream” for her, while praising the British government’s commitment to climate action. Morrison of course refuses not merely to legislate such a target but has no plan about how to reach it, beyond hoping technology produces something.
Berejiklian would have to ditch any suggestion that active policies by the federal government could help deliver net zero by 2050 — despite her own suite of policies designed in NSW to do just that.
Whatever happens, the persistent floating of Berejiklian as a viable candidate in a federal seat should demolish the lie from Scott Morrison, The Australian and assorted legal nonentities that the NSW ICAC model is some sort of reckless, career-destroying monster.
Berejiklian faces serious questions about the abuse of public trust and her misuse of taxpayer funding while politically looking after her corrupt boyfriend, Daryl Maguire. Yet she can seriously consider running for public office even while ICAC is investigating her. So much for the outrageous abuse of the rule of law.
Then again, by the standards of the Morrison government, with its relentless pork-barrelling and rorting, constant lying, looking after mates, sexual misconduct, forging of documents, intimidation of female MPs, leaking of sensitive information and hostility to accountability, even Berejiklian with findings made against her would look a comparative cleanskin and breath of fresh air.