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Carbon trading: not such a vote winner, eh?

Posted By JoNova On December 6, 2009 @ 4:36 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

The two by-elections in Australia this weekend were meant to be a “bloodbath” for the conservative Liberal Party right? After all, the Liberal Party have had their worst two weeks in history, where they were described as “imploding” over the ETS (Emissions Trading Legislation), and just elected a rather unexpected new leader. The two electoral seats were also held by high profile leaders who’ve resigned (former Opposition Leader Brendan Nelson and former Treasurer Peter Costello).

George Megalogenis said, “Tony Abbot could not have wished for two less friendly seats to test his leadership”.

Analyst Malcolm Mackerras was adamant that climate change would play a critical role in the calculations of voters on Saturday. [Here]. He was utterly confident the Greens would win (and that was only two days ago).

“…Higgins and Bradfield would be the electorates in which people most strongly feel resentment at climate change denialists,” he said. “That is why electing Abbott was a complete disaster. They will get a terrible shock on Saturday night, they really will.”

And the “complete shock” was a shock for Mackerras instead. The Liberal Party did just fine.

The main two candidates in the seat of Higgins were Kelly O’Dwyer (the conservative from the Liberal Party) and Clive Hamilton, the Greens’ candidate who has a high profile in “Intellectual” circles. He’s been a director of a left-wing think tank The Australia Institute (which he set up), and has written books with titles like What’s Left: The death of social democracy, and Silencing Dissent.  Which is all the more ironic because he recently said that the climate emergency was so bad we might need to suspend normal democratic processes, and he talks about how dangerous skeptics are. In other words, “Vote for me, I’ll take away your right to vote”.  He’d kill democracy himself if he could, and he’d silence climate-dissent too. And he’ll fight for your right to free-speech, as long as you agree with him.

Clive (lets-suspend-democracy) Hamilton was absolutely a climate change candidate. So whose votes did he win? In the 2007 election for Higgins, 10% voted Green, 30% voted Labor, and 53% voted Liberal (primary votes, not preferences). Since Labor didn’t bother to run a candidate in 2009, voters in Higgins had a clear choice – if they wanted an carbon trading scheme, they had to vote for Clive. At the last election 40% voted Green or Labor, but this time, only 35% voted for Hamilton. It’s a great result for a Green candidate, but a lousy result for the ETS. So at least 5% of the electorate, who voted Labor or Green last time, have abandoned the scheme, and did not even want to risk a “protest vote” for Hamilton.

It’s worth looking more closely at Hamilton, because even though he didn’t win, he polled 35%.

Hamilton calls anyone who is unconvinced about the “catastophic” science a Denier, and effectively, mass murderers.

Instead of dishonouring the deaths of six million in the past, climate deniers risk the lives of hundreds of millions in the future. Holocaust deniers are not responsible for the Holocaust, but climate deniers, if they were to succeed, would share responsibility for the enormous suffering caused by global warming. [Crikey.com]

There are three parts to an interview he did with  The Monthly.

In comments on a previous thread, commenter Scott describes this interview (below):  “Clive wants people who question what he believes run out of their professions, and for media to remove balance from its reporting.” (Balance? What balance?) This is part III. (But it’s long and a painful to watch…)

Anne-Kit who found this suggests: It’s all so incredibly smug and self-satisfied. Prof. Glikson in his section comes up with a bizarre set of slides purportedly depicting the kinds of claims made by ‘denialists’. I’ve been following the controversies of global warming/climate change now for nigh on 2 years and this is the first time I’ve seen any of it. It is simply made up. But the audience of the faithful seem to lap it all up as gospel…

Anthony Green is one of Australia’s foremost election analysts and he described Hamilton as a strange choice for the greens:

(In other electorates where they won) “the Greens ran candidates with local credentials who could concentrate on local issues, classic think-global-act-local politics. Yet in Higgins the Greens have done the reverse, choosing a candidate who lives in Canberra and has no links to the electorate, and is running on a climate change agenda that can only be described as act-global politics. It is the exact opposite of a previously successful Green strategy.”

The question I have is: why did 35% of voters vote for a man with such totalitarian ideas?

a) They aren’t worried about their freedom?
b) They didn’t know he said things like that.
c) They think the Greens won’t get enough power to be relevant, so it doesn’t matter.

Aren’t people who are worried about our carbon emissions just a little concerned that their side has to resort to use name-calling and act like dictocrats in order to “solve” this problem? Do they really believe that they alone have been gifted with the intellect and insight to rule the world?

The Hamiltons around the world claim they are suppressed, backed by science, and struggling for money to save the world, which sounds a lot like what skeptics say, so what’s the difference? They want their views rammed into legislation and they want your money. We just want a real debate. The ambitious power grab and the vested interests are there for all to see.

Oh, and we can back up our claims of our suppression and their funding. They can’t. (See Clive Spash‘s story and his resignation. See my article on the exile of Mitchell Taylor. See Climate Money.)

If the believers in the carbon crisis were really interested in the science, or the environment, they’d want a real debate too. If they weren’t so arrogant about the rest of humanities’ abilities to make good decisions, they’d happily endorse a real vote on the climate uncluttered with other issues.

Let’s have a referendum on an ETS. Let’s have open debate.

May the best theory win in the light of day.

Malcolm’s former colleague at Goldman Sachs has suggested Malcolm split the Liberals and form his own party. Clever suggestion (for those who want to push through legislation). But it won’t work. Even if the media omits and trivializes ClimateGate coverage (and there’s been very little coverage in Australia), the word is getting out anyway. They can’t expect to contain the biggest scandal of the decade. It’s making the media look silly or hopelessly compromised. The voter backlash will be huge, against the media, and against the people who are trying to hard to profit from fraud. At this stage Turnbull says he will not form his own party, but given his lack of grace about his successor, it’s hardly a stable situation to have Turnbull on the Liberal Party backbenches either.

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