With one day to go before the Election, Julia Gillard announces that she is prepared to make one of the most significant changes to our economy by putting a price on carbon, and that if she wins she will assume she has a mandate for it.
She’s had weeks to announce it, put it up for discussion, and convince the voters it’s a good idea. Instead she quietly slides it in at the last minute, allowing no time for dissenting views. This makes a mockery of a “mandate”.
When it’s something as serious as a committee of lucky-dip-citz’ with no official powers: that deserves a proper launch and three weeks consideration. But an economic move that affects every transaction, our international competitiveness, the energy sources we built our civilization on; That’s trickled into an interview with 24 hours to go. Righty-o.
The Australian Cover 20-8-2010: Julia Gillard’s carbon price promise
JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term.
It will be part of a bold series of reforms that include school funding, education and health.
In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step.
“I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism,” she said of the next parliament. “I rule out a carbon tax.”
This is the strongest message Ms Gillard has sent about action on carbon pricing.
While any carbon price would not be triggered until after the 2013 election, Ms Gillard would have two potential legislative partners next term – the Coalition or the Greens. She would legislate the carbon price next term if sufficient consensus existed.
It may be just a last minute ploy (out of rank desperation) to stem the rise of the Green vote, but if she was a conviction politician with a clear vision for the future (and any respect for the voters), she’d have put this on the table weeks ago.
What kind of mandate comes with the caveat: “provided the community was ready for this step.”
The gooble-speak makes it impossible to know what she really means. She’s not guaranteeing she’ll do it: she’s allowing herself the “out” by effectively saying “it needs some consensus” (which one, and who says?). But at the same time she’s playing the “in” card too — claiming that it’s a mandate. How can you have both? If the voters vote for her and give her a “mandate”, won’t it be the Greatest Moral Challenge all over again? What kind of mandate comes with the caveat: “provided the community was ready for this step.” (Like those poor dumb voters might give her a mandate, but not be ready themselves to take the leap they voted for?)
Once again, she’s made no policy other than to say: if it suits me, we’ll do it, and either way I’ll pretend it’s what the people wanted.
Forgetting for a moment whether a price on carbon is just hand-feeding the banker sharks, the bigger issue here is a leader who is blatantly “gaming” the system to get elected. No scruples, no principles, and no integrity.
“No scruples, no principles, and no integrity.”
Both sides of politics spin furiously, but concealing major issues until the last minute tells us this would be the kind of government that will add eleventh hour bulky amendments, disguise their true intent, and pretend that it’s the community and not them who make the decisions — when in reality the community gets no chance to know what’s on the table or the opportunity to speak against it.
Given that we can’t know all the future decisions that a PM will face, the character of the person in the office matters. More than any single policy, skill or talent, we need someone who is conscientious and honest.
It’s a principle free zone. Where is the Labor Party that cared about the workers?
If you feel concerned, yesterday’s post makes a good email…