Don’t think the carbon dioxide wars are over in Australia.
What turmoil lies ahead. The Coalition looks like easily winning the election on Saturday (though Jeff Kennett points out he lost an election people thought he would win). If they win, they’ve promised to wipe out the Labor Party’s carbon tax. (Not a moment too soon.) Abbott was made leader on this issue in December 2009, and has vowed “in blood” to remove it.
But after this election the Senate will still be in the grip of a Labor Green majority until July next year, when the new senators (whoever they may be) take over half the Senate. Yesterday Tony Abbott renewed his pledge that this election is about “the carbon tax”. If he wins, and the Senate won’t pass his climate change legislation, he says he’s determined to pull the ultimate political trigger and call a double dissolution election.
The stakes are high. For the sake of foreign readers, the double dissolution is a rare event that, unlike a normal election, means every senator is suddenly out of a job and up for reelection (not just the usual half a Senate at a time). We could, in theory, have another bigger election in early 2014 and if we did, it might wipe out the Labor Green majority in the Senate– but it is a risky move for both sides.
Andrew Bolt points out that the Labor Party under Rudd-Renewed have promised to “terminate the carbon tax” themselves, so they look like hypocrites extraordinare if they did not pass an Abbott government plan. But of course, they were not terminating it at all, just changing a direct tax to an indirect one through a trading scheme. It’s just tricky wordsmithing; they are wedded to a “carbon price”.
Paul Kelly (Editor-at-large for The Australian) claims Labor is trapped, can’t give it up, and won’t pass Abbott’s repeal of the Carbon Tax. Does a double dissolution beckon?
“Labor has expended buckets of political blood on carbon pricing. It will not betray its slain warriors. Labor’s commitment to carbon pricing has become an issue of identity. Support for an ETS is entrenched, a policy Labor has held under the leadership of Kim Beazley, Rudd, Julia Gillard, Rudd again and, almost certainly, under any future leader.”
“The consequences of Abbott’s legislation being defeated in the new parliament, via the Senate vote, will be immense, wild and bitter. Anybody who thinks this election will resolve the great climate change conflict is dreaming.”
“Not only is Labor psychologically incapable of giving Abbott his victory, it thinks its intellectual position on carbon is correct. This leads directly to an epic post-election battlefield.”
“Abbott, as PM, would use the authority of office and Labor’s dogmatic support for the carbon tax to steal even more of its voting base. How much will be left? At what point does Labor dogmatism on carbon become a fatal blunder?”
I can’t see how it’s possible Kevin Rudd will stay leader of Labor if the current polls are accurate and a Rudd-bath is coming. The speculation may be moot if Labor picks a new leader. But Paul Kelly can’t see the likely contenders being able to give up either:
Who will lead such a retreat? Not Rudd. The Left’s Anthony Albanese? Sure, you can just imagine Albanese, who thinks Abbott is mired in the past, giving Abbott this victory and admitting that, “oh terribly sorry, we got it wrong” as he votes with Abbott to sweep Gillard’s laws from the statute books. Hell will freeze over first. Could the Right’s Bill Shorten lead this abject retreat? Only if Shorten, already under suspicion for changing his mind too much, decides he will begin his leadership by repudiating a policy that is both an article of faith and widely recognised as the best market-based response.
I’m hoping that the Labor Party get the crushing wipe-out they deserve for their disconnection to reality and disrespect for the people — and are reborn. They could offer us a sensible centre-left option — instead of being the self-serving vainglorious fools who voted “Yes” for a policy they absolutely promised they wouldn’t bring in.
They could serve the people before The Party.
Here’s what a proper Labor Party transformation looks like
We can dream. Imagine the ALP chooses a sensible leader (not a spin-cycle specialist) who immediately announces that the Labor Party lost its way on the issue of climate change: “we were captured by well-intentioned Green enthusiasm”; “we stopped listening to the wisdom of the people”; “we forgot that we need to convince the Australian public first, not force laws on them that they don’t want”.
Voting for the Gillard lie requires a complete and unconditional apology. Only then could a new leader wipe the slate clear. (I can’t believe I even need to say this).
The ALP can prove they are listening to the people by declaring that the correct thing to do is to remove the Carbon Tax until such time as the Australian people vote for it. They could prove their “environmental credentials” by immediately supporting an independent inquiry into the science of climate change, professional auditing of the IPCC findings (from people outside the climate industry), and supporting an ongoing public debate. The ALP must be seen to search for the truth — instead of suppressing debate, calling unbelievers stupid or worse, and hurling insults and professional sanctions at blasphemers.
If Labor is half-crushed at the election it will only prolong the pain.
What if temperatures don’t rise for another ten years, or worse, what if it cools? The Labor Party would be exposed for gullible fools (as predicted, second last paragraph), who played Kingmaker and forced their own delusional world view from ivory towers over a public that saw through the scam years ahead of them. The Labor Party’s worst enemy may be the ABC, which shields Labor from serious questions and refuses to inform its members and fans of any data and studies that don’t fit the elitist religion.