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Try to keep up with Australian politics. The zombie Parliament may rise again. Is that a Tax, a Trade or an Army I see?

So, we might have an election next month, we might trade carbon next year, the carbon price might be $24, or $6, or $40. We might have a new government soon, or none of the above.

Hows that stability working out for us now Rob Oakshott and Tony Windsor?

Kevin Rudd announced The Tax would move to become The Trading Scheme. But he still has to get it through Parliament, and it’s not looking easy.

The Greens don’t like it — because free market solutions are only “right” when the price is what the Greens want it to be.

The Coalition don’t like it either, though they are not so good at explaining why (watch Greg Hunt struggle here). The Coalition aren’t brave enough to say they prefer their own “no regrets” policy that could be unwound when the namecalling stops and everyone admits cooling Earth by 0.0C was always a waste of money. The Coalition won’t have to pay billions in compensation to their Green Army, but they can’t say that either. They know the love-media would crucify them if they admitted publicly that it was possible the models might be wrong. The IPCC can say that it is 90% sure, but no one is allowed to talk about the 10% chance there is some other outcome*. So we come to this bizarre moment in politics.

To get the Carbon Pox off his back, Rudd might have to recall Parliament, which everyone assumed was dead and buried for this government, and which also means debate on the floor and tricky questions. But even the zombie Parliament may rise, hints Rudd.

LABOR says it would attempt to drive through legislation to terminate the carbon tax a year ahead of schedule if parliament was to reconvene before the election.

But the Greens immediately put paid to any Labor plan, saying there was “no way” the minor party would allow legislation to fast-track the move to an emissions trading scheme through the parliament, now or after the federal election.

Climate Change Minister Mark Butler said laws to scrap the fixed price and move to an internationally-linked emissions trading scheme on July 1 next year would be ready before this year’s federal election.

“In the event that parliament were to resume before the election, I could take draft legislation to the parliament,” he told the ABC this morning.

“It may well be that legislation would be rejected by either house, in which case we would take it to the election seeking a mandate from the people,” he said.

On Monday on the 7:30 report Bill McKibben said the carbon price could even get to $40 a ton (and for once, I thought, let that man keep talking):

“…moving to an emissions trading system means that the price will be set by the market. If the European price turns out to be $40 a tonne next year, the Australian price will be $40 a tonne. How can you get to $40 a tonne? Well the exchange rate falls by 30 per cent, the Australian dollar value of permits will go up by 30 per cent, because now they’re set in Euros. The forecast should not be the basis of the policy. They got it wrong the first time by doing that, they’re potentially going to get it wrong again.”

Meanwhile the Labor Party are pretending they are helping Australians become $380 better off with their “new plan” — when they are really promising not to force people to pay as much as they originally planned, and in any case, the commissars in the EU (and forex traders) will be the ones who decide how much the Australian electricity bill will fall by.

Now Rudd’s-latest-clever-plan to find the money to get rid of the Carbon Pox is to play tricks with the Fringe Benefits Tax, which evidentially helps people buy thousands of Australian-made Holdens, Fords and Toyotas. With Ford gone and Holden teetering on the brink, could it be that Rudd will “save” millions, but force businesspeople to waste hours keeping detailed logs? And then in the aftermath, Rudd will hand back millions from taxpayers to keep Holden from going under? With every week, business plans and career paths are hitting the shredder. The bureaucratic carnage knows no bounds…

Remember the aim of the Hung Parliament Festivities in September 2010? Here in Australia the big most important Thing was “stability” for business. End the Uncertainty, they chanted. Yes indeedy. It was never about stability for business, who are getting shafted at every turn, it was about stability for politicians wasn’t it Rob and Tony?

Punters are betting on election  dates (August 24 or 31 maybe October 19).  Odds for a Coalition win are at $1.40, an ALP win at $3ish.

h/t to Peggy for the betting odds.

*Yes, we know the models are already proven wrong. This is a hypothetical.

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