Mar 032011
 

Well, Hooplah and Lack-A-Day! The PM’s Carbon Price mechanism looks just like the one scrapped this time last year.

Well, bugger me! How about that? The simple fact that a carbon pricing/trading mechanism has been Labor Party policy since 2007 seems to have escaped Messrs Franklin and Maher. Of course, this being just another ‘yarn’ concocted by the Conservative Express, there is only one side of the tale told.

It is however refreshing to note the inclusion of the following commentary – yes Matthew Franklin, that’s what this piece is, ‘commentary’ not news – which flies in the face of the story headline.

Sources on both sides of politics yesterday noted the key difference between Mr Rudd’s ETS plan and Ms Gillard’s new plan was the period of a fixed carbon price, with Mr Rudd proposing a year or two and Ms Gillard between three and five years before moving to a full trading scheme.

Hmmmm….’key difference’. Rather makes a mockery of ‘carbon copy’ I’d say. Then there’s the ALARM! ALARM! SWAN AND GILLARD TOLD RUDD TO CAN THIS EXACT SAME DEAL!  ALARM! ALARM! approach, when the reality is entirely different. Yes indeed, it was, supposedly, Swan & Gillard who advised then PM Rudd to axe his version of an ETS because at that time, after the legislation having been denied 3 times by a hostile Senate, it became patently clear that from an ideological position an ETS wasn’t going to get up. That was 12 months ago. In the interim, we all know what has transpired, even though some partisan media hacks deliberately choose to ignore facts. Change of PM, change of Parliamentary structure and come 1 July this year, change of Senate demeanour.  As Rudd himself observed in an interview earlier this week on ABC RN Breakfast:

"What’s changed is the external political circumstances and, as of 1 July, the Coalition no longer controls the Senate — that’s the challenge, that’s the difference."

It’s patently clear to even the most casual political observer that political realities have changed. Biased news media lies and obfuscation over what is essentially a most important and divisive issue deserving of informed and reasoned public debate. Not partisan conservative opinion being promoted by a national daily. Therein lies the greatest hurdle facing government over this and any other reform issue which impacts of social, political and economic structures. The coalition parties have clearly displayed a lack of competence in addressing issues like NBN, carbon abatement, asylum seekers and the like. They’re good at the theatre of Question Time in the House, but faux rage, three or four word media-bite slogans and calls for ‘peoples’ revolts’ are no substitute for reasoned and informed public debate. Conservative politics in this country has surrendered the field of play to radio personalities who’s reputations rely entirely on dog whistling, Murdoch media outlets and selected business leaders like Paul O’Malley, Bluescope Steel CEO, to do the work of filling in where they aren’t capable. A damning indictment of any Parliamentary opposition. We see daily the examples of partisanship in the Conservative Express, and had graphic demonstrations over the past fortnight of the uncivil modus operandi fostered by conservative radio. Paul O’Malley himself is getting quite an open run of late on the ABC as well, but of course, Auntie is biased to hear the apologists tell their tale.

On the issue of informed debate, I must say that some of what O’Malley has had to say on Inside Business and RN Breakfast made sense to me, however, let us not forget for a moment, his entire focus is not on environmental responsibility, but on his businesses bottom line, and the shareholders who hold his career in their hands. A look at Bluescope Steel reveals that it is a vastly diversified business with the majority of its operations off-shore, the majority in S.E. Asia and China. Despite some of what O’Malley has to say about global approaches to climate change and absurd rhetoric aimed at forcing such businesses off-shore, he readily admits that climate change is a reality which needs to be addressed. Just not in his backyard while he’s employed by a major polluting industry, thanks very much.

And isn’t that the crux of the entire debate thus far? Not on my watch thanks, not from my pocket thanks. Well, if not, when? The reality is upon us. Do we acknowledge it while acknowledgement most counts, or do we wait for every other nation, which is political & moral cowardice. If we move, others will move with us. We simply need the courage to move. It’s clear that courage does not exist on the conservative side of the ledger.