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An act of betrayal

Image by themotorreport.com.au

Image by themotorreport.com.au

Before the introduction of carbon pricing Tony Abbott claimed that the price of petrol would go up by 6.5c per litre.  It actually went down by 3.3 per cent in the first year.

He claimed that the cost of living would skyrocket.  Inflation for 2012-13 was 2.3 per cent which is at the lower end of the RBA’s target range.  It was estimated that about 0.7 per cent of that rise was due to carbon pricing.  To put that into perspective, the GST and related changes caused an increase to the CPI of almost 2.5%! Record low interest rates have also led to substantial savings on mortgage payments.

He claimed that power bills would increase by $300 a year.  This was a reasonable estimate.  To compensate for that the tax free threshold was increased from $6000 to $18,200 which meant that the majority of people earning less than $80,000 saved at least $300 on taxation.  Pensioners and self-funded retirees, as well as family payment recipients and other allowance recipients had their payments increased.

The level of compensation saw the vast majority of people fully compensated for the price increases, and millions of households, particularly pensioners and low income households, actually ended up better off. Plus, if you can reduce your dependence on carbon-intensive products you could end up even better off still.

Tony also continues to claim that the carbon tax is responsible for the closure of businesses.  Not one of the many manufacturing or mining ventures that have closed have mentioned the carbon tax as a reason.  With the imminent repeal of the carbon tax in July, rather than a decrease, we are seeing a rapid increase in industry closure all of whom seem to agree that the greatest pressure has come from the high Aussie dollar.

The carbon price only applied to about 500 businesses and there were six different streams of assistance that industry could apply for, with special consideration given to those who were “trade-exposed” by having to compete with companies that did not have carbon pricing.  Tony was embarrassed on more than one photo shoot to be told about grants and industry assistance that have been given to the very businesses he was saying had suffered.

In fact, before carbon pricing, Qantas had to pay an initial carbon tax penalty of 15% on its carbon emissions for any flights it made into or out of Europe. This penalty would increase over time, and is payed directly into the coffers of the European Union. The reason for its imposition was specifically because Australian did not have a carbon price in place.

Over the next few years, the European Union will expand its penalty regime to impose general sanctions on countries that do not meet its standards on carbon reduction mechanisms.

There are further economic reasons behind acting to implement a price on carbon, aside from the risk of foreign sanctions. The fact is that renewable energy technology will be the next huge growth industry. The Chinese have been quick to recognise this and have the highest level of investment in this sector, accounting for almost 25% of worldwide investment in renewables in 2010 for a total of $50 billion USD. If we do not incentivise investment in the sector, we will simply be left behind.

Fossil fuel subsidies cost almost $200 per taxpayer per  year while mining companies continue to enjoy record profits.  As they move from construction to production phase, profits will increase but jobs will be lost in this less labour-intensive phase.  It is unjustifiable madness to repeal the mining tax just when it could make us some revenue.  The cost of repealing that tax on superprofits is the loss of the schoolkids bonus, delay of superannuation guarantee increase, scrapping of the low income co-contribution to superannuation, and scrapping of the instant asset write-off for small business amongst other things.  In other words, the workers will take a cut so the profits of mining companies can skyrocket.

I know energy bills are high but let’s be clear about when that happened and why.  In the 7 years prior to the introduction of carbon pricing, the average bill for a customer in regional NSW had risen by 154 per cent to $2520.  This was due to the ‘gold-plating’ of Australia’s power grid.  Power companies had been basing spending decisions on their own forecasts of future consumption of electricity, but power demand has been decreasing.

Escalating use of renewable energy and energy efficiency are contributing to reducing wholesale power prices across Australia.  Mr Abbott seems convinced that the Renewable Energy Target and the carbon trading scheme were almost entirely to blame for the doubling of power prices since 2007, even though the Australian Energy Market Commission and every state government utility regulator has provided information that shows this is not accurate.  Distribution network charges, supported by transmission networks, are by far the biggest cause of price rises, even though peak demand growth has tailed off well below the projections used to justify this huge expenditure.

There has been a deliberate campaign of misinformation about carbon pricing and the renewable energy target and the assault looks set to continue with the appointment of self-confessed climate change deniers, opponents to renewable energy, and fossil fuel industry lobbyists, as government advisers.

Pinning our economy to an industry that the rest of the world is moving away from is economic short-sightedness to say the least.  Expanding coal mining as the price plummets and China and the US sign agreement to move towards clean energy and sustainable practice is bad planning.  The short term boom has made our dollar so high that we are seeing the death of manufacturing nationwide.

If Tony Abbott really wanted to lower your energy bill he could do it very easily by making power bills GST free.  If he really cared about action on climate change he would keep carbon pricing and invest in renewable energy.  If he truly cared about falling revenue in this country he would tax the superprofits that the mining companies make.  If he really cared about jobs he would be investing in the industries of the future and the education and skills training of our youth and retraining of the many people whose jobs have been sacrified to fossil fuel greed.

Mr Hunt, two months ago you said:

“Our Direct Action plan encompasses support for solar power through our One Million Roofs, Solar Towns and Solar Schools programmes”.

These initiatives are in addition to support for renewable energy through the Renewable Energy Target and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which is funding projects and research across the spectrum of renewable energy sources, including bioenergy, hydropower, geothermal, ocean energy and wind.

The Government will provide $500 million for the One Million Solar Roofs programme and a further $50 million each for the Solar Towns and Solar Schools programmes.

The Solar Roofs programme will provide $500 rebates for installing one million rooftop solar energy systems over the next ten years.

This rebate will be in addition to the support already provided through the RET. Eligible systems will include small-scale photovoltaic systems, solar water heaters and heat pumps.”

Do you stand by what you said and your support for the RET?  I am paying you to fulfil the role of Environment Minister which is a job with a huge responsibility attached.  If you make the wrong decisions the consequences could be far worse than any war that mankind has seen and the longer you delay, the more likely that the damage will be irreversible.

Tony Abbott described carbon pricing as “an act of betrayal”.  What do you call paying vested interests to convince us to maximise their profits by throwing ourselves, our children and our planet off a cliff?

32 comments

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  1. Joe Banks

    Kaye Lee, I agree with every single word… I get a distressing feeling that we are all wasting our brain power on this dreadful bunch of people. It is almost beyond comprehension that such a large group of people with evil intentions could come together at the one time to form a party – and then get elected by the people. I know it was lies, deceit and propaganda, by them and by sections of the media, that ‘paved the way’ for them to take government. But I simply can’t believe the people of this country allowed it to happen. It is like a waking nightmare that continues day after day…
    The MSM are the key to their demise but things haven’t got bad enough yet, it seems. Hopefully, they are surreptitiously reading material such as yours on sites like this, which should, in time, permeate their brains and influence their thinking.

  2. allenmcmahon

    ‘What do you call paying vested interests to convince us to maximise their profits by throwing ourselves, our children and our planet off a cliff?’

    Neoconservatism at its best and where the trickle down effect equates to most people as being shat on from a great height.

  3. diannaart

    Tweeted under ‘can Greg Hunt keep his word?’

  4. john921fraser

    <

    Pretty sure Abbott said he was going to be an "infrastructure Prime Minister".

    Looks more like he is the "Prime Minister for unemployment".

  5. JohnB

    The Guardian reports the Fed. Govt. has recently moved to absolve the Environment Minister from responsibility for certain decisions made in performance of his ministerial responsibilities.

    This LNP government has a “Claytons” environment minister – No real environmental protection, no care, no responsibility:
    “Environment minister Greg Hunt is set to grant himself retrospective legal immunity against potential claims that he failed to consider environmental advice before approving key mining projects… The bill passed in the lower house with Labor’s support”.
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/feb/13/mining-greg-hunt-retrospective-legal-immunity?CMP=ema_632

    I find this to be an outrageous and most serious abrogation of government/ministerial responsibility- from both sides of politics.
    Abbott likes to claim the “Adults are in charge”, but in this case the “adults”, like irresponsible children, have passed regulations specifically framed to avoid accepting responsibility for NOT carrying out their ‘duty of care’ to Australia and its citizens.

    The most worrying aspect of this action is that it prepares the way for the minister to make decisions on long term issues such as AGW, gas fracking, coal mining/coal port development etc. in wilful denial of, or contrary to, robust scientific advice without risk of being called to account for their actions.

    This is the ultimate ministerial “cop-out” – citizens expect their elected government to act responsibly to safeguard our lives, families and environment, not shrug-off/reject with immunity the advice of those better qualified than themselves to our almost certain detriment.
    They swear an oath to serve the people, not themselves or vested interests.
    Remember this – “I, Anthony John Abbott, do swear that I will well and truly serve the people of Australia,” he avowed.
    Instead they serve the interests of wealthy trans-national corporations.

    How can they justify continuing to accept the big salaries we pay them, when at the first sign they have to make responsible decisions they ‘welch it’? – No responsibility accepted!

    More seriously,this legislation allows them to arrogantly implement ideologically based environmentally destructive policies – contrary to the many repeated warnings from scientists.
    Their reckless decisions have the potential to lock us into irreversible catastrophic environmental changes – that in worst case will compromise future generations very survival.

    The buck stops WHERE with this government ???

    is our constitution so inadequate to allow government ministers to legislate away personal responsibility for wilfully acting contrary to robust scientific advice – in almost certain detriment to the welfare of Australian citizens ??
    What recourse do citizens have when such a “rogue” government wilfully acts to destroy our children’s future?

  6. Dissenter

    John B, So true.
    Now that they are in POWER with a resounding majority the ABBOTT govt BELIEVES that they have the authority to DO whatever they like. THey have no INTENTION of considering For the good of Australia or Australians.
    Their government is SERVING only the interests of the VERY RICH.

  7. john921fraser

    <

    To JB, Dissenter and everyone out there,

    Make the effort.

    Write Letters to the Editor … who gives a rats if they don't get published, the thing is the Editors see which way the wind is blowing and know if they stay with Abbott's gang they will lose even more of the public than they are now, and that means circulation. ….. http://mumbrella.com.au/data-finally-newspapers-arent-going-get-enough-digital-subscribers-206839?utm_source=DailyNewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily-17-02-2014&utm_content=ContinueReading

    Make the effort.

    If you know of a meeting, rally go to it.

    Make the effort.

    March in March … http://marchinmarch.com.au/

  8. diannaart

    It’s the good JohnB – hooray.

    “I, Anthony John Abbott, do swear that I will well and truly serve the people of Australia,”

    Tony Abbott is a bit confused about the meaning of the word ‘serve’. Something to do with animal husbandry, stallions and mares… stuff like that.

  9. john921fraser

    <

    @Diannaart

    Just don't accept any drinks from Abbott's office fridg.

    The "Prime Minister for unemployment & adoption".

  10. Terry2

    This is why we need, more than ever, an intrepid, questioning, vigilant and probing national broadcaster prepared to stand up to an unprincipled administration supported by a largely self interested and malignant main stream media.

    Hopefully our countrymen in WA will see the need to provide ongoing balance in the Senate when the six seats are opened up for a repeat election.

  11. diannaart

    john921fraser

    I thought I had lowered the bar – but then there is always the incredulous Credlin.

    I find this idea of Peta Credlin’s squirrel grip on the PM rather puzzling, given he really doesn’t take too kindly to be ordered about by a woman – any woman I thought.

    Yes, the office fridge of the PM – if only it could talk.

  12. Sue Lofthouse

    JohnB, I too find this situation outrageous. We are witnessing “government for now” with no eye to or thought for future generations or the world which they will inherit.

  13. rangermike1

    Come on Guys and Girls, Tone is doing his thing. Didn’t he promise 1 Million jobs to go before the election ? You need to give him a break before he really wrecks this Country. I would dearly love to take an ice pick to him and his front bench.He has to prod each one of them each morning, just to make sure they are not deceased.

  14. Stephen Tardrew

    Kaye you said it all. Great article. Sometimes even I am stunned into silence by the absurdity of the situation. These people have sever cognitive dysfunction, reliant upon infantile reasoning from a mythical past, yet, paradoxically, they do the opposite to their master of mythical musings. Reasoning with the unreasonable. What to do?

  15. olddavey

    He’s not the infrastructure prime minister, he’s the “this’llfya” prime minister.

  16. Trevor Vivian

    Act of betrayal.
    Listened to orourke(press club) today describing that 50%of the population are intellectual low achievers so excusing the state of politics globally.

    Tone and his team of wreckers known as The Australian Government operate in a constant state of betrayal.

    There’s Immigrateful minister denying in his latest betrayal.

    The PM in Melbourne discussing the “shock” of his betrayals.

    Hunt in an act of environmental bastardry denying everything he ever said in aonumental betrayal.

    Pleb Pyne on late line on his usual student politics act of political bastardry on educationbetrayal talking about what Shorty.

    Betrayed is correct in describing what these reprobates in Govt act with.

    A very good article Kaye Lee.

    Make electricity GST FREE.

  17. diannaart

    Yes, this is a link to another petition – but not protesting at each and every possible opportunity (for me anyway) is worse.

    http://action.sumofus.org/a/australia-tpp/2/2/

    TPP’s the most fascist move in this global game of thrones.

  18. Kerri

    Kaye Lee what is the expenditure on Operation Sovereign Borders compared to the LNPs promised expenditure on averting climate change?

  19. Robbie Robinson

    Sorry, but the story that “self-funded retirees … had their payments increased” simply isn’t true. I’m on a super pension of $25,000 gross and didn’t see a red cent. It’s a myth. Others perhaps not us.

  20. Kaye Lee

    Robbie,

    Self-funded retirees who are eligible for a Commonwealth Seniors Health Card did receive compensation. Those that pay income tax would have benefited from the increased threshold. But you are correct in saying that those who don’t qualify for a Health Card and don’t fill in tax returns missed out.

    If your adjusted taxable income is less than 50,000 for singles, 80,000 for couples, or 100,000 for couples who are separated due to one being in care, then you are eligible for the health card. You must have other income?

  21. Kaye Lee

    Kerri,

    I would hate to add it all up but here are a few figures.

    Under Operation Sovereign Borders two frigates, seven patrol boats and numerous Customs vessels will patrol the seas between Christmas Island and Ashmore Reef and Indonesia.

    Anzac Class frigates cost about $207,000-a-day to operate compared with $40,000-a-day for Armidale Class Patrol boats.

    Then there are the Global Hawke Drones, if he decides to go ahead with them, at a cost of $US218M each.

  22. Tony Hogarth

    good article but who cares ? the rich bogans are too greedy and the poor ones don’t read or even look at anything not containing references to talent, weight loss or cooking !!!

  23. Anon

    Who gives a flying **** both parties are as bad as each other and climate change is a fat load of bull s**t

  24. Kaye Lee

    Thank you for that erudite contribution Anon. I beg to differ.

  25. Rob

    Kaye your article is a very sober look at the leadership of PM Abbott and many Australian MPs particularly our existing Cabinet. Though I may not agree with the Cabinet’s decisions on a number of the nation’s issues, I don’t see it as black and white as your article explains.

    I agree to the idea of dropping the GST on electricity bills. I agree that the high dollar is the main reason for the closure of companies not the Carbon Tax and this resulted in unemployment across Australia. I also agree that Oz was so strong financially that we did not take enough moderation in the earlier heady days of the mining boom.

    I would suggest that the ageing infrastructure of Australia’s Electricity Networks inclusive of dams and power stations, power lines, further big dollar spending and some stupid investments are the result of price hikes in our power bills. (Especially in NSW)

    I hated the “gold plating” lies made up to increase resources (not to mention inflated executive wages and bonuses) for poor planning of infrastructure upgrades.
    Indeed climate change incentives were the Government’s “scapegoat”, this too may have been Abbott’s assumption at the time but now I imagine this is only being said to scrape the Carbon Tax.

    Ahh… Politics keep multiplying thousands of twists and turns avoiding stalemates and more of hateful yelling in Parliament. Suddenly getting rid of the Carbon Tax seems to me as having stalemated. And maybe Environment Minister Hunt will keep his big dream of Solar Roofs.
    I hope this is not just window dressing but a stronger return to smart energy solutions.

  26. Cameron Johnston

    Thank you kaye-lee… I appreciate the facts in front of me to judge for myself… Great informative piece of writing… cant wait for more…

  27. Rob

    @ Anon yours was one of the more insightful posts I have seen. Maybe the post you dropped on us is seriously about how much everything (politics and taxes etc.) has actually effected you in your circumstances.

  28. Dario Dimitrijevic

    You obviously live at home with mum & dad or
    You dont pay you own bills !! after the
    carbon tax was introduced & the new meters
    installed my bill went from 300 to 800 ,as for
    pensioners a 120 dollar rebate annually doesn’t caver
    a 500 dollar difference on your electricity
    alone !! Well & good to regurgitate statistics
    reality is a little harsher . I support any
    action to protect our MATHER , but you need to
    go out & talk to sum people that actually work
    for a living & don’t have time to troll threw
    so many stats & see how the carbon tax has
    affected there standard of living !!

  29. Lcmc

    It should not sit easy,even with LNP supporters that the thugs they voted for are pushing for immunity ,on decisions they know full well will have dire consequences of the future of our country.Greg hunt is flat out letting everyone know in advance that he is going to really mess things up and he will never be punished for his crimes.It is disturbing in so many ways.The public are kept in the dark on every other decision made by this government with no accountability already,but immunity is sickening.Liberal have wasted no time in the race to facism.and the end of democracy,all in six months,my hopes of them being booted at the next corruption…sorry election are diminishing.Goodbye beautiful country your about to get ugly.

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