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More than anything, we must not be afraid to do things that are new

Malcolm Turnbull came to power stressing the need for flexibility to meet the challenges that face us.

The Australia of the future has to be a nation that is agile, that is innovative, that is creative.

More than anything, we must not be afraid to do things that are new.

But in our greatest challenge, addressing climate change, he has promised to make no changes to policy under his leadership.

WA Liberal Dennis Jensen said “It’s one of the conditions of the leadership change that we are sticking with the policy we had. It’s also in the [Coalition] agreement with the Nationals, as I understand it.”

Another colleague said: “Turnbull gave two assurances to people who jumped into his camp: no change to marriage plebiscite and no change to Direct Action. But I fear we will now be softened up in the next couple of months leading into Paris talks with the argument that we didn’t want to get ahead but now that the world has acted, we need to do more, and if that happens, things could become very interesting for Turnbull.”

But as far as I remember it, the policy was to take action on carbon pricing if and when the rest of the world did.

In the run-up to the repeal of Labor’s carbon pricing regime, Abbott argued that other nations were also winding back their emissions trading schemes.

On an official trip to Canada, Tony Abbott told reporters that trading schemes were “being discarded”.

“There is no sign – no sign – that trading schemes are increasingly being adopted. If anything trading schemes are being discarded not adopted,” he said on June 8, 2014.

The UK press reported that “Australia is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters per capita but the government says it will now only move to a market-based emissions trading scheme if other big emitters do.”

In November last year, the US and China made a landmark joint announcement on reducing carbon emissions.

BARACK OBAMA, US PRESIDENT: I commend President Xi, his team and the Chinese Government for the commitment they are making to slow, peak and then reverse the course of China’s carbon emissions. Today I can also announce that the United States has set a new goal of reducing our net greenhouse gas emissions.

Now, after trialling a few systems in seven provinces, China is ready to upgrade to a nation-wide ETS in 2017. Announcing this market based mechanism by a communist country in the home of capitalism, where similar moves are being rejected by the Senate, was a strategic coup for China which highlights how in thrall the west is to the fossil fuel lobby.

China is not relying on these market-led cap-and-trade initiatives alone. It is also reducing coal consumption in its power sector through direct state intervention, and has been actively promoting solar photovoltaic and wind power through state-guided targeted investment, national planning, and local promotion programs. They are also offering a substantial contribution to help developing nations with energy efficiency.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt, rather than welcoming the move by China, gave a miserly reaction by pointing out that their emissions will continue to increase before peaking around 2030. On one hand he argues that we must lift people out of poverty by selling them coal and then uses their increasing emissions as an excuse for us to not take further action.

In December 2009, Lyndal Curtis interviewed Greg Hunt.

LYNDAL CURTIS: Is an emissions trading scheme off the Coalition’s agenda completely or just until the next election?

GREG HUNT: An emissions trading scheme is off the agenda until such time as the United States actually has an operating system in place. And that is when we will consider other options.

LYNDAL CURTIS: So not just legislation in place but a scheme actually up and running?

GREG HUNT: That’s the test at this point in time… there’s no way that the US will have a system operating within the next four years. And we know that from talking with the Americans. We know that from the legislative program. We know that from the time it’s going to take to develop their standards, their regulatory processes. That’s a given fact that it’s going to be four years before the US has an operating system.

So there is the conundrum for Malcolm. Will he deliver the promise that the Coalition actually made, to move to carbon pricing when other countries did, or will he let the deniers change the promise to what they thought they had said?

With Paris looming, there will be enormous scrutiny on Greg Hunt’s very dubious claims and the inadequacy of our policy, highlighted by a great deal of publicity. If Turnbull ignores the increasing call for action, he could well lose the next election on climate change alone.

There is no way that the Liberal Party will change leaders again before the next election. Just how many climate change deniers are there in the Coalition? Call their bluff Malcolm. Remind them of what your policy actually was.

Don’t be afraid to do things that are new.


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  1. keerti

    a possible quote from turnbull (what an apt name. It describes the man perfectly!), ” I want to be prime minister of australia. I will achieve that end by lying, cheating and compromising myself as necessary. Next question?” Don’t look for turn-bull to do anything other than implement liberal party policy! if anything he is much more dangerous than the aborted one.

  2. kerri

    I note with interest today that Switzerland has moved to ban VW diesel cars!
    What makes the LNP think Australian products will not be banned for our cheating on the environment?

  3. Bronte ALLAN

    Sadly it appears that all, or almost all, of the Liberals are flat earth, tea party, right wing, conservative crones who probably do not even understand what all this Climate change is all about. Of course there once “great” (?) leader, Tony Abscess, who was also Minister for Science (?), showed them the way! Bugger! Malcolm Talkbull is just carrying on with the “great man’s” thoughts, but for pity’s sake, WHY?

  4. David

    Hunt is the tool of the Coal Miners and with him he drags the LNP Coalition as they meekly abandon any semblance of caring for future generations and the planets survival.
    It is now obvious to the country and the world this Australian Govt, under a weak, phony, cowardly PM will follow the path paved with their supporting donors dollars. Nothing has changed with eviction of the loathed Abbott however best they remember, there is nowhere to hide now, the phony camouflage has completely disappeared, swept away by their betrayal of country.

  5. JohnB

    Thanks Kaye,
    “Malcolm Turnbull came to power stressing the need for flexibility to meet the challenges that face us…..
    “….More than anything, we must not be afraid to do things that are new…”
    Turnbull’s flexibility to meet the challenges ought to start with directing his ministers to tell the truth – that would most certainly be ‘new’.

    The Australian people were deceived at the election of 2013, and the deceit continues – they have no other way because the truth damns them – that is Turnbull’s dilemma.

    Abbott’s opportunistic ‘Canadia’ ‘lies of convenience’ re carbon trading schemes “being discarded” are shameful, and the falsities are now revealed by continued expansion of ETS’s as shown here: ICAP – Emissions Trading Worldwide 2015 (page 23).

    More Lies…
    Environment minister Greg Hunt: “..Emissions fell by six times the rate in the five years before the carbon tax than they did under the carbon tax…” – , The Guardian, January 17, 2015.
    Conversation Fact Check
    Verdict: Overall, the promise of an emissions trading scheme and then Australia’s short-lived national carbon price seem to have had a complex but strong and positive influence on Australia’s emissions trajectory that both predates the implementation of price itself and nestles among a range of other factors which are yet to be fully evaluated.
    In conclusion, Minister Hunt’s suggestion that the carbon price had little effect on the rate of emissions reduction seems to be incorrect.

    Yet more lies…
    Greg Hunt’s ETS lies are being regurgitated by Frydenberg as he did on ABC RN Fri 25th Sept 2015:
    “…in fact the US, Canada and Japan have all rejected an ETS… now we welcome moves from China to reduce emissions…”
    False Frydenberg “fact” – “US rejected an ETS…” – no it did not.
    Obama’s initial preferred scheme was a cap and trade ETS – it was rejected by a fossil fuel funded AGW hostile Republican Congress.
    The national system eventually adopted was an inferior fallback scheme.
    In any case, the US direct action has teeth – the Australian system does not:
    “…Whereas the ERF White Paper has deliberately omitted setting any mandated baseline whatsoever in the power sector, while setting emissions baselines for polluting facilities in other sectors of the economy. Essentially, Obama has done the complete opposite to what the Abbott Government is doing…”
    Business Spectator Jun 2014

    Yet more lies still…
    ABC Fact Check
    Ms Bishop: Deputy Liberal Leader Julie Bishop says “…the Abbott Government inherited the worst set of financial accounts in Australia’s history..”
    The verdict: Large borrowings to finance Australia’s participation in World War I and World War II and the impact of the Great Depression led to much higher deficits and levels of debt than any government has experienced since….. Ms Bishop is wrong.

    Truth has no value within the LNP.

    Turnbull is full of fancy reassuring double talk, but nothing has changed – the lying corporate puppet government he leads is covertly conducting business as usual, ignoring reality – without the putrid stench of Abbott at the helm.

    His political disingenuity will be forever memorialised by his treasonous profligate sabotage of Australia’s NBN.

  6. brickbob

    Malcom Turnbull has waited his whole life for this job,he thinks it is his god given right and if that means ditching all the princples he has always believed in than so be it,and the only people who can turf him and his RWNj nut jobs out of office is us the voters at the next election.””

  7. harshmind

    I am astonished Hunt is still regarded credible as a protector of the environment. Stick it to them, Kaye Lee. I don’t think Turnbull is as bad as some suggest, but I’d be willing to see him out of office if he didn’t deliver sense on the environment and broadband (hoping he was just biding his time and doing as he was told during the sorry NBN episode)

  8. Kaye Lee

    The thing that astonishes me is Turnbull making promises to not change policy under his leadership. What a ridiculous thing to do. It’s like promising I won’t go to war. How can you possibly make such a promise? You have to be free to make policy as needed, not to make policy to keep Bernardi and Jensen from frothing at the mouth. We all need to write to our local members and put pressure on them. We should not be held to ransom by a few dinosaurs.

  9. Florence nee Fedup

    Turnbull also is saying, policy is made in party room, not by PM. In other words, he has left open the way for the cabinet, front bench to change policy because circumstances has changed. I think his ego leads him to believe, he will be able to change mind of front bench. Won’t be3 lying, as it will not be him that changed policy.

  10. David

    There are too many leftover portions from the Abbott redneck porridge of hate, to allow much change to current Govt policy. If slippery Mal wanted real change he would have consigned more who turned on Abbott, to retain their privileged Ministerial jobs, to the back bench.
    Now they have anchored their treacherous arses in the Ministerial suites, the dye is cast.

    What a mongrel lineup of fools and incompetents with his No1 problem Morrison given the one job he can use to play his own tune. Anyone suggest there is a name brave enough to go into combat against Morrison? Pyne? Brandis? Cash? Robb? O’Dwyer? Frydenberg? Ley? or God forbid the weak as a wet lettuce leaf Hunt or Dutton?
    What a lineup of insipid nobodies.

    Morrison will play the loyal mate Treasurer on the outside but always with any eye on the next election and the Coalitions defeat. So much easier to watch Turnbull do down by his own hand and then the leadership is his all his. Turnbull will need eyes capable of 360 degree rotation, to watch that treacherous exponent of evil.
    He has a serious enemy on the Senate crossbench to contend with as well…one Leyonhjelm, David Ean mmmm there is an odd ball if ever I saw one.

  11. John Fraser


    If Turnbull decides to take on the extreme right wing now would be the time.

    Lets see them hold the ground if Turnbull puts the pressure on them.

    Turnbull has the whip hand and if he threatens to walk away ….. well even Shorten would win that election.

    John Fraser …….. posted from Brussels, Belgium.

  12. Pingback: What Hypocrisy on Climate Change. It’s Called “Turnbull” – Written by JOHN LORD | winstonclose

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