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Sir Abbott, duplicity is thy name

 

queen

Do you come here often?

Every day the duplicity of this government becomes more apparent. In order to assist their political puppet masters, the Coalition is prepared to condemn future generations to the enormous task and cost of coping with catastrophic climate change.

Joe Hockey, in another crass display of duplicitous behaviour, tells us that Labor left us with a debt of $667 billion. What he fails to mention is that this is projected debt for 2024. By that time, if we continue on this path of destruction, I would suggest our debt will be far higher as we cope with natural disasters of increasing intensity and the health and social costs from rising temperatures and pollution of our air and water.

Our tourism trade will suffer as the reef dies, the old growth forests are logged, marine creatures are slaughtered, and animals become extinct as their habitat is handed over to miners and developers. Our farmers will struggle with drought as the Murray-Darling dries up. Summer will be a time to fear as bushfires rage around the southern states and cyclones and floods devastate the North.  Our exporters and airlines (if we have any) will face sanctions from countries that have emission reduction strategies in place.

The WHO’s Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, joined the ever-growing chorus from influential leaders when she said:

Climate change will affect, in profoundly adverse ways, some of the most fundamental determinants of health… we need champions throughout the world who will work to put protecting human health at the centre of the climate change agenda.”

The group Doctors for the environment Australia focuses on the environmental causes of human illness and the means to address them. At their recent conference an impressive display of speakers urged doctors to become vocal and active in campaigning for urgent action on climate change.

Greg Hunt was heckled as he, in all seriousness, said that Australia would use its presidency of the G20 as a “catalyst” to help the “G4” – the US, China, the European Union and India – complete the groundwork for a new deal to lower emissions. He spoke about the value of trees in carbon reduction amidst taunts about logging the World Heritage forests in Tasmania. Do as we say, not as we do?

In October last year, Hydro Tasmania announced a record $238 million profit, $70 million of which came directly from the carbon tax. When asked if Tasmania would receive compensation for scrapping the tax, Greg Hunt said “We are not proposing compensation to businesses as a result of the carbon tax repeal.” But they are more than happy to give billions to polluters to update their factories.

Tasmanian opposition energy spokesman Mathew Groom said Hydro Tasmania’s record dividends had come at the cost of high power prices in Tasmania, and scrapping the carbon tax would lower power prices, but Lara Giddings said power prices were set to drop 5 per cent on January 1, independent of the carbon tax. So much for caring about Tasmania.

The Senate Committee investigating the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan have released their findings. To paraphrase…Direct Action is crap, won’t work, will cost a fortune, will require a huge bureaucracy to administer, is lacking in detail about implementation, is inadequate for now let alone the future, and is just downright madness. Recommendation – stick with our current system but up the ante.

Clean energy and low-carbon investors are abandoning Australia as the Federal government, and its conservative colleagues at state level, turn their interests and policies away from renewables and long-term carbon abatement incentives. Nathan Fabian, the head of the Investor Group on Climate Change, told the Senate committee that “Direct action is not an investment grade policy,” noting that investors viewed it more like a short-term grants scheme. Banks, he said, were likely to take a similar view, echoing the frustrations of many players in the clean energy industry who have been unable to obtain finance because of policy uncertainty.

Fabian also said the proposed review of the RET “appears to be another very clear signal that Australia will not be a market for low-carbon investing for the next few years. My members are looking at the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, France and some South American countries as having more stable investment environments for low-carbon opportunities ” So much for being open for business.

Tim Buckley, a former Citigroup chief analyst in Australia, clean energy funds manager, and now with the US-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, told the same hearing that the Australian clean energy industry is regressing because of the lack of clarity on policy.

“We are worse than stalling; we are actually investing in assets that I think will become stranded as a result,” Buckley said. “Internationally, companies and economies are building industry capacity to transition for the long term. We should be building capacity as well and we are not doing so.”

He said Australia was currently missing out on hundreds of billions of dollars that were being invested every year in renewables, in energy efficiency and in development of these new technologies, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs being created in China, in Germany and in America. So much for jobs, jobs, jobs.

Numerous other parties have dismissed the proposed emissions reduction fund as “unfinancable” – mostly because it offers a maximum 5-year investment horizon. That reflects the view of most people – and possibly even the government – that Direct Action is not a long-term policy position, just part of a short-term political manoeuvre that has helped deliver power to the conservative parties.

Economists are convinced that carbon pricing will yield the greatest environmental bang-for-buck at the lowest economic cost. Justin Wolfers, an Australian professor at the University of Michigan, says:

“Abbott’s plan doesn’t effectively harness market forces; it relies instead on the government handing out cheques. One problem is that we’ll end up subsidising a lot of abatement that would have occurred anyway. Another is that the plan imposes extra costs because it uses scarce tax dollars . . . All told, Direct Action involves more economic disruption for less of an environmental payoff.”

Quoting from the Federal Parliament website:

“The Senate is a house of review and a powerful check on the government of the day. The proportional representation system of voting used to elect senators makes it easier for independents and the candidates of the smaller parties to be elected. In recent decades this has meant that the government party usually does not have a majority of votes in the Senate and the non–government senators are able to use their combined voting power to reject or amend government legislation. The Senate’s large and active committee system also enables senators to inquire into policy issues in depth and to scrutinise the way laws and policies are administered by ministers and public servants.”

I would ask all Senators to remember their role. You have heard the expert advice. You have received submissions from stakeholders and concerned parties. You have whole departments to help you understand what you are being told. On the basis of what you have learned, you have recommended that we do not proceed with the Emissions Reduction Fund, that we have an Emissions Trading Scheme, and that we increase out targets.

The lie about the carbon tax hurting business and families just has to stop. Families were well compensated for the small increase in power bills due to the carbon price. Trade exposed businesses were also compensated. Renewable energy and sustainable practice received funding, and research and development was leading to whole new industries.  And if you were really all that concerned you could make power GST free.

Mr Abbott, your absolute intransigence on this matter, your insistence on “we said we’ll do it so we will”, regardless of all expert advice to the contrary, makes you unfit to lead our country. You show no intitiative, you are unable to react to changing circumstances, you are unwilling to take advice, and you are prepared to sacrifice all for the short term gain of the wealthy. And as for you Greg Hunt and Malcolm Turnbull, you are despicable – you know the truth but are unwilling to speak it.

People of Western Australia, I urge you to consider how important it is to have a genuine house of review in the Senate. Our fate lies in your hands.

18 comments

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  1. guest

    This article succinctly confirms what has been written about the Direct Action plan in so many sites.

    One can only wonder how the Coalition can continue to stand by this ridiculous plan. Their only justification seems to be that they regard it as an alternative to the Carbon Price/ ETS direction projected by Labor.

    Yet critics of DAP predict the DAP would cost far more than a few billion dollars to reach a 5% reduction in carbon emissions. Their claim is that a 5% reduction will not be achieved by the capped budget allowance. To actually achieve 5% reduction would cost each family $1300 pa – a far greater cost than the $ 550 pa saving Abbott claims by repealing the Carbon Price/ETS solution.

    Add to this the intention of the Coalition to pay vulnerable people half the minimum wage to participate in the Green Army. Sounds like slavery in an unworkable, failing policy.

    Then the Coalition has the problem of trying to reduce emissions in future by, say, 50% by mid-century. How many trees would they need to plant?

    One suspects that the Coalition idea is to claim Oz is not ready to introduce an ETS (previously a Coalition policy for 20+ years) but later down the track will be the right time, and the Coalition will start talking about its own ETS, as if no one ever thought of it before.

    Meanwhile the Coalition is stranded, isolated from the rest of the world by its policy to flog off as much fossil fuels as it can before they become unprofitable.

    .

  2. Terry2

    Interesting that the 6.2% increase in private healthcare insurance premiums will cost the average family $334 a year after subsidy and the estimated savings to households if the carbon tax and RET are dismantled will be around $259 a year .

  3. Wayne Turner

    Indeed Terry2.More fool those that voted for this Liberal party…

  4. Ricky Pann

    It must be infuriating to be in a party with a dead shit as the leader. I know I have been there too. But I feel that Abbott, as I stated before the election by virtue of his prior form, is a loose cannon unpopular in his own ranks tenuously holding on by a thin thread. John Howard pandered to neo right extremism and miscalculated the backlash only to be punished ruthlessly for it by middle ground Australia. Tony Abbott is quite unpopular, not half the political operative and no where near as smart as John Howard. As James Falk points out he has made a grave error of judgement and it will define him in already waning popular opinion. His divisive polemic will tire as the lies that elected him “at any cost” unravel to reveal unbridled ideological governance without partisan consideration.
    http://jamesfalk.com/honours-political-comms-disaster/

  5. Stephen Tardrew

    God I love this site. It keeps me from thinking that logic has gone to hell in a hand basket. Intelligent and informed discourse is the light of democracy and justice.

    Sometimes when I read your articles Kaye I feel like I am going insane, loosing my balance; shaking my limbs; dribbling from the chin; running the snot; anxious to my core; batty till the bats come home and most likely ending up in an institution for the unbalanced so to speak.

    Then I read a few reasonable and well thought out comments and come back to sanity, and until Abbot and the LNP disappear up their sphincters in a puff of vicious logic, I will manage to maintain moderate, but wavering, stability.

  6. CMMC

    Shortly before he was deposed as leader, Turnbull had to excuse the unhinged behaviour of Wilson Tuckey, saying “Every family has a few mad uncles”.

    The mad uncles (and dear Aunt Bronny) are now the government.

  7. turnleft2016

    Good post. I wish the people of WA would read this before they vote…

    also look at the picture, is Abbott trying to stand-over the Queen? She looks like she wants to get out of there as soon as possible

  8. DaveinPerth

    “implying” Perth voters would go to the trouble of actually reading something.

  9. Denisio Fabuloso

    Kaye, just today we were in the City of Bunbury protesting the ruination of our beautiful harbour and environment to the patently stupid idea of constructing a coal port in our beautiful dolphin (and people) friendly waters. I kid you not – 500 metres from the famous dolphin beach! Scott Ludlam was here as well. As usual he was concise, smart and articulate… further emphasizing why he would be an absolute asset in our presently hopeless Federal Parliament. Rest assured we will be doing our level best to get him elected. This is a very very important election. Losing this one will set us up for certain long term disaster. Honestly… I dare not think about it. We really are on the brink. Good people really do need to stand up and stop these evil bastards. We really are busting arse over here.. Wish us well… and thanks for the encouragement.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Not only is it environmental vandalism, it is economic madness to pin our future on coal when the rest of the world is moving away from it. Thank you for standing up and being counted Denisio. Keep up the good work and spread the word. We need Scott Ludlum.

  11. hi2lea

    Reblogged this on hi2lea.

  12. Anomander

    Imagine if we adopted the ‘Direct Action’ plan to tackling crime?

    Dear Drug Syndicate,

    First-up, thanks for your generous sponsorship of last year’s pollie pedal. We look forward to seeing your logo emblazoned on our team again this year. Nice also to catch-up with you guys at that last Liberal fund-raising dinner – wow, you guys were so aggressive at the auctions, you must have really wanted those gold class movie tickets.

    Now, onto business….

    We all know you are one of the most obscene, violent and disruptive scourges in our society and the crimes you commit adversely impact tens, or even hundreds, of thousands of people, causing serious injury, generating fear, making communities unsafe, driving-up insurance rates and the overall cost of living, propagating crime and frequently causing the deaths of innocent people.

    However, between employing police and customs, running surveillance and a raft of strategies, we have realised enforcement effort costs us a lot of money, is largely bureaucratic and involves vast amounts of red tape in even getting you before a court. We can also tell that the “great big raids”, busts, seizures and compliance avoidance are placing additional burden on your business too.

    So, we’ve listened to your concerns about the police and customs agents impeding your ability to import and manufacture dangerous drugs, and on this issue we agree. There must be a better way…

    We therefore would like you to consider this proposal?

    Instead of us raiding, arresting and taking you through the expensive legal process, we would instead like to propose a model where the government pays you, using public money, to manufacture less drugs, because we understand your entire business model is based on this process and is therefore unavoidable for you.

    Yep, that’s correct, we will pay you to continue manufacturing drugs and the harm they cause. We just want you to do a little less of it. Not a huge impost, say 5% or so for now with a view to increasing it down the track (LOL!). We’re even looking at way for you to gain even more benefits by providing offsets for sex-slavery and prostitution.

    Think of the benefits, your business remains profitable, and in fact, you get paid just for reducing your production a small percentage. We alleviate the impacts imposed by “great big raids”. Less stress about police seizures and it’s all paid-for by the stupid public. Win-Win for all, I’d say!

    Let us know if you are agreeable. We’ve already got the big rubber stamp ready to go.

    Best Wishes

    Hon. Tony Abbott
    Sir Pository of Wisdom
    PM of Australia and all-around top bloke

  13. Kaye Lee

    I assume we will paying to upgrade their labs to improve productivity. Any increased profits will no doubt be used to employ more people thus helping the community at large.

  14. Dan Rowden

    I think it’s fair to say WA is going to be something of a litmus test for the political future of this country. Or, is it fair to say? Is it possible that WA is sufficiently politically insular that the result won’t indicate much at all (even if the practical ramifications of that result will adhere)?

    Either way it’s going to be hellishly important. How big was the Perth MiM?

  15. Terry2

    Dan, I think it is fair to say and the response of the good folk of WA will tell us a lot about ourselves.

    I’m pretty sure that if the senate vote were taking place in Queensland – my domicile – there would be a solid vote in favour of keeping the senate independent and not allowing it to become a rubber stamp of the Abbott government.

    If I’m wrong then maybe it’s time for me to hop on an orange lifeboat and seek asylum in Indonesia.

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