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With Abbott and Joyce gone we have an opportunity for a reset

For almost a decade, Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce have been hugely instrumental in the destruction of bipartisan support for action on climate change (and a lot of other things).  They have both now had their power stripped from them by their own parties for showing a stellar lack of judgement.

This presents an opportunity for a reset that should be grasped.

But will they?

No more money has been committed to Direct Action which has seen billions spent by the government resulting in a 3.6% (so far) increase in emissions since the abolition of the carbon price in 2014.

Minister for Agriculture and Water, David Littleproud, and his Assistant Minister, Anne Ruston, are at least mentioning the words climate change now but they remain unwilling to commit to government policy and regulation to tackle it.

Despite farmers’ increasingly urgent call for good, consistent policy, Mr Littleproud rejected calls for an agricultural climate change adaptation plan, saying farmers will need to do it themselves.

Ms Ruston told agricultural stakeholders they cannot rely on government and said “Industry should be allowed to explore the opportunities” to respond to the risks of climate change.

“We’re not investing specifically in programs, our response to climate change is embedded in everything we do,” she lamely said.

They certainly aren’t investing in programs.  They are terminating them.

The 2017 federal budget axed funding for the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), an agency that provides information to decision-makers on how best to manage the risks of climate change and sea level rise.

The NCCARF received A$50 million in 2008 to coordinate Australia’s national research effort into climate adaptation measures. That was reduced in 2014 to just under A$9 million. For 2017-18, a mere A$600,000 will be spread between CSIRO and NCCARF to support existing online platforms only. From 2018, funding is axed entirely.

This “do nothing and leave it to a future government” approach is typical of the Coalition who are all about the now.  Company profits are up.  Agriculture had bumper crops last year.  Fossil fuel exports are riding high.  Debt is unimportant now as the government spends up big to help boost growth figures.  Let’s do some tax cuts real quick before the Chinese economy slows down, the drought bites, commodity prices go down…and still no wage rises.

“I think we are already reducing emissions. We’ve made a commitment under the Paris agreement and we are moving towards that in a sensible and methodical way,” said Mr Littleproud.

Except we are not even going to meet our 2020 target of 5% let alone the inadequate commitment for 2030.

According to the Department of Energy and Environment’s own website, “Australia’s annual emissions for the year to December 2017 are estimated to be 533.7 Mt CO2-e. This figure is 2.4 per cent below emissions in 2000 (547.0 Mt CO2-e).”

If it’s taken us 18 years years to reduce emissions by 2.4%, how likely are we to reduce them a further 2.6% over the next two years?  I doubt the Snowy-Hydro 2.0 feasibility study will even be finished.  Is there another plan?

Mr Littleproud is a fan of renewables, perhaps unsurprisingly as his electorate will soon be home to large solar and wind farms, but he also has four coal-fired power stations so he treads the fine line of saying that economics should determine our future energy mix.

The men who thought wind farms look ugly – Abbott, Joyce and Hockey – have all been dumped by their own.  Their loudest coal supporters are men like Craig Kelly and George Christensen, hardly your go-to men for evidence-based decision-making.  Oh, and the overly ambitious Matt Canavan who will always say whatever he thinks is in his best political interests but who had little support in the recent leadership change.

The Coalition invested a great deal of energy into promoting Abbott’s attack dog style of politics and Barnaby’s public bar ‘beer with the boys’ porkbarrelling antics.  But the spin of best Opposition leader and best retail politician was exposed as having no substance.  These two were just not up to the job of governing in so many respects.

So why does the Coalition remain hamstrung by their policies?

And more to the point, why do they listen to the IPA who seem to come up with most of these whacky ideas?

The only Coalition policy, aside from increasingly intrusive attacks on our privacy, is tax cuts.  So what does the IPA, who recently made a submission to the Senate inquiry into the proposed changes to the taxation laws, have to say on the matter?  This one ranks up there with their most hilarious.

A progressive tax system, the IPA argues, discriminates against rich people.

“Other forms of discrimination, such as by skin colour, race, or ethnicity, are rightly abhorred,” the submission says, “yet the income tax system openly discriminates against people by income”.

We’ve got rid of Tony and Barnaby.  If they ignored Rupert, Alan, Ray, and the creche for aspiring Young Liberals – the IPA – we might just have a chance of resetting political discourse in this country so we could actually make some progress on the things that matter.

Time for a reset.  Please.


13 comments

  1. Matters Not

    Re:

    A progressive tax system, the IPA argues, discriminates against rich people.

    Indeed it does. But then again so does a ‘flat’ tax. Under a ‘flat’ tax the more you earn the more you pay. Hardly ‘fair’ is it?

    That some people pay no (income) tax at all ought to be the benchmark. Then if the payment of zero income tax is good enough for some, then it ought to be good enough for all.

    How simple is that.

    Tax reform is so simple. Just magic it away. Only an upside apparently.

  2. DrakeN

    Rich people discriminate against the rest of the community as a means to becoming and/or remaining more wealthy.
    Therefore, discriminating against them by imposing a heavier tax burden, serves to compensate for the imbalance.
    The membership of the IPA serves to serve itself; it has no concern for those it manipulates and misuses in order to create advantage for its members and acolytes other than as means to their own ends.
    Taxation as a means of regulating money supply and distribution remains one of the few ways in which a democratic government can modulate the absolute power and greed of the money manipulators within a ‘free market’ capitalist environment.

  3. diannaart

    Kaye Lee

    Despite farmers’ increasingly urgent call for good, consistent policy, Mr Littleproud rejected calls for an agricultural climate change adaptation plan, saying farmers will need to do it themselves.

    Seems any request from anyone (except the corporates and mega-wealthy) gets tossed into the Uluru-dustbin of hopes and innovation.

    Typical of the sidestep shuffle by LNP ministers – the ones who can actually see we have problems, that is.

    Then there are the complete nutters such as, Abbott & Joyce who add a couple of back steps whenever an opportunity arises – they may not have the same levels of power they so enjoyed abusing, but they won’t shut-the-f*ck-up.

    Then, in the Land of Mordor, I mean Queensland, we have the cop promoted way beyond his abilities, Peter Dutton clutching his palantir to watch over his borders. Shudder.

    Be great to vote these regressive, self-serving reprobates out of office – but we still have the IPA and associated cronies, threatening, cajoling and infiltrating anything which remotely differs from the pro-mega-rich neo-con agenda. Such as B/S like “taxation discriminates against the rich” – if the rich become homeless and struggle to find their next meal, THEN, maybe, they can claim discrimination.

    We have a long way to go before any change to a form of corruption only the corrupt would deny.

    Is Labor still promising an ICAC if they get in?

  4. diannaart

    Just checking my Twitter feed:

    One of the NP’s Orcs, George Christensen has been even more corrupt than something already stinking and foul.

    George Christensen Charged Taxpayers To Print Ads For The Coalition For Marriage
    The Liberal National Party MP spent thousands of dollars on ads printed in newspapers in Queensland during the postal survey.

    https://www.buzzfeed.com/joshtaylor/george-christensen-charged-taxpayers-to-print-ads-for-the

  5. Kaye Lee

    I loved the time that George promised to make a donation to save the turtles…conditional on his re-election of course.

  6. diannaart

    Yeah, that was when George was on his “Turtle Soup” Diet.

  7. Cool Pete

    What we need to do now, is fight to ensure that Botty loses the seat of Warringah at the next election and that Not-So-Vaguely Smelly loses preselection! We also have to destroy Dutton and see to it that the Liberal Party can be decimated. The Institute for Pharting Arrogance has too much influence over politics in this country.

  8. Kronomex

    Jeez, I look at that photo at the top of the article and all I can think of Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen (originally on At Last The 1948 Show) sketch minus two Yorkshiremen. It also makes you want to put them out of our misery.

  9. New England Cocky

    Perhaps it is time to get serious about removing these self-serving political impediments to Australia’s economic progress. I understand that the next Federal election will include a campaign observing “National$ prefer Adulterers” and “Women supporting Adulterers support National$”. This is certainly a self-evident fact for the two female National$ MPs, McKenzie and Lamby, who supported Barnyard after his confession of adultery. It provides an interesting response when raised in public meetings.

  10. John Lord

    “They certainly aren’t investing in programs. They are terminating them.”

    This sums it up. They are but a disgrace to themselves and the nation.

  11. Josephus

    Worst of all is the denigration of our first nations post Uluru, and the push for more mega coal mines, even at taxpayer expense. Popular democracy makes everyone suffer in the end, but what is the alternative? Despair, anyway.

  12. Miriam English

    😀 Heheheh Dianna, I don’t normally like personalised attacks, but describing Christensen as an orc really made me laugh aloud. It accurately captures his character, intelligence, and appearance. 😀

  13. Miriam English

    Josephus, what we have at the moment is not popular democracy. We have a deliberate campaign of brainwashing by Murdoch in an effort to keep a hugely unpopular government in power — amazingly unpopular despite all the propaganda. Also, we don’t know what other dirty tricks were used to “elect” this government. It is now coming to light that shadowy forces, such as Cambridge Analytica and the Russians, have been meddling in many countries’ elections. We might never know how our own elections may have been distorted by outside influences, even beyond Murdoch’s blatant tampering with public opinion.

    True democracy would actually be a good thing. We desperately need it.

    We also need to enforce the rules about politicians not lying (“misleading parliament”). And we need to get money out of politics. It inevitably leads to corruption. And politicians need to lose all their perks. If they can’t make do on their extremely generous wages then they shouldn’t have the job. One thing we have learned about politicians’ perks is that almost all politicians (except for a very few) abuse those perks — many (most?) are flagrant crooks.

    Our politicians cost us enormous amounts of money and deliver appalling value for the money spent on them.

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