Having lost his job as opposition leader at the end of 2009 because of his support for carbon pricing, Malcolm Turnbull almost quit politics. By 2011 he was fully back in the fray. With climate change again/still a hot issue, Turnbull was on the ABC programme Lateline, on this day 6 years ago, explaining that
if you want to have a long-term solution to abating carbon emissions and to achieve – if you want to have a long-term technique of cutting carbon emissions, you know, in a very substantial way to the levels that the scientists are telling us we need to do by mid-century to avoid dangerous climate change, then a direct action policy where the Government – where industry was able to freely pollute, if you like, and the Government was just spending more and more taxpayers’ money to offset it, that would become a very expensive charge on the budget in the years ahead.
Well, thank goodness that didn’t happen, eh?
Also on this day
18 May 1993 Australian National Audit office Implementation of an ‘Interim ‘Greenhouse Response’ Media Release’ (Crowley 2013)
2011 was a very very interesting year for Australian climate politics. And a bloody one. Kevin Rudd’s failure to get his Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme through parliament,and his decision to shelve it, had caused a drop in his popularity. After a battle with miners over a mining tax (they spent $22m on a’Keep Mining Strong’ campaign’), he was replaced as Labor leader (and Prime Minister) by his deputy Julia Gillard in June 2010. During the subsequent election campaign she had said there would be ‘no carbon tax under a government she led’. Usually- but not always – she added that her government would look at a price on carbon. Whoops.
The price of support from Green and Independent MPs in the subsequent hung parliament was… a price on carbon. Gillard then mangled the labelling of that policy, most spectacularly on 24 February 2011. Tony Abbott, by then Opposition Leader, can surely not have believed his luck. Recently his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, has admitted what everyone knew – the Gillard ETS was not, in fact, a carbon tax.
At the time, well… on this day that year, elder-journalistman Laurie Oakes, he of the “hierophantic condescension” had this to say
“Wingnuts are coming out of the woodwork. The mad and menacing phone calls to independent MP Tony Windsor are just one indication. There are plenty of others online. The carbon tax and Tony Abbott’s call for a people’s revolt have crazies foaming at the mouth. You see it on the ‘Revolt Against the Carbon Tax’ Facebook page, for example. Like this message from a Gillard-hater about a rally in front of Parliament House being planned for March 23: ‘Just like Egypt we stay there and protest continuously until she and her cronies, Bob Brown Greens etc are ousted! We have got to get rid of this Godless mistress of deceit.'”
Oakes, L. 2011. Loonies latch on to the politics of hate. Daily Telegraph, 5 March.
Also on this day –
2004 The Australian National Audit Office issues a report that basically skewers the Australian Greenhouse Office (see March 4 blogpost for the background to the establishing of the AGO…)
2007 Senator Nick Minchin writes to Clean Up Australia’s founder and disses – quelle surprise- climate science (see Wendy Frew, 15 March 2007.)