Tag Archives: John Howard

9 June, 2011 – Productivity Commission

 

On this day in 2011, at the height of the Gillard ETS battle, the  Productivity Commission produced a report.  It had been a condition of two independent MPs – Windsor and Oakestott – supporting Gillard’s minority government.  The report looked internationally at emissions reductions policies and found “much lower-cost abatement could be achieved through broad, explicit carbon pricing approaches, irrespective of the policy settings in competitor economies.”  So, not so much support for Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s “Direct Action”…

[see Garnaut 2014, chapter in Quiggin ed book on carbon taxes..]

 

 

Also on this day

Clark, P. 1989. Unions may as well be talking to the trees. Sydney Morning Herald, 20 June, p13

AN ODDLY portentous scene was played out behind the closed doors of the ALP national executive’s last meeting in Canberra on June 9 by two of the party’s toughest right-wing figures: the Federal Environment Minister, Graham Richardson, and the AWU general secretary, Errol Hodder.

Hodder, who had left the executive meeting briefly, returned to be told that while he was away Richardson had spoken of how the union movement had to reassess its position on the environment, and that someone present had said that the ACTU’s attitude on the issue was “stupid”.

Never backward in coming forward, Hodder leapt up to make a strong defence of the union movement’s reaction to the growing importance of the environmental debate.

What he said, in essence, was that the unions were well aware of the significance of the issue but the Government had to recognise a few things too. A tree might be a pretty thing to look at, but the view palled when you’d been put out of a job and you’d a mortgage to pay and a family to feed.

1990    (TEXT FROM 1997 APH chronology) The first assessment report of the IPCC Working Group I  was released including predictions of global warming and climatic impacts (a supplement was added in 1992). The best estimates from Working Group I (scientific  analysis) were a 3C rise in global temperature and a 0.65m sea level rise by 2100. Australian scientist Dr Greg Tegart was a Co-Vice-Chairman on the Climate Change, The IPCC Impacts Assessment report from Working Group II. Consensus was also reached at the Response Strategies Working Group of the IPCC, Working Group III. The Scientific and Impact Assessment reports concluded   that emissions from human activities were increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, which  was likely to enhance the natural greenhouse effect resulting in global warming.

By 9 June 2000, The Australian was reporting that the trigger proposal ‘faces defeat when it reaches Cabinet’ and that when the issue was discussed by Cabinet, ‘Senator Hill was almost a lone voice of support.’ (Macintosh, 2007: 50)

2005 press conference Carr and Howard –

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, you’ve made progress on water, you’ve got a national scheme to (inaudible), same thing for carbon trading, for emissions trading?

PRIME MINISTER: Well we have, at the present time Mr Carr and I and the other States I think line up, the States line up with Mr Carr and we have just different views. Now let’s be sensible, we don’t agree all the time, but the important thing is to agree as many times as possible and to deliver outcomes that are good for the public.

JOURNALIST: Prime Minister, how highly do you rate global warming as a threat? The Premier rates it very highly.

PRIME MINISTER: Oh, I’ve said in the past that I think the scientific evidence is very, very strong. I don’t know that I embrace every expression of concern that’s come from everybody who would favour some different policies than I do, but I have a different view about signing the Kyoto Protocol from that of Mr Carr, but that is based not on a belief that we shouldn’t reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, it relates more to the comparability of treatment of an economy such as Australia and that of such Indonesia and China. But that is for a discussion for another day. We have agreed to disagree on that issue, but we haven’t come here to parade with rhetorical flourish our different approaches.

 

Marks, K. 2010. Australian billionaires take to the streets for tax protest. The Independent, 10 June.

Australian billionaires take to the streets for tax protest

It was, by any measure, a most unusual rally. Many of the placard-waving protesters gathered in a Perth park wore suits and ties, and impassioned speeches were delivered from the back of a flat-bed truck by two billionaires, including Australia’s richest woman.

May 31, 1995 – Keating and MCA hold a meet-up; 2007, Shergold Report…

The Australian Mining Industry Council had been digging a deeper and deeper hole for itself (geddit?).  And, with the exception of the carbon tax battle (which was actually under the command of the Industry Greenhouse Network), they’d been losing. So they re-branded and went for lobbying instead of hearts and minds, as the article below mentions. Industry learns, on occasion…

Leaders of AMIC, now the Minerals Council of Australia, met with the Prime Minister, Paul Keating, for three hours on Wednesday [31 May] to discuss regional relations, trade liberalisation and relations with Japan and Indonesia.

In line with the recommendations of a report by the Allen Consulting Group, the MCA is putting increased emphasis on lobbying rather than public campaigning.

Mr Buckingham said the way the industry had helped persuade the Government to drop the proposed carbon tax and increase in diesel excise showed the benefits of its approach. “Where access [to senior levels of Government] is required there is confidence that that access will be given.”

Davis, I. 1995. New name, image for industry group. Canberra Times, 2 June, p.12

And, of equal import, ten years ago today the so-called ‘Shergold Report’ was released, six months after John Howard had u-turned.

The Prime Ministerial Task Group on Emissions Trading releases the ‘Shergold Report’ which recommends Australia develop an emissions trading scheme.

 

 

Also on this day

31 May 2011: Garnaut address to National Press Club makes clear “reliance on regulatory approaches and direct action for reducing carbon emissions is likely to be immensely more expensive than a market economy.”

2012 “At which point Combet burst into song: ‘Cabramatta Parramatta, Wangaratta, Coolangatta-” put the punchline is: “Everywhere is doomed, man”.’  Paul Keating and Peter Costello would have been proud.”

Oakes, L. 2012. Abbott is the high priest of pessimism. The Australian, 2 June.

See also http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/mr-cool-loses-it-as-heat-applied/story-e6freooo-1226377873961 which says “yesterday” in a piece published 1 june (oakes is writing days later)

May 29, 2007- Howard disses Nick Stern for … being English?!

By early 2007 all of John Howard’s intransigence on climate change was coming back to haunt him. An election was not far off, and the Labor opposition, led by Kevin “I’m from Queensland, I’m here to help” Rudd was relentlessly targeting climate change.  Then Nick Stern, who the previous year had delivered his report on the Economics of Climate Change to Gordon Brown, paid a visit. Given that he was a former World Bank economist he could hardly be painted as a tree-hugger or communist.  So, Howard said that when his policy was released, it

Commonwealth, Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 29 May 2007, 48 (John Howard, Prime Minister)

… will not be a grab bag of proposals taken holus-bolus from a report written by an Englishman for European conditions and designed to promote the political objectives of the British government. That is what the Stern report is all about. Stern is not the biblical scholar of climate change that is posited by those who sit opposite. Stern has written from the perspective of an Englishman, from the European circumstance and from the European point of view.

 

 

On the same day-                               

Anon, 2007. Climate change ad battle heating up. Sydney Morning Herald, 29 May.

Labor turned up the heat over federal government advertising as Prime Minister John Howard conceded a climate change campaign was on the way. (Ended up being the dire “climate clever”)

See also             

Doherty, B. 2007. Howard coy on $53m ads. The Age, 30 May.

THERE is $52.8 million ready to spend on a climate-change advertising blitz if and when the Government chooses to introduce one, Prime Minister John Howard admitted yesterday.

Also on this day –

1999 Prime Minister John Howard writes to Meg Lees (then Democrats leader) about the “Measures for a Better Environment” deal which they managed to get…

Anon, 2012. Anthea Harris to be first CEO of Climate Change Authority. Business Spectator, 29 May.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/business-spectator/anthea-harris-to-be-first-ceo-of-climate-change-authority/news-story/2214d21d38be6cce2aa67814530c6cf5

Anthea Harris is set to take the role as the inaugural CEO of the Climate Change Authority, the federal government has announced.

Ms Harris is currently serving as Chief Advisor for the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and “brings a wealth of knowledge on the economics of climate change from both the private and public sectors,” climate change minister Greg Combet said in a statement.

May 27, 2007, Economists call for Kyoto Ratification

By 2007 ratifcation of the Kyoto Protocol had become a great symbolic test.  John Howard’s refusal to do so (and the man was on the record as saying even ratifying the UNFCCC was a mistake), became a stick that Labor, under Kevin Rudd, hit Howard with relentlessly.  It is in that context that the Australia Institute’s action in gettin g75 economics professors together should be seen.

Economists: Government must ratify Kyoto

Seventy five professors of economics today called on the Federal Government to stop undermining international efforts to tackle climate change and to ratify the Kyoto Protocol without delay

On the same day, there is there was this interesting thing in the Canberra Times.

Anon. 2007. CO2 trading no solution. Canberra Times, 27 May.

LAST week’s announcement that BP and Rio Tinto have teamed up to look at building a ”clean” coal” power station in Western Australia is great news. There’s only one catch. The project won’t go ahead if it depends on the key proposal to encourage clean energy contained in a report due to be handed to the Prime Minister on Thursday. This need not pose an insuperable barrier. But it suggests the Government will have to do more than simply rely on setting up a market for trading greenhouse gas emissions, which the report, from a joint business/public service task group, is expected to recommend. The idea is to issue a limited number of permits to release greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), which the Government says contributes to global warming. These permits will then be traded in a government-run market designed to create a price which is supposed to increase the cost of emitting high levels of greenhouse gases when products such as electricity are made.

According to a spokesman for Rio Tinto, Ian Head, ”An emissions-trading scheme alone will not be enough to encourage the clean coal project in Western Australia to go ahead”

Also on this day

Taylor, L. 2016. Greg Hunt plays the long game on his glaringly obvious emissions trading scheme. The Guardian, 27 May.

Minister keeps up attack on Labor’s ‘carbon tax’ to placate Coalition climate change sceptics, all the while ensuring the machinery is in place for his own ETS

For years Greg Hunt has been suggesting different things to different people about his climate policy. This week he was almost caught out….

May 26, 1993 – Aussie politicians start to investigate green jobs opportunities…

One of the more irritating phenomena is people saying “shucks, if only the environmentalists would re-frame climate change as a jobs opportunity, there’d be so much less opposition.”  Yeah, because no greenie ever thought of that, ever.  And tried it. And got ignored. sigh.

On this day in 1993 (24 years ago)  the  “Working with the Environment: Opportunities for Job Growth” ball is set rolling

“This report arises from the growing recognition by governments, industry and the community that ecologically sustainable development offers many opportunities for profitable investment and therefore for employment growth, as well as being essential for ecological survival. The community is also faced with the pressing task of finding opportunities to create more jobs and the environment industry is an obvious place to look.

The inquiry was proposed to the then Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories [Ros Kelly] by the [House of Representatives Standing Committee on Environment, Recreation and the Arts] and the Minister then formally referred the matter for inquiry to the Committee on 26 May 1993.”

 

Also on this day.

1994.

“The concern of industry groups that Australia might similarly be forced into a consensus on climate change was echoed yesterday by the Opposition spokesman on foreign affairs, Mr Andrew Peacock. He said there was a danger Australia’s stance that it would not implement measures that would damage its trade competitiveness unless other greenhouse gas producers did likewise could become increasingly devoid of substance.”

Gill, P. 1994 Industry voices greenhouse fears.  Australian Financial Review, 27 May,

2003

Albanese seconds Kyoto Protocol legislation in Parliament

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 26 May 2003

Today, the Federal Member for Grayndler Anthony Albanese MP was pleased to second a Private Members Bill in Federal Parliament designed to ratify the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change.

Moved by the Shadow Minister for Sustainability & the Environment Kelvin Thomson MP, the Kyoto Protocol Ratification Bill 2003 will give legal effect to Australia’s Kyoto target and ensure Australian industry can take advantage of emerging new markets when the treaty comes into international force.

http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/albanese-seconds-kyoto-protocol-legislation-in-parliament

“Back at home, the Shadow Minister for the Environment, Kelvin Thomson, introduced a private member’s bill for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol on 26 May 2003. As well as calling for the ratification of the Protocol, the Bill sets out requirements for the Commonwealth Environment Minister to prepare systems for involvement in international emissions trading schemes, a National Climate Change Action Plan, and imposes an obligation on the Government to ensure that Australia’s target of 108% of its 1990 emissions is not exceeded during the period 2008 to 2012.”

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/NatEnvLawRw/2003/2.pdf

2004

“The problem with the Kyoto protocol as presently cast is that developing countries such as Russia and China would not be subject to the same strictures as developed countries such as Australia.” Prime Minister John Howard, House of Representatives, 26 May 2004

May 17, 2005 Robin Batterham quits Chief Scientist gig for full-time Rio Tinto post…

Prime Minister of Australia (1996-2007) John Howard never got a briefing from the head of the Australian Greenhouse Office, Gwen Andrews. He didn’t even see the need for a full-time scientific adviser. And the one he did have worked simultaneously for mining giant Rio Tinto. Where Howard’s nephew was chief of government relations.  This is how the game is played.  On this day, twelve years ago, that Chief Scientist called it a day.

Australia’s Chief Scientist gives up Govt position for mining giant
AM – Tuesday, 17 May , 2005 08:28:00
Reporter: Karen Barlow
TONY EASTLEY: Australia’s Chief Scientist, Dr Robin Batterham has decided to accept a full time position with mining giant, Rio Tinto.
The Federal Government says Dr Batterham was instrumental in encouraging investments in science and raising science awareness among the broader community. But Labor and the Greens claim his scientific advice was swayed by industry.

Also on this day-

Frew, W. 2007. Minchin denies climate change man-made. Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March.
A SENIOR Federal Government minister has expressed serious doubts global warming has been caused by humans, relying on non-scientific material and discredited sources to back his claim.
One month after a United Nations scientific panel delivered its strongest warning yet that humans were causing global warming, the Finance Minister, Nick Minchin, has questioned the link between fossil fuels and greenhouse gas pollution.
In a letter he wrote on March 5 to Clean Up Australia’s founder, Ian Kiernan, Senator Minchin took issue with Mr Kiernan’s criticism of the minister’s scepticism.

May 16, 2005 – Energy White Paper a ‘White Elephant’ says Albo…

The 2004 Energy White Paper had been a slap in the face and kick in the … well… to the renewables industry in Australia. It ended up being a fulfilled wishlist for the fossil fuel sector (see Richard Baker’s pieces in the Age for the how of that).

Almost a year after its release, Anthony Albanese, Federal Labor operative, was on the case –

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 16 May 2005

http://anthonyalbanese.com.au/senate-slams-howards-energy-white-elephant

The Howard Government’s Energy White Paper is an energy white elephant.

The Senate Inquiry into the Energy White Paper has concluded the Energy White Paper will delay critical action on climate change for another twenty years….

 

Also on this day-

Clever piece in the Fin!!

Earl, G. 1990. Price and pay-off for the world’s green conscience. Australia Financial Review, 16 May.

IT is a country where the ambitious environment minister hopes to ride to higher office by promising to deliver the most rigorous environmental policies in the world.

The finance minister is aghast at the cost of the plan and has held it up in Cabinet for so long that his colleague has effectively gone to the people with a nation-wide series of public hearings.

But now the hearings have become a lightning rod for all sorts of discontent and the environment minister’s carefully nurtured public support is threatening to evaporate just when the Government sorely needs it.

It may sound like a familiar plot but this time the players are not Graham Richardson or Peter Walsh and the Federal Government concerned has a distinctly conservative hue – except when it comes to turning green.

Canada, with a resource dependent economy like Australia’s and a pro-growth conservative Government, is embroiled in a national debate over a government promise to introduce a comprehensive five-year environmental plan which is forecast to cost billions of dollars.