Tag Archives: Julia Gillard

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.

April 23, 2013 – Thinking twice about “Direct Action”…

“What we are seeing is the conditions in the market moving so quickly that there is a need to rethink the rules with a view to resetting or rethinking Direct Action,” ESAA chief executive Matthew Warren told The Australian Financial Review on Tuesday (23 April 2013)

So, having sat and watched Tony Abbott destroy the bipartisan consensus on the need for a price on carbon from 1 December 2009, having watched him attack Gillard’s Emissions Trading Scheme as a “Great Big Tax on Everything”, the incumbents finally – with Abbott about to become Prime Minister – start to wonder if his so-called ‘Direct Action’ scheme is such a good alternative.

And now they bleat about ‘policy uncertainty’.  Remind me to go back and see how many pro-ETS press releases ESAA put out in 2011….

I wish it were unbelievable, but it is all too believable

The quote is from

Priest, M. and Daley, G. 2013. Power firms warn Abbott on carbon. Australian Financial Review, 24 April, p.1

which begins

Power companies are demanding the federal opposition rethink its “direct action” plan for reducing carbon emissions, warning that its company baseline approach could be more difficult to operate than Labor’s trading scheme.
The Energy Supply Association of Australia said falling demand for power meant the Coalition must review its energy and climate change policy if it gains power at the September 14 federal election.
The warning comes amid growing support by multinational companies and major business groups for a market-based scheme, such as an emissions trading scheme, linked to the currently low prices set in European and other international markets.
ESSA, which represents big power companies such as Origin, TRUenergy and International Power, has long supported an emissions trading scheme.

March 25, 1995 Women and the Environment conference and the red-green problem

Environmentalists and ‘extraction’ workers (miners, forestry workers) are not ‘natural’ enemies.  And those in charge fear a coalition forming, to the extent that they’re willing to kill to prevent those links forming (think Chico Mendes, or Judi Bari, among thousands -see ‘The War on the Greens’).  In 1995 a conference in Melbourne saw yet another attempt to build/mend bridges…

Bad blood flows between the green movement and the union movement. The controversy over logging recently has led to ugly incidents between timber workers and conservationists. Ms George said she had agreed to speak at a conference on women and the environment this weekend to try to ease some of the hostility between the two groups…. The Australian Conservation Foundation’s executive director, Ms Tricia Caswell, said the ACF, Greenpeace and women’s groups had decided to host the conference at the World Congress Centre because women were often the backbone of community environment groups and were the main environmental educators to children but received little recognition.

Milburn, C. 1995. ACTU’s George Plays Peacemaker To Greens, Unions.  The Age, 24 March.

Also on this day- 

In 1997 there was a Greenhouse Challenge signing ceremony, Parliament House. The Greenhouse Challenge was the purely voluntary programme response that was used to block attempts at legislative/regulatory efforts to reduce emissions.

On this day in 2013, with the Gillard government trying to survive attacks by Rudd, attacks by the media and get itself in shape for an impending Federal election, the Australian Department of Climate Change, created with fanfare in the early days of the Rudd Government, was disbanded.   Most of its “functions were moved to the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education, with responsibility for energy efficiency transferred to the Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.”  (sorry, can

March 5, 2011 – “Wingnuts coming out of the woodwork”

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.)

February 25, 1981 – Senator ponders the dangers of burning coal. Yes, 1981.

If you were paying attention in the 1970s, you knew there might be trouble ahead, not just for the whales, but the even stupider mammals; the ones on two legs.  Various green and scientific publications ran stories on the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and the worrying trends throughout that decade.  The first World Climate Conference took place in February 1979.  Some Australian politicians (whom we will encounter as this project goes on) were aware of the problem. Still, props to Senator Stan Collard,  Country/National Party. On 25 February 1981 he had this to say –

“Our steaming coal exports are mounting. I have no objection to that, except for one thing. I ask: Just how much further can we go with burning these masses of coal and pouring the pollutants, including carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere? One thing that we are not sure of, of course, is the ultimate greenhouse effect that it will have on this continent, maybe even in our lifetime. I think we must consider quite reasonably just where to cry halt to the burning of masses of steaming coal and where we can bring in one of the cleanest methods of power generation, that is, nuclear power generation, until something cleaner and better comes along. I reject the suggestion that the Government is lacking in its planning, but I welcome the opportunity to take part in this debate.

Also on this day – 

1992  On 25 February at UN headquarters (New York City, USA), 20 business associations from 9 countries released a joint statement to the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee for a Framework Convention on Climate Change. The business associations, nearly half of which are from Australia, are in the fields of fossil fuel and energy production, manufacturing, and metals.

Anon. 1992. International Business Associations Issue Statement on Climate Negotiations. Global Environmental Change. Vol. 4, No. 5  13 March.

Fraser, A. 2007. Rudd unveils his ‘clean coal’ plan. Canberra Times, 26 February.
Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd is giving Prime Minister John Howard a race for his ”clean-coal” money, unveiling a $1.5 billion plan yesterday to come up with breakthrough technology.  (see 26th March 2007 for  Lavoisier group response)

On this day in 2011, fresh from signing her own ‘death warrant’, Julia Gillard was on the breakfast radio show of Alan Jones.

“Or consider this excerpt from Jones’ 25 February 2011 interview with Gillard (which he began by berating the prime minister for being late). He concluded his line of questioning about her CO2 emissions policy saying: ‘Do you understand, Julia, that you are the issue today because there are people now saying that your name is not Julia but JuLIAR and they are saying we’ve got a liar running the country’ (cited in Barry 2011a).”
(Ward, 2015: 236)

Feb 10, 2011 – Climate Commission is launched

The Gillard government knew that selling climate action was going to be tricky, after the cynicism-building wreck that was Rudd’s CPRS, and the rise of organised and well-funded denialism. It was in this context that it set up the Climate Commission (as distinct from the Climate Change Authority, which came later as part of the CEF package.). The Climate Commission did public information events and released lots of reports. And Tony Abbott, when he came to power, made it his first action to abolish it. A crowd-funding campaign worked wonders, and the Commission lives on. But that’s a story for another day –

 

Also on this day-
According to  it Ellis and Gill, it was on this day in 1995 that then Environment Minister Senator John Faulkner decided that a carbon tax/levy/whatever you want to call it was not worth taking to Cabinet after all, because it would get squished by the Bob Collins of this world –

“THE Minister for the Environment, Senator Faulkner, has abandoned proposals for the introduction of a carbon tax ….  His decision was made on Friday [10th February] after two days of talks with environmental and business groups.”

Ellis, S. and Gill, P. 1995. Faulkner calls off plans to impose carbon tax. The Australian Financial Review, 14 February, p.3.

In 2006, before climate change had become the public topic it would later in the year be, the Council of Australian Governments held a meeting on this day.   Australian Conservation Foundation tried to chivvy them along, with this press release.

COAG meeting a chance for real progress on climate change
Date: 9-Feb-2006
The Australian Conservation Foundation has urged Commonwealth, State and Territory leaders to use tomorrow’s Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting in Canberra to craft a consistent, national approach to climate change.
“A global problem requires a global solution,” said ACF Executive Director Don Henry. “It’s vital we get Commonwealth, State and Territory leaders pulling in the same direction on this.

“It’s good to see COAG talking about climate change. They can make some real progress on measures that will make a difference.
http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/13467/20120118-0823/www.acfonline.org.au/articles/newse312.html?news_id=712

(A COAG Working group had been set up previous late May/early June, according to this – “ACF calls for national deep cuts target on greenhouse” (11-Jun-2005)

Jan 20, 2010- Greens propose a tax to salvage the CPRS car crash

On this day in 2010, the Green Party tried to salvage something from the wreckage of Kevin Rudd’s twice rejected Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.  Many commentators blame the Greens for not holding their noses and voting through the CPRS package, which they rejected because it offered too much compensation to the coal companies and did too little to reduce emissions.  It’s arguable that the deal they finally got, under Julia Gillard, wasn’t that much better, and was in any case swept away by Tony Abbott as Prime Minister.

But the point is that the Greens were at least trying to find a way forward for climate change policy in the dark days of early 2010.  And that should be in the ‘official’/popular narratives (it largely isn’t).

Kirk, A. 2010. Greens propose interim carbon tax. ABC, 20 January.

For further articles, see here.

See Paddy Manning’s take on it in The Age.

But there is one tenable, market-based climate policy on the table: the Australian Greens compromise proposal for an interim carbon price starting at $23 a tonne of carbon dioxide.

Most people have either ignored or misunderstood what the Greens offered to discuss with the government in January. If they ignored it, it was because they rightly assumed there was Buckley’s chance of this government doing a deal with the Greens. If they misunderstood it, it was probably because they wrongly assumed the proposal was for a temporary fix.

The idea of the Greens was that a fixed carbon price would increase at 4 per cent, plus the consumer price index, each year until at least July 2012.

Manning, P. 2010. One climate policy, and it only comes in Green. The Age, 5 May.

Also on this day-

In one of life’s little ironies, this was the fifteenth anniversary of the release of an Australian Conservation Foundation proposal for a $2.20 per tonne tax on carbon dioxide. The Budget submission, part of a broader doomed campaign for a carbon tax, said that the proposal would raise $850m [I think over the course of three years].

Milburn, C. 1995. ACF Calls For $3.3b On Environment. The Age, 21 January, p.7.