Tag Archives: Nick Minchin

April 19, 2001 – Kyoto is popular with Aussie voters? Oops…

Howard had never wanted any kind of emissions reductions target, even the generous ones negotiated at Kyoto.  So, Bush pulling out in March 2001 gave him space.  He wouldn’t actually announce that Australia was doing likewise until after the 2001 Federal election.  Conviction politicians – donchajustlovethem.

“The difficulty for the Howard government is that its position on climate change is deeply unpopular and will cost it votes at the next federal election. A survey commission by Greenpeace Australia and released on April 19 found that 80.4% of respondents believed that Australia should ratify the Kyoto Protocol, without the US if necessary.

The Greenpeace survey drew an angry response from industry minister Nick Minchin. “I think it’s irresponsible to be pushing this line without informing people how many jobs will be lost”, he said in an April 20 media release.

“ABARE [the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics] estimates that, even with the most optimistic assumptions, the costs to Australia of meeting the Kyoto Protocol commitments would be significantly more than a severe recession and several times that of a major drought”, Minchin said.

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/canberra-covers-bush-greenhouse

Also on this day-

19 April 2013: Climate Spectator points out mysteries, questions and problems after Greg Hunt’s address to ANU. The Government also releases a detailed line by line rebuttal of Greg Hunt’s speech. (From Mark Butler’s ‘Direct Action’ timeline)

March 14, 2007 – The Australian Public Service feels ignored on #climate change…

So throughout the 1990s and the first half of the naughties various ‘policy entrepreneurs’ (Ian Dunlop, Phillip Toyne, Robert Hill, Bob Brown, Bob Carr etc etc) tried to get a price on carbon institutionalised.  Without any success – John Howard, ably assisted by Nick Minchin and the ‘Greenhouse Mafia’  blocked every effort. It must have been slightly aggravating, what with a ‘price on carbon’ being a kind of no-brainer as part (not all, part) of the toolkit for a transition.  And on this day in 2007 (yes, there will be a lot of 2007 in this project – it was a Big Year)- the head of the Australian Public Service, Ken Henry (ask him about a Resources Tax sometime…) gave a speech at an APS internal biannual departmental forum at Canberra’s Hyatt Hotel.  He noted that the department had

“worked hard to develop frameworks for the consideration of water reform and climate-change policy…. All of us would wish that we had been listened to more attentively over the past several years in both of these areas. There is no doubt that policy outcomes would have been far superior had our views been more influential.”

The story leaked, natch, onto the front page of the Australian Financial Review, on 4th April, in an article by the estimable Laura Tingle and added to the woes of the Coalition Government, which looked like (and had been) ignoring the bureaucrats….

2007 Tingle, L. 2007. Revealed: Treasury chief’s blast at government policy. The Australian Financial Review, 4 April, p.1.

Also on this day-

1997 – Senator Parer seems to be an exception. For instance, at the Australasian Institute of Minerals and Metallurgy Annual Conference at Ballarat Senator Warwick Parer said: “I don’t have any figures to back this up, but I think people will say in 10 years that it [greenhouse] was the Club of Rome” and “The attitude of this government is to look for ways to allow projects to go ahead.” The SMH (14.3.97 ‘Greenhouse effect? No worries says Parer’.).
(Duncan, 1997:83)

Anon. 2001. $4.1m commonwealth grant offer for NSW R&D gas project. M2 Presswire.
“The Commonwealth Government has offered Sydney Gas Company N/L research and development grant totalling $4.1 million for a coal gas project that will provide Australia with a major environmentally friendly and clean energy source close to its most populous area, Industry Minister Nick Minchin said today.”

2013 Barriers to Effective Climate Change Adaptation’ report released:
“The Productivity Commission (PC) report identifies policy and regulatory barriers to Australia’s ability to respond or adapt to climate change. The report provides recommendations for building adaptive capacity.”   Yes, and I am sure every single one of those recommendations has been turned into SMART goals that are being implemented as you read this sentence. Oh yes.

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.)

Feb 18, 2011 – Chief Scientific Advisor quits her post

It’s hard to speak truth to power. Scientists can talk about science, sure, but politicians have little time, training or appetite for hearing the truth.  On this day in 2011 Australian Chief Scientific Advisor Penny Sackett, quit her post,  having been ignored on climate change (only met Rudd once, wasn’t on the huge delegation to Copenhagen, had just been stood up by Julia Gillard).

See the Sydney Morning Herald’s account.

See a 2008 profile of her when she was new in post…

 

Also on this day

The climate issue had burst into life again in late 2006, and already some Liberals were publicly pushing back. Nick Minchin would of course play a key role in the overthrow of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader in November 2009, over Turnbull’s willingness to help pass Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme…

Topsfield, J. 2007 Costello and Minchin split on climate changeThe Age, 19 February.
DIVISIONS continue to emerge within the Government over climate change, with Treasurer Peter Costello yesterday disagreeing with Finance Minister Nick Minchin over whether the extent that humans were to blame for global warming was in doubt.

“I think the scientific evidence is now accepted, and that is that climate change is occurring, that human activity is leading to carbon emissions, which is slowly leading to an increase in temperature,” Mr Costello told Channel Ten. “I don’t think that’s in dispute any more.”

Feb 16, 2005 – John Howard says Kyoto “next to useless”

So, after years of claiming the Kyoto Protocol would never be ratified by enough countries – what with the US and Australia both refusing- naysayers were proved wrong when the Russians, for reasons of their own, ratified in late 1994, causing the Protocol to become international law (such as it is) and presenting Australia with both presentational and diplomatic issues. Prime Minister John Howard was not, at this stage, perturbed (the perturbations would only begin in late 2006…)

AAP. 2005. Kyoto Protocol ‘next to useless’: PM. Sydney Morning Herald, 16 February. 

Prime Minister John Howard has reaffirmed the government’s opposition to the Kyoto Protocol on climate change on the day the pact came into effect.

The opposition used Question Time to put more pressure on the government over its refusal to join the treaty which has been signed by 141 countries.

Labor leader Kim Beazley asked Prime Minister John Howard about conflicting comments on climate change from two government ministers.

He read one media report quoting Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane as saying he did not know whether greenhouse emissions caused climate change.

Another quoted Environment Minister Ian Campbell saying there was a need to engage sceptics who did not believe climate change was real.

“I think they are both splendid ministers and of course I agree with them both,” Mr Howard answered…..

Also on this day –

Nick Minchin, who would later play a crucial role in getting rid of Malcolm Turnbull as opposition leader, over the latter’s support for Kevin Rudd’s CPRS, was resisting the change of mood mentioned above…

Murphy, K. 2007. Lib scorns mass ‘panic’ on climate. The Age, 17 February.
It SHOULD not be seen as a sin to be cautious about the science of global warming, a senior Federal Government minister has warned.
Finance Minister Nick Minchin says “there remains an ongoing debate about the extent of climate change” and the extent of human activity’s role in global warming….