Tag Archives: Penny Wong

May 9, 2009 – CPRS negotiations revealed

So, the CPRS legislation was up and running, after the debacle of the White Paper in December 2008.  And the legislation even had some green support…. And journos like Lenore Taylor and Mike Steketee were trying to contextualise it all –

WHEN Penny Wong did the rounds of environmental and business groups last week, they suddenly found her more receptive to their arguments.

What were the key things they needed to be able to support the Government’s climate change package, she asked. The Climate Change Minister had a fair idea because she had heard their demands often enough, but this time she wasn’t fending them off. Kevin Rudd, Wayne Swan and Wong already had decided on a new strategy to try to get the Government out of the political bunker.

Steketee, M. 2009. Cool compromise. The Australian, 9 May, p.18.

(Compare and contrast with Lenore Taylor’s ‘The Minister of Cool’ thing)

Also on this day-

1989 Canberra Times We Will All be Flooded (TV Guide thing)

2016 – “At 9.40 am local time on Monday May 9th the turbines at Alinta’s 520 megawatt Northern Power Station at Port Augusta disconnected from the grid for the last time.” (source)

 

May 4, 2009 – the CPRS trainwreck rolls on…

So, Kevin Rudd came to power on a wave of optimism that – unlike John Howard – he would actually do something about climate change. But what, exactly?  Well, a carbon pricing scheme, since to paraphrase Nixon, we’re all technocratic wonks now.  And after sidelining Ross Garnaut, Rudd and his henchpeople embarked on an insanely complex and something-for-everyone-to-hate round of Green Papers and White Papers, Treasury modelling and so on.  By the end of 2008 the process had run into the sand.  Rebooted (by the persistence of Penny Wong, Climate Change minister) in early 2009, there were then secret negotiations with both the business types (take a bow, BCA) and an elite coalition of green groups (take a bow Southern Cross Climate Coalition).  And so, on this day 8 years ago, the legislation was released.

Here’s what Joan Staples had to say, in an excellent article.

In May 2009 the Rudd government revamped its proposed Climate Pollution Reduction Scheme legislation increasing its target for reduction of carbon emissions from 5% to 25%, but only if there was international agreement – a scenario that appeared unlikely. The ACF (represented by Don Henry who consulted only with ACF President Ian Lowe) together with the WWF, the Climate Institute, ACOSS and the ACTU (making up the Southern Cross Coalition) agreed privately to the change. Their support was used by the government in announcing the change to the public. The Australian reported, ‘The state conservation councils and large organisations such as Greenpeace and the Wilderness Society were excluded from the negotiations, as were the Greens, because Rudd knew they would not compromise on their demands for much higher emission cuts…The outcome is that Rudd has wedged the environment movement, and many conservationists are angry at Henry and Lowe over what they regard as a sell-out’ (Roberts 2009).

Staples, 2012: footnote on page 156

Roberts, G. 2009, ‘Why green leaders backed the carbon plan’, The Australian, 9 May,

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Also on this day –

1989 AMIC Minerals Outlook Seminar at ANU- Exploration Access and Political Power

Massey, M. 1990. Environmental debate tops agenda at coal conference. Australian Financial Review, 4 May, p. 10.

The recent shift in the environmental debate to promote global rather than regional goals is causing alarm among the world’s leading industrialists because of its potential to distort world trade and regional economies.

The impact on Australia is assuming major proportions, with an Access Economics study to be released next week revealing that one-third of almost$40 billion in proposed mining and manufacturing projects are under threat of environmental veto.

Garran, R. 1992. Opposition to exploit resource indecision. Australian Financial Review, 4 May, p 9.

The Federal Opposition will seek to exploit the Government’s embarrassment over its on-again off-again resource security legislation by prolonging debate in the Senate until after Tuesday’s meeting of the Labor Caucus.

2016 Speech by South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill at Emissions Reduction Summit

 

April 27, 2010 – Lenore Taylor breaks CPRS cancellation, breaks Rudd

On this day in 2010 it all came unstuck for Kevin Rudd. He had bludgeoned John Howard to a pulp on various issues (anyone remember the Australian Wheat Board?) and one of the biggies was ‘the great moral challenge’ of climate change.  He then had spent two years promulgating a fantastically complicated and horribly named ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ which nobody liked or understood.  After Tony Abbott defeated Malcolm Turnbull for the leadership of the Liberal Party on 1st December 2009, consensus on carbon pricing died.  After the Copenhagen debacle, Rudd was urged to fight a double dissolution election.  He flubbed it and threw himself instead into campaigning on the Australian health care system.  And on April 27th 2010, following a front page scoop by the estimable Lenore Taylor about how the CPRS was being kicked into the long grass until after the 2013 election.  it all came unstuck at a hospital.

K Rudd (Prime Minister), Transcript of doorstop interview: Nepean Hospital, Penrith: health and hospital reform; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme; Home Insulation Program, media release, 27 April 2010.

Two good quotes, the first from Paul Kelly’s ‘Triumph and Demise’

Rudd’s problem, however, was not just the decision but the manner of its release. The story was broken by Lenore Taylor in the Sydney Morning Herald on 27 April when she reported that the ETS had been shelved ‘for at least three years’. The leak to Taylor was devastating. Rudd was taken by surprise and left without an explanation. ‘It was a very damaging leak and hard to retrieve, ‘ Wong said. ‘It derailed our government’, Martin Ferguson said.
(Kelly, 2014:292)

And the second from a later piece by Taylor herself.

It was the decision that seemed to snap voters’ faith in Kevin Rudd. Perhaps a final straw. Straight after the government announced it was deferring an emissions trading scheme until 2013, graphs of the Prime Minister’s satisfaction rating looked like a rock falling off a cliff. Labor’s primary vote tumbled after it. The kitchen cabinet was scheduled to meet on April 27 to decide exactly how to explain the delay, and the conditions under which the government would pledge that the ETS policy would be revived.

News of the decision had also filtered through to a few members of the broader cabinet, who had determined to try to wind it back when cabinet met to “ratify” the budget on April 29. But on the morning of April 27, the Herald disclosed the decision to remove the scheme from the budget in a front page article entitled “ETS off the agenda until late next term”. It was the first many ministers and senior public servants had heard of it.
Knowing the back story helps explain why the government’s response on that day was so confused.
Taylor, L. 2010. Decision that shattered faith in PM. Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June, p.2

Also on this day

1999 The high-level Greenhouse Energy Group will today receive the final report of the task force set up by the Federal Government to devise ways to meet its target of a 2 per cent increase in the use of renewable energy over the next decade.

Hordern, N. 1999. Greenhouse targets study ready. Australian Financial Review, 27 April, p. 11.

2001 Washington has mounted a diplomatic campaign to deflect criticism of its repudiation of the Kyoto Protocol, instead seeking support for its goal of broadening the UN climate change treaty to include developing countries.

And Canberra is Washington’s prize recruit in this campaign.

Asked in Wednesday’s Washington Post which countries backed him on greenhouse, President George Bush said “Australia [and Canada] said they understand why the US took this position”.

Hordern, N. 2001. Bush wary of `kiss of death’ for backers in protocol pact. Australian Financial Review, 27 April, p.30.

 

2001 – “However, the Canadian government has criticised the US for pulling out of the Kyoto process. Only Australia has provided uncritical support and is therefore Washington’s “prize recruit” in its campaign to kill the Kyoto Protocol, according to a report in the April 27 Australian Financial Review.” [I think this is from a Green Left Weekly article]

April 14, 2009 – ALP and BCA = CPRS

 

Kevin Rudd’s mellifluously named ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ had gone from bad (Green Paper) to worse (White Paper in December 2008).  Something had to be done.  While Rudd and others pretended to listen to the greenies and their ‘Southern Cross Climate Coalition’, his Environment Minister was dispatched to cut a deal with the head of the Business Council of Australia.

There is an excellent account of this (well, it’s by Lenore Taylor, so of course it is excellent).

Today – April 14 – in Noosa is about a strategic backdown. The target is the president of the Business Council of Australia, Greig Gailey, who is on holiday in the town. Today he opens the door to some very businesslike guests. They want to sound him out about exactly what it would take to win business over.

It is, as meetings mostly are with Wong, forensic, controlled, focused. No walks along the beach. “I think I had a glass of water,” the Minister for Climate Change and Water will recall later.

By the time Wong and Frater hit the road again for the trip home, they know they can start devising a rescue package for the scheme. If they can’t make it work, it will be the first serious setback in the career of the 40-year-old South Australian senator.

Taylor, L. 2009. The minister of cool. The Australian Magazine 23 May.

And of course, 6 months later it would all be gone, like a fist when you open your palm…  So it goes.

Also on this day

Koutsoukis, J. 2003. Industry backs carbon sinks. The Australian Financial Review.  15 April. p.5.

“The federal government’s strategy to reduce Australian greenhouse gas emissions received a boost yesterday when big business agreed to support a carbon emission-trading system.”  – well, not quite.  And Howard vetoed it when it did get to Cabinet anyways…

2014 The Minerals Council of Australia launches “Australians for Coal” – oops.

 

March 2, 2009 – Climate groups very unhappy with Senator Penny Wong…

Kevin Rudd had come to power promising to do something substantive about climate change, which he described as ‘the great moral challenge of our generation’.  By the time White Paper for the ‘Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme’ (CPRS) was released in December 2008, nobody was happy (with the possible exception of the miners, who must have been beginning to suspect that the whole thing would fall over – as it did…).  The environmentalists were furious with the lack of ambition around targets for emissions reductions, and support for renewables, alongside the amount of compensation being offered to the big end of town.

In January -February 2009 climate activists had held a Climate Action Summit, and decided that the CPRS was a dog. Recriminations and potshots were exchanged.  On this day in 2009, 65 Groups published an open letter to Rudd’s Climate Change Minister, Senator Penny Wong.

Also on this day- 

1991  The following advert appeared in the Canberra Times

1991-03-02-adverts

The reports mentioned were published in late 1991, but by then the Hawke Government was circling the drain…

1994 The Australian Conservation Foundation began its push for a carbon tax…

 

AAP, 1994. Alter taxation, spending to aid environment: ACF. Canberra Times, 3 March, p.4.

The Australian Conservation Foundation has proposed sweeping changes to the Federal Government’s taxation and spending practices to safeguard Australia’s future environmental and economic interests.

In its first detailed Budget submission, released yesterday, the ACF proposed measures it said would save the Government between $ 1.4 billion and $1.9 billion next financial year at the same time as promoting more environmentally responsible practices and creating jobs. The measures include a jobs levy, carbon tax, woodchip export levy, more money for public transport, and taxation incentives for nature conservation and the use of green technologies.

1994 Middleton, K. 1994. Conservationists Urge PM To Go For A Green Budget. The Age, 3 March p.7.

Canberra — The Australian Conservation Foundation has urged the Prime Minister, Mr Keating, to consider green-based Budget measures, including a radical tax on carbon.

The foundation’s president, Professor David Yencken, and its executive director, Ms Tricia Caswell, met Mr Keating yesterday. They sought support for a complex Budget submission and asked for a swift replacement for the former Environment Minister, Mrs Kelly.

 

 

2012 ABC interview with Mitch Hooke, then CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia and the man who killed off Kevin Rudd’s mining super tax.

Aedy, R. 2012.Interview with Mitchell Hooke. ABC,  2 March.

 

Feb 23, 2009 – Penny Wong crashes and burns on CPRS

Ah, 2009 – such japes, as the Rudd government, trying to deal with the fall out of the Global Financial Crisis and other crises of its own making also had climate change, that pesky ‘great moral challenge of our generation’ on its to-do list…  And all was not going well, as journalist Simon Butler noted –

Under pressure from the mounting criticisms about how the CPRS cancels out the benefits from individual emissions reductions, Wong responded on the ABC’s 7.30 Report on February 23 that individual reductions will allow the government to increase carbon targets in subsequent years.

This prompted an incredulous response from Andrew Macintosh, associate director of the Australian National University Centre for Climate Law and Policy. “Either Wong doesn’t understand her own scheme or she is deliberately lying”, he wrote on Crikey.com.au on February 24.

Butler, S. 2009.Emissions trading- how to avoid action on climate change. Green Left Weekly, 28 February.

On 2nd March 2009, Wong was on the receiving end of a letter from 65 Climate Action Groups.  Come back for more on that then…

 

Also on this day –

In 1993 Peter Walsh, who had been in Hawke’s Cabinet and decided climate change was a pinko-scam, launched another spray in the Fin. Trust me, it’s not worth reading…-

Walsh, P. 1993. Putting Greenhouse in order. Australian Financial Review, 23 February p. 17

 

In 2002, Labor, having lost the 2001 election for reasons OTHER than its support for the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, warned that “Bush’s `gift to polluters’ could end up costing the US plenty and Australia, too, if the Coalition insists on following the President’s lead.”

Macken, J. 2002. Kyoto: Counting the costs, Australian Financial Review 23 February