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John Passant

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December 2009



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My interview Razor Sharp 18 February
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp on Tuesday 18 February. (0)

My interview Razor Sharp 11 February 2014
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace on Razor Sharp this morning. The Royal Commission, car industry and age of entitlement get a lot of the coverage. (0)

Razor Sharp 4 February 2014
Me on 4 February 2014 on Razor Sharp with Sharon Firebrace. (0)

Time for a House Un-Australian Activities Committee?
Tony Abbott thinks the Australian Broadcasting Corporation is Un-Australian. I am looking forward to his government setting up the House Un-Australian Activities Committee. (1)

Make Gina Rinehart work for her dole

Sick kids and paying upfront


Save Medicare

Demonstrate in defence of Medicare at Sydney Town Hall 1 pm Saturday 4 January (0)

Me on Razor Sharp this morning
Me interviewed by Sharon Firebrace this morning for Razor Sharp. It happens every Tuesday. (0)

I am not surprised
I think we are being unfair to this Abbott ‘no surprises’ Government. I am not surprised. (0)

Send Barnaby to Indonesia
It is a pity that Barnaby Joyce, a man of tact, diplomacy, nuance and subtlety, isn’t going to Indonesia to fix things up. I know I am disappointed that Barnaby is missing out on this great opportunity, and I am sure the Indonesians feel the same way. [Sarcasm alert.] (0)



Labor’s Emissions Trading Scheme again – why February?

Labor is going to re-introduce the recently Senate rejected Emissions Trading Scheme Bill in February.

What is going on? Let me hazard a guess.

After the Liberal Party on Tuesday replaced Malcolm Turnbull with Tony Abbott, the Senate yesterday rejected the Labor-Turnbull Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.  

Then it rejected the original Labor ETS, the one without the extra billions in gifts to the big polluters. It was the rejection of this original unTurnbulled Bill that gives Labor a double dissolution trigger.

That’s because it was this original unamended Bill that the Senate also rejected earlier in the year. That means this Bill fits the Constitutional requirements for a double dissolution.

But it looks like Labor doesn’t want to fight an election on its original environmental do nothing ETS Bill.

It wants to fight on the even more pathetic $123 billion polluter handout Bill that it negotiated with the Turnbull faction of the Liberals.

It sees political advantage in going to an election taunting the Liberals about their climate change denialism. How better to do that than fight an election on the very Bill many Liberals publicly supported and in their hearts still do?

But it also helps Labor to have an environmental do nothing scheme to offer to the bourgeoisie, a scheme that transfers even more in billions of dollars of our wealth to them.  The Labor-Turnbull Bill does that.

It shores up Rudd’s support among the bosses while still giving the false impression to workers of actually doing something about climate change.

Labor’s Turnbull ETS hasn’t yet been rejected twice. 

In fact because of constitutional doubts about the same Bill being rejected, and my view that the ALP are angling for a July election, the Rudd government will reintroduce the Labor-Turnbull ETS in February. The Senate will reject this fairly quickly. 

Then it will re-introduce the Labor-Turnbull ETS in May for it once again to be rejected a few weeks later.

It is this Labor-Turnbull Bill which will then give the Government the trigger for a double dissolution election in July.

It also means that the issue becomes a live one again in February and then in May, probably to the Government’s advantage.

Certainly it gives Labor the opportunity to paint the Opposition once again as climate change deniers and have the proof in front of the electorate in the form of the Senate rejection yet again of the Labor-Turnbull Bill.

The failure of Copenhagen to do anything concrete about climate change will throw more complexity into the debate in February, one that can’t be predicted at this stage.

Nevertheless even the fake movement and talks about targets that come out of the thieves’ kitchen of Copenhagen will be enough for Rudd to parade around parroting the need for passage of the Labor-Turnbull ETS.

Certainly it will expose the Liberal denialists, hiding behind the delay argument, for what they are.

Interestingly, Abbott’s rejection of any form of ETS, but his recognition that his conservative cabal need to be seen to be doing something, means he is heading to state mandated solutions.

The Party that prides itself on the market will brook no Government interference to right the wrongs of carbon pricing (in particular the lack of cost associated with externalities like pollution) by imposing a non-price solution on the market.

Certainly Heather Ridout from the Australian Industry Group (a key bosses’ group) is confused since this seems to be the refutation of the very essence of the public ideology of the Liberals. 

Such is the degeneration of liberalism in Australia.

Back to the ETS.

The Government’s strategy is politics at its lowest – not concern about the environment but a crass opportunism to be re-elected. Its February-May Labor-Turnbull Bill strategy gives them the perfect opportunity to do that. 

There’s another reason why they’ll manipulate the Senate process to get a trigger for a July 2010 double dissolution. If they do go to a double dissolution before July, the result is that the Senators elected have their start date backdated to 1 July 2009.

This means a half-Senate election, normally in conjunction with a House of Representatives’ election, would need to be held by June 2012, effectively making the term of the next Government if this did happen only 2 years or so.

On the other hand, a double dissolution cannot occur within 6 months of the date for a normal election.  For reasons I don’t need to go into, this means I think that a double dissolution has to be held by the first week of August. 

Labor has a window of opportunity for a double dissolution on the Labor-Turnbull ETS in July 2010.

They would need the Senate to reject the Bill before then, and the closer to July the better. February and May Senate rejection are perfect for that timing.

The crime in all of this is that the real debate about meaningful action to address climate change is lost in the minor disagreements between the deniers and the do-nothings.

And what for the Left? We will continue to argue that we need real action to address climate change, not handouts to polluters.

Only a mass movement in the streets and workplaces can force Labor to really address climate change.

Readers might also like to look at Labor are the real enemy and Time for a mass movement to stop their climate change.



Comment from paul walter
Time December 3, 2009 at 1:38 pm

Re Heather Ridout para, yep that’s the big diff betwen urban liberalism and antithetic Hamsonist conservatism.
The enigma is further intensified for me with Costello’s peculiar attack on Turnbull on behalf of the Minchkins, in the “Age”the other day, which seems a total revocation of what he stood for paersonally and a gift to the enemies who obstructed him during his time in Parliament.

Comment from Dr Who
Time December 3, 2009 at 5:17 pm

It is also the week when the average temperatures in Australia are likely to be the hottest

Comment from Jenny Madden
Time December 3, 2009 at 11:26 pm

We were driving home, my granddaughter and me. and looking at the beautiful christmas lights in so many houses, and it made me think. If we cannot forgo our christmas lights in the shadow of the spectre of global warming – well how many people are believers

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