Late addendum: In Queensland, the ruling Liberal National Party just lost another by-election with a massive 18.5% swing to Labor on a two-party preferred basis. John Quiggin has more. This isn't Federal politics, it's state politics. It doesn't necessarily mean much for the next Federal election. However, this result taken together with the unpopularity of the Federal LNP and particularly the unpopularity of Tony Abbott means he is unlikely to call a double dissolution if he can't get anyone to support his budget or policies.
Sou 12:03 am AEST 21 July 2014
The Australian Parliament has committed to increasing global warming as quickly as it thinks it can get away with. Today it decided to abandon the carbon price paid by the top polluters, which commenced last year. In reversing the decision on polluter pays, the government and our elected representatives have signalled that they want global warming to get worse more quickly - as quickly as possible without being turfed out of office.
Along with most other thinking Australians, I'm ashamed that Australia is the first country in the world to take a huge backward step on mitigating climate change.
This doesn't mean that all carbon mitigation schemes in Australia have been scrapped. It is, however, a sign that Tony Abbott and his party, and the independents, want to send a signal to us here in Australia and to the rest of the world that it doesn't give a shit about the fact that Australia is one of the highest greenhouse gas emitters per capita. It doesn't give a damn for the future of Australia or the future of the rest of the world.
Australian farmers should be up in arms because they are being hit first and hardest by global warming. But I see no sign of them objecting as a group. Many of them will continue to put their hand out for flood relief and fire relief and drought relief on a more frequent basis as global warming kicks in. Others will walk off their properties. Some will adapt to the changing climate and may not even notice as the suicide rate among those farmers who find it all too hard continues to rise.
The opposition party has now pledged to activate the emissions trading scheme if they get elected next time around. Tony Abbott hasn't ruled out an emissions trading scheme either. But it's fair to say that he'd only do that under duress, if he thought it would be necessary to keep him in power. Tony Abbott is a populist leader. He'll do whatever it takes to stay Prime Minister. Whether it's secretive illegal incarceration of asylum seekers and their children or him causing more and worse droughts, floods and fires across the country.
Tony Abbott is fast becoming the least popular Prime Minister in Australia's history. That doesn't mean he'll get ousted but it does raise the chance of that happening. Surely there is someone in his party who will lead for the nation, not for the lowest quality of uneducated bigot.
Politicians have a short life in office. We won't be stuck with Tony for long. A few years at the most. Maybe he'll only last a few more months. Then we can hopefully catch up to the rest of the world and shift to a new energy economy.
There'll no doubt be lots of articles on this over coming months - by other people. I don't write much on policy but here are some other views:
- Economist John Quiggan has this to say.
- This is from Sophie Vorrath at RenewEconomy
- Ross Garnaut, who helped develop the carbon pricing scheme, says Australia is out of step
- Report from the Sydney Morning Herald, with a reader poll at the bottom.
Note the disclaimer at the bottom. Polls like this aren't representative of voters or the population as a whole. The results are at best only representative of the readers of SMH. Still, a lot of people read SMH. Of those who voted, 67% are "Angry that it (the carbon price on pollution) is gone". Only 19% are "pleased to be rid of it".