With out any shadow of a doubt it was “workchoices” that did in the previous government, as beloved as it was to the former prime minister a majority of Australians loathed it enough to change their vote to the party of Brother Number One. Well now it seems to me that Brother Number One’s commitment to the AGW carbon trading regime is threatening to be the same sort electoral millstone as “work choices” was for John Howard. As a conservative I just hope that the coalition realises what a political opportunity the mad obsession with this carbon trading nonsense actually is, the short term pain of a change in their public pronouncements on this topic must be endured because of the longer term gains for the party and of course the nation as a whole.
Opposition hardliners want Coalition leader Brendan Nelson to repudiate the present policy that he has reluctantly endorsed and which shadow treasurer Malcolm Turnbull and environment spokesman Greg Hunt have enthusiastically promoted. This says an Australian scheme should start by 2012, regardless of other countries.
Next Wednesday’s Coalition meeting is likely to be a watershed for the Opposition on emissions policy. It is potentially hazardous for Dr Nelson, who will have to choose between being at odds with Mr Turnbull, the leadership pretender, or with many in the Opposition.
Mr Andrews, who gave his opinion to Dr Nelson when they attended Sunday’s Papal Mass, told The Age his view was shared by “a strong body of opinion in the party room. If a move doesn’t come from Brendan, I think it will come from someone else.”
Mr Andrews is a climate change doubter but that wasn’t the point. “Even if you accept the theory, it’s the economic argument I’m concerned about.”
He said it could be “economic suicide” for Australia to start a scheme before others. “I think a majority in the Coalition feels like that … (and) that reflects the general mood of the public.”
Nationals leader Warren Truss also signalled that Australia should not move far ahead of major emitting nations.
“We cannot resolve climate change issues on our own. The large emitting nations must be a major part of any worthwhile global action. I support the establishment of an Australian emissions trading scheme which should progress in concert with the commitments of other emitters,” he said.
I find it most amusing that in the piece from the age that I quote above that the term ‘doubter” is used rather than the more usual and generally pejorative “denailist” when it comes to Kevin Andrews But more importantly I think that even the normally rabid AGW true believing journos of the Fairfax press are seeing that the proposed scheme from Brother Number One is a recipe for economic disaster for this and any other country that buys into this get rich quick scheme for speculators and scumbags.
Brendan Nelson has to have the hardest and most thankless job in the country at present and I think that if he ever wants to get the keys to the lodge the way to do it is to differentiate his party from the Ruddites and this issue is the one to do it, if he has the courage.