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Mungo MacCallum’s muddled murmurings

Mungo's column appears to be based on a blissful ignorance of reality

I hope that all readers of the Sandpit had a lovely Easter. I spent Easter in Byron Bay with my in-laws, and enjoyed watching UFC DVDs, playing Call of Duty and eating out at restaurants. In between such a rigorous regime of leisure, I managed to read Byron’s local rag, The Echo. It was then that I stumbled upon a column by local resident Mungo MacCallum.

Commenting on AWU National Secretary Paul Howe’s recent warning to the government over the carbon tax, the article is replete is errors. A few examples:

Howes’s threats are significant, not because they should be taken seriously, but because they suggest that the union leadership has abandoned sensible argument on the carbon tax and has descended into irrational demagoguery.

No. One of the strongest arguments against the tax is that it will cost jobs. By standing for jobs, Howes is in fact being rational. The irrational side of the debate is that which insists that we should “take action” on carbon by imposing a tax on it, in spite of the fact that any action by Australia will make no difference to the climate, the rest of the world is not willing to do the same (as demonstrated at Copenhagen) and the world has not warmed since 1998.

The AWU used to represent blacksmiths; if Howes had his way the motor car would have been introduced only if the government could have guaranteed that no smithy would be displaced.

Not true. Replacing blacksmiths with robots and other capital is a step towards industrialisation, economic growth and prosperity. The carbon tax on the other hand marks a step away from industrialisation, economic growth and prosperity.

And in any case if he were to win, and Labor to drop its plans, it would blow Julia Gillard out of the leadership and Labor out of the race at the next election.

To the contrary. MacCallum’s wishful analysis fails to recognise that Labor’s only hope of saving the next election is to scrap Julia Gillard and her carbon tax. Whilst it’s true that that would mean the electorate will have seen Labor replace two sitting Prime Ministers in the space of less than two years and there is no obvious successor, this surely is better than the alternative of plodding on with a tax which is despised by a majority of Australians.

But surely this was the biggest howler in a very poor quality peice:

while some jobs will inevitably disappear in the transition to a lower carbon economy, many others will be created

What tosh. All the evidence shows that many more jobs will be destroyed than created. Take the following studies for example:

Green programs in Spain destroyed 2.2 jobs for every green job created, while the capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy

And this one:

The report’s key finding is that for every job created in the UK in renewable energy, 3.7 jobs are lost. In Scotland there is no net benefit from government support for the sector, and probably a small net loss of jobs.

As a result, its clear that Mungo’s comment should be as follows:

while many jobs will inevitably disappear in the transition to a lower carbon economy, some will be created

That would be much more factually accurate.

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