2006 called…

…and wants its climate change policy back. Rather than actually doing taking an emissions trading scheme policy to an election, we’re getting a “Citizens’ Assembly – to examine over 12 months the evidence on climate change, the case for action and the possible consequences of introducing a market-based approach to limiting and reducing carbon emissions.”

There’s coverage everywhere, but frankly you’d be better off reading Gillard’s actual speech.

The idea of a randomly selected consultative body is an interesting one, related to notions of deliberative democracy the more sociologically-inclined LP hivemind members can discuss better than I!

On this particular issue, however, the time for extended deliberations is long, long past. We’ve been discussing climate change for decades. Emissions trading has been on the agenda under three Prime Ministers. The Howard government proposed an ETS before the 2007 election. The merits of carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, and hybrid schemes like Warwick McKibbin’s have been debated to death. Big business has done its sums, and the businesses most affected mainly want to fix the ground rules on which they will operate for the next few decades.

Gillard knows this – indeed, the speech has actually locked in a key part of the final shape of the scheme that will result from this process. From the speech:

To give industry certainty about future investment, the Government will ensure that emission baselines for industry assistance will not be increased – they will be as determined under the CPRS.

I think the endgame’s pretty clear – we will eventually end up with an emissions trading scheme, and it will look very much like the CPRS. There will be plenty of pork for Big Carbon, though not necessarily quite as much as in the Turnbull-Rudd compromise.

But in the name of small target election strategies, we’ll go through another couple of years of pseudo-consultation.

Elsewhere: Right on cue, Mark’s just popped up at the ABC’s campaign diary blog to give his take. Read the whole thing, but it seems we are basically of a like mind in our conclusions:

Consensus is never achievable in a democracy. This announcement, I fear, is a recipe for real inaction rather than moving forward.

Update: Tim Dunlop responds. He makes the obvious point – clearly, the government believes that support for an ETS is soft at best (and shifted from 2007), and a potentially election-losing issue in the face of an Abbott-led scare campaign. Christine Milne has apress release out that, as well as skewering the consultation process, contains some good points about the other announcements in the package.

More update: Press release from the Australia Institute: “The idea that we can delegate this to a citizens’
assembly when the government already has expert advice from Professor Ross Garnaut and the Chief Scientist to name two is absurd.”

Yet more: Bernard Keane in Crikey, who is also appalled by the policy, and notes the promise to ensure that any new coal-fired power stations are “carbon capture ready” presumably doesn’t apply to projects like the planned plants in WA and NSW, as they’re already in the planning approval process. In any case, what is a “carbon-capture-ready” power station when the technology is still so immature that there are no commercial-scale integrated examples in operation anywhere in the world?

And more: Quiggin. I think we have consensus – Quiggin is equally scathing.

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Posted in federal election 2010
67 comments on “2006 called…
  1. tssk says:

    If I were the young Liberals I’d be setting up Tea Parties for this town meeting like there was no tomorrow.

  2. Paul Norton says:

    In fact there was a deliberative process 20 years ago called the Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Groups which achieved consensus between environmentalists, business, unions, scientists, government officials and other community stakeholders on over 500 recommendations to address climate change and other environmental problems, oncluding consideration of putting a price on carbon. Many of these recommendations remain to be implemented.

  3. Eat The Rich says:

    @ tssk
    “If I were the young Liberals”
    What do you mean if?

  4. tssk says:

    Eat the rich. I am cursed in that I can see loads of ways the Libs could capitalise. If I had no morals I could make myself a pretty penny consulting to them. I wish I could have as much insight into how the ALP could capitalise on current events. At the moment surrounded by a hostile media they seemed to have slipped back into the old pattern of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

  5. Russell says:

    At least, in future, when any government claims to have a mandate for something we don’t like, we’ll be able to say “not until you get a Citizens’ Assembly to approve it, and that’ll take, oh, about two years”.

  6. Lefty E says:

    How many mandates do the Australian people need to give on this issue?

    This is a simple failure of leadership.The same one that got Rudd into hot water.

  7. su says:

    I liked Christine Milne’s comment: “We are having an election right now for a citizens representative group – the Federal Parliament.”

  8. wilful says:

    Just pathetic. I’m so disappointed.

  9. adrian says:

    I think that we’re all being a bit too kind. This is really beyond pathetic and is treating the electorate as idiots who will believe anything if it’s dressed up with the most superficial of spin.
    Once again Gillard has shown herself to be captive to the same forces that helped derail Labor during Rudd’s leadership, and it’s the same kind of poor excuse for doing nothing that we’ve seen from NSW Labor.

    I know we’ll get the usual excuses that actually doing anything substantial is playing ibnto the coalition’s hands, but when is Labor going to get some political courage, some conviction, some substance? If they can’t do it when faced with the most unelectable opposition leader in history, then when can they?

    Makes voting Greens the only alternative.

  10. MIKE says:

    We’re not going to get a PM, we’re going to get a game-show host.

    I wouldn’t be surprise if Tanya and Albo took a big sedative. Not looking good for them.

  11. Ken Lovell says:

    ‘I envisage that those involved would be genuinely representative of the wider Australian public. They would be voluntary participants, but selected through the census/electoral roll by an independent authority.

    Their work would be supported with evidence, analysis and access to the views and positions of a wide range of advocates.’

    Jesus H Christ.

    I thought Rudd was the one who put off all the hard issues by referring them to inquiries and commissions. Even he never came up with a ‘citizens’ assembly’. It’s reminiscent of the French Revolution. Democratic science, I love it.

    I’ve been critical of the shiny new Gillard Government but now I’m a convert. This is just the kind of forthright, determined leadership we need.

  12. myriad74 says:

    Given the magnitude and timeliness of the climate announcements today, I’m just going to post Christine Milne’s press release and let it speak for itself.

  13. Ken Lovell says:

    Robert is right – the speech is worth reading for once. My favourite gem:

    ‘Put simply, I believe in the skills, capacity, decency and plain common sense of Australians. I therefore believe that through dedicated discussion a representative group of Australians drawn from all age groups, parts of the country and walks of life, will help us move forward.’

    I believe I will print that and put it on my computer. It’s inspirational, dammit. Winston Churchill would have been proud of it … or at least James Hacker.

  14. Russell says:

    I wonder if she was tempted to say “and since the Senate no longer works as a states house, and goes beyond being a house of review, we will develop a referendum proposal in our first 6 months of government to replace it with a Citizens’ Assembly, half of which will be chosen every 3 years. This party-free Assembly will hold enquiries, call for submissions, produce reports and recommend amendments to legislation, but not be able to block legislation”.

  15. su says:

    Even he never came up with a ‘citizens’ assembly’

    He had the “listening tour” instead- same crap, different bottle.

  16. Lefty E says:

    Seriously. What a dismal climate policy.

    Cue Green vote surge.

  17. adrian says:

    And as Christine Milne notes in her press release, even if Labor is re-elected and the Greens have the balance of power in the Senate, any action will have to wait until this ‘talkfest’ is over. And then what if the ‘consensus’ is that we should do nothing?

    The response to this travesty must be such a surge of support for the Greens that Labor is given the fright of its life and actually gets the message.

  18. Ken Lovell says:

    The Gillard Government now has no policy on climate change, which is somewhat remarkable given that both parties went to an election with policies three bloody years ago. She does however believe in it, which is a comfort I suppose. Stripped of the panegyric to ordinary Australians, the speech seems to propose:

    1. Flick the issue to a collection of random people, according to a system yet to be worked out;
    2. Hope they agree with the IPCC and not Ian Plimer;
    3. If point 2 works, hope they come up with something coherent enough to be translated into legislation;
    4. If point 2 falls on its face, Must Try Harder.

    I look forward to Gillard apologists explaining the brilliance of this and why it is so superior to the bumbling efforts of that clod what’s-his-name.

  19. Razor says:

    . . . because the 2020 gabfest was such a success!

    Pick me! Pick me!

  20. Katz says:

    It’s a poor approach only if you want to do something about climate change.

  21. Razor: for once, we agree!

  22. Lefty E says:

    Ken – it seems to me Gillard just elevated the almighty focus group to a formal part of the Australian policy making process.

  23. moz says:

    I’ll believe it when she commits unconditionally to implement the recommendations of the assembly within 6 months or go to the polls. Right now it has the stench of a deep brown doing anything possible to put off the day she has to do something definite. Or possibly just a hopeless withdrawal into “if you do nothing you do nothing to offend anyone”. Too bad Julia, I’m offended that you won’t do anything.

    The more I see of this election campaign the more I want to go home and hide under the bed until it’s all over.

  24. Russell says:

    “I look forward to Gillard apologists explaining the brilliance of this and why it is so superior to the bumbling efforts of that clod what’s-his-name”

    Ken, can’t you see? Where Rudd stopped, Gillard is moving forward. She has invented new things do to on the way to ….. wherever we end up.

    These citizens are going to be led – she said that – towards something sort of like the CPRS. In a tug of war with the forces of reaction Julia is going to recruit 150 citizens to her side. That’ll give her side the look of invincibility.

  25. Peter Wood says:

    I had a look at Gillard’s speech and energy efficiency was not mentioned once. Does that mean that the work that the Department of Climate Change did on this was blocked by Cabinet and lobbying from polluters?

  26. silkworm says:

    Overall Gillard’s policy is the same old inactivist policy as Rudd’s. The overriding theme is that Australia will be committed to its Kyoto obligations until 2012, but Gillard fudges the numbers by changing the Kyoto Protocol using 1990 as a standard to using 2000 as a standard. In short she is happy with 450 ppm CO2. We are currently at 387 ppm. Her numbers don’t add up.

    Gillard does not go into any detail about how Australia will fit into a global scheme. She has no new ideas.

    Then there is the problem of state vs federal electricity production. At one stage she boasts about a national regulatory scheme for electricity generation, yet elsewhere she says the federal government should not prop up state-run electricity generation. Very confusing.

    She briefly mentions renewables, but fails to mention solar thermal at all. She seems to want to leave the use of renewables up to the states.

    She could do a lot more than $1 billion over 10 years (that’s a measly $300 million over the next electoral cycle) for renewables. How about a ‘green jobs czar’ like Van Jones in the US? How about a Very Fast Train connecting the major cities? How about resurrecting the home insulation scheme and getting it right? How about state and federally run solar thermal power stations supplanting coal-based power in off-peak supply?

    Regarding a carbon price, as someone here has already pointed out, Renewable Energy Certificates create a de facto carbon price of $40 per tonne. Start with that rather than a measly $10 or $20 per tonne. And dispense with the bullshit that the market sets the price. Gillard’s claim that the market should set a price on carbon belies her inactivism.

    If Gillard were genuine about a public debate, she should clean out the ABC – NOW! Start by sacking its head, Maurice Newman, who is a raging AGW denialist. And bugger off Albrechtsen, and any other denialist, from the board. Put Tim Flannery and a few other scientists on the ABC board.

  27. Katz, I think it was LO who argued that Kevin Rudd had no personal interest in climate change as an issue.

    I suspect that Gillard’s essentially no different on this.

  28. Peter, my guess is that energy efficiency is now perceived as tainted by the the political failure of the insulation scheme.

    That’s one thing I do blame Kevin Rudd for.

  29. mbahnisch says:

    I’m getting increasingly skeptical about claims to see inside Rudd’s head.

  30. Fine says:

    I think the whole debate has been badly handled by the ALP in the past, by developing a CPRS bill that was a total mess and refusing to negotiate with the Greens to get a good bill through.

    It’s like they’ve gone back to Step A again, which is disappointing. I’d much prefer to see a price put on carbon right now. But I can also understand why the they’ve taken such a cautious step. It doesn’t surprise me, I’m afraid. The ALP has been simply disappointing for a long time on this issue.

  31. Sam says:

    Let us not forget that Gillard’s background is the old industrial left, who are hostile to good environmental policy, or indeed to the idea that the environment matters much at all.

  32. Eric Sykes says:

    Dear Julie,

    Go straight to jail, do not pass go, do not collect $200

    While there read this:

    Click to access ZCA2020_Stationary_Energy_Synopsis_v1.pdf

    Then start the game again but don’t use the little car thingy, try the boot.

  33. Peter Wood says:

    Robert, just heard from Adam Morton via twitter that Gillard still has more to announce on climate.

    I guess we have today the ‘take out the trash Friday’ announcement, and we will get the ‘energy efficiency scheme and spending a bit more on renewables’ announcement closer to the election.

  34. Chris says:

    Gillard has tried the same trick as she did with her refugee speech. Two speeches in one. She explains why she believes global warming is real, caused by humans and that we can’t afford to delay action. And then she goes on to explain how the general population fears the effects of action and so she is delaying implementing a scheme even if she has the support at an election.

    In all seriousness can labor still claim to have a policy which will have more effect on co2 emissions? On one hand we have the libs who promise never to put a price on carbon but also promise a range of direct action schemes. On the other hand we have the alp who say they may introduce a cprs but if the citizen assembly decides otherwise will probably do nothing. And they have guaranteed not to do anything for at least 12-18 months after being elected.

  35. mbahnisch says:

    Bernard Keane in Crikey:

    It’s hard to describe just how truly wretched Labor’s new climate change policy is. It makes the CPRS, its dog of an emissions trading scheme, look like a model of best practice. It is a spectacular failure of leadership.

  36. SCPritch says:

    Momentum for action on climate change peaked in about 2006/7 with the perfect storm of drought, bushfire, water shortages, hurricane Katrina, hot decade, and Al Gore.

    As that wave broke and dissipated its energy, all that washed up was the CPRS, and even that didn’t get passed, as weak as it was.

    Gotta wait for the next wave before anything remotely significant will happen.

    Obviously the citizen’s assembly isn’t meant to be taken seriously. I’m sure that nobody in the govt – either politicians or public servants – will take it seriously. Its just a distraction for the media and the public, to pass the time. Its probably about as useless as many of the Howard Govt initiatives (e.g. Solar Cities, CC&S research), but at least it will cost less money. That’s a plus.

    Don’t expect another serious go at climate policy until the next wave of momentum. Who knows when that will be.

    The existing climate action that we have (e.g. MRET and many other RE policies) are a result of the democrats deal on the GST. Without the dems, there would be no MRET.

  37. mbahnisch says:

    Keane’s summary of the policy detail:

    Labor’s climate change policy has three components.

    The first is a political pathway to consensus on a carbon price. It involves the establishment of a 12-month, 150-person “Citizen’s Assembly” to “examine the evidence on climate change, the case for action and a market-based approach to reducing pollution.” These “ordinary Australians” would function as “an indicator to the nation of the progress of community consensus”.

    And the debate would be informed by a new “Climate Change Commission” that would explain the science of climate change and report on the progress of international action.

    How the assembly would be appointed and how it would communicate its views to the government remains unclear.

    The second component are new standards for coal-fired power plants. All new coal-fired power plants would be required to meet new best practice coal emissions standards and be “Carbon Capture and Storage ready”. Existing coal-fired power stations will be subject to requirements to find opportunities to reduce their emissions.

    The emissions standard for new plants would be determined by the Government “in consultation with stakeholders, including State and Territory Governments, energy market institutions, industry and environmental groups.”

    However, the standards would not apply to coal-fired plants already given environmental approval “and are determined by the energy market institutions as being sufficiently advanced in their regulatory approvals at the commencement of these standards”.

    This means two new plants in WA, Coolimba and Bluewaters, and the re-activation of an old plant, Muja, would not be subject to the requirements, which together will provide just under 1.1 GW of coal-fired power. The expansion of the Eraring Power Station in NSW, which will add 240 MW of coal-fired power, is also unaffected. The massive new Mt Piper and Bayswater plants in NSW, which will together add 4 GW of coal-fired power (although they are ostensibly also able to be gas-fired) also have “concept approval” and therefore are unlikely to be subject to the Gillard proposals.

    Electricity generators have also been told that emissions standards that will form the basis for the Government handouts to polluters under its CPRS will be held at the levels determined in 2008 for the CPRS, in order to encourage emissions reductions.

    The third component is a proposal to invest $1b over ten years to upgrade the electricity transmission network to connect renewable power sources to consumers. The initial commitment is $100m over the next four years. There will also be a $100 million Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund that will “make critical early-stage equity investments that leverage private funds to help commercialise emerging renewable technologies.”

    The $200m investment will be sourced from the Government’s $650m Renewable Energy Future Fund, funded by the shelving of the CPRS in the May Budget.

  38. Lefty E says:

    Crikey’s take about sums it up: http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/07/23/citizen-gillard-abandons-basic-leadership-on-climate-change/

    Gillard abandons leadership on climate change

    “It’s hard to describe just how truly wretched Labor’s new climate change policy is. It makes the CPRS, its dog of an emissions trading scheme, look like a model of best practice. It is a spectacular failure of leadership….

    So blatant is Labor’s refusal to lead that it raises serious questions about its fitness for government. The only problem is that the alternative is an economically-illiterate party whose leader doesn’t believe in climate change at all, but who insists on wasting $3b on the most expensive possible means of addressing it.

    What a choice, two major parties incapable of leadership and unfit to govern.”

  39. ossie says:


    Let us not forget that Gillard’s background is the old industrial left.

    While I am a great admirer of Gillard’s, I don’t recall her having spent too many days on the factory floor or down a mine shaft. Her upbringing, education, and career were as middle class as they come.

  40. Ken Lovell says:

    Undeniable, Lefty E … but watch people reject the logical conclusion that we therefore need to foster a third party. That’s not ‘realistic’.

  41. Spana says:

    What an absolute joke. Again, Gillard shows she stands for nothing. The ALP are worse than Liberals because at least the Liberals have a philosophy! Have they lost the plot? A nice chat about climate change. They don’t have the courage to actually stand for anything. The state of the ALP sinks by the day. I really did not think they could stand for less than they did but I was wrong.

  42. […] Comments Lefty E on 2010 Open Election Thread…Spana on 2006 called…su on 2010 Open Election Thread…Sam on National Security Committee Me…Patricia WA on […]

  43. adamite says:

    ‘The third component is a proposal to invest $1b over ten years to upgrade the electricity transmission network to connect renewable power sources to consumers.’

    Not sure exactly what this would involve but it could be a very important initiative if it results in widespread promotion of the use of alternative energy sources at the local level – not only in reducing the use of fossil fuels but in convincing people of the real benefits of alternative energy – environmental and financial.

    What is striking is the lack of any mention of the human and environmental costs of not addressing the problem of carbon pollution/climate change. Apparently the price of inaction is purely economic – ‘price rises, job losses and innovations lost.’

  44. Adamite, it’s worthy enough, but the amounts are chickenfeed.

  45. Terry says:

    Why would Gillard put up a commitment on an ETS, only to get stiffed by The Greens again, as happened to Rudd in 2008?

    I would say that the ALP has factored in that most ETS voters shifted three months ago, and they are a smaller number than those worried about their electricity bills under an ALP/Greens coalition government.

  46. hannah's dad says:

    Look this climate policy thingy [or lack thereof] from Gillard and the ALP is entirely predictable and a blatant symptom of the real underlying disease that bedevils Australia and which will continue to produce bland PR statements about major issues that require real action [to pinch a phrase] whilst nasty policies and programmes that cause real damage go virtually unmentioned.

    It would be best to direct attention to the cause of the problem and in this case I don’t just mean Gillard or the ALP or even the neglected need for a vigourous climate change policy.

    I’m referring to the locus of political/economic/social power in this country.
    The people, their elected representatives, do not have political power.

    Vested interest groups, one of which is the mass media which acts as the mouthpiece for such, control and direct policy in this nation.

    Jeez, surely that’s not a controversial statement????

    I’ll just give 4 quick blatantly obvious examples from recent times, I really shouldn’t need to, this is after all a ‘centre-left’ forum. not the OO and awareness of vested interest political power as a concept and reality shouldn’t really be a disputed issue but it seems to be necessary unfortunately so here goes:
    doctors and health
    the Murray and irrigators
    climate change and coal , the infamous ‘greenhouse mafia’
    royaties, the RSPT, and the mining companies

    and, wrapping up their message, Rupert Murdoch et al and the MSM.

    Is that enough?
    To establish that elected reps are hamstrung by the real purveyors of power?

    Given [hopefully] that people here acknowledge the power of the vested intersts then, really, did anyone actually expect the Gillard/ALP to come out with any real effective carbon reducing policy that would threaten the coal and cronies power clique?
    Really truly?

    I know, and I suspect you do too, that the ALP/Gillard would have been crucified in the media if they had produced anything that had real climate change teeth in the slightest.
    And the ALP won’t, some say can’t, risk that particularly at election time.

    You may reckon they are ‘pragmatic, or maybe ‘gutless’, it doesn’t really matter, they won’t or can’t threaten the powers that be in several areas of policy [I’m sure people can add to my 4 group list above, try churches and several social issues for example].

    They are victims, like us, of the bullies.

    May I suggest we focus on the bullies?

    As I was wondering how to finish off this little rant my eye caught Ken Lovell’s comment above at this time:
    ” Undeniable, Lefty E … but watch people reject the logical conclusion that we therefore need to foster a third party. That’s not ‘realistic’.

    Now with my limited power, I don’t own a newspaper chain, I’m not CEO whatever of Minerals Aust whoever, I’m not Cardinal or Archbishop Pell, there is not much I can do, rattling on here and other places is pretty ineffectual.
    So I’m going to go to my regional town pick up some propaganda and corflutes from the bus, distribute both a bit and rock up to the booth on election day and support the Greens by handing out HTVs.

    The only party that stands up to the vested intersts powerbrokers.
    Well a little bit at least and for now anyway.
    And whilst they do that and until they stop, if they do, representing people rather than the power brokers I will help as best I can and try not to diffuse my attention by getting all het up about what Julia does or does not say cos I don’t really expect too much from the ALP at all.

    They’ll get my second preference until they get as bad as the COALition and that hasn’t quite happened ….yet.

  47. Terry says:

    Correction: Rudd got shafted by The Greens in 2009. Anyway, once bitten, twice shy …

  48. Terry, we’ve argued that point to death, and suffice to say that the Greens case for not voting for the CPRS was a pretty defensible one.

  49. su says:

    Ken from the other thread:

    The problem has not been a lack of scientists to explain the science – it’s been done very adequately by any number of institutions and individuals – but the relentless bullshit of the professional deniers who have made delusionism a wonderful gravy train.

    The fact that it is so relentless, and that the scientists really can’t spend their entire professional lives swatting away at the BS suggests to me that a central body that did just that could be useful. If all it did though was to publicize how far our responses are lagging behind those in Europe then that would be a good thing.

    On a slightly more positive note I see that Andrew Elder and a couple of others are predicting that my electorate will return a Labor member for the first time in over 40 years, if so it will be largely due to Green preferences as our rural booths are rapidly swinging from Nats to Green. That is a pretty rapid shift in the electorate over the last decade so I think there is plenty of room for optimism.

  50. adamite says:

    HD – I’ve more or less reached the same conclusion, at least in terms of voting for the Green’s in the Senate. I wonder, though, how Green senators would stand up to the heat that would no doubt be placed on them by such vested interests if they gained the balance of power and tried to play hard ball on issues like the environment, the mining tax etc?

  51. Fran Barlow says:

    I also think this election shows why we need, at the very least, a system of optional preferential for the HOR and Senate.

    In the HoR you should be required to indicate only one choice and in the senate only as many as there are senators to be elected.

    True PR and no senate would be better of course. And Direct Democracy and sortition as I’ve suggested before an order of magnitude or three better still, but I don’t see anyone significant in the public space proposing that any time soon.

  52. hannah's dad says:

    “.. wonder, though, how Green senators would stand up to the heat that would no doubt be placed on them by such vested interests if they gained the balance of power and tried to play hard ball on issues like the environment, the mining tax etc?”

    The indicators are that the Greens will stand by their principles.

    Bob Brown’s entire history is a testament to his courage and ethics.
    Even when it cost them money and positive media attention eg their stances on laws about exposing party money contributions, refusing money from certain quarters, championing unpopular issues, refugees, Haneef, for example and the very latest example of Bob confronting the minerals mob the Greens have stood by their principles despite the shellacking in the media et al.

    I’m mildly, maybe even stronger, optimistic they will maintain their ethics.

    And if they don’t don’t I go elsewhere and if such doesn’t exist give up on the sham of parliamentary ‘democracy’.

  53. Bernice says:

    Christ on a bike. Is she mad? Are the ALP spinmeisters really Lib stooges? Rudd’s approval rating crashed when he caved in re emissions trading. This matters – people are worried. They’re not all Andrew Bolt believers out there. How the hell is she, or god forbid, Tony, going to deal with this given that this sort of crap will just about ensure a Greens held BOP come July next year? What sort of political reality are these people living in?? Or are they plotting that having a Greens driven program of carbon trading or tax, riding utility costs etc etc will then all be sheeted home electorally to the Greens? No, they’re not that smart are they.

    The offshore processing idea on Timor Leste was bad enough – this tepid mealy-mouthed, don’t scare the horses inaction in the face of a Himalayan range of evidence for the need for action is appalling.

  54. Adamite, it’s hard to see how the “vested interests” can unduly influence the Greens, seeing they don’t get big donations from them, nor are their voters likely to be particularly influenced by ads run by them.

  55. Snorky says:

    Has anybody checked Cate Blanchett’s diary for her availability to chair the citizens assembly?

  56. Joe says:

    Is this going to be the issue that stuffs it for Labor? No:

    In Gillards attempt to over engineer a victory, at the expense of taking a position on well, anything, under normal circumstances, with a realistically viable alternative government in opposition, I would expect her using such a tactic of “the smallest possible target,” to just get across the line due to her better starting position (ala Tories in the last UK election). In this case, as the Libs are not serious contenders, she should– assuming nothing absolutely disastrous and unforeseen occurs– win relatively comfortably.

    As a chance to involve the public in national politics and something to get excited about, this election is turning out to be a terrible disappointment. The Labor/Greens preference deal can also be seen in the context of Labor remaining as tasteless as possible– votes for the Greens and preferences from the Greens can be (and will be) marginalised, once Labor is in power. Just more window dressing– a way of shunting a sector of the Labor vote into the holding-siding, while allowing the Labor Party to concentrate on the so called “middle” of society.

    I only hope, that a Gillard government sets about leading Australia somewhere (marching around in a circle is also forward motion) as soon as it has won the election. Unfortunately, and I mean this sincerely, because I believe in the cause of social democratic parties, I think that Gillard sees herself as more of a P&C president, sort of distributing the profits from the last cake stall.

    Does Swan have anything to contribute to the campaign?



  57. Mark says:

    I don’t recall her having spent too many days on the factory floor or down a mine shaft. Her upbringing, education, and career were as middle class as they come.

    @ossie, that’s not Sam’s point. That applies to most union officials these days (except that I suspect that they’re more likely than other professionals to have working class parents). Few come up from the shop floor. The point goes to her affiliation to a sub-faction of the Left in Victoria which relies heavily on industrial unions for support.

    Incidentally, I recall we had a bit of a stoush about her parents’ class background and upbringing a while back and you were vehemently disagreeing that she had claimed that her parents made real sacrifices to get her a good education. I note that she’s now made that claim about a million times since the election was called.

  58. MIKE says:

    Maybe we’re starting to get some sort of idea of the inertia in the ALP that Rudd had to fight. If so, no wonder he tried running things on his own.

  59. adrian says:

    That’s right Mike. But it’s not only inertia, it’s the blatant cynicism behind the inertia that really stinks.

  60. Joe says:

    MIKE, as my granddad says, “they’re too smart for their own good.”

  61. MIKE says:

    HANNAH’S DAD – interesting perspective. But a lot of these so-called vested interests are only powerful because governments run scared from them. Sometimes it looks as if Julia is wandering across the battlefield looking for someone to surrender to. After all, how many people really bother to read the Australian. Bugger all. And you can’t tell me that the labor party hasn’t faced bigger vested interests in the past. Rather, I think that what we are seeing is the professionalisation and hollowing out of the labor party. All these union guys think that after spending a few years in the union they’ll shift to party HQ and then they’ll get a cushy job as an MP. It’s a nice smooth career path. Ideology? You must be kidding.

    But I do think Rudd’s big mistake was taking on the miners too late in the cycle. He should have got the tax bedded down in the first 18 months after a quick and dirty white paper for cover (though of course he still would have had to deal with Fielding and Xenophon – but that’s life).

    But having got himself into the hole he did, I still think that he would have got a lot of electoral credit by hanging tough while Tone ran around telling everyone there would be no tax.

    Julia’s rush to the polls show staggering chutzpah doesn’t it. But I’m not sure she’ll be able to keep hiding in plain sight for five more weeks. She was up against someone like Malcolm Turnbull – who will say what he thinks and does have a few policies, she’d be looking pretty sick right now.

    Maybe what we’re really seeing is what happens where there isn’t a credible opposition.

  62. MIKE says:

    In fact, I think Julia’s view is that she just has to keep breathing and she’ll beat Abbott.

  63. adamite says:

    Robert – Fair point. I guess the ‘heat’ I really had in mind would be more of a political nature, especially if they are faced with a ‘recalcitrant’ government and have to contemplate blocking legislation in the Senate to get the changes they want. Would they be prepared to go that far I wonder and take the enormous backlash from the media and major parties and the potential implications for retaining their seats?

  64. Zorronsky says:

    SCPritch..Yes..if the electorate doesn’t go with you you’re stuffed.

    Hannah’s Dad..Hard to disagree with that wrap.

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