So, now we know. Labor has wimped out on a carbon price – either from reintroducing the CPRS, or through an interim carbon price as proposed by the Greens. Instead, we’re going to get the delaying tactics of a focus group with pretensions so we can get a “community consensus”.
So where does that leave those of us who think that we’ve all been consulted to death on this issue, and it’s time for polluters to start paying? More to the point, how can we use the upcoming election to send that message?
Below the fold, a little idea I’d like to float for discussion.
Like John Quiggin, and for similar reasons, unless something completely unexpected emerges I’ll be giving my first preference to the Greens. Yes, I still disagree with their policies on many issues, but of all the options available they are closest to the mark on the ones that matter the most. I imagine many of you will do the same. But I’d like to make completely clear to the ALP hacks scrutineering my booth the key issue motivating the vote – the lack of action the one key policy measure governments need to take to address greenhouse gas emissions – putting a price on carbon.
Furthermore, I imagine that many LP readers might still choose to vote Labor, but might wish to inform the same hacks that they too want action.
So…I was thinking to borrow an idea from the fight to stop the Franklin Dam. As the Wikipedia puts it:
In the federal Lowe by-election in Sydney, March 1982, volunteers at every polling booth encouraged voters to write “No Dams” on their ballot paper, and 9% did so. At that first ‘Write-in’ campaign, few people knew that they could write a message on their federal ballot paper without invalidating their vote. In the ACT Legislative Assembly mid-1982 election, 25% of voters wrote “No Dams” on their ballot paperAugust 2009.
In the federal Flinders by-election in Victoria in December 1982, 42% of voters wrote “No Dams” on their ballot papers. This had been a marginal Liberal seat, and given the Liberal’s poor polling at the time it was widely expected that the Labor candidate would win by a large margin. However Liberal candidate Peter Reith overstated his anti-dam position,May 2009 and the Labor candidate only reflected federal Labor’s sympathetic but ineffectual No Dams platform. Reith won the Flinders by-election (only to lose the seat 3 months later). It has been suggested that Reith’s win prompted federal Labor to harden their No Dams platform from sympathetic words to a promise of federal intervention to stop the dam, despite anticipating how unpopular mainland intervention would be in Tasmania’s 5 federal seats. It has also been asserted that Malcolm Fraser called his 1983 election 7 months early on the strength of Reith’s win; if not for that early election the bulldozers would have done much more damage.
So, in a nutshell, let’s use the same tactic again – use our ballot papers to directly communicate with our political parties that we need a carbon price ASAP.
I propose the simple phrase: “Carbon price now” – but if anybody has something snappier I’d be glad to hear it.
So what do you think?