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And they say it like it’s a bad thing…!

Media sheds tears for axed carbon tax


It's all too much! Sob!

It’s all too much! Sob!

The inner-city basket-weaving yoghurt-knitting sandalistas that make up the Fairfax and ABC’s environment desks are already writing the eulogies for their beloved tax.

First cab off the rank is the ABC’s Sara Phillips (see ACM here), who attributes the public’s lack of enthusiasm to an ignorant fear of the unknown, stoked up by who else? Tony Abbott:

In the lead-up to last year’s election, Abbott repeatedly told us that the carbon tax would be a wrecking ball through the economy. He told us that electricity prices would be all kinds of terrible as a result of the carbon tax. He told us that the carbon tax wouldn’t bring down Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a tax, he said. A Great Big New Tax On Everything.

He was wrong on all of these accounts, of course. But the damage was done.

‘Of course’ he was wrong! You fools! She continues:

But like Shelley’s creation, it was not quite the horrendous beast we feared. The economy continues to defy prediction, quietly growing.

The latest figures from December show that Australia’s emissions have dropped 0.8 per cent, with most of the fall being explained by a 5 per cent drop in emissions from electricity generation.

It grew thanks to putting adults in charge of the shop last September, and the removal of that hopeless bunch of pre-schoolers who had spent six years grinding the country into the ground with their incompetence. But nice try, anyway. Just remind me what difference those emission reductions would have made to the climate again… oh, that’s right, zero.

Fairfax isn’t far behind, with a gushing, tear-stained hymn of praise for the Senate climate warriors of the Left. Be warned, strong stomach required:

Amid ongoing speculation over Christine Milne’s leadership style and future, the Greens leaders’ Senate performance has been passionate, emotional and, most of all, resolute. Senator Milne had a great deal invested in the legislation that created the price on carbon that kicked in on July 1, 2012. Its abolishment [sic] on Thursday was personal.

She has spent much of this week seamlessly switching between offering forceful condemnations of the government’s undoing of the legislation and in promising renewed vigour from her minor party in restoring action to address global warming.

Just moments before the final Senate action that killed the carbon tax 39 votes to 32, Senator Milne appeared very much a political leader determined to keep climate change at the forefront of the political debate.

“This is a critical moment for our nation and there are a number of new senators in this chamber today,” she said.

“Their vote today and the vote of every person in this debate will be the legacy of their political career.”

And with Opposition Leader Bill Shorten committing Labor to campaign on an emissions trading scheme as a central theme of the next federal election, his party’s leader in the Senate, Penny Wong, championed the cause with her usual skill and smooth, calculated passion.

Another standout performer in this debate has been Tasmanian Labor senator Lisa Singh, grasping her new junior environment and climate change portfolio with gusto.

The shadow parliamentary secretary was Labor’s most riveting advocate this week for keeping the price on carbon.

Again, just moments before that argument was lost, Senator Singh delivered a stinging rebuke to the government and those senators who joined with it in repealing the legislation.

“We are sending this country backwards,” she said.

“All for what? For playing politics. Playing politics with Australia’s future; playing politics with the environment; playing politics with our children.

“And it is an outrageous moment in Australia’s history.”

Too much for my stomach… Pass the sick bag.

Celebrate! Australia’s carbon [dioxide] tax is GONE!


Crack open the bubbly!

Crack open the bubbly!

The carbon tax, that utterly pointless environmental gesture that would have done nothing for the climate, has been repealed today in the Senate. Good riddance.

The toxic tax, together with the originally planned emissions trading scheme, has claimed, over the years, about half a dozen senior politicians, including Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull, all of whom have shackled themselves to the altar of climate change alarmism, and paid the price.

The Australian reports:

THE carbon tax has been repealed, fulfilling Tony Abbott’s “pledge in blood” to abolish the landmark Gillard government scheme.

The Senate passed the government’s amended carbon tax repeal bills by a margin of 39 votes to 32 at 11.14am, with only the Labor Party and the Greens opposing their passage into law.

It was the Senate’s third attempt to pass the repeal legislation.

The vote was held as Bill Shorten gave a clear pledge to take a new carbon pricing mechanism to the next federal election, due in 2016, in the form of an emissions trading scheme.

They never learn, do they? Idiots. You can add Shorten to the above list of climate victims.

Carbon tax the ‘last straw’ for Aussie business


Australian profits...

Australian profits…

Whilst Europe is paying about $4 a tonne (which is still $4 a tonne too much), Australian businesses are being slugged with $23 a tonne. Added to the raft of other anti-business legislation rolled out by Labor to keep the union vote sweet, this is finishing off businesses at a rate of one an hour:

THE carbon tax is contributing to a record number of firms going to the wall with thousands of employees being laid off and companies forced to close factories that have stood for generations.

Rising energy bills caused by the Government’s climate change scheme have been called the “straw that broke the camel’s back” by company executives and corporate rescue doctors who are trying to save ailing firms.

New data from the corporate regulator reveals insolvencies have hit a record high over the past 12 months, led by widespread failures in manufacturing and construction, which accounted for almost one-fifth of collapses.

The Australian Securities & Investments Commission reports there were 10,632 company collapses for the 12 months to March 1 – averaging 886 a month – with the number of firms being placed in administration more than 12 per cent higher than during the global financial crisis.

While the high Australian dollar is seen as the main factor behind manufacturing closures, experts say the carbon tax is adding to increasing cost burdens for many firms struggling to stay afloat.

Peter Macks, principal of Adelaide-based insolvency firm Macks Advisory, said the carbon tax was “quite debilitating” for a number of hotel operators who he said had been “struggling for a long time”.

“It is very tough operating at a profit,” Mr Macks said.

Todd Gammel, a partner with HLB Mann Judd, likened the carbon tax to pulling a leg out from underneath a chair.

“For companies which have exposure to energy, and other factors which are affected by the carbon tax in a significant way, the carbon tax and the costs related to it are having a significant impact on the ability of these companies to continue,” Mr Gammel said. (Source)

And of course, if Conroy’s draconian media laws pass next week (because you only need a few days to consider thousands of lines of legislation, right? And there’s no room for negotiation…) you won’t be able to read any criticism of the government. In case you haven’t seen it, you must watch Piers Akerman on Insiders surrounded by lefty apologists for this muzzling of free speech.

Labor's climate backflip No. 2


Backflips a speciality

First it was the abandoning of the post-carbon tax floor price, and the integration with the European floating price (see here). Now it is the abandoning of the plan to close the “dirtiest” power stations. Clearing the decks for a snap election, possibly?

PLANS to replace heavily polluting coal-fired power stations with “cleaner” electricity are in turmoil and a new rift has opened between Labor and the Greens after the government scuttled a key plank of its carbon policy yesterday.

Energy Minister Martin Ferguson yesterday abandoned talks to pay for the closure of some coal power stations – including Australia’s dirtiest facility, Hazelwood in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley – saying there was a “material gap” between what the generators wanted and what the government was prepared to pay, particularly with forecasts for lower energy demand.

Mr Ferguson denied the government had ceased the talks because of last week’s decision to abandon a $15-a-tonne carbon floor price from 2015 and tie the emissions trading scheme to depressed European prices, despite claims by industry experts that the decision had “breathed new life” into the most polluting brown-coal power stations.

The failure of the talks has widened the divisions between Labor and the Greens over energy policy, forcing the government to defend its commitment to cutting greenhouse emissions after Greens leader Christine Milne accused Labor of a “breach of faith”.

Senator Milne said that putting Mr Ferguson in charge of the process was like “giving the fox control of the hen house”.

She vowed to push to bring forward a Productivity Commission review of billions of dollars of compensation for brown-coal generators. Last night Mr Ferguson said Senator Milne’s comments were “childish” and that her “simplistic” attack on the government “reflects more on her and her lack of understanding of the energy market”. (source – paywall)

Just another Labor train wreck to add to the already overfilled scrapyard.

Labor's tactical retreat


Back-pedalling?

Perhaps it’s finally dawning on them that a $23 a tonne carbon tax for three years, plus a $15 dollar floor price for the ETS after 2015 is economically and electorally suicidal, especially when the EU carbon price is currently under $10.

Could this be the first of a number of incremental tactical retreats? How far can they go before the Greens have a hissy fit? [Not very - Ed] Greg Combet would be delusional to believe that the carbon price will recover to Labor’s projected figure of $29, surely?

THE Gillard government will abandon the floor price for carbon from 2015 under a deal with the European Union to link the Australian and EU carbon trading schemes.

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said the move would not prompt a revision of federal budget figures, despite the low carbon price in Europe which has fluctuated between 3-10 Euros in recent times.

The budget figures rely on a $29 carbon price in 2015-16.

Mr Combet said the EU carbon price had been hit hard by the eurozone financial crisis, but it would recover.

“It is three years away,” Mr Combet said. “The treasury modelling is something we stand by.” (source)

Oh, he does. And he is.

All we need to do now is reduce the carbon tax from $23 a tonne down to maybe India’s level – $1.50 [actually 50 rupees, which is about 86 cents - thanks Andrew in the comments - Ed]?

On a serious note, however, if there are a number of small changes such as this, it may make it potentially more difficult for the Coalition to justify repeal if they win power. But while the fixed price remains at $23 a tonne for the best part of three more years, that won’t be a problem.

The government’s announcement is here.

Legal opinion: no big bill to repeal carbon [dioxide] tax


Legal opinion

From The Australian:

A COALITION government elected next year could repeal the carbon tax without risking a multi-billion-dollar compensation bill, a prominent legal identity says.

The opposition has been dogged by claims it will be forced to pay billions for carbon units issued by the commonwealth if it honours its commitment to end the tax under the provisions of Section 51 of the constitution, which stipulates the government can only acquire property “on just terms”.

But Sydney barrister and former law academic Bryan Pape — whose 2009 challenge to the $900 million Rudd government stimulus payments led to the High Court demolishing the long-held assumption that the commonwealth can spend money in whatever area it wishes — says under the operations of the Clean Energy Act no acquisition of property issues would arise until 2015.

The opinion emerged as Julia Gillard confirmed the government was continuing to consult on the shape of the floor price in its carbon pricing legislation.

“We’ve been consulting on floor price arrangements as is well know,” the Prime Minister said.

“We will continue with that and when we’re in a position to say something about that, we will.”

In an opinion provided to the Institute of Public Affairs think-tank and obtained by The Australian, Mr Pape cites Section 100.7 of the act and says: “Up to June 30, 2015, any carbon units which were issued to persons by the regulator are taken to have been surrendered immediately after the issue of the unit.

“In short, there would be no property capable of being acquired.”

Given the situation, Mr Pape writes: “In my opinion there would be no consequences with respect to Section 51.”

Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt welcomed Mr Pape’s opinion.

“It fits with exactly what we always knew to be the case,” he said.

“There never has been and never will be a basis for compensation because nobody loses anything.

“The point about carbon units issued to companies now is that they are only ever issued for part payment of a carbon tax bill.

“Every single company that gets some compensation still has a bigger bill to pay.”

Mr Hunt repeated the Coalition’s determination to repeal the tax.

“Unlike the government we’ve said what we’ll do — and we’ll do it,” he said.

“The next election will be a referendum on the carbon tax.

“We can repeal it, we will repeal it and we’ll do it quickly and easily.” (source)

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