Labor and Greens in disarray on carbon price

More spin

Hands up who didn’t see this coming. As every political commentator in Australia is correctly stating, Labor is wedged between alienating their core vote by setting a carbon price too high, and the Greens by setting a carbon price too low.

Too high, and Labor will lose in a landslide at the next election. Too low, and the Greens will abandon their cosy little deal with Labor and force an election sooner – which they will lose anyway. I think that popcorn moment is approaching:

DEEP divisions have emerged between the government and the Greens over the starting price of Julia Gillard’s carbon tax as negotiations enter their final weeks.

After a meeting of the Prime Minister’s multi-party climate change committee, Greens leader Bob Brown seized on a report to be released today suggesting a carbon price of $40 a tonne may be needed to force electricity generators to switch from coal to gas.

But Climate Change Minister Greg Combet declared after the meeting that “from the government’s standpoint, it’s going to be well south of $40 a tonne and no matter what the starting price, there will be generous household assistance”.

With the committee expected to finalise its position on the carbon pricing mechanism ahead of an announcement late next month or in early July, Mr Combet conceded the government and the Greens continued to have “policy differences”, but they were “in good faith endeavouring to negotiate on those issues”.

Hilarious. More spin than a launderette. At least Tony Abbott can see through the fog:

As the MPCCC met in Canberra, Tony Abbott toured the Geelong Ford plant, saying a carbon tax of $30 a tonne would increase the cost of a car by $412. He dismissed Mr Combet’s assurances that the starting price for the carbon tax would be less than $40, saying the tax would rise every year.

“The point of this tax is that whatever level it starts at, it’s going to go up and up and up, and I say to the Australian people: you trust this Prime Minister at your peril,” the Opposition Leader said.

“Never forget the Prime Minister said six days before the election there ‘will be no carbon tax under the government I lead’, (and) within a couple of months ‘yes there will be a carbon tax’. So this is a government which is both incompetent and untrustworthy.” (source)

True. So true.


  1. I still say the Greens will plump for a $1 price before rejecting the legislation or busting up the coalition.

    If they reject the legislation, they weaken the government further. The noise calling for an election will be deafening.

    If they accept it, they can say to their followers they did something, and hope to block any attempts to undo it in the Senate.

    Neither option is appealling, but at this point I would say they will opt for a low price over another failure. The moment Labor is out of office there will never be another chance to try and get this in.

    • I would be surprised – don’t forget, the Greens voted against an ETS because it wasn’t “tough” enough…

  2. The funniest thing is that the market mechanisms that currently put a price on carbon is only 12 Euros per tonne. That equates to just over A$17 a tonne. If we eventually move to the trading market to price this, the greens will get nowhere near what they are currently suggesting.
    All we can hope for is that someone will throw a hissy fit & we all go back to the polls and sort out this mess once & for all.

  3. Be assured the Greens Climate Change agenda is being driven more so by Christine Milne. She destroyed my families’ future in 2008 when we lived in the Latrobe Valley by her demands to close down the Coal Fired Power Stations sending a Sunami through the property market which killed us financially! My family cannot stand the woman!

  4. No brc, they will go for the $40 (rising) just to be sure of getting the Greens support. Don’t forget Julia only needs to stay in the job another 13 months and one week to get the chauffered car and serviced office for life on top of the pension and free travel. After June 25 next year she will offer us her posterior for a kiss.

    Labor and the Greens just don’t think ahead anymore, beyond the Micawberish hope that something might turn up.

  5. Baldrick says:

    The Greens would actually be happy with a $120 price per tonne of carbon dioxide, if they had their way. Thankfully they don’t yet run the country full time, although they might think they do.

  6. Elias Briffa says:

    In some ways I agree with a tax to fund the overriding problems we are faced with. However maybe there should be a trial for companies to self-fund their own omission trading scheme which would see them measured on their accountability. It would also give a different approach to the way pollution problems are tackled within companies as there pollution output would now be included in their budgets. The major issues are incentives to tackle Co2, who wants to pay for it?
    Let’s face it we all go about our daily lives using equipment and products that omit Co2. There for we are all responsible right? Wrong we only use what is available to us, if a tax is imposed on citizens then we will be of the belief that we have paid for our pollution so we are not responsible which not a logical approach to the problem is at all.

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