So claims Tom Switzer, in an article at WSJ Online:
For two years, the global warming debate had been conducted in a heretic-hunting and illiberal environment. It was deemed blasphemy for anyone to dare question not only the climate science but the policy consensus to decarbonize the economy. Mr. Rudd even claimed that climate change was the “great moral challenge” of our time and even denounced critics of cap and trade as “deniers” and “conspiracy theorists.” The hapless Liberals led by Mr. Turnbull—an Oz version of Mitt Romney—were in the deepest political valley.
Mr. Abbott, then widely written off as a remnant of the Howard era, decided to challenge the media-political zeitgeist. Cap and trade, he argued, merely amounted to economic pain for no environmental gain, especially for a nation that accounted for only 1.4% of greenhouse gas emissions. He contested the Liberal party leadership, winning by a single vote.
Like Margaret Thatcher‘s victory in the U.K. Conservative party leadership ballot and Ronald Reagan’s nomination as the Republican presidential candidate in 1980, this delighted the left. They considered him too divisive and—gasp!—conservative to be electable. According to one distinguished intellectual, under Mr. Abbott’s leadership the Liberals would become “a down-market protest party of angry old men and the outer suburbs.”
Then along came the failed 2009 Copenhagen summit, which exposed the Rudd agenda as a sham. When the rest of the world refused to endorse the climate enthusiasts’ fanciful notions for slashing carbon emissions, Mr. Rudd imploded. Mr. Abbott seized the moment and highlighted the higher energy costs created by Labor’s emissions trading scheme.
Almost overnight, Mr. Rudd’s stratospheric poll figures cratered. Facing a changing (political) climate, he ditched the emissions trading scheme, his government’s key-note legislation.
Rudd’s popularity slipped and he was knifed by his own party soon afterwards. In the election of 2010, as climate alarmism’s downward spiral was well underway, Julia Gillard shackled her fortunes to the Greens, environmental extremists who demanded urgent action on climate as part of the deal to support Labor. Gillard was forced to break her pre-election promise on the introduction of a carbon [dioxide] tax, and from that moment, trust in her and Labor was gone.
Once again languishing in the polls, Labor, in a fit of desperation, reinstated Kevin Rudd, forgetting all the leadership dysfunction and chaos of his first stint, and believing him to be the Messianic figure that would transform Labor’s fortunes. Wrong. The veneer of “new Kevin” chipped and cracked within days to reveal the same “old Kevin” underneath. Voters (and his own party) had had enough.
Thus, Tony Abbott became Prime Minister of this great country.
From the archives: How Australian Climate Madness reported on Abbott’s victory in the leadership election, 1 December 2009: