Tony Abbott at the Sydney Institute

Tony Abbott delivers an earlier Sydney Institute address

I was fortunate enough to attend Tony Abbott’s policy speech at the Sydney Institute last night and had the pleasure of meeting him afterwards. It was a very interesting speech, with one of the key messages being that environmental matters are being sidelined thanks to the obsessions with climate change. I understand he will announce a climate change policy in a couple of weeks, but the focus of last night’s speech was the Murray-Darling, and the creation of a 15,000 strong land army to tackle environmental problems.

Mr Abbott did touch on climate issues, however:

Of course, Australia has a role in reducing global emissions but we can’t save the world from climate change on our own. To act alone would simply export emissions (and jobs) to other countries. Not only has the Rudd Government’s grandstanding on climate change failed. It’s masked the near total neglect of those environmental problems that Australians alone can fix. In the past two years, there has been almost no progress on improving water use in the Murray-Darling basin, only modest additional use of renewable energy, and no further support for more effective land care. In fact, funding for solar panels, water recycling and land care programmes has been cut. Instead, there’s been a great deal of political barracking plus obsessive support for an emissions trading scheme: a great big new tax on everything that merely masquerades as a programme to improve the environment.

A unilateral emissions tax here in Australia would do next to nothing for the environment but would seriously damage the competitive position of our export industries. In the long run, it would damage our ability to fund the environmental improvements here in Australia that only Australians can bring about.

It’s stunning to hear the Greens to give even limited support to ideas on the environment from the Liberals, as the ABC reports:

Greens Senator Sarah Hanson Young agrees with the Opposition Leader’s critique of the Government.

“They have done little on tackling the Murray Darling Basin – a lot of talk and no action,” she said.

Senator Hanson Young says both ideas have merit, but the Liberal’s track record on environmental issues undermines Mr Abbott’s message. (source)

That’s why they’re changing the track. But we can always count on a knee-jerk reaction from Penny Wong, and we weren’t disappointed:

“It appears Mr Abbott is again making things up as he goes along, stealing from failed Howard government policies when he can’t come up with his own ideas,” Senator Wong said.

“Mr Abbott now has 19 days to release his detailed and fully costed policy on climate change.” (source)

Tick tock tick tock. Penny clearly doesn’t read the papers, or else she would have seen The Australian’s ridiculing of her constant, robotic “countdown mode” just two days ago (see here).

Read the full text of the speech here.

Grocery industry "backs Coalition on ETS"

5% increase at least

The grocery industry has rubbished the government’s forecasts on price increases, claiming that they will rise far more than predicted:

THE grocery industry has sided with the Coalition’s claim the Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme will be a big tax.

Environment Minister Peter Garrett said yesterday that claims by the Australian Food and Grocery Council that food prices would be pushed up by 5 per cent overstated the reality by seven times.

“The Treasury modelling found that in 2013, the average price impact of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme on food bills will be around $68 a year — less than 1 per cent of household food bills,” Mr Garrett said.

However, the council chief executive Kate Carnell said this was not realistic, given the role of electricity in the processed food supply chain. “The average shopping basket is about $200 a week, so the government’s modelling suggests a barely 0.5 per cent increase off the back of increases in electricity prices of 20 to 40 per cent. That is not even vaguely credible in a manufacturing industry,” she said.

Read it here.

No ETS in Coalition policy

The way ahead for Australia

The way ahead for Australia

The Coalition policy on climate change will not include any ETS or carbon tax, and will re-open the debate on nuclear power – about time too. Penny Wong, in her closing speech to the Senate yesterday held up the examples of the US, UK and France as countries which have working emissions trading schemes, conveniently forgetting one key fact: they all have massive nuclear power capability.

TONY Abbott plans to fight a climate change election using land management and energy efficiency measures to slash greenhouse emissions instead of an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax.

And as the Senate yesterday buried Kevin Rudd’s proposed carbon emissions trading scheme, the new Opposition Leader said his alternative means of reducing emissions would meet the same targets for sharp reductions in emissions proposed by Labor.

Mr Abbott’s promise came as Labor folded in the face of his dare for an early election on climate.

Despite the Senate’s rejection of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme establishing a double-dissolution trigger, Julia Gillard said the government would give the Coalition “one more chance” to change its mind. The Acting Prime Minister said Labor would introduce a new CPRS bill, including amendments agreed to by the Coalition under ousted leader Malcolm Turnbull, to parliament in February in the hope that “calmer heads” within the Coalition would shift their positions. (source)

But there is precious little hope of that:

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says he expects the Coalition’s position to harden over the summer break.

He has ruled out taking an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax to the next election as Coalition policy and says there is “very little” chance the Coalition would vote for one in February.

Nationals Senate Leader Barnaby Joyce does not think the public will be impressed by the idea of a third vote.

The Australian people will just get furious with you. We’ve made our decision, you’re playing a game and we’re sick of it,” he said.

Get over it, get on with life and get back to the next item of politics.” (source)

Well said, Barnaby, who may soon be on the front bench…

Coalition to vote down ETS, trigger election on climate change

Conservative roots

Conservative roots

This is precisely what we need – as has been said before, an election campaign is the only way in which the ETS can be exposed for what it is – a tax on everything based on flawed and exaggerated science.

TONY Abbott will steer the Liberal Party back to its conservative roots with a 2010 election campaign portraying Kevin Rudd as a Whitlamesque big spender whose climate change policies will smash Australian jobs.

The new Opposition Leader’s first act after ousting Malcolm Turnbull in a partyroom vote yesterday was to scrap his party’s support for Labor’s carbon emissions trading scheme, which he dismissed as “a great big tax”.

And Mr Abbott immediately moved to repair the Liberals’ shattered relations with the Nationals, embracing their contempt for the ETS after months of Mr Turnbull dismissing their views as irrelevant.

As Senate leader Barnaby Joyce rejoiced in a return of Coalition unity and pledged to pick apart Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme “piece by piece”, the Labor Party released an advertisement warning that an Abbott government would take the nation backwards on climate change and industrial relations.

But Mr Abbott was unabashed, foreshadowing sharper policies on border protection and industrial relations to re-engage with his party’s conservative core.

“We have spent too much time arguing over whether we might look right-wing or that we might look like a return to the Howard government,” Mr Abbott told The Australian last night.

“What we need to do is to apply to problems common sense and forget about the tags.” (source)

Disappointingly, it looks like some Liberal senators will defy the new policy and vote with the government. Here’s the “name-and-shame” list:

  • Judith Troeth
  • Sue Boyce
  • Gary Humphries

Fortunately, these three will not be enough to let the bill through, so by lunchtime, we can say “farewell to the ETS” – for now at least.

The Weekend Australian trumpets Newspoll results… from September

Sounding like Fairfax

Sounds like Fairfax

The Australian has really lost its way on this issue, supporting Malcolm Turnbull’s position on the ETS, referring to CO2 as “carbon pollution” – they really have swallowed the Rudd/Wong spin. And now they claim that voting against the ETS will be electoral suicide, based on a Newspoll survey… from September:

THE Coalition faces an electoral wipeout at next year’s federal election if the rebels led by Tony Abbott and Nick Minchin succeed in blocking the government’s climate change legislation.

The Coalition could lose at least 20 of its metropolitan seats, including those of its leader, Malcolm Turnbull, Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey and climate change critics Kevin Andrews and Andrew Robb, according to an analysis of Newspoll results.

Newspoll chief executive Martin O’Shannessy says the most worrying finding for the Coalition is that its voters aged 18 to 34 favour the government’s legislation by a margin of almost five to one. The Newspoll survey, taken in mid-September, showed that 75 per cent of Coalition voters in this age group backed the bill, while only 17 per cent were opposed.

This is in complete contradiction to what The Australian said back in July:

Just as Malcolm Turnbull has turned the Liberal Party towards accepting an ETS before the global climate change conference in Copenhagen in December, there has been a turnaround in public support for delaying finalisation of a carbon emissions trading scheme.

And while most people are still prepared to pay higher costs for petrol, electricity and gas to cut greenhouse gas emissions, support drops away rapidly as the expectations rise of higher costs.

Eight per cent of respondents to the survey, taken exclusively for The Australian last weekend, oppose an ETS outright, taking the total who oppose the scheme or want it delayed to 53 per cent.

Unfortunately, the public are wising up to the fraudulent manipulation of climate data to fit a political agenda (widespread), the true costs of the ETS to the Australian economy (huge), and the actual benefits of the ETS to the climate (none). They are also beginning to realise that the IPCC, which is Kevin Rudd’s and Penny Wong’s only source of information on climate science, is little more than an alarmist propaganda machine (read this PDF if you want to understand for yourself, and see this post from Watts Up With That: “IPCC has run its course“).

Defeating the ETS will bring on an election, and only an election campaign will allow the required investment in informing the Australian public about this harsh realities of this issue – we certainly can’t rely on the media.

Malcolm Turnbull to fight on

Malcolm Turnbull

Malcolm Turnbull

Dead Man Walking. Either he knows something the rest of us don’t or he really is a bit delusional about this, as there seems virtually no chance of Malcolm Turnbull surviving as leader, after half his frontbenchers deserted him last week. But despite that, he vows to continue:

[A] buccaneering Mr Turnbull swept into a press conference to declare he would not be bowed. In a performance widely praised for its resolve and clarity, Mr Turnbull said his party would lack credibility if it adopted a policy of no action on climate change.

“It is as simple as that,” he said. “We all recognise that most Australians expect their political leaders and their political parties to take effective action on climate change. [Not if you listen to talkback radio, they don’t – Ed]

“This is about the future of our planet and the future of our children and their children. [Really, he’s just channelling Kevin Rudd now – Ed]

“Australians expect their political leaders to act responsibly, to take action on climate change, to protect and safeguard the future of our planet, the future of our children. That is the challenge for us now and I am committed to it.”

Sources said that when Mr Turnbull arrived at work yesterday his email inbox was filled with messages of support praising his determination to stare down climate change deniers.

The messages were coming in at one a minute, with 95 per cent supportive, one source said.

“Forget for a minute what the party is saying,” said another. “Malcolm is right when he says that people want action on climate change and he is determined to argue that case. He won’t back down. He won’t resign.

“In the next couple of days he will take his campaign to the public and he will use their support next week. Don’t assume he will lose.” (source)

And, disappointingly, The Australian appears to be supporting Malcolm Turnbull on the need for an ETS, in an editorial today:

This week, Mr Turnbull was savaged for understanding what his opponents cannot comprehend, that whatever the science ultimately shows, Australians of all political persuasions believe humanity is responsible for global warming and the government has to act to reduce its impact. Mr Turnbull realises that the Rudd government’s ETS is not so different from what John Howard planned to put in place when he realised in his last term in office that the electorate wanted action on climate change. Mr Turnbull responded to the political realities by accepting it was the task of a responsible opposition to find the flaws in the government’s plan and demand improvements rather than reject it outright. He was right to do so. The Weekend Australian has always called for hard scientific evidence on human-induced global warming and has been criticised for publishing critics of the environmental orthodoxy. But the planet must be given the benefit of the doubt and the relatively low-cost ETS is the sort of market-based solution this newspaper has always advocated. Given the way the world is moving to limit emissions, it is important for Australia, as a major exporter of energy resources, to demonstrate an early commitment to cutting carbon pollution, if only to avoid the possibility of international sanctions [what?] in the future. (source)

Wrong, wrong, wrong – in so many ways, wrong. You say you want hard scientific evidence, but then “give the planet the benefit of the doubt” – have you not seen the CRU story? And now they are really toeing the Labor line by referring to carbon dioxide in the misleading manner Penny Wong and Kevin Rudd refer to it, as “carbon pollution”.

We all expect Fairfax and the ABC to peddle misinformation and alarmist propaganda about climate change. But there is little chance of the public truly understanding this issue when even The Australian does it too.

Julie Bishop "tells Turnbull to resign"

Julie Bishop

Julie Bishop

Breaking news from The Australian:

Julie Bishop has told Malcolm Turnbull he must resign as support grows for Joe Hockey to take over the Liberal leadership.

But Liberal MPs report a defiant Mr Turnbull was unmoved by her request.

The Deputy Liberal leader has understood canvassed the option with Mr Turnbull after support for his leadership collapsed.

There’s also speculation that other trusted lieutenants including NSW Liberal MP Scott Morrison may call on Mr Turnbull to stand down.

Turnbull clearly in denial…

Read it here.

ETS "scuttled" as Turnbull may resign

Things are changing fast:

LABOR’S race against time to pass the emissions trading scheme by 3:45 pm today has been scuttled amid speculation Malcolm Turnbull could resign today.

His supporters are now switching their support to Joe Hockey who is expected to enter the race when Mr Turnbull stands down in a race against Tony Abbott.

Mr Turnbull confirmed today he would agree to a leadership spill if that is what the party wanted.

But he predicted the Liberals must embrace a more modern position on climate change or risk electoral oblivion at a double dissolution election. [The “modern” position on climate change is to take the alarmist predictions with a huge pinch of salt – think CRU – Ed]

“The people who have sought to tear me down do not even believe in the policies we took to the last election,” he told ABC Radio. [Things have moved on, pal – Ed]

They don’t believe in climate change. It is irresponsible. And it is completely and utterly self-destructive from a policy point of view.” [We believe in climate change – we just don’t believe it’s caused primarily by humans, and we certainly don’t believe that Rudd’s ETS is the solution. It ain’t – Ed]

Mr Turnbull said he was confident enough Liberal senators would still vote for an emsisions trading scheme.

Liberal senators who support an emissions trading scheme have told The Australian Online they will not support the government in guillotining the debate.

Joe Hockey would just be Turnbull-lite, soft Left and in favour of an ETS (and rather too “ocker” for my liking). The only option is Tony Abbott, healthily sceptical of climate alarmism and a proper conservative who would never have agreed to “negotiate” with a sitting Labor government.

Read it here.

Turnbull must go

Arrogant contempt

Arrogant contempt

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: for the good of the Liberals and for there ever to be a credible Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull must go.

He has demonstrated nothing but contempt for his colleagues, and for the grassroots views of ordinary Australians, who can see through the sham of Kevin Rudd’s ETS “abomination”, preferring his own personal and deeply green views on taking action on climate change. Being a former merchant banker, he can no doubt see the benefits to his own industry of the ETS – a licence to print money.

And, true to form, and despite ten resignations from his front bench, he still arrogantly believes that he can railroad the ETS through, and at the same time, pander to Kevin Rudd’s demands:

Despite the uproar within the Liberal Party, the ETS legislation, officially known as the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill, might still pass the Senate.

Government Minister Anthony Albanese last night said there would be a vote on the ETS legislation at 3.45pm today, and he said Mr Turnbull had agreed to that yesterday.

Mr Turnbull said he had been assured by the Liberal Senate leadership they would not unnecessarily delay the Bill’s progress.

The Government needs just seven votes to get it through.

The crisis erupted just after Question Time yesterday when Mr Abbott and Senator Minchin – fiercely opposed to climate change measures – met Mr Turnbull and asked that he defer a vote on the ETS until 2010.

Mr Turnbull rejected the advice, and Mr Abbott handed in his notice of resignation from the Shadow Cabinet.

He was followed by Victorian MP Sophie Mirabella, Senator Minchin and Senator Eric Abetz. Liberal Whip in the Senate Stephen Parry also said he would not vote for the Bill.

Three junior Liberal shadow ministers yesterday resigned for the same reason – Matthias Corman, Mitch Fifield and Brett Mason.

“This is not about leadership,” said Mrs Mirabella – but that’s the way most of her colleagues saw it.

I cannot see how the Senate can possibly vote on the ETS at 3.45 today, except to reject it. The Liberals cannot, must not, allow this bill to pass.

Read it here.

PS. This story even made Watts Up With That – see here.

Abbott resigns – others to follow?

Tony Abbott has announced his resignation in protest over the ETS.

Tony Abbott and Sophie Mirabella have both confirmed their resignations and speculation is rife that Senate Leader Nick Minchin, Senator Eric Abetz and MP Tony Smith will soon follow.

Earlier this afternoon, Mr Abbott dropped a bombshell, resigning from the Liberal front bench in protest at the party’s decision to support Labor on climate change.

Mr Abbott denied his decision was a leadership issue but said he could not rule out a leadership spill may be called in the coming days.

Read it here.

More details to follow.

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