Bob Brown: xenophobic and economically illiterate


Tell us something we didn’t already know. Sinclair Davidson in The Australian spells out the consequences of Brown’s brainlessness, which he exposed at the National Press Club yesterday:

Economic illiterates make several mistakes in their analysis. Because of his anti-foreign bias, Brown overlooks the benefits of interaction with foreigners. Unfortunately, he is not alone in exhibiting “capital xenophobia”.

Australia has long had to borrow money from the rest of the world to finance our economic prosperity. The local economy has grown and foreign investors got their money back. This arrangement has benefited everybody; Australian savings are simply too small to finance our economic growth and standard of living. Foreigners invest in those economies with good prospects and low levels of sovereign risk.

Australia has a good reputation as an investment destination. But Brown is placing that hard-earned reputation at risk. Suggestions by a major political party, in a formal partnership with government and holding the balance of power in the Senate, that foreign investment can be taxed with impunity, or even shut down, raises perceptions of sovereign risk. What’s worse, he is not alone. The ill-fated resource super-profits tax also raised serious concerns about sovereign risk.

Remarkably, Brown admits that Australia gets “jobs, export income, royalties and company tax” from mining. But that is not enough; he wants it all. He seems to object to foreigners, in return for their loans and investments, getting “profits, dividends, [and] capital appreciation”. There is also a bit of double counting going on; dividends and capital appreciation amount to profits. Or perhaps Brown doesn’t know that.

Economic illiterates believe that with some tweaking the world can be made a better place. In Brown’s case the existence of a carbon tax and the demise of the coal industry would make the world a much better place. Yet he has given little thought to how that world would be powered. It’s all very well talking about “renewables”, but which renewables and how much would they cost?

As the Productivity Commission recently flagged, renewables are expensive; wind power costs $150-$214 a megawatt hour, solar costs $400-$473 a megawatt hour. By contrast, coal-fired electricity costs less than $100 a megawatt hour.

A coal-free Australia would be a lot more expensive, with lower standards of living.

Brown quoted the UN statistic that for every year of delay on climate change $1 trillion of costs will be incurred. What he hasn’t explained is how undermining the Australian economy would reduce that cost and why Australians should bear that cost when the UN hasn’t managed to convince its members to act in concert on climate change.

The biggest problem Brown faces is that you can’t intervene in the economy on the scale he desires without a massive reduction in our economic wellbeing. The problem Australia faces is that Brown doesn’t understand that point.

Read it here.



Australia, June 2011: Green Hell

Ruining Australia

I would never have believed it possible. The country that I adopted as my own just eight short years ago has transformed from a healthy, vibrant, prosperous and flourishing society, to a bitter, divided, backward, frustrated mess run by the Greens. They hold the balance of power with two dishwater-weak independents in the House of Representatives, and soon they hold the balance of power in the Senate.

And between them, they are ruining this country, step by step, day by day.

Listen with incredulity to Bob Brown (lovingly reported by the ever impartial ABC, naturally):

Greens leader Bob Brown has guaranteed carbon price legislation will not be repealed despite promises from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott that he would “oppose it in opposition and rescind it in government”.

Senator Brown predicts an agreement on a climate legislation is only about two weeks away – but says it is not going to be a “green outcome”.

The Greens will have the balance of power in the Senate from Friday and Senator Brown says his party will not support any rescission motion – even if the Coalition is in government.

“I can give you a rolled gold guarantee that when and if this package, after all this work on behalf of the Australian people passes our parliament, we will be giving it every guarantee for the future,” Senator Brown told the National Press Club.

“Of course we won’t be supporting a rescission motion by Tony Abbott. This is, of course, central to the Greens.

“While ever we are drawing breath in the Senate we will defend the outcome – unless it can be improved.” (source)

The Greens register barely 10 percent of the vote, and yet here they are, determining the future of our country. Brown isn’t particularly knowledgeable about the Constitution clearly (neither are the ABC, who rush to print his insane ramblings without any critical thought) since there is the Double Dissolution procedure if the Senate fails to pass legislation from the lower house (section 57 of the Constitution). And it is a basic tenet of parliamentary supremacy that no parliament can bind its successors – or had you forgotten that in your mad rush to dictatorial power?

So Bob, just to make this quite clear: no one (except the ABC and Fairfax) gives a flying f*ck what you think. After the next election you will be relegated to the irrelevance that you and your despicable party really are.

Idiotic Comment of the Day: Bob Brown


Bob Brown and the Greens in general make so many idiotic comments, on an hourly basis, that they would win this award every single time. But this one stands out as being the most idiotic in a long, long time. From Insiders yesterday (I’ve made it bigger so nobody misses it):

“You know the coal industry has to be replaced by renewables.”

(source) Note that Barrie Cassidy didn’t even pick Brown up about that extraordinary statement…

And reaction has been quick:

Senator Joyce said he was fascinated to know how Senator Brown proposed to keep the national economy running without revenue from coal exports.

”We need the money to pay for hospitals, roads, schools, the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme so pensioners can get discounted medicine, and social security,” Senator Joyce said.

”Bob obviously has a magical new way to do it and I am fascinated to know how it works.

”What Bob says is a total and utter fantasy, that some angel will descend from heaven and make everything better. Remember Bob, after you’ve got rid of coal you’ve also got rid of cheap power so there will be no manufacturing industry we will have diddly squat, we will be white beggars of the south Pacific.”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said he believed the carbon tax would destroy the coal industry.

”It will destroy the steel industry, the cement industry, the aluminium industry, the motor industry it will be, over time, the death of heavy manufacturing in Australia,” he said. (source)

Labor/Green climate talks in trouble

Falling out?

“Now, this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” The more trouble these negotiations find themselves in, the better for Australia. It was always inevitable that the extreme demands of the Greens to shut down Australia’s economy would clash with Gillard’s desire to keep the core Labor vote. And now the cracks are beginning to surface. We can only hope that the gap between them eventually becomes too great to bridge.

As the ABC reports:

A meeting today between the Government and the Greens on climate change has broken up quickly amid reports of serious disagreement between the two parties.

It is understood the Greens are unhappy with the Government’s preferred deal on industry compensation, including substantial assistance to coal miners.

Other sticking points include compensation to coal-fired electricity generators and the emissions target when the carbon tax moves to an emissions trading scheme.

An informed source has told ABC News Online “the temperature of the negotiations has been pretty high lately”.

The source said the Government appeared unwilling to budge from its position.

Neither side is willing to comment publicly, but Greens leader Bob Brown issued a terse statement saying he and his deputy Christine Milne met Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Climate Change Minister Greg Combet.

Senator Brown said more discussions are expected on the weekend, however a spokesman for the Prime Minister would not confirm that.

The two independent members of the multi-party committee, Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott, have returned to their electorates and may be unavailable for quickly convened weekend talks.

Meanwhile, Mr Windsor has renewed his attack on the Government’s planned $12 million carbon price advertising campaign, describing it as “presumptuous”. (source)

We can only wait, and hope.

Green/Left can't handle balanced media

Brown and Sheikh

Apologies for the lack of posts – unexpectedly engaged in other things. But the two most ridiculous stories of the last day or so must be Bob Brown’s meltdown about the Murdoch “hate media“, and GetUp!’s protest about ABC’s “lurch to the right“.

This shows so many things it’s hard to know where to start. Firstly, of course, Bob Brown is so used to being treated with kid gloves that as soon as anyone asks anything like a curly question which he can’t answer, he flies off the handle and attacks his questioner, rather than actually addressing the issue. The Greens have for too long been regarded as above criticism, because their aims, supposedly “saving the planet”, are regarded as being on a higher moral plane than usual grubby politics. The reverse is actually true. The Greens are the grubby, people hating party, happy to sacrifice the well-being of the population on the altar of pointless environmentalism.

Brown has shown himself to be the shallow, inept politician we all knew he was. But now the Greens are in government and wielding power, they seem to expect the same easy ride. Well, sorry Bob, it doesn’t work like that. Your policies, ludicrous as they are, will be subjected to the same scrutiny as those of Labor and the Coalition. So my advice to you is: get the hell used to it. Because it will only get worse – far worse.

As for GetUp!, you really have to laugh, don’t you. This bunch of leftard lemmings is similarly so used to being pandered to by a lefty media, like ABC and Fairfax, that when Chris Uhlmann asks some difficult questions, it’s branded, Pavlov’s dog fashion, as a “lurch to the right”. Ding ding. No it isn’t Simon Sheikh, you halfwit. It’s a tiny, almost imperceptible step back towards something vaguely approaching the centre, which is exactly what is needed at the ABC.

Brown and Sheikh are like toddlers who have had their favourite toy (a compliant and biased media) cruelly taken away from them – and they just can’t cope.

Too funny for words.

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.

Pachauri slaps down Aussie Greens

Pachi cloud

I don’t often agree with Rajendra Pachauri, but in this case I’m prepared to make a limited exception:

SPECIFIC natural disasters such as Cyclone Yasi and the Brisbane floods could not be directly linked to man-made climate change, the world’s leading climate change authority said yesterday.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chairman Rajendra Pachauri said the general observation that climate change was bringing about an increase in extreme weather events was valid [what increase? – Ed] but scientists needed to provide much finer detail.

“Frankly, it is difficult to take a season or two and come up with any conclusions on those on a scientific basis,” Dr Pachauri said.

“What we can say very clearly is the aggregate impact of climate change on all these events, which are taking place at much higher frequency and intensity all over the world. [Really? – Ed]

“On that there is very little doubt; the scientific evidence is very, very strong. But what happens in Queensland or what happens in Russia or for that matter the floods in the Mississippi River right now, whether there is a link between those and climate change is very difficult to establish. So I don’t think anyone can make a categorical statement on that.”

Dr Pachauri’s comments contradict assertions by Greens leader Bob Brown in the wake of the floods that the coal industry was to blame because the sector’s contribution to global warming was responsible for the extreme weather conditions. (source)

But on the other hand, the Greens might end up as our saviours. They may vote against the carbon tax because it isn’t tough enough. Gillard, on the other hand, wants to make sure the carbon tax has as little impact as possible in order for it to sneak through, unnoticed.

A CARBON price of $40 a tonne is needed to force a switch from coal to new, gas-fired electricity generation and reduce Australia’s emissions, the federal government has been advised as it prepares for a meeting to run all weekend with the independents and Greens to begin crunching a final climate deal.

The carbon price has been widely expected to start at between $20 and $30 a tonne, but confidential research by Deloittes for the Resources Minister, Martin Ferguson, says that with east coast gas prices rising, black coal will remain the cheapest way to generate power unless the price on emissions rises relatively quickly to $40 a tonne. (source)

There’s no way you can sneak $40 a tonne past the electorate, Julia. Doesn’t get any easier, does it?

Greens "want higher carbon price"

Bunch of cynical ecotards

Of course they do. They don’t care about people not being able to pay their electricity bills, or living in excessive cold (or heat), or not being able to afford to buy groceries to feed their families. They don’t care about humanity full stop. They only care about “saving the planet”, so naturally, they want a carbon price as high as possible in order to shut down our economy to please Gaia. More evidence (should any be needed) that the Greens, being an extremist environmental advocacy group rather than a reputable political party, should never be trusted to ever hold any sway in the government of Australia.

THE Greens are pushing for a carbon tax starting price well above $20 as multiparty negotiations on climate change are set to restart on Tuesday.

The government is believed to be settling on a starting price of $20 a tonne of carbon emitted as its preferred position for its proposed carbon tax, which it hopes will start in July next year.

But The Age believes that the Greens, whose support Labor needs to establish the tax, are advocating a starting price well above that.

Greens senator Christine Milne said yesterday: “There has been no decision in the Multi-Party Climate Committee about the starting level for the pollution price, and any numbers in the public arena are nothing more than speculation.”

But in a glimmer of good news, Tony Windsor has stated that his support is not guaranteed:

Mr Windsor again cautioned the government yesterday that his support for a carbon tax was not a foregone conclusion.

“I have a vote, others do as well, so you can never guarantee something until it gets through a minority Parliament,” he said.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard sought to play down Mr Windsor’s comments [of course she did – Ed], saying “he does believe that pricing carbon is the best way, an important way, of tackling climate change. But for an individual legislative package, he’s going to look at the package and wait until the end and then judge.” (source)

I’m not holding my breath. Windsor has already betrayed his electorate by handing power to Labor after the last election, and I can see him folding like a house of cards on the carbon tax as well. More worrying for Labor is the possible threat of a union going feral:

Australia’s biggest manufacturing union has called on the government to urgently release details of its protection for industry and householders under a carbon tax, in the face of a growing workers’ revolt on the workshop floor, where union officials are being challenged and jeered for supporting Julia Gillard’s plan.

As Australian Workers Union national secretary Paul Howes prepared for a crisis meeting of union officials today to discuss the impact of the carbon tax, he said his union wanted to ensure that “this carbon price won’t cost a single job”.

Mr Howes, who went on television the night Kevin Rudd was removed as prime minister to declare his union’s support for Ms Gillard as the coup was unfolding, told The Australian last night: “If one job is gone, our support is gone.” (source)

Well I can tell you right now, Paul Howes: there won’t be just one job gone, there will be tens of thousands, maybe more, as our economy grinds to a halt, our industries move offshore and our competitors rub their hands with glee.

Also highly recommended is Jeff Kennett’s article in the Herald Sun: Gillard government has failed us

Greens/Labor split on compensation

Enjoy the show!

It was always inevitable that when the details of the carbon tax are finally hammered out, Julia Gillard would find herself torn between keeping her working class core electorate happy by helping businesses offset the cost of the tax, and appeasing the Greens with their urban band of latte-sipping trendies, desperate to punish humanity for sins against the planet. The popcorn moment comes ever closer:

DIVISIONS between Labor and the Greens on industry assistance levels in the carbon pricing plan have deepened.

Greens leader Bob Brown yesterday declared he would not accept “gifts” to big polluters and his deputy Christine Milne directly contradicted Climate Change Minister Greg Combet as the party toughened its position on compensation to emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries.

Mr Combet said Professor Garnaut “also endorsed the emissions-intensive trade-exposed assistance style of package that the government formulated under the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in the last parliament”.

But speaking before the government’s multi-party climate change committee met yesterday, Senator Brown said the Greens wanted a “principled” approach to compensation from the start, arguing “you either compensate people on the basis of information which is reliable, or you make them a gift”.

After the MPCCC meeting Senator Milne emerged and directly disagreed with Mr Combet’s assertion that Professor Garnaut had endorsed the Rudd package on assistance to emissions intensive trade exposed industries.

“No that isn’t how I read it,” she said. “Professor Garnaut has made it clear that he supports a principled approach.”

The harder line from the Greens came in the same week as Julia Gillard moved to distance herself from the minor party, declaring that only Labor could deliver a decision to price carbon and describing the Greens as being at the “extremes” of Australian politics. (source)

At least Gillard’s right on that point.

Rio Tinto: carbon tax "disastrous"

Trucking awful tax…

Tell us something we didn’t know:

Mining giant Rio Tinto has warned the carbon tax is “potentially disastrous” for industry unless a far more generous compensation package is offered than under Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

Rio’s managing director, David Peever, says the CPRS design would have resulted in a cost of $3 billion on Rio Tinto’s export business.

He said industry accepts changes must be made to cut carbon [dioxide] pollution [emissions]. [Really? Why? – Ed]

But Mr Peever – who is also a member of the Federal Government’s business roundtable on climate change – says cutting pollution [emissions] will be expensive and in some cases the technology to cut it has not even been developed yet.

“Businesses unable to pass a carbon price through to customers, which is most businesses competing in international markets, would simply have to absorb it,” he said.

“Depending on the magnitude of the carbon price, this may be manageable when market conditions are favourable and margins are healthy.

“But when the cycle turns down, it will inevitably be disastrous.” (source)

And already the Greens are circling the wagons to ensure that compensation to the evil mining industry is kept at rock bottom:

Greens leader Bob Brown said an independent arbiter should decide compensation.

“There’s no way we will back these big corporations being compensated when they don’t deserve compensation,” Senator Brown told Sky News.

“I’m just saying if trade-exposed industries, which include Rio Tinto … want to put in a claim after carbon pricing’s been brought in … let that claim be looked at independently and verified so we don’t have gouging by big industry at the expense of small business.” (source)

Remind me, who gives a flying fig what Bob Brown says again? Oh yes, we all must now. He’s the Prime Minister, after all…

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