Following the election of Australia’s first female Prime Minister Julia Gillard, I expected her to tread carefully by not embarking on any decisions policies that would anger the population and endanger her political survival. Sadly, I was wrong.
In a major pandering to her Greens Party coalition partners, she has backflipped on her pre-election promise to NOT introduce a tax on Carbon Dioxide emissions.
She has now announced that a carbon tax will be introduced from July 2012. The price per tonne of carbon will be fixed for a period of up to 5 years, after which market-based mechanisms will be used to set the price. Although the carbon price has not been announced, a popular figure thrown around in the media is $26/tonne. This will increase the cost of electricity across the nation, as Australia generates most of its power from coal and natural gas. The government has not announced whether petrol will also be subject to the carbon tax, but various Green party members have announced that they want it to. This will also result in an avalanche of other price increases as businesses pass on their increased costs directly to consumers.
Gillard has claimed that “low-income families” and the Agricultural sector will receive some form of compensation for the increased costs, but has not gone into details. Liberal Opposition Leader Tony Abbot has claimed that the carbon tax will result in an average electricity bill increasing by $300/year and the price for petrol increasing by 6.5c/Litre. Abbot has already pledged to repeal this tax if he wins the next election.
Regardless of one’s opinion of the causes of climate change, this tax is a stupid and pointless exercise that will needlessly punish the middle class and hard the Australian economy, whilst making no global impact on carbon dioxide emissions.
- None of the tax money is being used to replace our fossil fuel burning power stations with non-CO2 producing alternatives like Nuclear power
- We will still be exporting coal that will be burnt and converted into CO2 overseas, contributing to global emissions. No-one would ever dare suggest that we stop selling coal.
- Even if Australia ceased to exist and emitted no CO2, the growth in Chinese emissions would replace it within a few months.
- Australian households have already been forced to reduce electricity and fuel consumption in the face of skyrocketing global crude oil prices and increases in domestic electricity costs. The fact is, Australians still need gas and electricity for cooking and powering appliances and in this 21st century, no-one should have to return to a pre-industrial age state of existence. People also need to travel to work and transport their children to school. There really is little scope for further drastic cuts
- Australia goes to great lengths to protect its own agriculture sector from foreign competition, so that we can be self-reliant on food. Also, Australia is raking a fortune in from mining and resources, which generates a lot of tax revenue to fill government coffers. Both these sectors intrinsically emit a lot of CO2. Do we really want to bite the hands that feed us?
- There will be absolutely no indicator or measurement that can prove that this carbon tax is having any effect on either global CO2 levels or climate events, so it will be impossible to tell whether this policy is working. Money is effectively being thrown into a black hole.
Daily Telegraph journalist Tim Blair brilliantly demolishes the case for a Carbon Tax in his article here where he addresses a series of rhetorical questions regarding the purpose and implementation of the “Carbon Tax”:
Regardless of the outcome, no-one will ever trust Julia again.
OK, long time no speak, but I must catch up on all recent Australian political developments before talking about anything else.
Following the Australian election, Labor PM Julia Gillard managed to form a fragile minority government by the skin of her teeth, by forming a coalition with a rag-tag group consisting of independents and greens party members with irreconcilable policy differences. For the time being, things are still working out, but I think it’s only a matter of time before there’s a serious clash that will destabilise the government and result in another election.
She abandoned her crazy idea of an unelected group of 150 citizens to determine how to “tackle climate change”. It is uncertain how things are going to proceed. Hopefully, they won’t.
She appointed the ousted former Labor PM Kevin Rudd as Foreign Minister in order to appease his anger and that of his supporters over the way in which he was ousted and sidelined.
Despite identifying herself as an atheist, contrasting herself with the religiously observant former PM Kevin Rudd and current Communications Minister Senator Conroy, she has expressed support for continuing with Conroy’s idiotic Internet Filtering scheme, but she has baulked on setting a deadline for its implementation.
Regarding the handling of boat people, she is back in talks with the East Timorese government over the establishment of a new “refugee processing centre”, after they had previously expressed reluctance. I guess the money earning potential for East Timor was too much for their government to refuse. Good on them. I still reckon reopening the existing facility on Nauru would’ve been better value for Australia. Nonetheless, to placate her Greens party coalition partners, she has agreed to a plan to release some asylum seekers, who are currently in detention, into the community. It is not clear yet who will be released and who won’t be.
All in all, I will say that she is taking all the correct measures to ensure her political survival in the current climate.
What do I think of Australia having its first female prime minister?
We are in a modern age where men and women have equal opportunities. Whether they choose to take up these opportunities is a separate matter.
I will judge Julia Gillard the same way I judge any politician or person in a leadership or managerial role – through his or her policies and competence as a leader.
At the moment, I do not expect much to change, after all, she was a key policy maker under her predecessor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. Perhaps now that she has a fresh start, she can change her mind and abandon bad policies without losing face.
Since taking up the role of PM, she reached a compromise with the big miners on the controversial Super Profits tax. A compromise was expected, considering that Kevin Rudd was brought down after adopting a hard-line stance. I never knew what the truth was about the need for a Super Profits tax – all I heard was propaganda coming from both sides, so I cannot say whether a compromise is a good thing or a bad thing. Time will tell.
I do like that she in an atheist, unlike religiosly devout Kevin Rudd. Perhaps religious lobby groups and ministers like Stephen Conroy will have less influence and his could spell the end for the stupid Internet filter.
She also appears to have taken a leaf out of former Liberal PM John Howard’s successful “Pacific Solution” as a means of deterring people smugglers and their boats. She has proposed the establishment of a processing centre for boat people in East Timor, instead of the former Nauru location. Naturally, this has already generated much controversy amongst her party, but it clearly will be popular amongst voters.