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Go Gillard!

Written By: - Date published: 7:54 am, July 16th, 2011 - 30 comments
Categories: australian politics, climate change, ETS - Tags: ,

I’ve been impressed with Labour parties on both sides of the ditch lately. Here of course Phil Goff’s Labour party has had the guts to take on the major flaw in our tax system, stare down supposed “electoral suicide”, carry almost every credible economic commentator with him, and set out a bold, progressive and credible tax system.  Bravo!

But across the ditch in Oz, Labor leader and PM Julia Gillard is fighting an even tougher battle on carbon pricing. It has been a bitter debate between those who can read the 40 foot high writing on the climate change wall, and the usual short-sighted and hysterical interest groups. In many ways it has echoed our own debate on the emissions trading scheme (or the capital gains tax, with allegations that a “Bonanza beckons for bankers, accountants, lawyers”).

Although Gillard has the numbers to get her scheme in to law, some think that Labor has lost the battle for public opinion on the issue – see “How the carbon tax turned into Gillard’s Gallipoli”.  The tax is being blamed for anything that looks like a bad indicator, such as a current fall in consumer sales:

Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s carbon pricing sales pitch has been dealt a fresh blow after one of the country’s top retailers declared the policy was partly to blame for a dramatic collapse in consumer confidence.

David Jones says carbon tax fears among well-heeled shoppers have contributed to a record fall in sales which has forced it to slash its second half profit guidance.

As Gillard delivered a passionate speech defending her controversial policy, David Jones boss Paul Zahra declared he had “no doubt” the carbon tax debate was a factor in slowing sales.

Good on Gillard and Australian Labor for sticking to their guns in the face of an aggressive campaign and a lot of political pressure.  Once again – bravo!  The same article continued:

Asked how the media should cover the climate change debate, Gillard was blunt: “Don’t write crap. Can’t be that hard.”

I gotta say, Julia Gillard is growing on me.


30 comments on “Go Gillard!”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Dog tucker.

    • Policy Parrot 1.1

      Gillard knows that she can’t back off or Adam Bandt (Green, Melb.) and Andrew Wilkie (Ind. Tas.) will cross the floor and bring down the Government – even if she wanted to. In some ways, this is a great thing because the muppets that took down Kevin Rudd over largely the same issue are neutralised this time.

      • Alwyn 1.1.1

        It may seem a little odd but the unpopularity of the Gillard Government as shown by the polls actually makes it more rather than less likely that she can see out the term.
        If any of the, I think, four MPs that are not from her party cross the floor and bring down the Government there will be a new election. The more unpopular the Gillard Government are the more likely it will be that they will be tarred with the same brush for having supported her at all. Thus they almost certainly think that they will lose their own seats.
        Incidentally the Green MP doesn’t have any choice anyway. It is a bit like here where HC didn’t have to give the Greens anything in 2005 as they had nowhere else to go. It wasn’t like NZF or UF who could have taken either side in 2005.

    • bbfloyd 1.2

      have to reluctantly agree. i used to have to remind myself never to underestimate the stupidity of the average new zealander. after living in oz for a decade, i have been forced to accept that goes double for the average aussie.

      i have to keep reminding myself that chicken little isn’t really advising tony abbott on climate change policy.. or economics….they are just”very close friends”.

  2. Galeandra 2

    Yes you are, Higher(sic!!) Standard, but we do our best to save you from yourself.

  3. carbon pricing, or a carbon tax or what ever you want to call it, is another load of BS from the ruling cartel.
    It is like the Easter Islanders raising road tax to try and replace all the missing trees they cut down to move their Moai , or a fat chick paying you to run around a paddock while she eats cream buns.
    Nothing is going to stop what has already started, the Earth is going nowhere … we are )

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    The day Australia stops exporting coal to China will be the day the Australian government has some credibility on CO2 emissions. And the day Australia closes down all its mines and has the bulk of the populace working on permaculture projects will be the day Australia has full credibility. That day will come far too late, of course.

    In the meantime the political game of persuading people that driving off a cliff at 90kph is better than driving off a cliff at 100kph continues.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      They’ll stop exporting coal to China when they finally figure out that they need what they have left for themselves.

      • bbfloyd 4.1.1

        as if that’s going to happen until long after it’s too late..(stopping mineral exports). considering that the massive infrastructure spending that is drawing our best tradesmen/women to WA and Queensland is a result of the howard govt selling all their gas reserves to china before extraction had even started.

        not a peep about what happens when those reserves are needed. (of course, they have stolen east timors gasfields, so i suppose she’ll be right then)

    • Jenny 4.2

      Good to see you back Brain. As I didn’t see any comments from you on my post on the ‘Scientific American’ plan for a zero CO2 emissions Globe. I thought you had given up commenting on this site.

  5. Tea 5

    Yes I think the writer is right !
    Going going going Gillard ! 

  6. millsy 6

    Julia Gillard is pushing this policy simply because it is pretty much the only point of difference with the Liberal-National Party opposition.

    She needs something to take back to her supporters and this is it. I notice that she has given full support to the Queensland Premier as she flogs off everything not nailed down.

  7. Gary 7

    The best commentary i’ve seen on the carbon tax is this one: http://www.heathenscripture.com/you-shut-your-goddamn-carbon-taxin-mouth/

    The intro: “Three days on from Julia Gillard’s policy announcement, and the most striking characteristic of the carbon tax debate is just how closely it resembles a dozen retards trying to fuck a doorknob.”

  8. dupdedo 8

    Sums up a lot about yourself then. It’s a stupid policy. If it was a good policy, there would be no need to ‘sell’ it.

  9. Jenny 9

    “Go Gillard

    The war against Climate Change has started.

    Congratulations to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard for taking the first step.

    Despite what damage this may do to Labor’s electoral chances, Gillard’s stand is principled and electorally courageous against a background of fierce opposition.

    As the climate gets worse and the suffering of the common people increases, the position political parties take on climate change will increasingly become the dividing line between left and right.

    Within the left the dividing line will be between the defeatists and those who want to do something about it.

    Julia Gillard’s carbon pricing scheme is a step in the right direction, but as Afewknowthetruth points out in his defeatist way, it will be (on it’s own), too little too late.

    ….the day Australia closes down all its mines and has the bulk of the populace working on permaculture projects will be the day Australia has full credibility. That day will come far too late, of course.


    Despite his hyperbole, (not all Australia’s mining is for coal), the following facts would seem to confirm Brain’s pessimistic view:

    1/ Australia is the biggest emitter of CO2 pollution per capita in the world.

    2/ The Australian economy is deeply reliant on the extractive minerals industry, a big part of which is coal mining for export and power generation.

    3/ It is unrealistic to expect Australia to ban coal mining for export and power generation. To do so is to ignore reality.

    However on the other side of the ledger –

    The terrible environmental destruction wrought by the floods the drought and the fires are making firm believers of many previously convinced Australian climate sceptics.

    Though not there yet, the balance of public opinion is tipping.

    What could make the difference and turn most Australians into firm believers of the need to take more stringent and effective action to halt global warming?

    The most obvious thing that comes to my mind is a strong example set by us on this side of the TASMAN.

    Coal mining is not such an integral part of our export economy or power generation and could much more easily be banned completely.

    This would send a powerful shockwave of headlines around the world.

    The debate would be global and the reasons New Zealand took this action would be challenged and argued by both opponents and supporters of the need to take drastic action to turn back Climate Change.

    In my opinion New Zealand could win this global debate easily.

    Public pressure would then come on other governments to take the necessary extreme measures as well.

    On this side of the Tasman Sea our Labour Party which has already moved to the left with plans for a very progressive Capital Gains Tax needs to bite the bullet over climate change as well.

    Phil Goff should announce that as an election pledge

    1# Labour will immediately halt all coal exports from this country.

    2# Solid Energy’s plan to mine lignite to be turned into briquettes and diesel will be cancelled.

    3# The opening of any new coal mines including at Pike River will be prevented by statute.

    4# State owned solid energy will be ordered to put into place a realistic plan for winding down the existing coal mining industry, top of their list will be the care and retraining of their workforce followed by protection of the environment. Thirdly the Solid Energy plan should include exploring realistic alternatives to coal, to make the disruption to industry and economy as negligible as possible.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      3/ It is unrealistic to expect Australia to ban coal mining for export and power generation. To do so is to ignore reality.

      Which reality is that?

      You seem to be under the illusion that coal has only one use, burning, which just isn’t true. Steel production requires coal and some R&D could bring up some other uses as well. I agree that we should stop exporting ours.

      • Jenny 9.1.1

        Kia ora Draco –

        Biochar or Bio-Coal is an appropriate and practical substitute for high value anthracite coking coal, which is typically used in metallurgical applications such as iron and steel production (The coal being mined at Pike River).

        video: A New Way to Make Coal

        With our huge renewable exotic forests, New Zealand is perfectly placed to replace coal with Green Coal.


        Not only is biochar an exact replacement for coal in power generation or coking coal for steel smelting. it is also a clean green soil enhancement which in huge part would replace imports of oil based artificial fertilisers.

        A field trial, here, showed an increase in crop yields of 800%, described by the experimenters as miraculous.

        There is no reason at all why all coal mining couldn’t be halted in New Zealand and a biochar industry be set up in it’s place.

        If New Zealand Steel were to be made with bio char instead of coal it would be a very high end product commanding top dollar on the world steel market.

  10. dupdedo 10

    I think you will find no one cares if we ban Coal mining Jenny.

    • Jenny 10.1

      Let the opposition announce a ban on coal exports and coal mining and see.

      I think the debate will dwarf anything we have seen so far over a Capital Gains Tax.

      I believe the uproar will be so great, that the debate will not merely go viral, but global.

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        Banning coal exports is not enough of an answer. We have to get 5% of road vehicles off our roads per year for the next 15 years. How do we do that?

        We have to go from 73% renewable electricity generation to 90% renewables in the next 15 years. How do we do that?

        And if we ban coal exports, how about oil and gas? Will we ban their export too? And aside from the revenue and balance of payments implications, what about domestic use of those same fossil fuels – are we happy to ban their sale to foreign countries but quite happy to keep using them ourselves and quite happy to keep Huntly on?

        Banning coal exports makes sense if there is an overall plan that it is part of. But what might that plan look like?

        • Jenny

          Oy vey you, always with the questions.

          Banning coal exports makes sense if there is an overall plan that it is part of. But what might that plan look like?

          Draco T Bastard

          I am glad you asked:

          A real plan to save the world does exist

          Banning coal exports is not enough of an answer. We have to get 5% of road vehicles off our roads per year for the next 15 years. How do we do that?

          Draco T Bastard

          Draco the following is one practical solution to the problem caused by the private motor car that has a dramatically proven effect on private car use, way beyond the the 5% drop in car use you admit is required in the next 15 years.

          Free the buses

          A ragingly successful way to cut green house gases resulting from private automobile use, has been the introduction in some cities of free public transport.

          Though the right scream that these systems are “too expensive“,
          in fact, when all the hidden costs of private automobile use is taken into account, the public provision of free public transport is cheaper.

          As a way of cutting the use of private automobiles and unclogging the roads and motorways and cleaning the air, there is no compulsion.

          Fare Free New Zealand have estimated that if the $2billion currently earmarked for motorway expansion in Auckland was instead switched to free public transport. Auckland could buy 2 thousand new buses and run them for free 24/7 for 25 years.
          Considering that Auckland, a city of more than a million people is currently served by only 800 buses operated by private companies. The improvement in traffic congestion would be immediate.

          The dramatic reduction in traffic congestion would mean that the proposed motorway expansion would not be needed anyway. In the Belgium city of Hasselt, the introduction of the free city wide bus service allowed the cancelling of a proposed new ring road motorway around the city and even the existing inner ring road was able to be turned into a green zone.

          Hasselt which ranks as one of the highest cities for car ownership, ranks as one of the lowest for car usage. With the introduction of free public transport, usage grew by an incredible 800% within the first few days and since increased 1200%.

          Not only did this free the buses, but it freed the cars as well, to be used only for leisure.

          Private cars for private use. Buses (and trains) for public commuting.

          Sensible, liberating, good for the environment. The only down side being the drop in profits and power for the oil companies and the private transport and roading lobbies. Umm… on second thoughts that may be a good thing.

          • Colonial Viper

            Not bad, not bad 🙂

            One other part would be rail, lots of 100% electrified rail.

  11. Colonial Viper 11

    BTW because of massive oil depletion taking a strong hold in the next 4-5 years, any ban on coal will likely last only that long anyway, before it is overturned.

    • Jenny 11.1

      …..because of massive oil depletion taking a strong hold in the next 4-5 years, any ban on coal will likely last only that long anyway, before it is overturned.

      Colonial Viper

      I always find it amazing the number and variety of spurious excuses supporters of ‘Business As Usual’ have, for the continuation of climate destruction.

      • Colonial Viper 11.1.1

        To be clear, I’m not suggesting BAU at all. Transitioning away from fossil fuels in less than one generation is anything but BAU.

        It will require billions of dollars of investment per year. Definitely not BAU.

  12. Afewknowthetruth 12

    Jenny wrote:

    ‘3/ It is unrealistic to expect Australia to ban coal mining for export and power generation. To do so is to ignore reality.’

    To ignore the need to stop putting CO2 into the atmosphere is to ignore reality.

    Don’t forget that the higher the CO2 content of the atmosphere, the faster the numerous positive feedback mechanisms reinforce one another. And the higher teh CO2 content of the air the faster the oceans acidify and die (though a really high ocean temperature would drive CO2 out of the oceans and into the air, where it would add to warming) .

    Busibess as usual is killing the planet we live on. And people refuse to put an end to business as usual.

    Therefore only one outcome is possible.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Interestingly, China is moving faster than just about anyone in the transition to renewables and non GHG energy sources.

      Even so, for 1.4B people the energy density of fossil fuels is a drug which is hard to beat.

    • Jenny 12.2

      Busibess as usual is killing the planet we live on. And people refuse to put an end to business as usual.

      Therefore only one outcome is possible.


      We’re doomed, doomed I say, doomed.

      Brain your Private Fraser type mantra is getting tiresome.

      I wouldn’t mind it so much if you would try and seriously critique my suggestions for fighting climate change.

      I suggested a smaller more achievable goal, banning coal mining in New Zealand, the end being to achieve an even bigger goal, shifting the position in Australia.

      This is the way seemingly insurmountable tasks are handled. -Incrementally-

      But you ignore all this, continually claiming nothing can be done.

      In this you are in the same camp as the climate deniers who also advocate doing nothing.

  13. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrel 13

    Jesus, r0b seems like your imprimatur is electoral poison.

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