Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Australians voted overwhelmingly against carbon pricing in the last Federal Election, but for some strange reason carbon pricing now seems to be back on the agenda again – except this time, the major Australian Political parties may be planning to present a seamless non choice to Australian voters.
According to The Guardian;
Leaders from business, welfare, the conservation movement, the electricity sector and the union movement have moved to try to fill Australia’s climate policy vacuum by starting a new slogan-free debate to help political parties find workable greenhouse policies.
Mirroring the Turnbull government’s tax debate, in which all policy options are back “on the table”, the groups commissioned major consultancies to present on six climate policy options at a special closed-door summit this week. They intend to publish the results in a back-to-the-drawing-board policy “primer” to be released next year.
Indicating the extent to which six years of bitter climate policy war have forced wide-ranging discussion outside the political arena, advisers to environment minister Greg Hunt, resources minister Josh Frydenberg and Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler, as well as advisers to state governments, all attended the workshop as observers.
In Britain, this kind of shameless cross party policy rigging led to the rise of UKIP, which in the last UK election won over 3 million votes. In the UK, which has a “first past the post” election system, this wasn’t quite enough – it didn’t translate into a significant number of electoral victories, though UKIP came very close to reaching the critical threshold at which substantial wins become likely. But in Australia, which uses an alternate vote system, a voting block of this magnitude would likely have translated into a substantial number of electoral upsets.
Make no mistake, there is a potentially gigantic amount of money on the table. Quite apart from vast legitimate profits which can be made from slurping government green subsidies, or rent seeking off ordinary people’s electricity bills, carbon pricing also frequently opens new opportunities for criminals. In Denmark, in 2010, criminals defrauded the Denmark of billions of dollars, thanks to flaws in Denmark’s carbon pricing models, and a loophole in Denmark’s GST system.
Did I mention – by a coincidence, politicians may be planning to raise Australia’s GST tax rate.
In my opinion, Australian politicians from the major parties, may be becoming far too cosy with big green. A recent poll in Australia shows nothing has changed, Australians are still very skeptical of the need for carbon pricing. But politicians seem to have different ideas. If the cross party negotiations lead to a seamless cross party climate consensus, carbon pricing will become very difficult for voters to dislodge as a policy option.
This developing Aussie democratic deficit on climate policy almost happened in America – but someone who is well known to readers of WUWT, made it his personal mission to ensure Americans retained their freedom to choose between alternative climate policy options.
What can Australians do about this developing carbon pricing nightmare? One option which might work is to write to your MP. Its easy to assume that all letters from voters end up in the circular filing cabinet, but I assure you this is not the case – ultimately politicians know they have to win votes to keep their seat. If enough people write, there’s a very real chance politicians will be spooked into listening to their constituents, rather than their party leader.