Guest essay by Eric Worrall
After snatching defeat from the jaws of victory with unaffordably extreme climate policies, a leading Aussie opposition politician has shocked colleagues by suggesting they ditch their current position, and copy the winning party’s far less ambitious climate policies.
Labor MPs condemn suggestion they adopt Coalition climate change policy
Joel Fitzgibbon’s climate change ‘settlement’ is rejected but Labor will allow the government’s ‘big stick’ energy policy to pass
Katharine Murphy Political editor
Mon 14 Oct 2019 20.15 AEDT
Joel Fitzgibbon has copped a blast in the left and right caucus meetings for declaring Labor should adopt the Coalition’s Paris emissions reduction target rather than pursue ambitious cuts to carbon pollution.
The internal unrest came as the shadow cabinet was expected to sign off on Monday night on a shift in Labor’s attitude to the controversial “big stick” policy of the Morrison government.
Labor opposed the government’s policy in the last parliament to create a “big stick” power breaking up big energy companies if they engaged in price gouging. But it is now, assuming shadow cabinet and caucus approval, expected to allow the legislation to pass, having received assurances it will not be used as a backdoor means of privatising state-owned assets.
Fitzgibbon, the shadow resources minister, who suffered a significant swing against him in his coalmining seat in the Hunter Valley in the May election, used a speech to the Sydney Institute last week to argue the ALP should offer “a political and policy settlement” on climate policy “to make 28% the target by 2030”.
The unanticipated foray from the senior New South Wales rightwinger prompted internal uproar, and the shadow climate change minister, Mark Butler, promptly declared Labor would not adopt Tony Abbott’s suboptimal target.
…Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2019/oct/14/labor-mps-condemn-suggestion-they-adopt-coalition-climate-change-policy
Joel Fitzgibbon was attacked by many of his colleagues – but not all. The shadow prime minister was careful to avoid direct criticism of one of his key supporters.