In a pathetic attempt to defend the Gillard government and play down the influence of the greens, Craig Emerson has compared Labor’s critics to one of the worst lawyers the history of film.
Proponents of the Green Monster view of the Gillard government have adopted the script from the closing scenes of popular Australian movie The Castle. Pressed to identify which section of the Constitution was being violated in the case before the court, Darryl Kerrigan’s struggling suburban solicitor could only point to “the vibe of the thing”. But, as Darryl found, a successful argument needs not just the vibe, but a few facts as well.
First of all, the solicitor, Dennis Denuto, actually found the right section of the constitution (51), he just didn’t recognise its significance. Secondly, Gillard’s critics have more than just a “vibe”.
As Emerson goes on to acknowledge, Gillard explicitly ruled out bringing in a carbon dioxide tax. Her excuse for breaking this promise was the change on circumstances, when she formed a minority government with the greens. She could have said no; what would they do? It is a clear sign that she acquiesced to their agenda. Adam Bandt subsequently admitted that the greens were behind the tax.
They [Labor] did come to us and say they wanted our help in forming government and we said, OK, but as long as we take urgent action on climate change.
Beyond the vibe, the policy most cited in support of the radical Labor-Greens alliance proposition is carbon pricing. According to this “gotcha” argument, Labor would not have put a price on carbon [DIOXIDE, FOOL] if it hadn’t been forced into it by the Greens. Though Julia Gillard did rule out a carbon tax before the last election, she explicitly kept on the table the pricing of carbon through a market-based emissions trading scheme.
The policy before parliament is a fixed price on carbon for the first three years, followed by a market-determined floating price. Labor’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, twice rejected by the Senate last parliamentary term, proposed a fixed price for one year, followed by a floating price. The difference is two years of a fixed price.
That’s still two years of a scheme we were promised we wouldn’t get and one which is strongly opposed by the public. While she made no promises on an ETS, it will be resisted with the same vigour as the carbon dioxide tax (not a carbon price).
The Prime Minister has conceded she changed her position, opting for the three-year variant in light of the post-election composition of the parliament. But fixing a carbon price for three years instead of one is hardly the hallmark of a radical green-left policy, especially when the Malcolm Turnbull-led Coalition supported Labor’s ETS with a one-year fixed price. John Howard took a similar scheme to the 2007 election.
Gillard Labor’s support for an ETS doesn’t make the government a bunch of screaming radicals, any more than does the support of the conservative prime ministers of Britain and New Zealand for similar carbon pricing schemes.
Actually, Gillard did not concede this at first. In that infamous interview with Alan Jones, she danced around the hard questions, as she always does. Only when she realised that Australians are not stupid, did she admit she changed her mind (at the behest of the greens). On the Liberal-backed ETS’, both leaders lost their jobs over the issue. Turnbull was replaced as opposition leader because of his support for it, in favour of Abbott, who opposed it. Howard only suggested his own ETS because of public pressure. As far as overseas scheme go, in the UK it is a vote-killing issue and New Zealand is winding back theirs.
Despite Craig Emerson’s objections, it is quite clear to the Australian public that the greens are exerting a dangerous influence on the government. May their reign soon come to an end.