Archive for ‘federal government shenanigans’

July 6, 2011

Truly hilarious survival guide to the carbon price apocalypse

Crikey’s Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane has written a genuinely laugh out loud and extraordinarily useful guide to the coming days and weeks of special pleading. Pure, unadulterated genius. It starts…

Out they’ve come over the last two days, lured by the imminent announcement of the carbon price details — more corporate shills, more politicians, more unionists, more polluters, with their hands stuck out, making that distinctive bleating noise of the rentseeker in full cry. It’s like a zombie film, with a shuffling, clumsy but somehow inescapable horde of the undead — braindead, more correctly — roaming the streets, demanding “compensation”.

Ralph Hillman rose at the Press Club a short while ago to repeat his long-discredited claims about the impact of a carbon price on the coal industry, a sector which faces only one real problem, how to count all the money that’s going to roll in from China in the next few years. Instead, Hillman wants handouts from taxpayers for an industry that is the chief dealer to the cheap energy and cheap steel junkies of the planet.

Andrew Wilkie has joined in. Having declined to participate in the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, he’s now pulled the classic swing vote stunt of issuing demands right at the death. Wilkie has his own version of “think global, act local” by demanding special measures for his own electorate and its industry. Nicely played.

This stuff will be incessant for the rest of the week and then really ramp up next week, when the rentseekers who missed out will lift the pitch and volume of their bleating. To cut through all the propaganda, self-interested analysis and political race-calling, it might be useful to keep in mind some basic principles in judging Sunday’s announcement. These are some criteria by which to judge a carbon price scheme.

And continues here. OMG, ROFLMAO.

PS And (most of) the comments are worth a read to (up to 9.22pm, anyway) – astute stuff.

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July 4, 2011

AFR clippings 4th July

Business to pay fuel carbon tax
4 July 2011
Louise Dodson and Laura Tingle

Business will pay more for petrol and diesel through reduced fuel tax concessions under the carbon scheme being finalised by Labor, but individuals will be unaffected….
The exemption for motorists is a disappointment for the Greens and a win for rural independent MPs Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott….

Dumbing down carbon tax debate (page 23)
Alan Mitchell
So, the carbon tax debate is about to be enriched by the addition of yet another television advertising campaign – this one sponsored by business. Sadly, there may be some loss of subtlety in the translation from detailed discussion papers to plasma screen, particularly if business has its usual difficulty in distinguishing between legitimate issues of public policy and its own grubby rent-seeking.

And there’s a long profile piece on Greg Combet too, if that sort of thing floats your boat…

July 1, 2011

AFR clippings 30 June 2011

The AFR (30 June) is full of meaty goodness, as usual.

Fuel subsidy trade off in climate deal
Marcus Priest and Louise Dodson
The federal government will order an official inquiry into fossil fuel subsidies and fuel taxes as part of its carbon deal, as senior business leaders publicly backed an emissions scheme.
The inquiry, by the Productivity Commission, is a big win for the Greens, who have proposed restructuring excise so that fuel is taxed on its carbon content. And in a win for the NSW regional independents, it is understood that the carbon deal – likely to be announced next week – will include fuel concessions for farmers through a new fuel credits scheme.

Other snippets – The tax to an ETS after 3 years instead of the five Gillard floated in February.

Mirvac and Gloucester Coal chairman said the carbon price was not something that was going to affect the economics of the coal industry perhaps “as much as Bob Brown would like it to.”

And “Foster’s Group chief executive John Pollaers said an emissions trading scheme “has to happen.”

Meanwhile, the Fin’s political editor, Laura Tingle, has this to say about
Abbott’s dream run coming to an end

But in the past two weeks, there have been signs [Abbott’s] campaign is stuttering. The media was getting bored with his daily doorstops. More questions started to be asked about the Coalition’s “direct action” plan.
Then, confirming he really had reached the bottom of the barrel, Abbott pushed his plebiscite idea, which went brilliantly for a few hours until someone asked whether he would abide by an outcome that went against him…

In a day-to-day news sense, if the Coalition’s vote isn’t needed, the news interest changes.
The focus will be more on what all the vested interests have to say.
Here too, things are changing. The business commentary on the carbon tax is changing. The hysteria is going. The “let’s get on with it for God’s sake” is growing.

And there’s a full-page analysis
The other side of the carbon coin
“Business is not doing as much as it can to take advantage of energy efficiency schemes. This provides a counter-point to public statements on carbon, writes Marcus Priest.

June 28, 2011

Labour starts throwing the money around…

This from AAP, via InDaily

The federal government’s much awaited carbon tax compensation package will include an additional payment to 110,000 households that rely on essential medical equipment at home.

These people have high electricity costs due to their use of equipment, such as a dialysis machine or other life support devices at home.

They will receive a special annual cash payment that will fully cover the average price increase of electricity from the carbon price, in addition to all other household assistance they are eligible for.

The medical equipment payment did not exist under Labor’s shelved carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS).

[continues]

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June 24, 2011

Australian Finanical Review – what a paper!

The great things about the business press are
a) that they don’t cover celebrities and sports and all that stuff that you’d otherwise have to filter out
b) the facts per page ratio is bearable (compared with the dross in Murdoch)

Friday 24th’s paper is no exception.

How Gillard took on Rudd
Pamela Williams
Gillard has made an even greater mess since, with her own failure to adequately explain her reasons for breaking a 2010 election promise not to introduce a carbon tax – and those reasons that she has advanced (circumstances change) have failed to find any traction in a sullen and disenchanted electorate.

Yup.  I must say, it’s very unreasonable of the electorate to expect “no carbon tax” would mean “no carbon tax.”

New or old, it’s a precarious paradigm
Laura Tingle [who is the best regular reporter/commentator I’ve encountered. If people have better suggestions, please let me know.]
The farce of Abbott’s call for a plebiscite on a carbon price (which he would only take notice of if it agreed with him) seems to confirm that the Coalition is starting to run out of ways to keep its daily assault on the carbon price in the news cycle. [ACN: I am sure the Murdoch press will continue to oblige him, as long as is inhumanly possible!]
The opposition must now hope that any signs of dissent on the other side of the carbon debate will provide some new fodder because otherwise it will have at least five or six weeks over winter when the bicyle-like momentum of Abbott’s whole raison d’etre could slow.

There are real political dangers ahead for Lab/Lib/Greens/Indies in this. The number one danger – that we will emerge with a scheme that does SFA for carbon emissions – seems like a racing certainty. So it goes, as Kurt Vonnegut (RIP) used to say.

The Multi-Party Climate Change Committee may still not agree at all, or only in part, on a carbon price. While there will then be intense pressure on the Greens to make a deal on a climate price, if the tricky issues like coal and electricity generation compensation can’t be solved, Labor may yet have to take its chances with bits of its packaged on the floor of both houses, as independent MP Tony Windsor noted last week.

Quite. Labor needs to not look weak, and might just take the game of chicken through to the lower house instead of faffing on into mid-July. This whole shamozzle will drag on till September when the legislation comes out. Nerves of steel and all that…

Meanwhile, business ain’t happy…

Carbon confusion unites retail giants
Sue Mitchell
Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings and David Jones yesterday called on the federal government to provide greater clarity on the carbon tax and expressed doubt it could be introduced by July next year because they had yet to be consulted on its implementation.

and who’dathunkit – elsewhere a Coal Miner sez the sky will fall…
Vale Australia’s head of coal operations asserts ”Coal, if it is thermal, I don’t think can live with any carbon tax.”

June 16, 2011

MPCCC shenanigans 16 June

Good piece from Business Spectator on the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee.

It’s mostly about the face-off between Christine Milne and Martin Ferguson, but includes interesting stuff on a Labour backbencher called Stephen Jones, and on rooftop solar panels. It concludes –

There’s no doubt the carbon debate has moved forward substantially in the past week, but with more and more of the facts on the table, the political stakes just get higher. MPCCC negotiations will go down to the wire, but there will clearly have to be substantial ground given on both sides.

Labor will do so to avoid annihilation. And the Greens must do likewise. If they don’t, the same voters who think roof-top panels will save the world will simplistically view Milne and her colleagues as the party that blocked carbon pricing legislation yet again.

June 16, 2011

The MPCCC game of chicken continues…

From the front page of the Australian Financial Review 15 June
“The Gillard government is threatening to jettison negotiations with the Greens and key independents over a carbon price if it fails to secure compensation for the highest emitting coalmines and coal-fired generators.”

Uhuh. A credible threat? Gillard may be toast, but she’s toast sooner if the carbon price don’t get through. We will see if the Greens and indies blink…

Further down in the story, by Marcus Priest and Peter Kerr “Labor hauls Greens over the coals” we learn that modelling about job losses which was of course much-trumpetted by the Murdoch press may not have been quite so worthy of the acres of newsprint it got. It was done by ACIL-Tasman (creators of useful-to-the-rich factoids) for those cuddly Australian Coal Association types. According to the Fin, investment analysts questioned the modelling, saying it was “based upon no government assistance being provided.”
And the Grattan Institute said the report did not take into account the likelihood of offsetting rises in coal prices if there was a noticeable withdrawal of Australian production.
The Fin then quotes Grattan ceo John Daley thusly –
“The study is based on unreliable data, its findings are contrary to data published by coal producers themselves, the study ignores the dynamics between Australian production and global prices, and the study fails to mention that even if it is right, there is unlikely to be any net change in Australian unemployment.”

Doubtless Andrew Bolt is, as I type this, busily pointing the ratshittness of the ACIL-Tasman report to his legions of followers, and asking them to reflect on how much of what they read in the Murdoch press is pure spin and bollocks… … tumbleweed….

UPDATE 22 June: The Australian Coal Association has started its campaign. Rob Oakeshott is muttering about a carbon price of $15 or so.

June 14, 2011

Impending events local and national

At a State Level, the Essential Services Commission of South Australia will present modelling on each of 4 solar feed-in tariff option, ahead of Parliament sitting again on June 21 to debate the State Government’s legislation to raise the tariff to 54c/kWh and close it off to new entrants from October.

See ‘Tiser story here.

At a federal level, this Friday sees a business round table discussion with the government on the issue. So expect to see all sorts of scare stories about the sky falling in the Murdoch “news”papers on Friday morning, and on Saturday. No change there then…

June 12, 2011

Bluffer’s Guide – Who’s agin a Carbon Tax?

The latest bluffer’s guide

 

 

June 5, 2011

“Say Yes” rally June 5 – factual report

This is a factual report of the rally today. An analysis piece will be posted shortly. (Betcha can’t wait!) (Here it is.)

Around 2000 people gathered in Victoria Square/Tarndanyangga this morning for a pro-carbon tax rally organised by “Say Yes Australia.” Similar rallies have been held in capital cities around Australia, as part of an effort by the coalition of environmental groups and unions to put pressure on the Multi-Party Committee on Climate Change. The committee is currently deliberating over legislation that will create a ‘price on pollution.’

After a twenty minute set by the “Bearded Gypsy Band”, Catherine Zengerer of Radio Adelaide opened the event. A “welcome to country” was made by a young woman, called Jessie, on behalf of the Kaurna people.
Three speakers then took to the platform– David Brewer, an organic farmer, explained the consequences of a changing climate for farmers, and sad that a carbon tax would force businesses to take the necessary action.
A 17 year old Australian Youth Climate Coalition called Yen [sorry, didn’t catch surname. Edit 5/6/11 – Phan] reflected on the previous two years of climate (in)action at the Federal level. John Connor of The Climate Institute then took the stage, saying that the coming weeks, while the MPCCC deliberated, were crucial. He stated that there was struggle going on between those who wanted action and “the Captains of Industry, who like not paying a price for pollution”, those who reject the consensus of climate science, those who will use a carbon price as a scapegoat for the increases in electricity prices and difficulties that manufacturing is facing due to a strong dollar. He also singled out business and media for running a fear campaign . He encouraged people to take pre-formatted letters from stewards and distribute them to their neighbors, as part of a campaign to have “A million conversations” about the need for a price on pollution in the coming weeks.
Catherine Zengerer then closed the speech portion of the rally with news that 10,000 people had attended rallies in Sydney and Melbourne, with 3000 in Hobart. People mingled and dispersed to a final further set by the Bearded Gypsy Band.

Although there were several “No to Carbon Tax” people present, there were no altercations for the Murdoch media to report. They’ll just have to do what they always do – make stuff up…