Posts tagged ‘Laura Tingle’

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.

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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 8, 2011

#TiserTosh June 8: OMG, Kenny killed me

There is an extraordinary piece today [not online that I could find] by Advertiser hack Mark Kenny – endless pejorative adjectives and nouns (“spat”, “mini-tantrum”) and attempts at humour so clumsy they make Benny Hill look like Dorothy Parker (“Massive sun-obscuring edifice of egos”? Is this what they teach at the Murdoch laughing academy these days?)
Kenny builds his, um, story, around the fact that the Greens and Independents on the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee were miffed that Treasurer Wayne Swan trailed bits of a Treasury report to the media rather than letting them see it first.
If the Liberals were on a committee (and remember, they turned down the MPCCC invite) and felt they were being rolled like this, then on such point of parliamentary procedure, does anyone doubt that Advertiser hacks would be told to fulminate about it and bang on the table? Normally Labour would cop a kicking for the use of spin (“parliament insulted” etc etc -), but on this occasion the desire to give the Greens and Indies a smack has trumped that. The enemy of my enemy and all that…

It’s also a bit alarming that the senior analyst at the Tiser seems unable to understand how parliamentary legislation comes into existence. He writes “A fait accompli on the carbon tax delivered by a committee elected by almost no one.”
Yes, that’s right – the MPCCC is going to produce its findings and then THE VERY NEXT DAY everyone’s 4WD is taken away and their children sold into white slavery to give Cate Blanchett a tax break for her next island hideaway. No legislation will introduced into parliament, debated and haggled and so on like, um, any other law.

Mr Kenny has an opportunity here. He could show us how transparency is done. He could invite MPCCC members to sit in on the editorial meetings of various Murdoch rags (and frankly, the Tiser barely rises to even that description), where decisions are being made by unelected Murdoch goons (two can play that game!). Decisions about what? Well, about which democratically elected politician who doesn’t support gerontocratic plutocrats (see how easy it is?) is going to get it in the neck on in the next day’s waste of dead tree.

UPDATE 8/6/2011. If you want to see how it could (and should) have been done, check out Laura Tingle, political editor of the Australian Financial Review. Taking the same basic events, she manages to explain what is going on, point to specific facts that help you understand the possible ramifications. Her piece, “Swan appeases as tempers flare” on page 16 of the AFR 8.6.2011, is sadly behind a paywall. It concludes “It appears the government is loading in as much wriggle room as it can ahead of difficult negotiations.”

May 29, 2011

Blanchett, Turnbull and the whole damn soap opera

On a day when the Climate Institute begins a gamble on the power of celebrity (Cate Blanchett) to help create the support needed for a carbon tax, (cue Pavlovian attack by Murdoch press, as David Horton says) we have more on the Abbott (sceptic/direct actioner) versus Turnbull (patrician/trading scheme supporting) spat.

This, about the leaked chastisement of Turnbull et al for missing votes in the Housefrom the Age, is extraordinary. (Or perhaps not extraordinary at all, which is the problem.)

A parliamentary steward ferried the draft version of the email to Mr Abbott before the end of question time. The rest of the leadership group – Mr Pyne, Mr Hockey and Deputy Leader Julie Bishop – quickly became aware of its contents.
Mr Pyne and Mr Abbott examined the document before Mr Abbott walked the piece of paper to his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, who was seated in the Opposition Leader’s adviser’s box.
The growing tension between the Liberal Party’s most senior members reignites earlier leadership rivalry. Mr Hockey had been the favourite in a three-cornered leadership contest in November 2009, but he lost out when Mr Abbott deposed the then leader, Mr Turnbull, by a margin of only one vote. A source said the once-fractured relationship between Mr Turnbull and Mr Hockey had improved significantly in recent months.

Holy Cow. And this clown (Abbott) sees himself as Prime Minister material? This, this is his statesmanship?

Meanwhile, the Imperial masters have sighed knowingly at the behavior of the colonials. The Economist writes

The reformers who laid the basis of Australia’s present success had the intelligence and courage to take action when it was needed. Will the same be said of the current generation of politicians? It is by no means certain.

Asked for a response, former Green Senator Natasha Stott Despoya said that it was unfair to call the interactions between Labor and Liberals Punch and Judy. Unfair to Punch and Judy that is, since “At least Punch and Judy had a narrative. There were lessons for children in it. It’s a morality tale. That’s more than you can say about Australian politics right now. Certainly, in terms of a lack of vision, a lack of long-term visionary approaches to seemingly intractable social, political, economic, environmental problems – yes, The Economist has probably got it right.”

I’ll leave the last word to Laura Tingle, the Australian Financial Review’s excellent (e.g here) political editor. She concludes her May 26 piece “Long and the short of PM’s game” with the following observation.

“The two sides of politics are a bit like punch drunk boxers flailing wildly at each other and most often landing punches on themselves. on drunk people landing most punches on themselves…”