The disastrous outcome on climate change and the Greens’ culpability

As a result of the Clive Palmer intervention, we are now unlikely to have any carbon reduction policy in place. In a few weeks’ time it is likely the Senate will vote down the Carbon Tax, its successor an Emissions Trading Scheme and Direct Action.

The party that is chiefly responsible for this fiasco is the Greens. The same is true of its holier-than-thou approach on asylum seekers, but I will leave that for another day.

I set out my views on the enormous damage that the Greens have done in my post of September 2 last year ‘Holier than thou … but with disastrous results’. That blog is reposted below. As Gough Whitlam put it in a different context ‘Only the impotent are pure’. The Greens have been giving us policy purity in truckloads, but on a sensible policy on climate change they have given us ‘a big fat nothing’.

That quote is from an article today by Phillip Coorey in the AFR, page 55. The article is headed ‘Green opportunism leaves carbon policy at zero’.

Coorey writes

‘The only mainstream party never to have taken a risk, never to have put any skin in the game and never to have lost a vote [over climate change] is the Greens. Throughout the entire eight year saga they have chained themselves to the altar of policy purity and watched others suffer for their ideals. The result is a big fat nothing. … Because they believed the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme introduced by Rudd to be inadequate, they voted it down twice. The second time was the day after Abbott knocked off Turnbull. Liberal senators Judith Troeth and Sue Boyce realising the need to establish a foothold for carbon pricing, crossed the floor to vote with Labor. The Greens helped the Coalition kill it. … Even when Labor was dying last year and Abbott was at the gate of the lodge, vowing the carbon tax would be the first policy put against the wall and shot, the Greens attacked Rudd for cowardice when he announced … that if he was elected the fixed price would move to a much lower European linked floating price on July 1 2014, one year earlier than scheduled.

As I mentioned in my blog of September 2 last year, the defeat of Rudd’s CPRS brought on an acrimonious and divisive debate and a denial of the science of climate change. As a result public support for a carbon tax on an Emissions Trading Scheme has plunged from 75% in 2007 to less than 40%. The Greens cannot wash their hands of this debacle. They triggered it in the Senate.

Whether on climate change or asylum seekers, Australia is paying a heavy price for the Greens’ policy purity. They have played into Tony Abbott’s hands.

But for the Greens an ETS would have been done and dusted five years ago.


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Depends very heavilly on your deftiniion of succesful. I may be mistaken but I suspect the 4.61% swing was the largest swing against the government in its first re-election attempt in labor-liberal history. I am not inclined to believe another style of campaign would have brought the ALP a better outcome and would thus be inclined to approve of the decision to run a scare campaign from opposition.2001 you are right the government was in a helluva lot of trouble and alot of the attacks were directed at the GST but whereas the government was two and half years old… Read more »

John Willows

Crikey Editorial 30 June 2014: Greens an easy scapegoat on climate policy A persistent myth about the role of the Greens in carbon pricing legislation has emerged in recent years. It’s argued even by some of the best journalists in the press gallery, such as Phil Coorey and Laurie Oakes, that the Greens, in their ideological purity, doomed Australia to years of wrangling over a carbon price by not voting for Kevin Rudd’s Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in 2009. If they had, the myth goes, Australia would have had an emissions trading scheme up and running that could never be… Read more »