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Democracy triumphs as Australia repeals its carbon tax

July 18, 2014

18 July 2014

Ding dong, the carbon tax is dead, the carbon tax is dead. It’s a wonderful day for democracy as the most deceitful, treacherous and useless tax is gone. Australia’s carbon tax, brought in with a direct betrayal of a nation, and supposedly would “act” on climate change, was repealed Thursday this week. It lasted just over two years, with its death a culmination of a four year crusade by Prime Minister Tony Abbott – a man of eternally low approval ratings who could destroy two Prime Ministers and win an election in a landslide almost entirely on the issue. That shows how the sham and toxicity of the policy gnawed at the core of most Australians.

Despite the direct public assurance of “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”, along with many other affirmations to not impose any sort of scheme to tax electricity whether they be fixed priced or market-based, former PM Julia Gillard used the hung parliament of the 2010 election to indeed invoke a carbon tax, and then proceeded to lie about the lie by blaming an alleged forced alliance with the lone Greens member and three independents to form a minority government. This inference at being blackmailed into a carbon tax not only showed the low level that someone would stoop to obtain power, the fact that these members would always side with Gillard’s Labor Party showed a level of deceit that only magnified the initial treachery of reversing the assurance against a carbon tax. The simple fact of the matter is that without that assurance of no carbon tax, Labor would have lost that election outright after just one term in power.

If the lie and the lie about the lie wasn’t enough, out came the lies about the carbon tax itself. Particular that it would “act” on climate change. Tiny Australia going it alone would have no effect on the world’s emissions. Abbott read perfectly the mood of a nation that it was a tax for nothing, and hammered away accordingly. Gillard was forced to switch her rhetoric from “acting on climate change” and the associated drivel of saving the planet, to building a “Clean Energy Future”. Despite a nationally televised address and a glossy brochure mailed to every household in the country, no one bought it.

Because of Abbott’s campaign of tax imposts on the nation, the carbon tax policy would see much of the tax collected returned as “compensation”. The electorate soon read this as rather than a Emissions Trading Scheme that technically would not be quite the same lie, Gillard went to a fixed rate carbon tax to ensure the revenue would be there for the compensation. The European Union’s market rate tax for an ETS was averaging less than a quarter of Gillard’s fixed rate, and of course was variable. It could drop to almost nothing, as it had done in many areas outside the EU.

People soon caught whiff of more deceit, that if you’re returning all this compensation, what’s the point in taxing people in the first place? So the compensation was more a bribe and it would be used as a wedge issue at the following election. Within a year, the rhetoric started that “Tony Abbott will remove your tax cuts”. That never gained momentum as Abbott already answered such questions from the media. The compensation would stay while the carbon tax went. It was win-win. So Gillard was exposed as only more deceitful, and more inept. The final straw was the government’s own figures showing that emissions would still increase under the policy and the 5% abatement target would be done by purchasing offshore “carbon credits”. The policy was confirmed as a total dud.

Even with the compensation, everyone knew that longer term, that it had to be unwound for the carbon tax to have any effect. Abbott banged away that the tax would go up and up, of which Labor never denied. The Greens had already validated this at the time by saying the rate needed to be at least $100 per ton, not the actual $29, for it to have any effect. That prompted Gillard to say that coal had a future in Australia, to which the Greens retorted it didn’t. Who was really running the country? Then there’s the massive contradiction of Australia exporting 95% of its coal overseas. Tax here, pollute there. It never made any sense.

The final justification for the carbon tax was that Australia was “leading the world” on climate. Yeah, sure. Australia inspires the whole world to follow them. Next thing Australia is leading the world on football and everyone will dump soccer to play Australian Rules. Then came the switch to the even more preposterous claims of, wait for this – Australia is joining the world on climate! That excuse is the main justification still being run today. Apparently everyone like China are moving towards “pricing carbon” and Australia would be left behind without joining in. That must explain why the world’s emissions have increased 30% in the past decade despite all this movement to carbon pricing. The truth is most of those schemes are very small pilot schemes, or have very low prices for permits or even permits are issued free. The world is not moving anywhere.

The rest is history. Gillard, stubborn as an ox, was dumped as leader prior to the 2013 election for a return of Kevin Rudd, in which her party was only destroyed, rather than annihilated had she remained in charge. All Gillard ever had to do was listen to the people and postpone the carbon tax. Better still, go immediately to an ETS with an extremely low tax rate, or maybe zero, so no compensation and with the directive that she wants Australia prepared for when the world finally does agree on global cuts. Australians would have seen this as sensible and a good compromise. The independents that enabled her to form government would not bail out and force an early election, such was their hatred of Tony Abbott, not to mention their own almost certain demise. Most likely Gillard would still be PM today.

Ultimately, the carbon tax had to go. Australia is a democratic nation and the word of the people must be honoured. Especially against such blanket assurances of a certain future direction in government that was bipartisan at the time. The issue of combating global warming was badly on the nose, especially after the debacle at the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009. Most of the harm done to the cause has, ironically, come from advocates themselves with their grandiose annual junkets, pompous hysteria and dud predictions. Purchasing carbon credits off-shore, gee whiz, that sounds like a wonderful fraud-free idea. The United Nations backing the companies selling the dodgy pieces of paper? Sure, total reassurance there.

As much as the elitists in the media like to think, the Australian people aren’t stupid. Probably a good part of the sentiment against any form of tax or “price” (another laughable notion) on emissions is the condescending and insulting way it’s being presented. Even with the repeal, Labor and their Greens’ mates are out with the hysteria that the world is doomed and apologising to the grandchildren of the future. As if a measly tax on the measly world emissions that Australia produces matters to anything. They just don’t get it. The science that they say is settled, actually doesn’t matter. It’s about the policy, and the process.

With Tony Abbott’s Liberal Party actually committing to a bipartisan stance of the same emissions targets as Labor, albeit with a peculiar “Direct Action” scheme, you’d think it would be pats all round from environmentalists. Instead, they don’t care about the end result, they hate the process. Or more truthfully, they hate the political side. USA’s emissions under President Obama have dropped the fastest of any nation, and that’s mostly from “direct action” by the switch to natural gas, so why not give Abbott’s policy a go? It certainly wouldn’t do any harm.

Let’s not forget that an ETS would be entrenched in Australia’s economy now, along with either Rudd or Gillard as Prime Minister had the Greens not blocked Rudd’s CO2 reduction scheme in 2009 and then 2010. The very people making accusations of crimes committed with the repeal of the carbon tax are the very criminals themselves responsible for leaving Australia without anything today. All fury should be against them, not to the government that completed a long standing and solemn promise to its people.

No, it’s not about the issue anymore. It’s about biased people masquerading as environmentalists exercising their political bigotry in this most pungent and hate-fuelled vendetta. In Australia this week, we learnt that democracy can triumph even that.

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