A man exploiting the moment, or a man for all seasons? Tony Abbott’s legacy will be defined by climate change

A_man_for_all

On September 7 2013, the Australian voting public put into high office a man known for his scepticism of climate change, for surrounding himself with a coterie of fellow sceptics and for turning his back on partisan efforts to introduce a price on carbon. 

It is scarcely acknowledged today, but as late as June 2009 Tony Abbott argued for a price on carbon. In Sky News interview, Abbott stated: 

“If you want to put a price on carbon why not just do it with a simple tax. Why not ask motorists to pay more? Why not ask electricity consumers to pay more? 

And then at the end of the year, you can take your invoices to the tax office and get a rebate on the carbon tax you paid. 

It would be burdensome, all taxes are burdensome, but it would certainly change the price on carbon, raise the price of carbon without increasing in any way the overall tax burden.” 

Abbott’s repudiation of his own position and that of perceived wisdom is one of the most stunning turnarounds in Australia political history. The question, though it may never be answered, is what prompted Abbott’s about face? There are clues given to us but the man himself. 

Following the defeat of Howard Government in 2007 Abbott found solace in writing what should be regarded as his manifesto for the government he leads, Battlelines. 

Of it’s almost 200 pages, Abbott dedicates a scant four of them to climate change. And yet those four pages tell us all we need to know about Abbott the man and his view on the issue.

Abbott cites notable climate sceptic Ian Plimer as an authority, regurgitating many of the same arguments made by Plimer that have been widely dismissed by the scientific community. He also cites the equally discredited economist Bjorn Lomberg, of “sceptical environmentalist” fame. Lomberg acknowledges global warming but cherry picks facts without reservation to downplay it’s seriousness. It is an argument Abbott uncritically adopts in Battlelines, and without doubt guides his actions on climate change.

A clue to Abbott’s radical shift can be found in his concluding sentences on the issue, where he notes:

“Australians will continue to tell pollsters that they want action for a cleaner environment, but they are unlikely to support policy changes that they think might make daily life harder or much more expensive” (Battlelines, page 173).

Perhaps climate change is real. Perhaps not. Perhaps technology solutions and nuclear energy is the answer. Or not.

Regardless, it seems Abbott has cynically read the mood of parts of the electorate and played to them. Abbott is now in a position to impose the views expressed in his Battlelines manifesto upon the country.

There is much irony in that Abbott, the man who grudgingly acknowledges the science (in public at least), who will dismantle the carbon price and who has closed institutions such as the Climate Commission is defined by the politics global warming.

Without doubt Abbott, his government and his legacy will be measured against his policy approach to climate change, the very issue he denies is a genuine risk to Australia or the world. 

A man for our time, or a man for all seasons?

In the play A man for all seasons, playwright Robert Bolt muses on questions of identity and personal conscience in politics.

Based upon the life and death of Thomas More, Bolt suggests via the narrative of the play a person of conscience will stand by their principles regardless of external pressures and the temptations of short term gain.

By abiding by their principles, such individuals forfeit the temptations of power and its abuse. They remain true to themselves, a person “for all seasons”,

In the plays most famous scene, More argues against those who would put aside laws for the sake of expediency. He argues with his son-in-law, who urges the illegal arrest of a man who would eventually go on to betray him:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

It is well known tony Abbott has yearned for the Prime Ministership all his life. 

When the opportunity was presented to him, Abbott recognised the thicket of laws he needed to cut down to achieve his ambitions. He read discontent is some parts of the electorate, and played to their fears.

At this moment of writing, fire-storms are wiping out communities across New South Wales. There is no respite at this point, conditions such as these may last for weeks.

It is early spring, Australia’s extended fire season is upon us. The ill winds of climate change are upon us. 

Against this background Prime Minster Tony Abbott moves steadily, without pause or consideration to cut down laws. 

Who is Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a man cynically exploiting the moment or a man for all seasons?

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72 thoughts on “A man exploiting the moment, or a man for all seasons? Tony Abbott’s legacy will be defined by climate change

  1. john byatt says:

    labor and green senators should reject abbott’s denial and legislation.A DD would not be the answer

    http://blogs.usyd.edu.au/cru/2013/09/from_simple_disillusion_to_dou_1.html

    • Nick says:

      That is a useful perspective piece, incidentally revealing that Abbott is barking mad. Still punching walls, despite holding the highest office.

      • john byatt says:

        and come july 2014 you will have three senators voting on a piece of legislation which will benefit their own leader to the tune of six miilion dollars per year, how is that for conflict of interest, ?

        and abbot needs all those votes to pass the legislation next july.

        crisis in the making

  2. john byatt says:

    This all reminds me of a friend of mine many years ago, he had bought a second hand car and took it for a long drive, about 50km from home his oil light came on.

    “what did you do ” i asked him
    “drove home as quickly as possible, did not want to be stranded ”

    in Australia the oil light has come on, our reaction? to get as much fossil fuel out of the ground and sold before we are stranded.

    how dumb is that?

    .

  3. “if the IPCC acknowledges it”

    And the IPCC says the slowdown is not significant, i.e. it’s not statistically significant, contrary to what some denialists swear blind to you. By the way, lack of statistical significance doesn’t mean they can’t study it.

    “Are you that retarded?”

    It’s part of the denialist “playing dumb” act.

    • Rodger the Dodger says:

      “Chris O’Neill says:
      October 20, 2013 at 2:59 pm
      “Are you that retarded?”

      It’s part of the denialist “playing dumb” act.”

      You are almost right. It’s no act at all. Deniers are just plain dumb. That’s why they love Bolt, why they link to IPA goons, why the believe Heartland ‘experts’. They prove it everytime they post. They are just like sheep, mindlessly following their cult leader. No critical thinking. No scepticism. Then they have the gall to spew forth their ignorance and bigotism, attacking anyone who isn’t part of their cult. Oxygen thieves is what they are.

  4. Rodger the Dodger says:

    “J Giddeon says:
    October 20, 2013 at 4:36 am
    he is saying that the science isn’t a settled as some claim and he talks about the hiatus (which we here at WtD ‘know’ doesn’t/didn’t/couldn’t possibly occur and if the IPCC acknowledges it, they didn’t).”

    You obviously missed the press release, probably because you were a child at the time. The science was already settled when the Charney report was written, in 1979.

    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~brianpm/download/charney_report.pdf

    This was is response to the JASON report written the previous year.

    And the hiatus, no one here is denying it, you stupid turd. What we, and the rest of the science community say is that it is meaningless to exclusively look at only 1% of the highly chaotic and variable climate system to determine anything. It is only a very short term variation of a much larger system. It seems no matter how many times we tell you that you still don’t get it. Are you that retarded?

    • J Giddeon says:

      I’ll try to explain the significance of the hiatus to you again, although I know not why since your only response will be a foaming mouthed, expletive filled rant. We can but try.

      The hiatus doesn’t prove nor disprove CAGW or AGW. However its importance lies in the fact that it was not foreseen or forecast. As Storch has pointed out, a mere 2% of model runs show any 15 year period of zero warming and none show periods of 20 yr+ hiatus.

      So, if the models can’t predict or replicate the pause then they are wrong. Not necessarily dramatically wrong but not accurate. There is clearly some aspect of the climate that they don’t take into account. (eg the models have gotten natural variations wrong, CO2′s climate sensitivity is somewhat exaggerated, “it could be that there is another factor out there that we never considered, like the sun”).

      At some point the models will have to be adjusted to take into account these issues. We can assume that the lower CS now being postulated as a result of the pause (eg Otto et al) are/will be incorporated into the models.

      Whatever is finally agreed upon as the cause(s) of the pause, its difficult to see the end result doing anything other than further reducing the projected warming. Reduced projected warming pushes the need for economy warping measures further into the background and further into the future.

      And that is the significance of the hiatus at present. Of course, were it to continue, as some have postulated, into the mid 2020’s then its a whole new kettle of fish
      But we’ll ponder that down the road.

      • Nick says:

        Recent ‘low’ sensitivity studies are based on short-term observations. The full suite of sensitivity studies cannot be thrown out just because a slightly lower estimate can be found. Studies that account for past climate best have higher sensitivities than Otto. And we are committed to change whether GAT rises 0.1C/decade slower or faster: SLR for instance.

        The sun has always been considered in modelling of climate. If the sun goes quieter than experienced, it casts no doubt on estimates of sensitivity to doubled CO2. The physics and the dimensions do not change simply because solar forcing falls and rises.

        The economy is already being warped by its major players, and warped in a direction that brings poor outcomes to the environment [through irrational discounting] and to most folks on the planet [through poor governance, obligate corporate taxation and regulation]. The main obstacle to better outcomes is corruption of government by lax regulation, special interests and proximity to money: lack of reform that serves the broad community. When government fails to govern on major policy like energy, incumbent energy infrastructure owners will make decisions for us, but in their particular interests. The privatisation of parts and whole national power grids and generators now hinders government in making best environmental decisions.

        Your alarmism about the economy is a sign that corporate perception management has destroyed your reasoning. Your position seems to be “we’d like to do things, but the economy” which seems to be about as arse-about as you can get. The tail is wagging the dog. If we direct change by the real authority of the electorate, then ‘the economy’ will still do fine as a whole.

      • john byatt says:

        Gavin Schmidt “It could be argued that since recent trends have fallen slightly below the multi-model ensemble mean, this should imply that our uncertainty has massively increased and hence the confidence statement should be weaker than stated. However this doesn’t really follow. Over-estimates of model sensitivity would be accounted for in the methodology (via a scaling factor of less than one), and indeed, a small over-estimate (by about 10%) is already factored in. Mis-specification of post-2000 forcings (underestimated volcanoes, Chinese aerosols or overestimated solar), or indeed, uncertainties in all forcings in the earlier period, leads to reduced confidence in attribution in the fingerprint studies, and an lower estimate of the anthropogenic contribution. Finally, if the issue is related simply to an random realisation of El Niño/La Niña phases or other sources of internal variability, this simply feeds into the ‘Internal variability’ assessment. Thus the effects of recent years are already embedded within the calculation, and will have led to a reduced confidence compared to a situation where things lined up more. Using this as an additional factor to change the confidence rating again would be double counting.

        There is more information on this process in the IPCC chapter itself, and in the referenced literature (particularly Ribes and Terray (2013), Jones et al (2013) and Gillet et al (2013)). There is also a summary of relevant recent papers at SkepticalScience.

        Bottom line? These statements are both comprehensible and traceable back to the literature and the data. While they are conclusive, they are not a dramatic departure from basic conclusions of AR4 and subsequent literature – but then, that is exactly what one should expect.

      • “As Storch has pointed out, a mere 2% of model runs show any 15 year period of zero warming”

        There hasn’t been one of those (15 years of zero warming) so what is the point?

        “However its importance lies in the fact that it was not foreseen or forecast.”

        Models don’t produce exact forecasts. They produce confidence intervals. It is within the 95% confidence interval of one model, the continuation of the previous rate of warming, 0.17 degrees C/decade for Gistemp. In fact the average rate of warming from 1974 to the present, 0.17 degrees C/decade, is unchanged from the previous average rate of warming from 1974 to the end of 1997.

        There is no statistically significant slowdown in the rate of global warming.

    • Nick says:

      More here Some all-month record snowfalls for South Dakota, which is a pretty dry state in the middle of the continent.

      A lot of moisture in a very continental position during that blizzard….an AGW fingerprint

  5. john byatt says:

    two years in a row NSW declares state of emergency.

    wake up you denialist fools

    • Nick says:

      Sinclair Davidson? Really?

      • john byatt says:

        good grief check out the comments there these are certified loonies

        • That cartoon on the right amazes me. The Oz calls out Bandt for politicising the bushfires by featuring Abbott to the rescue in an RFS uniform, firehose in hand and somehow that isn’t politicising the situation at all? As usual the Oz and anyone promoting that cartoon shows an astounding lack of self-awareness and extraordinary hypocrisy and ss usual, the Oz’s bread and butter mindnumbingly naive and ignorant readership lap it up.

          As for the comment section of that blog, well……ummmm…….yep.

        • john byatt says:

          giddeon is saying look at all the retarded goons who agree with me.

        • Nick says:

          Any concern at Catalepsy about the conga line of allowance fiddlers on ‘their’ side? Chuckle.

    • Rodger the Dodger says:

      Here is some really good advice from

      http://catallaxyfiles.com/trolls/

      Be vicious to trolls. It’s not like you’re depriving anybody of food or oxygen.
      Be capricious. If you’re consistent, they’ll know where the line is; if they know where the line is, they’ll skate to the edge of it.
      Be indifferent to trollish suffering. Being called a facist (not a typo: most trolls can’t spell) who’s suppressing free speech* is not a cause for concern; it’s semantically equivalent to “You’re doing your job.”
      Be obnoxious. Trolls do it because it amuses them to do it. Being made fun of is not amusing, particularly when you can enforce a ban. Remember: they need your site more than your site needs them.
      It all boils down to this: every so often you have to shoot a troll, the better to encourage the others. It’s fun!

      Gids, you are your typical climate zombie troll.

      So I encourage everyone here to shoot down this nasty troll.
      Fire at will !!!!

      • Since I tightened up the comment policy at my blog, trolls only come once or twice. When they realise their comments will sit in a queue with the risk of having irrelevant, abusive, gishlike or just plain moronic statements moderated or deleted they don’t come back. Their scientifically invalid opinions are worthless and don’t deserve to see the light of day.

        • J Giddeon says:

          “trolls only come once or twice. ”

          Perhaps I can offer another reason. When I visited your blog, I noticed that one of your posts was based on an article that was riddled with errors. When I posted a comment to point one of those errors out, you responded that the errors were in the article and were therefore not your problem.
          I then decided that anyone who’d use that type of information without actually bothering to check its accuracy and then dismiss the errors as some else’s problem wasn’t worth conversing with. So I’ve never been back. Maybe that’s why you don’t get too many comments over there.

        • And as I explained to you, take it up with the newspaper and get back to me. I was merely pointing out that international news agencies were reporting negative things about Tony Abbott. I thought I made that abundantly clear but since you seem to have trouble with basic comprehension I won’t rehash it here.

          I will however note your concern with accuracy. You should probably make sure everything you report here is entirely accurate…..pfffftttt I crack me up sometime.

          What I do find interesting though is that you state “I then decided that anyone who’d use that type of information without actually bothering to check its accuracy and then dismiss the errors as some else’s problem wasn’t worth conversing with” yet you are conversing with me now. Interesting. I realise you feel the need to assume my comments were about you but they were really quite general in nature. You really aren’t that important.

          Now, I won’t be discussing any details about individual conversations from my blog, here at Mike’s blog because that would just be plain rude. Feel free to respond over at mine. If you ask nicely I might even let you comment without moderation if you promise to be relevant.

        • john byatt says:

          and giddeon can google “Abbott, climate change is crap” to relieve his own concerns

        • J Giddeon says:

          “here at Mike’s blog because that would just be plain rude. ”

          Well you’re the one who started talking about your blog here.

          “if you promise to be relevant”….apparently accuracy isn’t relevant.

        • You are either a moronic hypocrite or deliberately dishonest. You lecture me about accuracy yet you quote-mine me, removing the main crux of my statement. I said…

          “Now, I won’t be discussing any details about individual conversations from my blog, here at Mike’s blog because that would just be plain rude.”

          By leaving off the qualifying part of my statement you have misrepresented me. Now feel free to point out where in my original statement about my blog I discussed individual conversations? Actually don’t bother.

        • john byatt says:

          “Since I tightened up the comment policy at my blog,”

          face it giddeon you are a troll and whether you have been spreading the lies and misinformation of the false sceptics for one year or twenty five you and all your ilk are in part responsible for the loss of lives and property due to climate change.
          we needed to start action over twenty years ago, the inaction is undeniably due to the likes of you,

    • Rodger the Dodger says:

      So who is Sinclair Davidson

      http://www.ipa.org.au/people/sinclair-davidson

      An IPA goon.

      Geez Gids, you really know your hogwash don’t you. Heartland experts, IPA experts. You are so naive. Swallow any old rubbish, but then again you are a climate zombie, so that is no surprise. Did you know that half of Australia’s population is of below average intelligence. You are proof that is so true. Grow a brain !!

  6. J Giddeon says:

    “discredited economist Bjorn Lomberg”

    Well discredited in some circles. OTH he was recently placed in the prestigious “Foreign Policy” top 100 global thinkers and was listed by the Guardian as one of the 50 people who could save the planet. So not discredited in all circles.

    On Lomborg, he has a new book out this month “How Much have Global Problems Cost the World?”. I’m still working through it but one notable chapter is authored by Richard Tol. Now since Tol is part of the consensus as determined by Cook, he must be right, right?

    Tol has reviewed a series of studies on the effects of CC and come to the conclusion that, not only has CC been beneficial to mankind to date but that the benefits will continue well into the 21st century.

    • Nick says:

      In 2008, somebody from The Guardian failed to check Lomborg out. It happens. It’s 2013, and Lomborg is still doing his Panglossian Gish Gallop: it’s his bread and butter. Telling the truth doesn’t pay as well.

      • J Giddeon says:

        Well I agree that the Guardian is a sloppy rag of a paper but its hard to believe they didn’t know who Lomborg was by 2008. He was already quite famous (or infamous if you’re part of the we’re-all-gunna-die brigade) in 2005. Really?

        Come on Nick. If you want to pretend that Lomborg doesn’t have stature then y ou can be much more inventive than that. Perhaps Lomborg is part of the vast corporate conspiracy controlled by Murdoch and the IPA and the tea Party to insert deniers into lists of prominent people so as to confuse those who need to be taught where their real interest lay. Or perhaps the Guardian didn’t list him but the vast right wing conspiracy have altered the records to show otherwise so as to confuse those who need to be taught where their real interest lay.

        That’s the sort of colourful ‘logic’ I’ve come to expect from you. Don’t let your standards drop.

        • john byatt says:

          Lomborg only has stature within the denialist community, he has no credibility within the mainstream scientific community

        • Nick says:

          Lomborg plays a tune that many influential people like. Thus they promote him. He’s a talented self-promoter and cherry-picker, but within economics he’s nobody special.

    • Nick says:

      “Tol has reviewed…” No thanks, a broader spectrum of experts has reviewed the same work for the IPCC…I’ll look at that.

      Given Tol got totally confused by the Cook methodology and painted himself into a prideful corner, and stuff like this I’d be very careful with his work, and doubly so once Lomborg sprinkles glitter on it.

    • Pal review lives. Tol and Ridley, hand in hand, both members of the GWPF. Who’d have thought it? :-)

  7. Abbott is a panderer. Anyone who fails to recognise this has not being paying attention. Anyone trying to defend his pandering is as dishonest as him. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5HED3LJKzAE

    • Nick says:

      Abbott is an arrogant parasite, displaying the audacity typical of the chosen ones.

        • Nick says:

          I know people who have had dealings with him in his electorate. A political animal through and through in a safe seat. If he judges you of no value politically, it’s feet on the table, ignoring you. The posing with volunteers and the pimping of the daughters is disgusting. Others have drawn the parallel with Putin in basic personality type.

        • J Giddeon says:

          I’ve got to assume that in other parts of your lives, you chaps function reasonably well.
          But when it comes to the AbbottAbbottAbbott you just become demented.

          Posing with volunteers? Err, he is a volunteer and has been for many years….

          “If not for a couple of photos circulating on Twitter, it’s a fair chance that Mr Abbott’s weekend exploits would have gone unnoticed.

          His office did not issue a statement until the blurry image of the PM giving the thumbs-up from behind the wheel of a fire truck appeared on the social media site.”

          pimping his daughters? Well if you need proof you are seriously losing it, look no further.

        • john byatt says:

          A letter to abbott’s daughters from female journo

          Dear Bridget, Frances and the other one,

          On behalf of Australia, I’m sorry. No-one should have to endure this. All this parading and primping. Oh, sorry, I mean, pimping….

          I guess you’re of marrying age. I guess that’s why your father stood in front of what he surely must have known was the entire nation and said, to paraphrase, “Phwoar. Check out these beauties! If I’m Prime Minister you get to look at these lovely ladies for the next three years.

          You may feel it fair, or an innocent, if embarrassing aside from a “daggy dad”. But to us he isn’t dad. He’s the next leader of our country, the man who would be king. And he still makes it sound like 50% of us are much better being seen and not heard.

        • Nick says:

          I’ve got plenty of anecdotes on Abbott which simply cannot be repeated given legals. I used to work in his electorate. Clients would get chatty and volunteer a story. They were genuinely shocked by him, and were not politically opposed to his party. Bronny Bishop is a funny one, too….

          “Pimping his daughters”…to soften his unfortunate image as a bomb-throwing wall-punching loon the family always gets wheeled out. Rudd did it too. Let the scales fall from your eyes, Gids.

          I try to find good in everyone,Gids. Abbott is a menace.

        • J Giddeon says:

          “A letter to abobott’s daughters from female journo”

          It was written by Luke Ryan. Funny name for a girl!

          But I can see why you like it…Luke, like you, puts things in quotes that weren’t actually said.

        • john byatt says:

          it was cut down and paraphrased by Alissa Warren

        • Nick says:

          Abbott is going the full Putin, isn’t he! And he’s doing the tinpot dictator with his colleagues. News Ltd as the ‘Government Gazette’, completes the sad parallel.

  8. J Giddeon says:

    If you watch the actual interview it is clear he is not advocating a CO2 tax. Immediately prior to the paragraph quoted above, he is saying that the science isn’t a settled as some claim and he talks about the hiatus (which we here at WtD ‘know’ doesn’t/didn’t/couldn’t possibly occur and if the IPCC acknowledges it, they didn’t).

    He then goes on to say effectively, if you really want a CO2 tax then why not do it this way. That’s not advocating a tax. If I say, if you want to shag Michelle Grattan its best to do so while drunk, I’m not actually advocating such a thing.

    This was in that same genre. He’s not calling for a tax but saying how to do it in the least disruptive way if one must be implemented. Bear in mind that he was also constrained by cabinet solidarity with turnbull as the then leader, so could only go so far in criticising an ETS which Turnbull favoured.

    Therefore the accusation that his “repudiation of his own position and that of perceived wisdom is one of the most stunning turnarounds in Australia political history” is rather hard to maintain.

    • Nick says:

      He’s in power now, why doesn’t he introduce this mechanism, instead of directing taxpayers money from a shrunken revenue base to subsidise industry as he now proposes. Because he certainly proposes to give public money to the private sector under Direct Action, while decrying any such subsidy for renewables. Simply, the man is an idiot; he never mounted a real critique of Labor’s mechanism. He simply attacked it with a combination of alarmism, hysteria and lies. With News Ltd collusion –just imagine if they had really examined the issue,holding truth to power!– Abbott could just bullshit away without fear of much pushback.

      The whole Abbott exercise is about maintaining fossil fuel shareholder [=IPA,=Liberal funding] value no matter the consequences: he governs for shareholders not voters. But you will have to face it, coal is a stranded asset waiting for government to smooth its departure from the generation mix. They won’t go without extracting pounds of flesh, as they are already distorting state planning laws by threatening governments.

      • J Giddeon says:

        “Doublethink is the act of ordinary people simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct,”

        We’re all gunna suffer mightily because of that evil coal industry spewing CO2 into the air.

        ” coal is a stranded asset waiting for government to smooth its departure from the generation mix”

    • Nick says:

      To answer you directly, Gids: true, he is not calling for a tax, he is suggesting the way to do it ‘if it had to be done’. That way happens to repudiate his subsequent mutterings about the world-ending disaster of a tax of any kind on carbon!

      Therefore your spin is rather hard to maintain as well. But I know you are dedicated.

      And if he was able to disagree with Turnbull about the choice of instrument then, why didn’t he reject any all of them?

      <a href="http://www.afr.com/p/opinion/the_ploy_that_torpedoed_turnbull_AV9XKA7RBqGJ58Kzul6cmI&quot; This is a rather interesting aside.

        • Nick says:

          Got any issue with the account of Robb’s biography? Is Latham’s quoting and coverage of Robb’s account true or false? Has Robb disputed it?

        • J Giddeon says:

          No problem with the actual individual facts. But Latham comes from the Pilger school of journalism which involves taking a minor event, elevating it, with reason or evidence, to a prominence it doesn’t warrant and then drawing conclusions from that.

          Robb’s speech was just another step in the growing revolt against Turnbull’s acquiescence to ALP policy. It was, at its core, a grassroots revolt with Lib MHR’s and Senators being inundated with demands that they oppose the ETS. Robb at most gave another voice to that but wasn’t in any way instrumental.

          You need to read Latham with an Edith’s worth of salt at hand.

        • Nick says:

          Turnbull’s ‘acquiescence’ was just an illustration that the man can think for himself, is not by nature an authoritarian hysteric, and knows business sees opportunity everywhere. He is the most accomplished and independent of the Libs. The rest are spectacularly deluded fake libertarians.

          Now that Turnbull has acquiesced over the emasculated NBN, I wonder whether his long game will last. I can’t wait until the Liberal Party discovers liberality.

        • Attacking the man and not the argument.

          This is known as an ad hom.

      • J Giddeon says:

        “To answer you directly, Gids: true, he is not calling for a tax”

        So I’m correct and that proves I’m spinning. Okaaay!

        • Nick says:

          Oh, I get it it, this is you proving how sharp you are by saying “Look..over there!”

          Again, Abbott had the opportunity then to reject carbon taxing and pricing because after all he thinks they will “wreck the economy”…only then he obviously hadn’t arrived at that view because he volunteered, in HHO, a better carbon taxation mechanism than the one proposed. He obviously volunteered that thinking it would not wreck an economy, even if he had no intention of imposing it. He could have said “I would never do it because it will wreck the economy”…after all he had the microphone. So Gids, did Abbott oppose carbon pricing in principle or on technical grounds in 2009? [He may have in his secret diary,but that doesn't count]

          By 2012 the hard-right nutters have the party, the IPA have made their feelings known, and we don’t want any ambiguities…so they cleared it all up. Carbon tax/price/ETS = wrecked economy = “Great Big Tax”. Dumbed it down for you, Gids.

          Want it simpler? Abbott 2009: a carbon tax won’t ruin the economy. Abbott 2012: carbon tax will ruin the economy. Clear?

        • J Giddeon says:

          I’m sorry Nick, I don’t know how to say it any simpler than I have. Abbott didn’t actually advocate for a tax in 2009 or 2012. In the same way that I didn’t advocate porking Grattan.

          He was part of a party that was supporting the ETS and loyalty and cabinet solidarity dictates that ministers and shadow ministers don’t oppose the party line. So he wasn’t about to come out and say he was opposed to any form of tax.

          I know its very easy to selectively pick out what pollies say as they try to balance party obligations with their own views but doing so shows either spectacular naivety or just plain bloody-mindedness. Which are you?

          We could also talk about changing circumstances. We know that you and the rest of the left are more than happy to give Gillard a pass when she broke her promises based on an asserted change of circumstances. Any chance that circumstances changed between 2009 and 2012? .

        • Nick says:

          Wow! Did I say that Abbott advocated a carbon tax in 2009? No. He has repudiated his 2009 position on the effect of such a tax.

          What he did do was demonstrate he was not opposed to the concept then, and outlined what he claimed was a better model, should–lord forbid– one proceed. He never made the argument that such a tax would wreck the economy
          then….

          He was also on the record in 2009 with “There is much to be said for an emissions trading scheme…”, given Howard was for it.

          Nowadays he talks as though any kind of carbon taxation or pricing is an abomination. He has gone from reasonably relaxed to a position of utter alarmism, no doubt because this extreme posture was identified as a cut-through positioning by poll strategists. But this posture meant the death of reasoned debate in parliament and during the election.

          And you’ve outlined in your para 4 that while Abbott’s repositioning was acceptable, somehow Gillard’s wasn’t. Gillard had the courage to change her mind, Abbott was never challenged for his extreme makeover….

          I’m not a Labor voter and I’m not a ‘leftist’. A plague on both their houses, but of the two parties, only the Labor Party accepts reality in science and to some extent social policy. Meanwhile Abbott speaks out of both sides of his mouth. Neither party has the stomach for equitable economic reform,and are allowing us to drift into corporate dictatorships.

          And while Abbott has had more positions than a pole dancer on climate change, that is clearly because he is a rejectionist. He is only concerned about his rejectionism in that he knows it is regarded as an extreme right position. He has not a clue about science, and gambles that this does not matter. For political reasons he will not utter a rejectionist word now, but watch the policies: they speak loudly.

    • Stuart Mathieson says:

      What is “rather hard to maintain” is Giddeon’s preposterous spin.

  9. Nick says:

    Thanks, Mike, for wading into Battlelines. I had heard that he made some comments about CC within….looks like he has shopped for the message that suits his world view, unsurprisingly. With the Abbotts of this world, the economics / law axis, a political manifesto is a prospectus, voters are investors, and investors beware! He has his preferred populist conception of how the political world functions and his sense of duty to the financial backers and thought-shapers of his political class, so Plimer /Lomborg is perfect.

    But it’s even worse than that: at the moment [with the indispensable collusion of News Ltd] he is pursuing the Labor Party over the carbon price with rhetorical ‘offers’ for them to ‘repent’, trying to re-frame the issue as a simple Labor tax-grab misjudgement! The scientific basis, the revenue position, and intergenerational responsibility issues are air-brushed out of the picture. He wants them to renounce the carbon ‘tax’ simply because it’s ‘unpopular’, therefore ‘wrong’.

    It’s a direct challenge to Labor over the very question you ask: expedience or principle?

    Hopefully, Shorten understands this and will not blink. He should be smart enough to pursue Abbott over the relentlessly untruthful messaging [budget crisis, loss of border control, carbon tax will destroy economy] that the COALition has produced over the last few years, and tie the manipulativeness over this latest framing in with it. The COALition is in trouble over the allowance rorting that has come to light, and Aussies, suspicious of the information control now imposed, are starting to wake up to the fact that they have installed a dictatorial and hypocritical managerial class into office.

    Abbott is a cynical man. Publicly, he wants to present as a small c conservative, cautious, populist, insisting that politicians not get ahead of the electorate [because nobody likes a smart arse]. Less publicly, he has been involved in activism against perceived political threats as with the One Nation slush fund, and is an active conduit of the opaquely-funded IPA and its seeding of radical economic ‘ideas’ into the public mind. He prefers to work on perception management and controlling information, while pretending to be directed by the will of the people.

    • jasonblog says:

      I think you hit the nail on the head with IPA. Abbott was up for the turning, his ambition lusted for it. The IPA facilitated it. It is after all their Direct Action Plan that Greg Hunt spruiks.

  10. john byatt says:

    worst in 45 years

    Emergency warning issued as NSW braces for worse conditions
    Updated 52 minutes ago

    NSW bushfires: Fires continue burning as conditions deteriorate

    The Rural Fire Service says homes remain under threat in the Blue Mountains as an emergency warning is declared for the community of Bell, near Lithgow.

    Three watch and act alerts are also active for major fires near Springwood, Mount Victoria and Balmoral Village in the southern highlands.

    Overnight firefighters worked to strengthen containment lines ahead of worsening conditions today.

    NSW RFS commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons says more than 37,000 hectares have been burnt since Thursday and there is an active fire edge more than 300 kilometres long.

    Commissioner Fitzsimmons says to draw a parallel with past fires you would have to go as far back as the 60s – specifically a major fire in 1968.

    He says new information from the Bureau of Meteorology this morning has firmed up concerns about the next few days, mainly due to a lack of expected moisture.

    “We are likely to see deteriorating conditions starting this afternoon … but more so as we move into Monday and Tuesday with the worst of that weather probably culminating in Wednesday but not much relief in the intervening period,” he said.

    • Michael Marriott says:

      It’s getting bad JB.

    • Nick says:

      You can see the massive smoke plume on the BOM radar. Three days of above average heat and below average humidity to come….

      The nation under the COALition drifts into worst case CO2 output scenarios, and the rejectionist clowns who are committing us by default to adaption over mitigation are expediently demonising the concept of the very taxation that would help fund that adaption! “How can you tax an invisible, odourless substance?” is Tony’s way of saying if I don’t understand it ,it doesn’t exist

      Their inept state counterparts are screwing down ‘adaptability’ as well

  11. john byatt says:

    independent Australian

    “The only serious possibility – incredible as it seems – is that, from the point of view of the Opposition, the policy is a non-answer to a non-existent problem. They recognize the political necessity for a climate change policy but actually don’t believe it is happening!”

    same as the nationals, Greenwash

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