Verily I say unto thee, economic Armageddon is upon us!
The wicked carbon tax is about to fall upon Australian like a biblical plague and devastate every household! Repent!
Let us pray that the good knight Tony Abbot will slay the wicked beast – he made a blood oath! – and save us!
Hide your money under the mattress before hordes of Greenpeace warriors descend upon every village to unplug your fridge! Repent!
Or, in the words of Douglas Adams “Don’t panic!”
Here’s my prediction: the world will not end of 1 July 2012.
Business will quickly adjust to the carbon tax – it is already in the process of adjusting (helped along my some generous cash handouts):
BUSINESS leaders overwhelmingly believe carbon pricing will survive and those directly affected have started taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a survey of senior executives.
The survey of 136 executives commissioned by multinational GE found nearly three-quarters believed the carbon price scheme would remain despite the Coalition’s pledge to repeal it if elected.
But nearly half said they thought the scheme starting on Sunday – requiring big emitters to pay a fixed rate per tonne of carbon dioxide for three years, before evolving into emissions trading under which pollution permits can be bought and sold on the market – would eventually be replaced with an improved model.
The “tax” may be tweaked or rebranded by successive governments, but it’s here to stay.
The coming disappointments
The denial movement is about to receive some harsh lessons in realpolitik as they grapple with two major disappointments.
The first disappointment: business opposition to the carbon tax will melt away within six months as it did in New Zealand and Europe (see above). They will lose allies and supporters (except for some very loud and eccentric billionaires).
The second disappointment: the tax is here to stay, regardless of who is in power.
Now this is where Australian politics is set to get messy.
What’s this about a “blood oath” Tony?
There is little doubt Abbott and the Liberals will get into office at the next federal election – it will take a miracle to save the Gillard government.
But once the Liberals are in there will be months of “reviews”, opposition from business, community groups and a heated debate in Parliament, in the media and across blogs, Twitter and YouTube.
Nor should we forget there will be a hostile Senate that will make it difficult to pass the legislation. Abbot will be faced having to call a double dissolution election in the hopes of gaining the necessary majority – the electorate will not go back to the polls with joy in their hearts.
Abbott and the Liberals have been running so hard on the “big scary tax” meme these past 12 months. They’re great hope has been the collapse of the Labor government prior to 1 July 2012. Once we the tax goes into effect and all the doom saying comes to nothing Abbott & Co are going to very silly indeed.
When – or if – the Coalition gets into office they’re stuck with the tax. No doubt they’ll rebrand the “tax” as part of their broader “direct action” approach to climate change.
The denial movement – from Gina Rinehart, Plimer, IPA and journalists such as Andrew Bolt will froth at the mouth and talk about the Liberal Party’s “betrayal” on the issue. Reality will hit them hard, as it generally does for those who chose to live in denial.
And so we may very well witness the spectacle of a conservative “civil war”. Those taking a more pragmatic approach to climate change (such as dealing with it and retaining the “tax”) and those still stepped in the culture and habits of denial in conflict.
What can we expect? I can’t tell the future but let me have a geuss or two:
- Prediction: Abbott will lead the Coalition to victory at the next Federal election only to watch his popularity collapse. This will hamper the chances of the Coalition government being re-elected. Malcolm Turnbull may replace him – either by challenging or Abbott stepping down – for the second term in order to offer the electorate a more “moderate” consensus-building politician.
- Prediction: Rinehart may try to use her new media empire to apply pressure to the Liberal government to repeal the carbon and resource tax. The Liberals will learn just exactly why an independent media is not such a bad thing. By turning Fairfax into her vanity blog, she’ll drive away readers and drive the company into the ground.
- Prediction: despite the sound and fury the political debate very little will be done to actually address climate change.