"Dramatic turnaround" in Oz

“BARELY a month ago Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the opposition, Kevin Rudd was insisting Australia pass emissions trading legislation before he went to the climate conference in Copenhagen, action on climate change was the global moral imperative, there was the likelihood of an early double-dissolution election on a carbon emissions trading system and Tony Abbott was supporting the Liberal leader’s position of passing the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in the Senate.

Today, Abbott is Leader of the Opposition opposing an ETS as a “massive tax”, Rudd is fighting on all sides in Copenhagen after being attacked for doing secret deals, hypocrisy and walking away from the Kyoto Protocol. The Prime Minister is talking about Australia’s national interest not moral imperatives, and there is little likelihood of the early election on climate change that Turnbull feared.

Indeed, the politics of climate change have so dramatically turned around that Abbott is daring the Government to “bring on an election” and Labor is drastically altering its election schedule and strategy. …

That’s where Abbott now has momentum and Rudd has publicly conceded “more needs to be done” on the front of explaining costs to householders of doing something on climate change, many of them blue-collar workers who seem to be answering Abbott’s direct appeal to oppose the costs of the ETS and protect jobs.

The other reason for putting the election back until it’s normally expected – October-November next year – is that Rudd has painted himself into a corner at Copenhagen and, once again, the perceptions he has created are jarring with the reality.

If Copenhagen at best comes up with some cobbled-together “two-track” system of agreements that lets various nations off the hook and Australia with a huge aid bill, Rudd will claim a political victory, but he is likely to be swamped with criticism from developing nations, environment groups and sceptics.

If there is no real agreement and it’s all put off to Mexico next July, there will be no vindication for Rudd’s pressure on passing the CPRS before Copenhagen and Abbott will be able to say he’s saved Australia from racing ahead of the rest of the world and committing to targets other nations have baulked at.

Rudd’s rhetoric on this issue, the whole need for urgency, the need for moral leadership from Australia for the rest of the world and the need to have an ETS as a bargaining chip will be seen as hollow self aggrandisement.” “Blunderful Copenhagen kills ETS early poll


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