There is something disconcerting about a political party that can’t describe what it stands for. More worrying is a party that vacillates in its response to important issues. Most worrying of all though is a party that changes its mind over what it stands for for no reason other than to have something to argue about. That is, unless you’re Glenn Milne, to whom policy incoherence is great politics.
Unsurprisingly the issue is the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and just what the Coalition should do. Milne asks the question up front
If the Coalition votes in support of the ETS, what else is it going to fight the election on?
What indeed? The problem with going looking for a fight is that it can often blow up in your face.
The problem that the Coalition have with trying to make the ETS an election issue is that they’ve flipped and flopped from one end of the debate to the other. Climate change deniers blame Turnbull for being too green, while ignoring the fact that John Howard took a very similar ETS to that currently proposed to the last election as Coalition policy. Tony Abbott was for it before he was against it. Nick Minchin all but declared the entire topic of climate change a commie-greenie conspiracy on 4 Corners and Barnaby Joyce thinks that everyone is coming around to his belief that there’s nothing to worry about based on 84 people in Cooma coming to listen to him.
In the midst of this disorganised rabble, who can’t even decide whether they want to have a secret ballot about the ETS in their own party-room, Glenn Milne is championing the agents of disruption just so they can have a point of difference at the next election. Perhaps rather than defining themselves by comparisons to the ALP, the Coalition should try to find out what they actually stand for.