Rudd on Rudd: I’m a coward on climate change

The problem with performing a political backflip of such spectacularly high degrees of difficulty as Kevin Rudd shakily negotiated today is the haunting rhetoric which can come back to

Jason Whittaker

Former Crikey editor and publisher

The problem with performing a political backflip of such spectacularly high degrees of difficulty as Kevin Rudd shakily negotiated today is the haunting rhetoric which can come back to bite you in the ass. In dumping Labor's commitment to introduce an emissions trading scheme (ETS) this term, various media reports have pinned Rudd to comments he made in a speech to the Lowy Institute for International Policy last November. It's worth republishing his remarks at length:
When you strip away all the political rhetoric, all the political excuses, there are two stark choices ­-- action or inaction. The resolve of the Australian Government is clear: we choose action, and we do so because Australia's fundamental economic and environmental interests lie in action. Action now. Not action delayed. …It is time to be totally blunt about the agenda of the climate change skeptics in all their colours ­ some more sophisticated than others. It is to destroy the CPRS at home, and it is to destroy agreed global action on climate change abroad, and our children's fate ­ and our grandchildren's fate ­ will lie entirely with them. It's time to remove any polite veneer from this debate. The stakes are that high.
…Instead they [skeptics] offer maximum fear, the universal conservative stock in trade. And by doing so, these do-nothing climate change skeptics are prepared to destroy our children's future.
…It is an endless cycle of delay, and I am sure that with December almost upon us, the eighth excuse cannot be far away -- which will be to wait until the next year or the year after until all the rest of the world has acted at which time Australia will act. What absolute political cowardice. What an absolute failure of leadership. What an absolute failure of logic. The inescapable logic of this approach is that if every nation makes the decision not to act until others have done so, then no nation will ever act. …This brigade of do-nothing climate change skeptics are dangerous because if they succeed, then it is all of us who will suffer. Our children. And our grandchildren. If we fail, then it will be a failure that will echo through future generations. No responsible government confronted with the evidence delivered by the 4,000 scientists associated with the international panel could then in conscience choose not to act. In any public company, it would represent a gross contempt of the most basic fiduciary duty. …You've got to know when to fold 'em ­ and for the skeptics, that time has come. The Government I lead will act.
Just to be clear, less than six months ago Rudd believed Australia's "fundamental economic and environmental interests" were at stake; no responsible government in the world could "in conscience choose not to act"; bailing on an ETS would "destroy our children's future". Today he folded 'em, our children and children's children be damned, leaving a supposedly responsible government bereft of a policy to address the "greatest moral, economic and social challenge of our time". Rudd's words ring true. He is a coward; a failed leader. He said it himself.

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47 thoughts on “Rudd on Rudd: I’m a coward on climate change

  1. dangermouth

    agreed.. this video says it all

  2. Bellistner

    Bellistner: Show me the proof, give me some facts that are not fudged, made up or just plain lies.

    I deeply suspect that there is no possible evidence one can present to you, that you would accept as proof.

    The “It’s not happening” brigade is coming from so far to the right of genuine Conservatives that they’re almost off the map. Genuine Conservatives view AGCC as a threat against which ‘insurance’ must be taken – insurance which costs a little bit of money in the short-term, but which saves a potentially massive amount of money (and lives) in the long term.

    Case in point:

    I’ve got some news for you, climate change is out of our hands, we have nothing to do with it,

    You’ve already decided AGCC isn’t happening, and any evidence presented to you will be ignored.


    we won’t always be here, like millions of species before us we will disappear and be replaced eventually. (Human ego can’t accept that). There will be no trace left of us as mother nature flicks us off like a piece of dandruff, the power and hold nature has over us all was never more evident recently when a relatively small volcano on Iceland brings the world to a traveling standstill!

    comitting suicide (and Murder, as the policies you espouse will be responsible for deaths other than your own) is one thing, but Ecocide is quite another.

    (@Oblizzard)You waffle on with a whole bunch of scientific gobbledegook

    Aaaaand we can go back to safely ignoring you. 😀
    You accept science (even science that has been disproved) that confirms your stance (“Mars is warming”), but do not accept science that does not. This is called confirmation bias.

    I know who’s going to win this fight,

    Why does it have to be a fight? Mother Nature isn’t actively trying to kill us (unless you align yourself with Gaia Theory and a planetary conciousness).

  3. Johnfromplanetearth

    You see PeeBee we can hold hands!

  4. PeeBee


    This may surprise you, but I agree with your last post:

    1. The Earth will be around a lot longer than humans.
    2. Humans can make the place a less pleasant place to live
    3. India and China will proabably increase the rate of degradation
    4. India and China will not want to pull their foot of the accelerator

    Because of the we are looking at a world wide problem, it will take a world wide solution. I have a hope that a Montreal Protocol type agreement can be reached, but this will be difficult and while vested interests hold so much sway.

  5. Johnfromplanetearth

    My view of the obvious is different to yours, 4.5 billion years of change compared to 200 years of heavy industry? I’m putting my money on the former. We are seeing currently how humans stuff things up in the Gulf of Mexico, we are not a nice species.
    The human population has more than doubled in 50 years, things are not going to get any better with India and China taking up more than a third of the world’s total population. These are the fastest growing economies in the world, they are not going to take a step backwards now they have a foot in the door!

  6. zoomster

    [Why couldn’t Rudd simply have said he is committed to negotiating with whoever necessary to get a workable ETS passed ASAP?]

    from Rudd’s presser:

    [Well, our doors have always remained open to negotiating with people from all sides of politics, but when you have one side of politics saying that you cannot act on climate change effectively through an emissions trading scheme, and another side of politics who would happily close the economy down tomorrow, it makes life a bit of a challenge. Therefore, we remain open to the possibility of discussions with all sides of politics. ]

    [Our commitment to acting on climate change through a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme remains unchanged. Our commitment to the targets that we have announced before remain unchanged. ]

    My reading of that is yes, if the numbers were there, the legislation would be back on the table.

    But the numbers aren’t there, so there’s no point pretending that they are.

  7. kdkd


    Yes, you’re referring to a report referenced from this page. But this has absolutely nothing to do with earth’s climate. It is totally irrelevant.

  8. PeeBee

    JFPE, I don’t think I have called you are troll or had mental issues or a ranting lunatic, but don’t let evidence get in the way when making your claim. It fits your modus operandi.

    I must admit you are hard to follow. I don’t think anyone has ever said the earth will not be here after climate stabilises again and that some species will survive. But you go on as though someone has.

    What you disagree with is that the planet is changing in fundamental ways that will have severe consequences to the human population. I think you imply that the climate is changing on earth, because you believe it is also happening on Mars (which has comprehensively been shown not to be the case).

    I think you don’t believe humans have the ability to trash the planet. I have shown you that we have done exactly that in specific areas of the planet, (which you ignore). I contend, as does the scientific community, that we have the ability and numbers to trash the whole place now (what I mean by ‘trash’ is make it a less pleasant place to live). You don’t seem to agree. Well, believe away, but you won’t stop the glaciers receding, sea level rising, sea acidification, increase in droughts and conversely increase in wet and wild storms, ice caps disappearing, weather records broken because it is happening. The only known mechanism is by increase in C02 (which is increasing).

    You ask me about suppressing opinion. In a way I do. If it is pure opinion without benefit of considering what is obvious, then yes. You are wasting everyone’s time.

  9. Johnfromplanetearth

    PeeBee: The scientific gobbledegook i refer too is how in the wide world of space exploration do we know what’s happening on Mars? kdkd:I was referring also to a Nasa report from 2005 that Mars was warming too! Sorry i shouldn’t read so much scientific claptrap anymore. That’s the whole point, scientists don’t even know what’s happening here on Earth let alone Mars!
    You want me to believe the science when it comes to Climate Change? that’s like asking me to believe in the tooth fairy, the Global Warming cult has all the characteristics of religion more than it does science. Climate Change is now the new eco- theology so wonderfully portrayed by James Cameron’s film Avatar. I’m old enough to remember the scaremongers who warned us all of impending doom with the coming of a new ice age! Now only a generation later they have dropped that idea in favour of us all frying by next Tuesday about lunchtime! The main aim of this madness is to see the fall of capitalism and wage war against industry.
    The science is not in, and it never will be. In 1900 Lord Kelvin famously stated “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now, all that remains is more and more measurement” Only a few years later classical physics was shattered by Einstein and his contemporaries, since then the debate is never, ever closed in Science.
    The well respected Lord Kelvin also never believed in X Rays or aeronautical flight other than ballooning!
    You have the planet earth which is 4.5 billion years old with Mother Nature in it’s corner up against the Human Race with 200 years of heavy industry in the other.
    I know who’s going to win this fight, Mother Nature’s track record is an impressive one with a career spanning hundreds of millions of years of volcanoes, earthquakes, plate tectonics, continental drifts, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, magnetic reversal of the poles, bombardments by comets, asteroids and meteors, floods, tsunami’s, bushfires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages and heatwaves.
    Something is happening to the climate alright, it happens all the time, and it happens whether we are here or not!
    As for any abuse (leftistnutjob? come on that’s not an insult) i have been called a troll, someone with mental issues and a ranting lunatic by you. All this because i have an opinion, albeit one that differs from most on this forum, strange how if one has a different opinion how quickly everyone moves into stalinist mode and wants to silence the dissenter. Do you approve of silencing the expression of opinion? i was under the impression i was living in Australia where we can express our thoughts openly and freely.

    As a bunch of spud boys once sang:
    It’s a beautiful world we live in
    a sweet romantic place
    beautiful people everywhere
    the way they show they care
    makes me want to say
    it’s a beautiful world
    for you

  10. PeeBee

    JFPE, you are the one who hate humans. Well most of them anyway. You are the one who ignores the signs and science that something is happening to climate.

    How do you know I hate humans, when all I have done is point out a few areas where humans have been responsible for pretty major changes to biosphere in which we live? Do you deny that these things happen?

    And Johnny you should read your work before you post. You portray yourself as ranting lunatic if you can’t be internally consistent with your arguments:

    Science has also observed what is happening on Mars and it’s getting warmer there too

    and then a few sentences later

    You waffle on with a whole bunch of scientific gobbledegook

    So tell me how do you know which science to accept and which to ignore?

    And stop abusing people (‘leftist nutjob’ in case you have forgotten)…. you are only re-inforce the fact you have lost the argument.

  11. Rich Uncle Skeleton

    Johnfromplanetearth, you have no argument. OBlizzard gave you a stellar summary of the science behind global warming. You responed that it is “whole bunch of scientific gobbledegook”.

    You are a troll.

    Give us some scientifitc arguments or GTFO.

  12. kdkd

    It’s absolutely true that the planet will be fine, it’s the infrastructure of civilisation and possibly the human race that will have problems from climate change. However it does not logically follow that humans are not causing the present problems. In general, ecological models, genetic data, and empirical population studies show that the top predator (which humans are) are also the organisms most vulnerable to extinction too.

    The “It’s warming on mars” argument is a load of crap. Here are the reasons why.

    How’s that for a rebuttal devoid of substance?

  13. Johnfromplanetearth

    OBlizzard: Science has also observed what is happening on Mars and it’s getting warmer there too, don’t see any humans around those parts. So how’s that happening? You waffle on with a whole bunch of scientific gobbledegook, well lets’s all sing the truth about truth about scientists and sleep easy knowing that everything they tell us is absolutely true. Bollocks! Peebee: why do you hate the human race so much? why do all lefty nutjobs hate the human race so much? Species extinctions have been occuring for millions of years, way over 90% of everything that has ever lived is extinct…we didn’t kill them all! Is the real problem that in 1960 the population of the earth was a little over 3 billion, it is now 6.7 billion? Is this the shit you refer? So what do we do, kill off a few billion? What you all don’t get is the Earth changes, it has done so for millions of years without any help from us pesky humans who you hate so much. It continues to change and it will eventually change so much we will not be able to live here anymore, dinsosaurs were roaming the earth for 250 millions years, most of them ate everything that grew, some of them ate everything that moved and they lasted all this time with a brain the size of a walnut. Then things changed! Kdkd:When one has no argument always refer to someone as a troll, a typical no brainer for a lefty nutjob who has no interest in debate or freedom of expression. Shut down the dissenter, stifle that point of view, silence that man, off with his head! Nice.

  14. EnergyPedant

    This is just a clever Howard tactic, ala Work Choices. Pretend it won’t happen, win election, unexpectedly have a senate that can pass it. Shift date back to 2012.

    Shelving CPRS doesn’t switch any voters from Labor to Liberal.

    Shelving CPRS does cause voters to switch Labor to Green.

    Shelving CPRS does stops Liberal tax scare campaign, thereby boosting Labor vs Liberal votes.

    It forces Tony Abbot to campaign on education, health, values, etc…

    Once it is passed, like the GST it is basically impossible to undo other than by nobbling the targets.

  15. redpants

    What if the whole premise of the debate is wrong?

    What if Carbon Dioxide doesn’t cause temperature increase but follows it?

    During the history of the planet the climate has always been cyclic in temperature. Carbon dioxide and temperature are usually in unison. What if Carbon dioxide doesn’t, in fact, cause the increase in global temperatures but follows it? If this is the case, then much of the debate is moot.

  16. kdkd

    Unfortunately johnfromplanetearth is either a troll on this site, or he/she has mental health problems. I’m not sure which, but I’m laying my money on one of them.

  17. PeeBee


    Well put, but even your well expressed explanation for what we are seeing before our very eyes will not be enough for our fellow ‘ humans (which) have ego’s the size of the grand canyon that know more about this because… because…. because they know better!

    As for JFPE, look up acid rain, and ozone hole, or perhaps deforestation. Maybe cod fishing off the Grand Banks or perhaps Easter Island. Check out Passenger Pidgeon, Auk and other species extinctions to see how humans can and do shape the planet we live on. You may change your opinion about how humans can ‘shit in their own nest’ and make it a lest pleasant place to live.

  18. David McRae

    I have access to CO2 laser that exploits just two of the IR active intra-molecular quantum states that contribute to providing ~14C of atmospheric warming.

    Will any of the deniers above allow me to cut them – on national TV maybe – you’ll blow AGW fraud out of the water at it’s very scientific basis if the CO2 laser is shown to be the hoax you claim it is.

  19. OBlizzard


    So basically what you are saying there is you don’t understand the scientific argument; “I don’t believe in AGW because I cant see how us tiny humans can have an impact on huge mother nature”…. Right?

    Its relatively simple; CO2 and some other atmospheric compounds are rather good at absorbing infra-red radiation (we’ve known this for over 100 years). The earth absorbs solar radiation at shorter wavelengths during the day and releases that energy as infra-red at night. The higher the level of these gasses in the atmosphere the more solar radiation the atmosphere stores as heat. This leads to higher average surface temperatures which in turn drives shifts in climate. Science understands this phenomenon well, it has even been observed on Venus. Pretty basic stuff.

    Human activity, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and land management, is putting more CO2 into the atmosphere than the Earths carbon sinks can absorb, which is leading to increasing CO2 levels. Ice cores drilled from Greenland put pre industrial CO2 levels at between 270~280 ppm, today levels are at 383 ppm. There are no know natural mechanisms which can account for the increased CO2; not enough volcanism, no natural degradation of carbon sinks, no natural smoke stacks.

    Over the last century the earth has warmed significantly, to quote Malcolm Turnbull every decade since the 1980’s has been the hottest on record. There is no known natural mechanism to account for this warming; no dramatic increase in solar activity, no major deviation in the earth’s orbit or axis, no known natural variation in atmospheric chemistry. There is however the dramatic increase in observed atmospheric CO2 levels caused by human activity.

    So what happens to us if there is dramatic climate shifts driven by higher atmospheric CO2 levels? I mean, as you stated above, we have only been around for 200,000 years and clearly climate has shifted drastically before right? There are two BIG problems; the first is the fact that our civilisation is built on various environmental processes and ecosystems. Irrigated farming relies on river flows and significant shifts in climate will mean the areas suitable for food production will move radically, but human infrastructure cant. Non irrigated farming relies on local rainfall, without which rice production in the developing world would plummet. For a planet with barely enough capacity to feed itself as it is significant and rapid shifts in climate would be catastrophic for global food supplies.

    The second BIG problem is the collapse of various ecosystems our civilisation is build on. The issue here is the way species deal with climate change, migration. If the climate gets warmer traditionally a species would simply move further towards the polls or to a higher elevation. However human civilisation itself is preventing this from happening because our cities, towns, roads, farms, canals and houses are physically getting in the way. I remember reading about a species of butterfly that only exists in southern California; it’s range has been observed moving north for the last 20 years until it his the Metropolis of LA. Soon it will have no room left. This will accelerate the mass extinction happening all around us as we type by preventing natural adaptation to the climate change we have caused. That’s bad for a whole bunch of ecosystems we rely on to feed us. The fact is our civilisation is awfully adapted to the climate we have now, add that to sea level rise and more weather related natural disasters and you have yourself a bad, bad outcome for Humanity.

    So what part of the whole thing do you disagree with? That CO2 levels are rising? That higher CO2 levels are caused by Human activity? That higher CO2 levels will cause a warmer atmosphere and climate change? That the earth actually is warming? That CO2 is the cause of the warming we have seen so far? That preventing the increase of CO2 levels in the future will negate climate change? If you have some other explanation please let us and the scientific community know because If all this is somehow wrong I for one would sleep much easier at night!

  20. Johnfromplanetearth

    Listen PeeBee: I’m not abusing anyone about Climate Change, the fact is the planet is 4. 5 billion years old and we have been here for about 200,000 years, industrialisation less than 200. I just don’t believe the arrogance some humans have in beliveing we can do anything at all to disrupt what comes naturally to this beautiful blue and green planet of ours (for the time being) for we won’t always be here, like millions of species before us we will disappear and be replaced eventually. (Human ego can’t accept that). There will be no trace left of us as mother nature flicks us off like a piece of dandruff, the power and hold nature has over us all was never more evident recently when a relatively small volcano on Iceland brings the world to a traveling standstill! 90% of Australians don’t even know where Iceland is! Droughts, floods, bushfires, hurricanes, tidal waves, earthquakes and volcanoes are all still here in 2010, as they have been for millions of years before humans turned up. This insane belief that everything that has been invented since the discovery of fire is now bad for us all is just plain nuts. I’ve got some news for you, climate change is out of our hands, we have nothing to do with it, we like to think we do because humans have ego’s the size of the grand canyon and we own this planet. Well, we don’t own it, we rent it for a very short time on the overall time scale and we should be celebrating our achievements instead continually finding ways to send us back to the stone age.
    Eponymous: Proof of something happening in the future? Unless you have a crystal ball hidden away in your knap sack i agree with you there, what we need is for someone to come up with irrefutable evidence that humans are the cause of climate change and that cannot be done right now. I’ve got my money on Mother Nature and she’s a red hot favourite to win every time. I think i know who’s delusional here.

  21. PeeBee


    Is this correct? You don’t WANT to believe in climate change because your bills will go up. You ignore all the science that supports the idea that climate is changing and abuse people who do, because your bills are going up.

    Well I’ve got news for you, you will be paying more anyway, because we will be doing nothing to slow down climate change. You are already paying more for food because droughts, you will also be paying for airconditioners and/or running them more often. You are already paying higher premiums for insurance as payouts for storm damage has increased. You will also be paying for an influx of climate refugees as they scramble for higher ground (ie Australia) as their atolls and river deltas flood more often during tidal surges.

    The point is you will be paying either way.

  22. Eponymous

    Proof of something happening in the future JFPE? Hmmm, seems a logical impossibility to me.

    Yeah, all Australians support Tony Abbott and ‘climate change being crap’, and because of this, the Liberals will surely romp to victory later this year.

    Your grasp of continued delusion is awesome.

  23. Johnfromplanetearth

    Bellistner: Show me the proof, give me some facts that are not fudged, made up or just plain lies. The rest of the world was having a belly laugh at KRudd’s expense and this tax on everything was an assault on every hard working Australian whose cost of living has sky rocketed these past two years under this fiscally irresponsible Government. KRudd is spinning on a flat track and there is no turn to be found, he is getting hit for six every time he opens his trap, even his own colleagues can’t stand working alongside him. He had to scrap this tax as the cost of living soars to a new high, Bob Brown will go the the next election fighting for Climate Change, i’ve got some news for him, the Australian public are far more interested in interest rates, their electricity bills, public transport and their own safety on our streets than some possible theory that we are all going to fry by next Tuesday!

  24. Socrates

    [Why couldn’t Rudd simply have said he is committed to negotiating with whoever necessary to get a workable ETS passed ASAP?]

    I agree this is why Rudd is being deservedly damned. Putting it off to 2013 is pure expediency. The only thing I know for sure that Kevin Rudd believes in now, is Kevin Rudd.

    Arguing about potential scare campaigns by the Liberals does not justify this. The Liberals have been a pretty weak opposition, as Labor doesn’t mind pointing out when it suits. If Rudd stuck to the “after the election” line, he could point out that the Liberals themselves had an ETS policy at the 2007 election.

    There are clearly some Liberals who would support an ETS. Rudd spared no time in wedging the Liberals on this issue in the past for that very reason. The only real reason for the change of heart by Rudd is opinion polling and a looming election date. Pure expediency, no commitment.

  25. Frank Campbell

    Rudd was a victim of the climate cult. Contrary to what Keane says, Rudd and some of the ALP were sincere believers. Most still are. Jason Lightweight now tells us Rudd is a coward. What scintillating political insight. Rudd is a politician. RuddWong was humiliated in Copenhagen, remember? The conga-line of 114 suits? Australia’s sanctimonious hubris didn’t go down well, not least because Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter- expanding rapidly, egged on by vulgar state premiers. Don’t you listen to Bligh and Brumby, Jason? And whoever is currently running NSW? Didn’t you see 4 Corners expozay of the destruction of the Upper Hunter? Where is the Upper Hunter you ask? It’s the big black hole near Newcastle.

    So Rudd is not a coward, nor is he cynical. He is however a provincial fool, swayed by cult hysteria retailed on sites like Crikey- to the eternal shame of my tribe, the Left.

  26. Bellistner

    ^ @ Johnfromplanetearth

  27. Bellistner

    and no proof is happening at all!Aaaaand we can now safely ignore you.

  28. redpants

    The double-dissolution part of the issue is a much bigger story. Rudd bluffed and has just folded his hand. He has just showed everyone his poker face. How does he recover from that? How does he now function within mechanics of politics if he just showed that he can’t play?

  29. Grog

    Why couldn’t Rudd simply have said he is committed to negotiating with whoever necessary to get a workable ETS passed ASAP?

    I agree – I would prefer this. The problem is this lets the Libs in with a scare campaign that the Greens will run the show. (they will run this anyhow of course)

    If the Greens were the Democrats – ie a middle of the dial party, I think Rudd would have said this. The problem is there is only one party the Greens take votes from – the ALP, and when the ALP is seen to work too closely to the Greens, at best it will win some votes from the Greens which would have ended up with them anyway; at worst it loses votes from the middle.

    It is a pickle…!

  30. jenauthor

    @Johnfromplanetearth (really??)

    You have bought into the simplistic one liner from good ole Tone, and not looked beneath the surface.

    Like it or not we really do need to pay for our over dependence on power and polluting industry. That is not a big new tax. That is REALITY.

    Rudd has not scrapped the CPRS — he has delayed until they have a more favorable climate (pun intended) for the passing of legislation. Right now reality is that no amount of cajoling or compromise will make that happen.

    One of the key aspects of this that you seem to have failed to realise is that business and industry have been chomping at the bit to invest in the growing ‘green’ economy. Thanks to all the obstructionism those opportunities are going to pass Aussies by and other countries that are taking proper steps will get the jump on us.

    Think about those lost opportunities when you turn on all your lights and electronics and sit back smiling to yourself that you still have such cheap power!

  31. Johnfromplanetearth

    SBH: You are part of the problem, with your head so far up your own arse you have no idea what is good what is bad, you are just interested in your own little world. People are struggling in the real world, grow up and return from the fantasyland you are living in and get a grasp on reality. Even KRudd has realised that, this Tax was unecessary and he has rightly scrapped it. So Australia was to go it alone were we? We already pay for our roads, schools, hospitals, police and teachers why should we then pay for something we have no control over and no proof is happening at all! Have a word to India, China and Brazil first before asking Australians to hand over their hard earned readies!
    If you want a lesson on how nature works then Google up Iceland: Volcanoes!

  32. Matthew Knott

    @Grog: I agree with many of your sentiments about the practical difficulties of getting the ETS through the current senate. But this doesn’t justify the decision to shelve it until 2013 at the earliest (just before, you guessed it, another election…) As you say, all astute observers predict that the Greens will hold the balance of power in the next Senate. Why couldn’t Rudd simply have said he is committed to negotiating with whoever necessary to get a workable ETS passed ASAP? If the Greens hold genuine power and do not pass an acceptable ETS – say with less polluter payouts – then they would rightly earn voters’ wrath for being obstructionist.

    And I think you let Rudd and Wong off a little easily for their performance selling the ETS. Why they put so much importance on the influence it would have on Australia’s international negotiating position is beyond me. Selling it as a major economic reform with intrinsic benefits – ie allowing us to get a headstart on a carbon constrained future – would surely have been a better bet.

  33. Grog

    [Ahahahahahaha. Oh, sorry, you were serious…]

    Oh how refreshingly smug.

    [If this was important to him he had various options, including negotiating with the Greens (which he steadfastly refused to do) and putting it to the people.]

    Why negotiate with the Greens? ALP + Greens = 2 votes short! Oh yeah, the LIbs were so eagre to come on board they would have been happy to vote for an ALP-Greens proposal (do you remember the negotiations last year?)

    Put it to the people? Ah yes, Kevin Rudd, you should go to an election on an issue likely to increase your chances of losing.

    [He didn’t put it to the people because he doesn’t think he can win. Support for this has dropped considerably. And for that Rudd, who ballsed this up from the start and failed to sell it, is at least partly responsible.]

    Ballsed it up from the start? What a joke. He negotiated with the Libs, and got their cabinet to accept it. Oh I guess you’re blaming Rudd for Turnbull losing by ONE vote to Abbott. Had Turnbull been better at keeping numbers in his own party, the ETS would have been passed and all this talk about courage would be nought.

    You can say the CPRS was a stuffed piece of legislation, but Rudd and Wong did everything right politcally. Despite strong resistance from much of the media, the National Party and a fast shrinking likelihood of a deal in Copenhagen, they got a deal done.

    No one predicted Turnbull getting rolled after an agreement had been reached – in fact many predicted Rudd wouldn’t be able to get the Libs to agree to a deal at all. But they did, and then Abbott reneged (thereby also reneging on the Lib’s own 07 eleciton commitment to bring in an ETS).

    In fact here’s a test – give me one other example where the opposition has agreed to a deal and THEN kicked out its leader and reneged BEFORE the vote can be taken?

    But oh yes, Rudd should have sold the ETS better, he should have been going around like Billy Graham of the ETS, and he should I guess now be happy to lose an election over the issue.

    Geez the left does love martyrs.

    For mine, I’ll wait and see what happens post-election, when the Greens will have the balance of power.

    Then negotiations with the Greens will mean something.

  34. jenauthor

    Rudd didn’t dump the CPRS, he delayed it, and let’s face it, there was no way he could get it through this senate.

    The Greens, would not compromise even if the govt had wanted to negotiate — the only time the greens offered any compromise was when they knew the legislation was again blocked and unlikely to ever pass.

    If you cannot win a fight, you regroup until you think you can win. That is reality. The greens should know that principle gets you nowhere if you have no power to follow through. They stand on their principles to the point of lunacy. They refused to see that a small step in the right direction is better than standing still. But this is moot — as someone already said, even if the govt. had green support, they’d still have fallen short.

    The current opposition has been ‘ruling from opposition’ via the senate with the help of twits like Fielding (and even Xenophon, who, occasionally shows some sense on some issues). With all the legislation held up, they have made it look like the govt. is lacking in effort. The trouble is, that is beginning to backfire on them, and will do so further if the govt hammers it in the election lead-up.

    Bring on the DD … we need to be rid of Fielding and a few others, and we need the government to be able to follow through on its long-term agenda.

  35. Jason Wilson

    Which CPRS are we talking about here?

    The Greens were prepared to pass a tough version, or a carbon levy, neither of which was acceptable to the Government or the Coalition. Even if the Government had come towards their position, it wouldn’t have passed with the help of the Greens alone. Steve Fielding, whose vote is required to pass anything through the Senate in the absence of Coalition support, doesn’t believe that climate change exists. Ever so briefly, the Coalition was prepared to pass an even more watered-down version of the Government’s proposal, loaded with more concessions. This blog was just one of the places where it was possible to hear people saying that neither of those proposals were worth the candle. But the weak, concession-laden Turnbull model was the only CPRS that any Liberals were prepared to cross the floor for. After Turnbull went, there was no hope of any common ground with the Coalition, and from that point there was no prospect of passing anything.

    “Going to the people” on this means fighting an election in the teeth of a hip-pocket scare campaign from the Opposition – who let’s remember were the first to go 180 degrees on this – and risking the election of new, denialist Senators from Qld/WA/Tas in a polarised atmosphere. Does “courage” require people to engage in kamikaze missions? Would, say, Coalition control of the Senate help on this and other issues?

    I agree he could have sold it more effectively, but a lot of the things that robbed this issue of momentum were circumstantial or international, and genuinely beyond his control (e.g. Copenhagen, the UEA brouhaha, the end of the drought, a relentless campaign from News Ltd).

    Personally, I don’t look to politicians to exemplify the cardinal virtues. Their profession tends to militate against that. Instead, I look to them for outcomes. I think an outcome negotiated in a situation where the Greens are likely to be in control of the Senate will be preferable to me, even if it happens a little later. I wouldn’t be surprised if, behind their rhetoric, some Greens agree with that assessment. A Coalition election loss will also mean that the hard right will struggle to maintain their grip on leadership positions, which may mean that wiser heads prevail on this issue within the Liberal Party, too.

  36. CG

    Grog, the fact he couldn’t get it through the current senate is neither here nor there. He has the option of taking it to a Double Dissolution election and a subsequent joint sitting of parliament. The joint sitting diminishes the government’s present numerical disadvantage in the senate. It is for precisely this purpose that the Constitution provides for joint sitting. It is for seeking a mandate from the people to enact a policy that the senate cannot demonstrably deal with.

    If he believes the things he has said himself in recent years, the PM should take this policy to a double dissolution election. He would do so irrespective of whether he thought it was popular. The only reasons why he wouldn’t is because he was wrong in believing what he said, he was lying when he said he believed it or he is scared that the people will not support his beliefs. In other words, he’s either foolish, a liar or a coward.

  37. kdkd

    I’m very concerned about the government shelving the ETS, although I’d hate to see it passed in its present form. However, I’m wondering to what extent the delay has to do with the totally inapropriate magnitude of the compensation for big polluters. Is this delay an opportunity to get people to forget so that the compensation can be reduced to a more appropriate level further down the track?

  38. SBH

    nice one John, yeah that tax stuff it’s evil. all it ever pays for is roads hospitals schools police teachers you know all that evil stuff. Grow up will you and get your ideas from somewhere other than a tea party website

  39. Johnfromplanetearth

    All hail ‘King Kevin’ as he scraps this evil tax. But do the Australian public trust him? Will he bring it back after the election? Does anyone trust this man with anything? Celebrate today, but for how long?

  40. Jason Whittaker

    Ahahahahahaha. Oh, sorry, you were serious…

    Let’s not pretend he didn’t have options here. If this was important to him he had various options, including negotiating with the Greens (which he steadfastly refused to do) and putting it to the people.

    He didn’t put it to the people because he doesn’t think he can win. Support for this has dropped considerably. And for that Rudd, who ballsed this up from the start and failed to sell it, is at least partly responsible.

    He had a sizeable mandate to act two years ago. Two years on it is squandered. This is his failure. He is a coward.

  41. Eponymous

    The 2 Liberals in the senate only supported it because they knew no one else would.

    Since re-calibrating my hope for change, my new best hope is that he’s withholding intentionally until the Greens have the balance of power. Then, he’ll make a world’s best practise, ISO9001 ETS and the Greens will rubber stamp it next June.

  42. Peter Wood

    It is also worth republishing Rudds remarks at Copenhagen last year:

    When I arrive home at the end of this week, will I be able to sit down, look my children in the eyes and tell them in clear conscience that I did absolutely everything I could to achieve action to avoid dangerous climate change.

    Because if we cannot, then we will have failed in our basic duties as leaders of our nations, as fathers and mothers of our children and custodians of our nations’ future.

    The children of the world are watching.

    They are listening.

    And history will be the judge of each of us here today

    Rudd has jumped the shark on climate change.

    Grog, the two votes you are looking for are probably the two Liberals in the Senate who voted for the CPRS last time around.

  43. kuke

    Indeed, but it’s another great wedge and futher salt for a double dissolution.

  44. Grog

    The real cowardice is not negotiating with the Greens to pass a simple and fair carbon tax.

    Yep – and come up 2 votes short.

  45. kuke

    And so is Sarkozy for France’s carbon tax backflip and Obama for delaying and…

    Of course the CPRS was a $20bn waste of money borne-out by the Grattan Institute report. The real cowardice is not negotiating with the Greens to pass a simple and fair carbon tax.

  46. Grog

    Sorry – should be “the” current senate.

  47. Grog

    Tell me this Jason: How would you get an ETS through he current Senate?

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