Climate change FAIL
November 26, 2009 2:36 PM   Subscribe

Australia's emissions trading scheme, the "Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme", is being debated in the Senate today.

It is deeply flawed, and the Greens will not vote for it. Of more interest is that the Opposition are being torn asunder, exposing massive fault lines between the liberal modernising wing and the conservative agrarian group, who deny the science and have advocated delay for the past decade. Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull's days are clearly numbered, while the Liberal party appear doomed to spend the next decade out of power.

A link to Rudd's recent Lowy Institute speech I couldn't fit into the main body.
posted by wilful (124 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This is probably not going to interest many non-Australian mefites. I hope and assume that's OK, as it happens all the time with US-centric topics.

Man this last week has been fascinating for oz-politics watchers. Too many extraordinary things happening all at once.

What has apparently been forgotten in all of this is our emissions. Personally I think the CPRS shouldn't be passed, I think the Greens have talked to most sense here of the political parties, and Ross Garnaut's original prescription was just about right.
posted by wilful at 2:42 PM on November 26, 2009

"It is deeply flawed, and the Greens will not vote for it."

Two points to make here.

First, I don't agree it is deeply flawed, and I don't think your links really bear that out. Yes, it will cost households, but the Government has said that they are committed to helping low and middle income households to adjust to the change. Beyond that, any extra cost to households is something that needs to be accepted by everyone to try and help save the planet. The days of high pollutin' at no cost to the consumer are what got us into this mess, and those days were a very long period of time. It's really only fair, given these facts, that everyone needs to do their part to fix things and leave a livable world for our kids and their kids.

Second, the Greens not voting for it is hardly a surprise. I like The Greens, insofar as they exist as a far left fringe party that helps drag Labor and the Libs to the left every now and then. But they advocate policies that sound great on paper, but don't work in the real world. As my old University lecturer used to say, minor parties like The Greens have the advantage of being able to promise the world, knowing they will never be elected and have to keep their promises. It's the same deal here. Sure, the ETS could be better, but to give The Greens everything they want would be to make the ETS worse, not better.

"Of more interest is that the Opposition are being torn asunder, exposing massive fault lines between the liberal modernising wing and the conservative agrarian group, who deny the science and have advocated delay for the past decade. Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull's days are clearly numbered, while the Liberal party appear doomed to spend the next decade out of power."

Yes. It's interesting to see the internal machinations of the Coalition being exposed because of the ETS. What is clear now is that the Coalition is fucked. They really are between a rock and a hard place. If Turnbull is dumped and someone like Abbott or Andrews gets the leadership and repeals support for the ETS, Rudd will call a double dissoloution the moment the Senate rejects the Bill and will paint the Coalition as an ununified rabble full of climate change deniers. But if Turnbull hangs on, Rudd will still win the next election because a) the ETS can't be an election issue and b) leadership tensions will continue to plague Turnbull and Rudd will paint the Coalition as an ununified rabble.

On a side note, the media reporting on the Libs internal problems has been interesting. I don't agree with the prevailing view that Turnbulls days are numbered. His call for a spill saw him retained as leader, and if a spill is again called for today or on Monday, those who didn't manage to oust him aren't going to get any more numbers than they did a few days ago. Indeed, with the public damage they have done to the Coalition, I'd be surprised if they didn't get a few less votes.

I think it is likely that Turnbull will survive until the next election, but only just. What is clear is that he needs to get rid of troublemakers like Tuckey, and pick a better frontbench. Then he needs to consolidate his power, like Howard did. Otherwise he won't survive another spill if its called early next year, when the election is due.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:56 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

The far right wing of Australian politics has been driven into overdrive with Rupert & Co absolutely slamming Turnbull in the press, calling his career over and constantly posturing every liberal frontbencher as a potential leadership challenger.

On a discussion forum I frequent that's mostly Australian a large contingent of the far right nutjobs have been calling this "a tax on the air we breathe" and the initial strike of a NWO conspiracy. It would be an adventure in hilarity if it wasn't for the sheer mind boggling amount of misinformation they've been flooding the discussion with.
posted by Talez at 2:57 PM on November 26, 2009

Effigy, I don't think it's really debatable that the CPRS is deeply flawed or not. It clearly is. The question is whether it's worth the effort, that is something that reasonable people can dispute over.

As an economic instrument designed to send appropriate market signals to reduce our emissions, it's a big fail. Personally I think it's gone too far to be rescued or to be worth it. I would like to scratch it and start again, with the ALP negotiating a decent schme post DD election with the Greens. John Quiggin, an economist I greatly respect, still thinks it's (just barely) worthwhile. His optimistic fantasy case is as I just described.

As for Turnbull, if he wins a leadership ballot either today or on Monday, I still think he can't go anywhere from here, his 'brand' and that of the Liberal party is terminally rooted.

Unfortunately for our democracy, of course, the safest Liberal seats are the most conservative, so they may be trapped in a delusionist huddle for some time to come.
posted by wilful at 3:06 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Sorry for my poor structure there.

The person who really ought to be pinned for this is John Howard. He led them to this place, but they were willing victims.

The notches on Kevin Rudd's political knife are multiplying. Four leaders in two years!
posted by wilful at 3:12 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

International readers might be interested to note that pretty much the same thing is going on in New Zealand right now as well - [] - with Parliament being put into urgency* to re-legislate our ETS in time for the big UN climate change forum in Copenhagen.

Talez - The NWO conspiracy theory, like all good nutjob conspiracies, has a tiny inkling of worth to it, insofar as the implications of a global currency should be being discussed in the mainstream, and are not.

Personally I feel that as emissions trading schemes around the world start to mature, they will fairly likely evolve over time into some kind of universal currency, and that is an interesting concept that is worthy of discussion. To steer that discussion away from NWO-type ranting, perhaps it would be helpful to ask questions such as, "If we imagine that there might be a global currency standard 50 years from now, what might be a good standard to tie its value to?" Gold? Man-hours? Carbon?

*[derail] a handy cover for the overnight privitisation of our prison system that just passed yesterday with barely a whimper from the media
posted by mhjb at 3:13 PM on November 26, 2009

mhjb, we adopted an ETS over other options such as a tax so that we could be participants in international trading schemes. So yes, carbon reduction is certainly another currency for the first half of this century.

In fact, the economics of our CPRS don't stack up without cheap permits from the third world. Which many find problematic.

The recent deals and amendments have excluded agriculture from the Australian ETS for the time being. Which precludes integration with New Zealand's scheme, since your emissions are about 50% agriculture and you couldn't have a credible scheme without it.
posted by wilful at 3:18 PM on November 26, 2009

Your links to justify that it is deeply flawed basically consists of the following;

1. A fact sheet about the legislation that is open to ones own political interpretaion.
2. An essay by Ross Garnaut who says that the scheme has flaws following the deal done between the Government and the Opposition, but he hopes it passes anyway, essentially because something is better than nothing.
3. A comment from Liberal lover Peter Martin, whose views on Labor should always be instantly dismissed.
4. A report from the ABC about the costs for households.

Nothing there proves that the scheme is deeply flawed, so I think it is highly debatable to say that it is. I most agree with Garnaut; the scheme is flawed but then pretty much any piece of legislation in a democracy is flawed, especially after everyone has had a piece of it, as is the case with the ETS.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:25 PM on November 26, 2009

Ugh. I can't do math today. Our majority is 39 not 33.

At least we would have passed healthcare reform already with that majority. Oh wait. We did that over 30 years ago.
posted by Talez at 3:33 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Effigy, sorry, I'm sure I could provide better links, but the basic premise of an ETS is to send clear market signals. This one doesn't. It is flawed. Deeply is of course a judgement, but I'm not on my pat malone in making that call.

Peter Martin a liberal lover? Are you sure?

Atlez, sorry but the Greens don't hold the BoP. Maybe (probably) after the next election.
posted by wilful at 3:38 PM on November 26, 2009

Mod note: A few comments removed. Injokey references couched as obnoxiously derailing criticism end up reading as just plain obnoxious, derailing criticism for anybody who hasn't happened to read the Metatalk thread you're referring to.
posted by cortex (staff) at 4:07 PM on November 26, 2009

The SMH (in an article that's oddly post-dated) says that Rudd and Turnbull are working together to get the EPS passed in the Senate today. Because MPs have already headed home for the weekend, there can't be a leadership challenge until Monday, and if the EPS is a done deal by then a lot of steam will be lost. I usually find politicking pathetic, like toddlers sqabbling over who gets the biggest truck in the playground, but there's something delightfully clever about this. Rudd gets what he wants, Turnbull gets what he wants, and those who've turned on a policy they previously agreed with simply to position themselves better politically* will lose out.

It'll be an interesting day.

*A move that's abhorrent no matter which side of the line you're on.
posted by Georgina at 4:14 PM on November 26, 2009

Any attempt to regulate emissions is going to raise the price of the good in question. The reason for the inefficiency in the first place is because the price of polluting is too low. Politically, I guess it's impossible to sell a program as basically a tax on electricity, but that's what it is - and that's ultimately a good thing. If there are externalities with production or consumption, you should tax it - either directly via offsetting taxes, or indirectly through some kind of cap-and-trade program. But they are equivalent either way in terms of raising the price. That does not represent a failure; it just means we live in the real world where there is no such thing as a free lunch.
posted by scunning at 4:21 PM on November 26, 2009

The far right wing of Australian politics has been driven into overdrive with Rupert & Co absolutely slamming Turnbull in the press, calling his career over and constantly posturing every liberal frontbencher as a potential leadership challenger.
Today's edition of 'The Australian' almost made me barf over my breakfast with the first five pages devoted almost entirely to how Malcolm Turnbull will surely be ousted solely because he is pushing for support of the ETS, followed up by pages of editorial where they neatly avoid 'Godwinning' politicians who are listening to the world's climate experts by instead invoking Stalinism and 'Orthodoxy'.

I have to be a bit circumspect here as even Rupert can use the evil internets for his own purposes: A friend of mine works for one of Newscorp's more 'esteemed' organs and was looking forward to a well-earned junket where he could get some great 'once-in-a-lifetime' experiences at the same time as doing his job and investigating an environmental issue of great importance to the world and Australia in particular.

He WAS looking forward to the trip until his editor pulled him aside and told him that: before he went on the trip he would have to submit his copy which should conclude that the ecological phenmoena in question, which is directly linked to global warming was actually decreasing in severity. If not, they could find someone else, more amenable to the paper's foregone conclusions, to go in his stead.
posted by JustAsItSounds at 4:24 PM on November 26, 2009

John Quiggin on the CPRS.
Starting with the feasible improvements, the existing scheme has two notable problems aside from general questions about design, targets and so on. First, it makes voluntary action to reduce emissions ineffectual, since this just lowers the cost of emissions permits (I thought this had been fixed by the changes announced in March, but I was wrong on this point). A suggestion to fix this is the idea of an Additional Action Reserve, put forward by the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets...
Second, not only does it give out free permits to existing polluters (bad policy, but probably politically inevitable) it undermines the scheme by requiring that those receiving the permits should continue to pollute. This could be fixed by allowing holders of free permits to cash them in and use them to finance adjustment out of the industry in question. An even bigger improvement would be for governments to provide matching assistance to workers and communities affected by shutdowns of, for example, brown coal power plants. The current scheme has almost nothing in this respect.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:34 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I think it is wrong to assume that energy costs must increase in order to control greenhouse gas emissions, especially in the long term. Cap and trade systems have worked in the past (acid rain) bringing greater than sought emission reductions at lower than expected costs. The free market gets a bad rap, but with the right incentive it excels at finding solutions.

To me one of huge differences over the last few years is the transition from talking about environmental issues in terms of necessary sacrifice and instead thinking of them in terms of enormous economic opportunity. I suspect with the right incentives and removal of the hidden subsidies for fossil fuel we will eventually a completely carbon neutral energy supply at substantially lower costs than today. The trick will be managing that before we all fry.
posted by Long Way To Go at 4:53 PM on November 26, 2009

Effifgy have you actually read the greens porposed amendments?. Honestly, they're really not very outre, a true compromise, and genuinely not 'hard left' by any definition. Basically they want to follow Garnaut's recommendations more closely.

You might also be interested in hearing from Christine Milne on why pass now, fix up later is a pretty bad idea. I've not voted Green to date, but her points and their amendments are pretty spot on, imho.

posted by smoke at 4:55 PM on November 26, 2009

sorry, I meant to link to the amendments. Here they are.
posted by smoke at 4:57 PM on November 26, 2009

I agree that this morning's Australian is a joke. Indeed, the whole paper has become the Fox News of Australia for some time. It has stopped even trying to appear objective and the "journalism" is now nothing but opinion pieces, spin and down-right propaganda.

I'm astounded at what the Liberals are doing. A big part of me wishes they would oust Turnbull (who I think is a decent man even though I dislike him) and defeat the bill, thereby triggering a double dissolution election. The Coalition would be massacred. This country needs a Senate that doesn't automatically block all the reforming agenda of the current government.

With regards to the posts above by wilful and Effigy2000, I agree with the latter. Calling the ETS "deeply flawed" is patently wrong. Flawed perhaps. Please point to one single example, in the past 100 years of Austrlian political history, of a piece of legislation that has no flaws and is "perfect". Please further describe, in your own words, three reasons (not that much, is it?) that constitute its "deep" flaws.

I'm astounded that people are running around waving their arms in the air, like their hair is on fire, when talking about this. "It's a tax!!" they scream. OF COURSE IT'S A BLOODY TAX!!! That's the whole point!

Jeez the Liberals give me the shits.
posted by Mephisto at 5:05 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

KABOOM! Julie Bishop has deserted Turnbull, telling him to fall on his sword. Turnbull, quite rightly, has refused, saying "It would say a lot - and not much very good I'm afraid - about the Liberal Party if we were to have another spill motion debate in less than a week after one had already been held."

Turnbull needs to remember that the Libs always unite behind a strong leader. He needs to start chopping off heads, and he needs to do it now, or he really will be toast. Announce a reshuffle, put his strongest supporters in the key positions and those who are on the fence in number two positions. Then he needs to order Tuckey, Abbott, Minchin and Andrews into his office and tell them he's going to see to it they don't get preselection for the next election.

Of course he won't do that, because he's a lilly livered goose, which is why he got into this position in the first place. Will be interesting to see how the day unfolds.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:19 PM on November 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

posted by Wolof at 5:20 PM on November 26, 2009

Flawless legislation? Well apart from the trite statement that nothing is "perfect', there's plenty of very excellent legislation that no one has objected to. Start with recognition of aborigines in '67, move to Whitlam's medibank and free tertiary education, whip over to floating the exchange rate, how about statutory independence of the reserve bank, introduction of fiat currency, decimilisation, privacy legislation, there are countless examples of excellent legislation.

As to deepness?

1. Vast compensation to non-trade exposed coal fired generators, who, following European experience, will pocket the cash and still bump prices. Australian $$ will be going straight offshore.
2. Total exclusion of agriculture (on the debit side)
3. Exclusion of transport fuels
4. Heavy reliance on international offsets

See, not hard. Pretty deep flaws. Note I even gave you an extra one there.

(PS your tone was a bit patronising. I've returned the favour, but lets take it up a level eh?)

To reiterate, the entire point of an ETS is to change behaviours by sending market signals, I think we can all agree. This ETS greatly masks those market signals, in a very very expensive manner, leading to a costly (financially now and opportunity cost in the long term) failure to achieve its stated aims.
posted by wilful at 5:21 PM on November 26, 2009

Effigy, Turnbull doesn't hold nearly enough clout to do that. If he retains his position, the Libs are still quite fucked. The 2010 election was already a goner, the last week has written off the 2013 election, if they keep it up they can kiss the one after that goodbye as well.
posted by wilful at 5:23 PM on November 26, 2009

To put some numbers oround "deeply". According to this (.pdf) analysis, it's $43 billion by 2020.

And 44% of permits sourced from offshore.

That's a pretty deep hole.
posted by wilful at 5:31 PM on November 26, 2009

With the current two party preferred split ( ALP-55 LNP 45 ) If 1 in 15 Australians change their view from preferring the ALP to liking the Libs then the Libs would lead the polls. To say they are doomed for 2013 at this point is a very bold prediction. They LNP are down now with an unpopular leader and they are in disarray. If they had a popular leader and were organised and a few things went wrong for the ALP things could switch rapidly.

How much did Latham lose by before being replaced by a popular leader who took the ALP back in? Things change rapidly in politics.
posted by sien at 5:34 PM on November 26, 2009

My tone was patronising? You need to get more if you felt patronised by my post.

Why does the exclusion of agriculture (not total exclusion mind you, as they can still trade off-sets) constitute a deep flaw?

Your arguments remind me of the Greens. The ETS has been "watered down" through the negotiations between the Government and the Opposition. But that was in an attempt to get it passed. I don't agree that this makes it deeply flawed.

Hypothetically speaking, would an ETS that resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, thereby bringing heart-break and misery to countless Australian families, but reached a goal of say 45% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 also be "deeply flawed?"

If the Greens got their suggestions passed, the country would become a basket case.
If the ALP got their original suggestions passed, there would undoubtedly be winners and losers.
If the Libs got their suggestions passed.... Oh, wait a sec... they only suggestion they have is BLOCK, BLOCK, BLOCK and perhaps bring back TPVs and WorkChoices.
posted by Mephisto at 5:36 PM on November 26, 2009

So wilful, do you reject the idea that doing something is better than nothing in this case?

Do you think that both Garnaut and Quiggins are wrong and that this thing shouldn't be passed at all?

I guess what I'm trying to say is, I think you and I can both agree that it is a falwed piece of legislation and it could be much better, but to say it is deeply flawed is to imply that it shouldn't be passed at all, and I don't think anyone (except for The Greens and the climate change deniers in the Coalition) is advocating that.

"Effigy, Turnbull doesn't hold nearly enough clout to do that. If he retains his position, the Libs are still quite fucked. The 2010 election was already a goner, the last week has written off the 2013 election, if they keep it up they can kiss the one after that goodbye as well."
posted by wilful at 11:23 AM on November 27

Oh my, yes, Turnbull will lose the next election if he hangs on. And so would Andrews, Abbott or Robb. Hockey would probably lose too, but he'd stem the tide.

And yeah, he dosen't hold the clout to threaten anyones preselection, but the threat would show he means business. A quick and dirty cabinet reshuffle, which he needs to do anyway, with key supporters in the key positions and fence-sitters in the outer shadow cabinet would help him get back some of his clout, I think. But he won't do that because he's a twit.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:36 PM on November 26, 2009

describe, in your own words, three reasons (not that much, is it?) that constitute its "deep" flaws.

1. It won't lower any emissions in the next 10 years by even a tonne.

2. Given its outcome vis emission, it's incredibly expensive

3. We have effectively shifted the subsidies from the public, to huge multinational companies with multi-billion dollar profits.
posted by smoke at 5:40 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I get plenty, mate! well not really, but that's a tale for anonymous askme.

(but to put it to rest, this is patronising: "in your own words" & "(not that much, is it?)"

Agriculture causes substantial emissions, so that's a flaw.

And what about my three other points?

For your hypothetical, of course the answer is yes. But who has suggested that? Not the Greens, so I'm not sure what you're talking about.

I'm not a Greens voter, they're watermelons, I'm pretty centrist economically, but this time they're talking sense, all they're advocating for is the scheme proposed by the government's hand-picked adviser, Ross Garnaut.

The Greens suggestions are definitely not economically ruinous - can you name one of their proposals that would do that? is there any (non-BCA or Minerals Council) modelling that demonstrates that? Although speculative, it's easy enough to see that a modern, adapted economy would prosper in the 21st century.
posted by wilful at 5:45 PM on November 26, 2009

Effigy, it's a matter of degree. The initial government PRS flirted on the edge of "what's the point" for me, the Liberal amendments ahve pushed it over.

Quiggin and Garnaut are only just the other side of that line I expect. Having corresponded with Quiggin a bit, met him a few times, and being a habitué of his blog, I can confidently say that he's very close to that line, and would not object to a description of 'deeply flawed'. Ross garnaut, well he's got a position to maintain, but he's been pretty scathing of where it's gone.

But really, this is all semantics. Australia still has a long way yo go deal with its emissions, and global justice. This ETS doesn't take us anywhere, and the Opposition will not have any influence over the next decade of policy development, this thing will hang over them like a dirty stinking rotten albatross for a long time to come.
posted by wilful at 5:52 PM on November 26, 2009

Effigy, you think Hockey can repair the Liberals brand?

The party is fundamentally split between the Old Guard, Howard loving dinosaurs, and the moderate small "L" liberals. I know Wilson Tuckey personally, and whilst he's a nice guy in person, he's a whack-job politically. Hutton, who is being touted as a deputy leader now, didn't have the bottle to fight for his own seat! Robb, Abbott, Bishop et al are all terrible.

The party needs to reinvent itself. Turnbull ("deeply flawed" as he is) was its best chance for that, and they've screwed him for it (along with the hacks in the Australian). They're in the midst of their own "Morning of the Long Knives" (if you'll pardon the slightly tasteless pun).

wilful, I guess you misintepreted my tone. With regards to my example, I was speaking "hypothetically" about job losses. The ETS is a compromise, as all legislation is and should be; something Howard forgot about when he took majority of the Senate last time and rammed TPVs and WorkChoices down our throats - that worked out well, eh? Including transport fuels would result in significant job losses I imagine. Not sure why including international offsets is a deep flaw. When is a compromise a flaw, a deep flaw or just a vehicle to ensure passing of legislation?
posted by Mephisto at 5:58 PM on November 26, 2009

Well that's getting philosophical, mephisto. I don't mind compromises, in fact I think it's a terrible loss to the Australian polity that the Australian Democrats have been replaced by the greens (but we wont hijack the thread with that debate please).

When the flaw becomes a deep flaw is when it starts to fail to deliver on it's original stated intent, or becomes too costly.

I don't mind some offshore traded permits - as I said, I'm economically pretty MoR. But taking the proportion relied upon to 44%, that's far too much, it's an expensive way of insulating our economy from the necessary restructuring and change, a big drain on our terms of trade, and risky, because all of the other developed economies are going to do the same thing. Not even starting to talk about the fictional permits that will be scammed.

Including transport fuels may have a few trucking job losses- an area that is prediced to boom, so probably more a reduced growth than an actual losss - but would employ a lot of construction workers building railways and new freight warehousing facilities.
posted by wilful at 6:18 PM on November 26, 2009

I don't know if he can repair the Liberal brand, per se. It's possible. I am sure though that if the Libs want to stem the landslide against them that this week will have delivered for Rudd at the next election, Hockey is their best and only chance.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:23 PM on November 26, 2009

I think it's a terrible loss to the Australian polity that the Australian Democrats have been replaced by the greens

Yep. I've been a lifelong Australian Democrat voter since I started voting.

Then they went and ballsed it up with the GST. Meg Lees the bitch. Killed the only viable centrist/centre-left party that we had.

With Labor moving further to the right with their complete abortion of their Third Way policies (thankfully the unions still have a large stranglehold on Labor and can ensure that corporate interests don't completely overtake the party) and Liberal turning to the lunatic right fringe we needed a strong centrist party now more than ever.

Now I hold my nose and give The Greens the first preference, Labor second last and Liberal last.
posted by Talez at 7:08 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Here's Bernard Keane's take on the matter in today's crikey:

Leadership tickets are a dime a dozen round this joint at the moment. Last night it was the Two Tonys Ticket, perhaps inspired by the Wednesday prospect of Kevin and Julia going up against Kevin and Julie. This morning it's Joe Hockey and Peter Dutton, because what you need as a deputy is a bloke who doesn't think he can hold his own seat.

The dream ticket of Wilson Tuckey and Bronwyn Bishop, alas, remains just that for the moment. But there's three days to go, so we live in hope.

As everyone has said repeatedly, neither Abbott nor Hockey is the answer to the Liberals' problems currently. Each would stand on one side of the deep faultlines that have opened up over the past three months and started shaking the party apart this week. Neither could repair them. The CPRS has been a uniquely intense issue for the Liberals, but the divisions it has created will last at least until the next election, and the party will remain ready to split again on another issue that divides progressives and moderates.

They also need some sort of climate change policy. As Turnbull said last night, if they go into the next election proposing to do nothing about climate change, it will be a disaster. There's Andrew Robb's Frontier Economics proposal ready-to-hand, although that wouldn't satisfy the Nationals. There's a carbon tax, but rejecting the CPRS because it's a giant tax only to replace it with a real giant tax wouldn't quite work with the punters.

That only leaves winner-picking technology and energy efficiency investment. Which, again, will be difficult given the Liberals are promising to cut the Budget back to 25% of GDP.

On the leadership, there are two issues: whether Turnbull will quit, and by how much Joe Hockey would beat Tony Abbott.

Turnbull would need a lobotomy before he backed away from a fight. Watching his press conference last night, I was impressed with his aggression, his brio, his self-belief, which is clearly even greater than we had hitherto suspected. In the immortal Keating phrase, he's got more front than Mark Foys. It was only later I realised he was actually enjoying himself, enjoying the opportunity to battle for something he genuinely believes in, feeling right at home in the middle of a fight to the death.

He also understands -- as John Howard did -- that the Liberals are singularly inept at disposing of their leaders. Howard looked in Peter Costello's eyes and knew he didn't have that real hunger for the top job that impelled him through the 1980s and early 1990s. Turnbull, similarly, will look around his party. What does the man who took on Kerry Packer and won see? A media-friendly lightweight. A reactionary hiding in Senate obscurity. A conservative who still believes in the monarchy and doesn't believe in climate change. A deputy repeatedly found wanting in Parliamentary combat over the past two years.

It's almost Gulliver and the Lilliputians.

But Turnbull will come under immense pressure from moderates to step aside to maximise the chances of Hockey beating Abbott. Julie Bishop has already tapped him on the shoulder. At some point, surely, his numbers man Michael Ronaldson will confront him with the maths. A Turnbull-Abbott ballot risks handing the leadership to a man even more conservative than his idol John Howard. But a Turnbull resignation would ensure Hockey, backed by moderates and unhindered by animosity from all sides toward Turnbull, defeats Abbott or is elected unopposed in a unity deal.

That all said, Turnbull is unlikely to care much about the Liberal Party after he leaves it. It was only ever a vehicle for his ego and -- let's be fair -- his enormous talent. And it's hard to see how Turnbull would resign unless he's assured the CPRS would go through. At least then his political death would have been in the cause of climate change.

Even so, from next week we'll probably see Joe Hockey as leader, with Nick Minchin riding him hard to make sure he doesn't upset the conservatives, and the Liberals opposing the CPRS and eventually running with a variant of the Frontier Economics model, much to the chagrin of the Nats and the party's membership. The Frontier Economics model is far lower-impact on households and business and can be dressed up as "greener" than the CPRS (when it is even browner).

The result will be an even worse disaster than they faced under Turnbull, but by then he'll be long gone, off to some place where his formidable talents will be more appreciated. Perhaps he can help out at Copenhagen.

posted by wilful at 7:16 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

I enjoy Bernard Keane's analyses. More level-headed and less breathless than most.
posted by smoke at 7:38 PM on November 26, 2009

So the alternative Government of this country (indeed, possibly soon the alternative leader) is using Twitter now to get Australians views on the ETS.

Give me your views on climate change in 160 characters or less! You fucking great big tool, Hockey.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:40 PM on November 26, 2009

Interesting article. Thanks for posting.

Here's a juicy prospect...

The Liberals roll Turnbull and install either the Mad Monk or the Friendly Buffoon. They adopt the Frontier Economics policy they paid for (based upon a model that was dropped by Canada as unworkable!), and get absolutely thrashed at the next election. Most of the crazies keep their seats (as they're "inland", rural and more conservative constituencies) and most of the small L liberals lose theirs (being coastal, urban and more progressive constituencies). This further denudes the Liberals who become even more of a right-wing joke.

The Kevin Rudd appoints Turnbull (who is very talented as everyone agrees) to a Government job, as he is want to do with talented past political foes. Say the head of the Future Fund!

Now that would be worth seeing.

How I would laugh and laugh.
posted by Mephisto at 7:42 PM on November 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Enjoying Mephisto very much. I agree that if/when Turnbull gets toppled they will have lost the only sensible person in their party. I am generally disgusted with the low bar of Liberal politics anyway, but Turnbull is someone who had broader appeal, say, for his republicanism. Yes, he has to participate in some crappy politico-reductionist discourse [especially over the Oceanic Viking] but at least he looks in pain when he does so. As Effigy says, Hockey is such a tool. But Blinky Bishop, Fuckstick Tony Abbot and every other apparent contender are also total loons. I don't think I've heard a coherent word in Australian politics since the Sorry speech.
posted by honey-barbara at 8:44 PM on November 26, 2009 [2 favorites]

IMHO the best place to follow this is the comment threads on Poll Bludger.
posted by hawthorne at 9:34 PM on November 26, 2009

posted by Wolof at 12:20 PM on November 27 [+] [!]

wait, Wolof is...Tony Abbott?!??
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:45 PM on November 26, 2009

I thought Costello was the smirker?

The Greens amendments could be summed up as "do what Garnaut said, and add in some way of measuring voluntary reductions from households". A lot of people like to bag them for unreasonable policy, but usually have no idea what Greens' policy actually is. It's a cheap shot.

The CPRS is incapable of reducing Australia's emissions, so yeah, I'm with the deeply flawed analysis. I'm undecided on whether it's better to pass-and-improve or ditch-and-reformulate, but as it currently stands it's a dog's breakfast. But if you consider that Rudd's purpose was to look good while wedging the Liberals, then it looks like a wild success.

I've seen a lot of jokes on Twitter about the Liberal party splitting in two, but is there any reason it shouldn't happen? I think we'd get a lot more done if the Nationals and the extreme right-wing of the Liberals formed a party, and the more centrist Liberals formed a party, and could stop wasting time arguing over every little decision. I'd be willing to bet that a centrist Liberal party would attract quite a few votes - if Turnbull or Hockey were leading, they'd actually have a slightly less socially-conservative outlook than Rudd's Labor right now.
posted by harriet vane at 10:14 PM on November 26, 2009

Oh, and I keep hearing that there was a massive phone-in to Liberal MPs and Senators earlier this week, from Liberal members and voters saying they didn't want the ETS. Is there any confirmation that this happened? And if so, who organised it?
posted by harriet vane at 10:18 PM on November 26, 2009

Anthony Green — if Malcolm Turnbull were to lose the Liberal Leadership next week, it seems certain the Liberal Party would face a by-election in his marginal Sydney seat of Wentworth.

As the man says, can you see Turnbull palely loitering on the Opposition back benches for the next year?
posted by Wolof at 10:44 PM on November 26, 2009

Not at all, although he should consider it. If he waited for the nutbars to burn themselves out in defeat, he could stride in again afterwards and everyone would be relieved he was back.
posted by harriet vane at 11:32 PM on November 26, 2009

Oh man, I wish I'd found this thread earlier. Now I'm too pissed to make sense.

It's a very weird outcome - are we seeing the creation of the world's first climate change denialist party? As someone said on Twitter - maybe they'll for the Democratic Liberal Party (Anti-Warmist).

I've always had respect for Malcom, and have felt that a party under his leadership is one I could almost vote for, if the ALP ever completely disappear up their own arse. Ah what am I saying, I vote Green, truth be told.

And I'm a scientist, and my work intersects very closely with climate change - I have to try really, really hard to ignore all the "skeptic" nonsense, because it is an absolute poison on public debate. Seriously, it's up there with fake moon landings and 6,000-year-old earths.

Look at Ian Plimer, hero of the likes of Andrew Bolt, who last week simplistically declared that "CO2 isn't pollution, it's plant food". The fact is, plant physiologists have spent much of the last 20 years conducting experiments to determine the real effect of increased atmospheric CO2 on plants - they have found both positive and negative effects, depending on the species and the ecosystem. Yet climate change denialists are happy to jump on the comments of one guy (who's a geologist, by the way) rather than look at the serious work that's been done on the issue. You can hear this just listening to the "scientific evidence" members of the Liberal party have bought to the senate in the last few days. They mentioned some guy who declared sea level is falling, not rising. I've seen the data from permanent tidal gauges around Australia - I can tell you one thing, fellas, it's definitely not going down.

The division in the Liberal party actually seems pretty clear cut - based on the spill the other day, Turnbull seems to have a fair number of people who want to stand behind him, and yet there are a fair number of people who want to stir up shit. Very interesting.

As for the Nationals - I'll make the point that they are actually completely out of tune with the people they claim to represent. The National Farmers Federation came out the other week against the position of the National Party. A lot of farmers are actually considering the worth of the carbon in their soil, and how it might earn them some money.

I've heard a lot about this "phone-in", harriet vane, and all it reveals is the complete disconnect between blue-blood Liberal members and the wider electorate. You know, the people who decided putting fake islamic pamphlets with the ALP logo on them in people's letterboxes last election was a great move for democracy. The Liberal party thinks they should still be in government, that the election of Labour was simply some brain-freeze on the part of the Australian population. They believe they represent the "silent majority". They believe Andrew Bold and Piers Ackerman and Miranda Devine are noble, honest spokespeople for the great unwashed.

Eric Abetz said last night he had to vote against the ETS so he could look Tasmanians in the eye. I'd love Abetz to come look me in the eye, because the ignorant prick might end up with a black one. And Tasmania is another interesting area - it's entirely possible that we could earn money from leaving our carbon-rich forests in place than logging them, under schemes like this.

Anyway, I'm watching this with both horror and glee. It's about time we had something interesting happen in politics. Abbott/Tuckey for 2010!
posted by Jimbob at 12:26 AM on November 27, 2009 [9 favorites]


You just made my day. What an entertaining post!
posted by Mephisto at 12:29 AM on November 27, 2009

Oh, regarding the policy of the Greens - environmental scientists I work with consider the Greens' policy completely sensible and moderate. There's no question they'd have an economic impact, but that's the whole point, to create a price signal. However, I support the passage of the ETS because something needs to be done soon, very soon, and anything that may slightly push negotiations in Copenhagen along is fine by me.
posted by Jimbob at 12:38 AM on November 27, 2009

The Kevin Rudd appoints Turnbull (who is very talented as everyone agrees) to a Government job, as he is want to do with talented past political foes. Say the head of the Future Fund!

No no no. Turnbull for Governor General! He may have to reconsider his republicanism, however.
posted by Jimbob at 12:40 AM on November 27, 2009

Give me your views on climate change in 160 characters or less! You fucking great big tool, Hockey.

I gave him my views (he is a great big tool, but a cuddly, cute one), and watching the stream of other peoples' replies, saw about 10% climate change deniers, 30% go-and-get-fucked, and 60% "tell Malcolm to stay the course, we need action on this".
posted by Jimbob at 1:03 AM on November 27, 2009

I'd heard it suggested that Bolt was behind the phone-in, but I think you're right, Jimbob. It'll turn out to be the party members stirring up shit because they can't understand that the world has changed.

Mind you, it makes me feel like if a pro-cutting-emissions group starting doing a ring-around, it could have a pretty strong effect for the amount of effort it'd take.

It's like these nutbars haven't looked at a poll since they lost the election in 2007. The public is getting tired of hearing about climate change, but mostly because they'd like something done about it please so we can get on with the job instead of endlessly debating parts per million. Tuckey seems to actually believe that the Coalition would lose more votes than it'd gain by going denialist.
posted by harriet vane at 1:50 AM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Tuckey seems to actually believe that the Coalition would lose more votes than it'd gain by going denialist.

I assume that sentance was supposed to be the other way around? Anyway, Tuckey has always reminded me of Bob Katter. Except, in fairness, Katter actually seems to fairly represent the people who elected him, and seems to honestly care about them. If Tuckey went independent, he wouldn't be long for this parliament.
posted by Jimbob at 2:00 AM on November 27, 2009

Jimbob: I've always had respect for Malcom …

I've heard a lot of otherwise left-leaning people say things like this and, given the guy's history, wonder to myself "why?".

Because if you look at that history - from his days as Packer's corporate lawyer, his involvement with corporate & political scumbags like Nick Whitlam and Neville Wran, his time at Goldman Sachs and their involvement with things like the HIH collapse, his time at the top of OzEmail, his chairmanship of Axiom Forestry and their operations in the Solomons, through to his heading up the political face of the republican movement and the OzCar debacle under his leadership of the Liberals, and his close association with such people as the current and former heads of Macquarie Bank and the Australian branch of Lehman Bros, as well as the ever-delightful Janet Albrechtsen - it's pretty clear that he's quite adept at keeping his own hands clean, staying just on the right side of 'acceptable' and 'legal', getting away with as much as he can without even a minimum of personal responsibility, and generally showing that Malcolm Turnbull is out to serve just one person - Malcolm Turnbull.

If he goes - and I hope he does - then good riddance to one of the more hypocritical and self-interested pieces of shit the Australian political scene has known in recent years. And I say that regardless of my own political persuasion, and knowing full well (with some personal experience) that Rudd isn't too far behind him in those stakes …
posted by Pinback at 2:23 AM on November 27, 2009 [5 favorites]

Say what you will about Tuckey, lately the old geezer has been making Question Time interesting, which is fortunate with the Opposition's habit of raising points of order every 30 seconds.

I remember about two months or so ago, Tuckey raised a point of order, accusing the PM of one thing or another. The Speaker sat him down, ruling there was no point of order and calling for the next question, which was to be a Dixer from the Government. Tuckey gets up, interrupting the question, insisting that there was a point of order and the Speaker was wrong. The Speaker sat him down again, insisting that there was no point of order. Tuckey gets back up and even though his mic had been cut off, you could hear him screaming across the chamber at the Speaker, yelling "It's always like this with you! You never let us have our way!"

As someone who watches a lot of Question Time and has done for years, I found it deeply ironic that Tuckey never raised such points of order when the Coalition was in power and Labor was in Opposition.

The only way that crazy old coot will ever leave the House is if it's in a wooden box, I think.
posted by Effigy2000 at 2:31 AM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

I've heard a lot of otherwise left-leaning people say things like this and, given the guy's history, wonder to myself "why?".

That may well be a fair call. It's just the vibe of the bloke - he just doesn't seem as evil as the rest of the Tory bastards, although judging by your comment, he may well have done more damage.

I dunno. I just think "Tony Abbot as PM? Malcolm Turnbull as PM? I'll take the later, thanks.", even if that isn't strictly rational.

Thankfully, given the current state of affairs, I can't see a PM coming from the Liberal party until at least 2037.
posted by Jimbob at 2:54 AM on November 27, 2009

I dunno. I just think "Tony Abbot as PM? Malcolm Turnbull as PM? I'll take the later, thanks.", even if that isn't strictly rational.

Tony Abbott is a douchebag who enforced his religious views on everyone through his brief tenure as health minister.

If he became PM I'd move to Canada before Australia becomes a defacto Catholic theocracy.
posted by Talez at 3:21 AM on November 27, 2009

Yeah, I want to know who keeps voting for these fuckers? The system of party discipline in Australia has a lot to answer for; surely the people who vote for the likes of Abbot, Abetz, Bishop and Tuckey don't really know what these people are about?
posted by Jimbob at 3:24 AM on November 27, 2009

No no no. Turnbull for Governor General! He may have to reconsider his republicanism, however.
Well, there is an obvious post he can offer him, though I'd prefer to see PK as the first President.

If he became PM I'd move to Canada before Australia becomes a defacto Catholic theocracy.
Reminder to Australians: we threaten to move to The Eastern Territory, not Canada, when things look politically "shaky".1

Seriously though, this is bizarre. The Liberals are going to do what? Replace Turnbull with Abbot? That makes zero sense, but Abbot knows that and yet he has thrown down the gauntlet. The only sense I can make of it is they want to put Hockey up against his "old mate" from Sunrise, and Abbot is going to set the ball rolling as per the Keane scenario wilful outlined above, in exchange for the deputy's position.

However it works out, the Tories won't be unelectable for years, or decades, or generations: they'll be unelectable until the next racist immigration debate takes the limelight from whatever real issue is sinking them at the time it erupts. Which is why Hockey makes no sense (being, from what I can tell, even more naturally averse to that bullshit than Turnbull is) and why I can't understand this whole situation.

1Note to any Eastern Territorians who've struggled this far through the thread on Chatham Island Day Weekend, I kid because I love, and we all know that just as "Canada" represents for USAians a political idyll of utopian socialised medicine and summer girlfriends, so NZ for us represents, err... someone to beat at cricket. Or something.
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:03 AM on November 27, 2009

All this talk of who will be Liberal leader is irrelevant. It will play out. Speculate all you want. It won't mean a rats arse.
As for the emissions trading scheme, some form or other will go through and will be changed later.
Same as it ever was.
posted by tellurian at 4:29 AM on November 27, 2009

Why do you say that, tellurian? There seems to be a real fracturing of the Liberal Party in progress that we haven't seen before. The fact that they're about to hold a leadership ballot just days after the last one and the fact that they've had a mass defection from the shadow cabinet are not things that don't mean a rat's arse (outside the quite reasonable view that nothing means a rat's arse in the long run).

Also, it seems far from obvious that the ETS will go through, at least not without some support from some Liberal Senators, which would be rather brave in the circumstances.

A rejection of the Bill would provide a double dissolution trigger, and a real one at that, not just a technical one. A double dissolution election, especially one fought ostensibly on climate change (as cynical as that might be for those of us who can see the "real" issues) could lead to a radically different Senate which would in turn lead to maybe the Greens holding the balance of power, or maybe Labor having the ability to push through unopposed whatever bullshit they come up with next.

"Same as it ever was"? Surely not?
posted by GeckoDundee at 4:50 AM on November 27, 2009

It looks like there's a big push on for Hockey to run. I doubt he will, because it's not in his interests to do it and now and it serves the party's right. Turnbull is terminal, but he was anyway. He thinks - rightly - that the sandwich has to be taken off the table. Why would Hockey take the leadership when the sandwich is still on the table and that leaving it there is the whole point of the right's agenda on this? Why should he burn his long-term ambitions for them?

The government has wedged the Liberals very effectively, but they sure have walked into it. The Nationals are interesting. They are no longer the party of agriculture: they now belong to resources. The guy I'm waiting to hear from on this is that wheat-farming Liberal head-kicker Heffernan.
posted by hawthorne at 4:56 AM on November 27, 2009

I wouldn't get between Joe Hockey and a sandwich.
posted by Wolof at 5:38 AM on November 27, 2009 [4 favorites]

My first dram of respect for Turnbull was actually generated by his evening press conference following the coalition's long day of speechifying indecisiveness. The fallback line, aimed at wavering skeptics, about insurance and not gambling with nature was a very smart way to put it. That line of persuasion could be expanded using the fairly logical premises, say, advanced by commenters here and here [via things].

In other words, I think the progressives in the opposition would do well to retool their arguments. There are a lot of reasons to reduce the national footprint and global warming doesn't have to be the beall and endall of the discussion.
posted by peacay at 7:04 AM on November 27, 2009

For a fracturing of the Liberal Party I refer you to the Hewson, Downer, Howard with a little bit of Bishop brouhaha. Forces will prevail.
posted by tellurian at 12:14 PM on November 27, 2009

Anthropogenic climate change had better not be the lynch-pin of any argument, mainly because it doesn't exist.
posted by karmiolz at 12:47 PM on November 27, 2009

I thought Costello was the smirker?

I often confuse Abbott & Costello, for some unknown reason.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:55 PM on November 27, 2009

Anthropogenic climate change had better not be the lynch-pin of any argument, mainly because it doesn't exist.

Certainly not in the world according to John Laws, it doesn't.

I was forced to endure 15 minutes of his show, in a cab the other day. Here was his take on climate change:

"Now, they keep showing these photos of how the polar icecap is melting. I don't even know if those photos are real; they might be doctored.

But think about it: if you wanted to heat up some water in your kitchen, what would you do? Would you wave a hairdryer over it? That's what the climate change Nazis want us to believe; that it's all caused by atmospheric warming.

Now, call me old-fashioned, but you'd have to be a bloody idiot to heat your water with a hairdryer, wouldn't you? I don't know about you, but I'd use one of those immersion heaters; those coils that you put into the water, and they, they heat up the water from within.

So if the icecaps are melting, and I'm not saying they are, how do we know that it isn't caused by a whole lot of volcanoes that have suddenly become active on the ocean floor?!??

I mean, how stupid do they think we are?!?? They must think we're bloody fools who will believe anything, the way they expect us to swallow their half-baked theories!!!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:13 PM on November 27, 2009 [4 favorites]

Anthropogenic climate change had better not be the lynch-pin of any argument, mainly because it doesn't exist.

Spoken with the true courage of a willfully ignorant fuckhead. Congratulations.
posted by Jimbob at 1:27 PM on November 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's just the vibe of the bloke - he just doesn't seem as evil as the rest of the Tory bastards

He's just better at it.
posted by pompomtom at 1:50 PM on November 27, 2009

ETS has failed in the senate. The Liberals have sealed their fate. We'll be going to the polls early next year and Liberals better have a plan to stop the bleeding.

Anyone who takes the helm of the Liberal party now will just be a sacrificial lamb. They'll lose the election and get voted out of the leadership shortly after. Who are you really going to get to fall on that sword?
posted by Talez at 2:39 PM on November 27, 2009

I do love a wedge, pity the wedges are always things that really matter, war, refugees, the planet....
posted by mattoxic at 2:59 PM on November 27, 2009

whoops, i meant alan jones
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:23 PM on November 27, 2009

Anyone who takes the helm of the Liberal party now will just be a sacrificial lamb. They'll lose the election and get voted out of the leadership shortly after. Who are you really going to get to fall on that sword?
posted by Talez at 8:39 AM on November 28


Abbott may have called for another spill on Monday, but I suspect that the numbers from the last spill will not have changed significantly, so Turnbull probably still be leader at the end of the day. And he has dug his heels in, so he won't step down, meaning Hockey won't put himself up as a contender.

So if the Libs have any political sense left in them anymore, they'd realise that it really can't be anyone else but Turnbull. Then again, the last year has shown that they don't have any political sense, so who knows whats gonna happen.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:54 PM on November 27, 2009

Thanks for putting up the Alan Jones excerpt UbuRoivas. Fortunately, here in Western Australia I keep in touch with how bad things get out there with our only newspaper's letters to the editor. [Smacks palm against face, screams] As bad as the hairdryer/immersion coil analogy on a daily basis.
posted by honey-barbara at 4:07 PM on November 27, 2009

-Alan Jones-

Aaah. This might explain why my mum is a climate skeptic. She seemed offended when I told her I don't care what her opinion is, much like I don't care what her opinion is on the recommended antibiotic for a wound infection or the quality of a circuit diagram for a toaster.
posted by peacay at 8:14 PM on November 27, 2009

I assume that sentance was supposed to be the other way around?

Oops! Yes.

Yeah, I think Turnbull's got the numbers, and Hockey will not be persuaded to become Minchin's puppet. And why should he, there's nothing in it for him. Minchin is all talk, but I think he was hoping that if he and Abbott made a fuss, Turnbull would just back down.

And the party won't split, because the dinosaur Libs know they need the moderates to have any hope of attracting new members and any amount of votes. It's a shame, but they're stuck on the moderates like barnacles for now.
posted by harriet vane at 2:06 AM on November 28, 2009

Centrebet has a book open on who will be the Liberal leader at the next election. Careful with that link - it opens the "print view" page, but it's the only way I could see to link to the odds directly. Hockey is in the lead, despite officially not yet being in the running.
posted by Jimbob at 7:43 PM on November 28, 2009

can someone explain to me what a voluntary reduction is? sounds to me like you get value by avoiding the ETS tax and then the government gives you some more cash. isn't this double counting. why should some carbon emissions be effectively taxed more than others?
posted by drscroogemcduck at 10:40 PM on November 28, 2009

Voluntary reductions: let's say I'm a civic-minded fellow who wants to see emissions reduced and I do something like live in the dark and wear jumpers in winter to try to achieve this. Now under the original CPRS, there is a national budget (ie "cap") for emissions and to the extent I succeed in reducing emissions I free up some emissions in the national cap and the major consequence is that I lower the effective carbon price for other users of carbon.

That would not be the case under a carbon tax, where the price for other users would be unaffected and my small contribution to emission reduction would be preserved. Of course, under emissions trading, interested parties could buy permits and not use them (although this in practice would be difficult under the Australian scheme, but I'm sure a suitable vehicle could be established) but for people who want to "do something" it sounds bad. It's not of much quantitative significance, however: the main game is the technology of energy production and the energy-intensity of production, not switching your telly off.
posted by hawthorne at 6:33 AM on November 29, 2009

Holy crap, this is insane. If this report is true, that Hockey is planning on standing despite everything he's said in support of Turbull over the last week, then the ETS is basically dead. If Hockey stands, the pro-ETS Liberal vote will be split, and Abbott will get up.

True, Abbott has said he won't run if Hockey does, but clearly a Liberal politicians word is as good as Monopoly money if the events of the last week (hell, the last decade really) are any indication.

On the plus side, Labor will romp it in at the 2010 election and another Liberal leader will be knifed in the back afterwards, so it's not all bad!
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:58 PM on November 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

But if Joe Hockey becomes leader, how will Mel & Kochie fill his place as de-facto third presenter of Sunrise every single morning?
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:25 PM on November 29, 2009

(it's on in the gym; don't blame me; i don't choose to watch it)
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:26 PM on November 29, 2009

Ubu, I've not watched Sunrise for ages, but I reckon you get Wilson Tuckey for the Libs, and Kate Ellis for Labor. The dynamic of young vs. old, sane vs. insane, unattractive vs. attractive, would make for some very entertaining television. Hell, I might even tune back in.
posted by Effigy2000 at 5:55 PM on November 29, 2009

Please to be swapping the order of unattractive vs. attractive the other way around. Thank you.
posted by Effigy2000 at 6:02 PM on November 29, 2009

Ubu, I've not watched Sunrise for ages, but I reckon you get Wilson Tuckey for the Libs,

Screw you, I do not want Tuckey with my Weetbix.
posted by Jimbob at 6:11 PM on November 29, 2009

You people have better things to do than watch Sunrise.

I watched Insiders yesterday for about the first time ever. It's bad for ones health, watching Andrew Bolt.

Here's a speculative Larvatus Prodeo thread, about Turnbull starting his own party. I'd possibly be more inclined to vote for that sort of party than the ALP.

And a wrap-up of stuff we already know, plus interesting observations about "the ghost of Wollestonecraft" aka John Winston.

And a great summary by Peter Martin of Hockey's record.
posted by wilful at 6:23 PM on November 29, 2009

In October 2008, Kate Ellis was voted Parliament's sexiest MP in a poll of federal MPs conducted by The Courier-Mail newspaper.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:27 PM on November 29, 2009

"True, Abbott has said he won't run if Hockey does, but clearly a Liberal politicians word is as good as Monopoly money if the events of the last week (hell, the last decade really) are any indication."

Wow. I hate to say I was right, but man, how right was I? As if we needed any more proof that a Liberal politician simply cannot be trusted...
posted by Effigy2000 at 1:43 AM on November 30, 2009

So Hockey has said he'll run if the shit sandwich is taken off the table. And, as Effigy2000 notes, Abbott's ratted and will run. Hockey seems to have squared the circle here in allowing a free vote as a condition for running - it means he won't be the denialists' creature, but he's not squibbing the contest. So, there's no phoney peace. And the Greens won't vote to defer.

I didn't think things could get worse for them today. They have. If Ruddock gets arrested tomorrow, I'm going to be forced to conclude I'm living in fantasy land.
posted by hawthorne at 5:18 AM on November 30, 2009

Phillip Ruddock arrested.
posted by Effigy2000 at 12:50 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I HATE YOU EFFIGY2000!!!1!!1!
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:22 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

It's Abbott by one vote.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:01 PM on November 30, 2009

Fiasco is correct. Abbott by one vote. The ETS is dead. Question Time will have the Government smashing the Opposition and Abbott especially as climate change denialists. An early election, which the Government will romp home in, is all but confirmed. And with only one vote making Abbott leader, I'm not sure that leadership tensions will be over just yet.

Climate change FAIL, indeed.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:04 PM on November 30, 2009

Oh QT's going to be brutal, effigy2000, you're right. If only PJK were still on the job.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 3:06 PM on November 30, 2009

If only PJK were still on the job

Julia Gillard & Anthony Albanese should be able to kick a few heads between them.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:09 PM on November 30, 2009

Indeed. Get some popcorn ready for QT. It's gonna be great.

Julie Bishop, amazingly, is still somehow Deputy Leader. Christ, the Liberals are idiots. If anyone in the previous leadership needed to go, it was her. She's not cut out for the number two position, but the Libs are so desperate to have a woman to go up against Gillard that somehow Bishop has survived not one, not two but three leaders. Fucking hell.
posted by Effigy2000 at 3:10 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, they should at least trade Julie for Bronwyn, for some serious lulz.

Interesting that the final tally included one informal vote - there are rumours the Liberals forced someone to vote informal so that the final tally couldn't be evenly split, but I have it on good authority that this "infomal" vote was actually Wilson Tuckey putting down Wilson Tuckey as a write-in candidate...
posted by Jimbob at 3:16 PM on November 30, 2009

That would follow the precedent of Peter Costello presumably voting for Peter Costello as the sexiest MP (see Courier Mail story linked above).
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:30 PM on November 30, 2009

For those who consider politics in Australia more entertainment than serious business, things just got a whole lot more fun.

There was an 'informal' vote in the second ballot. Wonder what they wrote on it - "just kill me"?

joke stolen from LP
posted by wilful at 3:36 PM on November 30, 2009

The best bit about the whole circus is the Americans on Twitter wondering why #spill is trending so heavily.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 4:06 PM on November 30, 2009

You know, I don't even have the beginning of a clue what that means.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:19 PM on November 30, 2009

Then there's Tony Abbott - the great 'People Skills' himself, whose defiance of political orthodoxy is beginning to rival Mr Turnbull's own.

What other leadership candidate would have had the magnificence, on Sunday, to ignore not just one, and not even two, but three central tenets of the political picture opportunity?

"Don't wear silly hats" has been defied before.

"Don't wear budgie smugglers" has also been defied, though with tragic results for the former NSW Liberal leader Peter Debnam, whose photoshoot in the briefest of swimming costumes heralded his imminent failure at the polls in 2007.

"If you have an extremely hairy back, for God's sake keep your shirt on" is not so much an accepted political maxim as an article of common sense, but it is sage advice nonetheless.

And yet: There was People Skills on Sunday, prancing about in the shallows wearing naught but a scrap of lycra, a lifesaver's cap and a fascinatingly goatish pelt.

*scrubs brain clean with caustic soda *
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:20 PM on November 30, 2009

This is hilarious. All the Minchinites are so smug that Abbott has won, but they're going to get thumped in Question Time, they'll get thumped in the opinion polls, and then they'll get thumped in the election no matter when it's held.

Turnbull is staying on for now. Will he do a Costello and sit there looking murderously at the frontbench?

I still think a party split would be a good idea, although I have no hopes of it happening because they're all too stuck in the past. Next election the Libs will lose all their inner-city moderate MPs, leaving a core of hard-rights who'll form a small coalition with the Nats. But that leaves the ALP trying to cover too much of the middle ground... a moderate-right party with 21st century values could do really well. And would force the ALP to actually take up a left position for a change, once they get a proper opposition party.
posted by harriet vane at 6:27 PM on November 30, 2009

omg Ubu, where's that from? It's hilarious!
posted by harriet vane at 6:28 PM on November 30, 2009

Ungh. Annabel Crabb is Australia's second most overrated political journalist—after Elizabeth Farrelly.

One. Colour writing is nothing, nothing, if you don't pick a side or have a point to make. Half-of-one-half-of-the-other equivocation in the Michelle Grattan style is fine because it's informative but aspiring gonzos have to learn the first principle: pick a target, preferably one who can't fight back, and beat them mercilessly with your offensive language. The ghost of Hunter S. Thompson does not approve.

Two. The apocryphal quote is "l'etat, c'est moi". She can't even cut-and-paste a dodgy quote from a dead source without fucking it up. Alan Ramsay does not approve.

Three. Louis XIV died a massively successful king after a lifetime of increasing power and status, bequeathing a hugely expanded State with weakened and defeated enemies to his heirs. Equating Turnbull to the Sun King is not how you do an analogy.

Give me even Caroline Overington, who makes things up entirely, over this venal rubbish.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 6:29 PM on November 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oops, check open tabs before typing, it's from Jimbob's link.
posted by harriet vane at 6:29 PM on November 30, 2009

Will there be Question Time today? The House of Reps is sitting, but it seems to be a special sitting, not an ordinary day, so it looks like we won't get any Rudd v Abbott satisfaction for a while.
posted by Jimbob at 6:37 PM on November 30, 2009

She can't even cut-and-paste a dodgy quote from a dead source without fucking it up. Alan Ramsay does not approve.

Campbell Reid, on the other hand, would be fine with it.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:39 PM on November 30, 2009

There are by-elections in two city Liberal-held seats (Higgins and Bradfield) this weekend. The (almost certain) new members are presumptively non-crazies. Two is more than the margin of the leadership vote. Will this embolden Liberals who are inclined to cross the floor to vote in favour of the ETS? Is that why the government hasn't taken the deal off the table?

The Greens will vote against going to committee and against the bill. They want a vote, and for it to fail. Fielding will do the same unless some ridiculous idea of his is adopted and it goes to committee. Don't know what X is doing. It still seems to me that there will be a vote on the bill and - incredibly - it just still might get up.
posted by hawthorne at 6:55 PM on November 30, 2009

Fielding will do the same unless some ridiculous idea of his is adopted and it goes to committee.

Did I correctly hear that Fielding wants a royal commission into the ETS and the science behind climate change, chaired by Ian fucking Plimer? Words fail. Bring on the double-dissolution to get rid of that twit once and for all.
posted by Jimbob at 7:00 PM on November 30, 2009 [2 favorites]

Anthony Green gives some possible election dates.

So if the vote fails now, and the Libs start campaigning against the CPRS along Bolt's lines of 'great green tax', I can't see the ALP going greener in order to get it passed. I know a double dissolution would be best for the Greens and therefore for the chances of Australia actually doing something sensible about climate change, but the ALP is going to do everything they can to avoid a DD, I reckon. Or at least until after July next year.
posted by harriet vane at 7:12 PM on November 30, 2009

"Will there be Question Time today? The House of Reps is sitting, but it seems to be a special sitting, not an ordinary day, so it looks like we won't get any Rudd v Abbott satisfaction for a while."
posted by Jimbob at 12:37 PM on December 1

I just checked and found out that there will not be Question Time today, or at all this week. Which sucks.
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:15 PM on November 30, 2009

Here's to bide you over, Effigy2000. Make sure you put it in fullscreen mode.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 10:39 PM on November 30, 2009

Ha! That's great Fiasco. Thanks for that.

Anyway, with the result confirmed now, I'm going to try and exit this thread. I just want to say however that while I'm surprised Turnbull was ousted, I'm rather chuffed that I wasn't too far off when I suggested that the numbers in the second spill wouldn't be very different. Granted, I thought if the numbers shifted at all that Turnbull would pick them up and thus survive, but as I'm sure we can all agree now that Abbott is leader, there's simply no accounting for Liberal Party idiocy.

I think that despite the close vote, Abbott is going to be able to get a clear run to the next election. After the election, which will likely see the Coalition haemorrage seats, Abbott will be knifed and Hockey will get his chance.

Finally, Antony Green has posted about possible election dates following todays Liberal Leadership result. Makes for an interesting read. I'm not sure a double dissoloution is likely. It's a big process for Rudd to go through and I'm not sure he's as committed to the ETS as one might first think. Plus he seems committed to serving a full term, so there's that as well. But just like Howard, Rudd will call the election when he thinks he can win, so if Abbott loses a tonne of support very quickly, as I suspect he will, and Rudd has a DD trigger, well... all best could very well be off.
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:31 PM on November 30, 2009

Oh, I see harriet posted that link already. Well worth posting twice, though!
posted by Effigy2000 at 11:55 PM on November 30, 2009

Absolutely, Antony Green is the guru. If he says a DD is unlikely, I'm inclined to agree. I don't see what's in it for Rudd. I reckon you're right that Abbott will be left in place until the next election - not least because no-one else would be damn fool enough to take on such a difficult job as pulling this bunch of crazy old men together.
posted by harriet vane at 6:11 AM on December 1, 2009

Rudd has most to gain from the continued threat rather than the actuality of a DD (and election in late September - whether half or full Senate - is most likely) . But Green focuses on the representation post-DD but the real threat is the joint sitting. Suppose the ALP wins and has a majority in both houses counted together (very likely at this stage, given the larger numbers in the House due to the nexus and the workings of Reps elections v Senate). Then, S57 of the Constitution kicks in:
[...] If after such dissolution the House of Representatives again passes the proposed law, with or without any amendments which have been made, suggested, or agreed to by the Senate, and the Senate rejects or fails to pass it, or passes it with amendments to which the House of Representatives will not agree, the Governor-General may convene a joint sitting of the members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives.

The members present at the joint sitting may deliberate and shall vote together upon the proposed law as last proposed by the House of Representatives, and upon amendments, if any, which have been made therein by one House and not agreed to by the other, and any such amendments which are affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives shall be taken to have been carried, and if the proposed law, with the amendments, if any, so carried is affirmed by an absolute majority of the total number of the members of the Senate and House of Representatives, it shall be taken to have been duly passed by Houses of the Parliament, and shall be presented to the Governor-General for the Queen's assent. (my emphasis)
In other words, after a DD the government can get whatever ETS it wants. No negotiation with the Greens, no Liberals: nothing. Of course, the government will probably want to deal still. But they would certainly hold the whip hand.
posted by hawthorne at 7:04 AM on December 1, 2009

Avert your eyes! (self link)
posted by Jimbob at 12:47 PM on December 1, 2009

Jimbob, you bastard.

TA gave the weirdest interview on the 730 report: Kerry O'B kept pulling out quotes that basically showed TA had been quite a supporter of ETS - which was Howard "policy" (using that term loosely) - and you could see him cringe inside just a little bit while he inelegantly tried to pirouette into a "huge unnecessary tax" bunker. It was really quite crazy.
posted by peacay at 1:00 PM on December 1, 2009

Costello is a prick (still): "Malcolm the belittler: a ruthless climber cut down to size".
posted by peacay at 1:12 PM on December 1, 2009

Who, peacay? Costello? Never heard of him.
posted by wilful at 4:26 PM on December 1, 2009

Aaand the Libs have rejected the bill.
posted by Wolof at 6:50 PM on December 1, 2009

Aaand NSW had its own spill, with an all-woman team for Premier & Deputy Premier.

(not that this stops NSW Labor from being completely on the nose, possibly moreso than the Federal Liberal Party)
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:36 PM on December 3, 2009

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