Returning to an important theme, I spoke to Fairfax Media’s Tim Lester about carbon policy, arguing that the ALP has a mandate to champion an emissions trading scheme. We also discussed today’s Deloitte Access Economics report and the Coalition’s proposed commission of audit which, I am concerned, will try and balance the budget off the backs of the poorest. Watch the video or read the transcript below.
Breaking Politics with Tim Lester – Fairfax Media
MONDAY 21 OCTOBER 2013
TIM LESTER: Labor’s shadow ministry meets today as questions emerge about how united the opposition is in the position put by new leader Bill Shorten, that is that it will oppose the repeal of the Carbon Tax. Two names have been mentioned as likely dissenters – Mark Bishop, that’s the senator and Nick Champion in the lower house. We’re joined each week on Breaking Politics on a Monday by Andrew Leigh. Welcome in Labor member for Fraser in the ACT, and now Shadow Assistant Treasurer. Congratulations on the role.
ANDREW LEIGH: Thanks Tim.
LESTER: On to the question of Carbon. Do you believe there is a split now emerging in Labor ranks on whether to try to hold the line on the Carbon Tax or not?
LEIGH: Well Tim, there’s always going to be some diversity of opinion in any sensible political party but we have a strong policy that we took to the 2007, 2010, 2013 elections and for which I believe we have a mandate. And that’s that a price on carbon pollution is the cheapest and most effective way of combating carbon pollution. We just had the hottest Australian summer on record, and the hottest Australian winter on record. We know that we get more extreme weather events as a result of climate change so we can’t be playing politics with this. We need to identify the most effective strategy and fight hard for that.
LESTER: Okay, the pressure has just begun on Labor really. There is a long and very brutal political game, you would think, being played here to put pressure on the Opposition to buckle and to give in to what looks like the demand of the last election. Are you sure Labor can hold out through all of the turbulence it’s likely to face on this issue over the next year or so?
LEIGH: Well you’re right to refer to it as a political game Tim because the Coalition has put up repeal legislation for the carbon price which will then be replaced with – well we don’t know, because they haven’t shown us the legislation for Direct Action. We know why that is. If we go to a member Mr Abbott’s cabinet, Malcolm Turnbull has said very clearly that direct action is a policy whose chief virtue is that it can be easily dismantled. It’s more expensive on households. When we brought in a carbon price, we cut taxes on workers, we raised taxes on polluters. Mr Abbott thinks the best way to fight climate change is to raise taxes on workers and cut taxes on polluters. That makes no economic sense whatsoever, and I think if 2010 taught us anything, it’s that maintaining our policy integrity on the issue of climate change is absolutely vital.
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