The AFR today runs a short op-ed on the question of whether the ALP should now vote for soil magic.
Point of order on carbon tax, Australian Financial Review, 10 September 2013
A ferociously fought issue in the 2010 election was whether to move to a profits-based mining tax. Labor won the election, yet Coalition MPs and Senators voted in parliament against the mining tax.
Today, Prime Minister Tony Abbott is telling Labor members that we should vote to repeal carbon pricing. Having been a weathervane on both climate science and emissions trading, he seems to think we should do likewise.
Mandates authorise – and enjoin – individual parliamentarians to act on the issues that they campaigned upon. For example, having gone to the 2007 election promising an ETS, Coalition representatives should have voted for an ETS when it came to the parliament in 2009. Alas, only a handful did so.
Mandate theory has never meant that oppositions should roll over like poodles after an election, particularly on an issue as fundamental as tackling climate change, following the hottest summer on record.
Since the carbon price began, electricity emissions are down 7 percent, and Westpac estimates the impact on the CPI was 0.5 percent, which is less than the forecast 0.7 percent. Pricing carbon uses the ingenuity of the market to improve the environment. In the 1990s, the US used an ETS to deal with acid rain, which met its targets at one-third of the projected costs.
By contrast, Direct Action has been rubbished by everyone from the Grattan Institute to Malcolm Turnbull. It will cost households more – yet do less for the environment.
If the Coalition wish to repeal the carbon tax, it should take the sensible path of moving straight to an ETS from 1 July 2014. Both parties have a mandate for that.
Andrew Leigh is the federal member for Fraser, and his website is www.andrewleigh.com.
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