Something for everyone

I’m glad we finally have a carbon price. My guess is that the roll out of the tax will be less contentious than currently appears. The leader of the opposition may want a referendum on the issue but in my view, but once it’s in place, the tax will give way to famous Australian pragmatism (you can’t unscramble an egg and other such wisdom) and simply become a part of the furniture.

The package of reforms looks reasonably well balanced between the strictures of economic thought and political reality, which I have no real complaint about. After all, what should we expect from our politicians if not politics, which is the game of balancing interests. I can, therefore, live with specific industry assistance to manufacturers and the steel industry. There are national interest arguments for these industries that balance efficiency-based arguments.

However, there are two significant points to the package that I do take issue with, basically because they undermine the entire reason for pricing carbon through markets in the first place. First, there is provision for ‘contract for closure’ of high polluting power stations. Presumably this is to simultaneously prevent a public fight with the generators likely to suffer under the carbon price and to prevent any risk of contagion in power sector debt as the generation sector transforms. In my view, the Garnaut Review suggestion of a framework of debt guarantees was a much better idea that compromised the principles of the package far less.

Second, and related, why on earth has the government not offered a plan for the phased closure of the myriad carbon mitigation programs already under way that were identified by the Garnaut Review and Productivity Commission Report as inefficient, not to mention redundant under a carbon price?

After all, what is the point of pricing carbon, so that markets can determine the most cost effective shift in energy production, if you’re going to use direct regulatory action to pay specific generators to go out of business and others to produce more low-carbon energy, through regulatory mechanisms like the Renewable Energy Target?

This suggests the possibility that the government itself doesn’t see its starting carbon price as either sufficiently broad, high or rising quickly enough to deliver a “clean energy future”. Either that, or its politically expedient to keep the Opposition’s direct action plan bubbling along, leaving them without a policy leg to stand on.

It may be painless, but it isn’t efficient.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the founding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

Comments

  1. Ahhh…the famous get out clause for the all-knowing, omniscient politician that can justify favouring some over others.

    “There are national interest arguments for these industries that balance efficiency-based arguments.”

    Rubbish!

  2. Would it have been the price of Greens support for the package ? They’ve always backed renewable energy targets as well as the carbon tax/ETS.

    • Well, maybe. But that suggests the Greens don’t believe in the efficacy of a market based carbon price either (which, given their natural suspicion of markets, isn’t that much of a stretch, I suppose).

      • Suspicion of the Market !!

        Where have you seen the market being efficient in the long term interest of a population ??

        So far, where it is implemented for the energy infrastructure it has been short sighted, inefficient and costly.Market actors prefer to lower their cost of financing over long term benefit.

        Electricity is cheaper in France than in UK/Australia where energy providers did install cheap gas plant/Coal plant, cheaper to finance but more expensive to run + pollution.

        Market is more often than not for the benefit of few, not for the public interest.

        • Totally wrong…the market fails because the Government doesnt let it operate properly.

          Market failure is not the reason CO2 became a problem…it was a lack of proper;y enfoprceably property rights.

          Tragedy of the Commons arises when the public owns things…coz the public means everyone…which means NO ONE!

          Private property doesnt get polluted does it…and it if does, they get damages etc…

          Environmental degradation is another symptom of a lack of properly function markets and enforceable property rights

        • what are you talking about mate???
          France electricty is 75%, yes 75% nuclear power….the cheapest form of energy get your facts right.

          • I notice the two responses to my point only amounted to a “LOL” and a link to a youtube cartoon of Future Guy…

            I will take that as a compliment.

            You guys knows its true…the market gets criticised by all kinds of people without ever realising that a true free market is a beautiful thing

          • “true free market is a beautiful thing”

            Only problem with that is that “true free market” can only be found in Ayn Rand’s fictional utopian account of the real world.

          • Montgomery Burns

            How do you stop an unregulated markets leading to pacman behaviour and monopolies/duopolies.

            In your utopia what do you do about monopolies?

          • there is a role of govt in a ‘free market utopia’ or whatever the term is coined, it is for providing a framework for property rights competition national defence etc…

            you will never have a truly free market or a truly central planned market place… there will always be elements of both, it is the dominant ideology that is most important.. and i think the economies of Meiji Japan, 19th century UK/US and Hong Kong (UK) provide fairly good examples of what can be achieved for the WHOLE of society, in stark contast to many of the utopian 1984 dreams of commenters on this blog.

  3. @Houses & Holes

    Out of curiosty. If one of the ‘high polluting’ power stations in the La Trobe valley in Victoria is forced to shut. How does Victoria efficently replace the energy generated?

    As solar and wind aren’t cost efficent enough to replace the load without a blowout in cost. Gas is being proposed by the Government as the way forward. (Martin Ferguson). Isn’t this ridicolous as Nuclear would give emissions?

    Or has the Tsumani in Japan completely closed the door on Nuclear?

    ps One will learn whether the Government has already lost the debate due to announcing a policy without a policy to announce. It doesn’t matter if people will be actually better off with the scheme if they have already stopped listening.

    • I meant ‘Nuclear would give LESS emissions’. Need an edit button.

      & I didn’t mean the announcement yesterday, I meant when they initially announced the framework 6-8 months ago.

    • Power generation won’t shut. They will just pass on costs in the price of electricity. If they didn’t there would be no incentive for people to use less energy.

      Which makes the whole petrol exemption seem ridiculous, since it is probably more easily substituted than electricity.

      But I agree, for what it is, on the whole it is reasonable. I also very much like that it was used to slide in some reforms to incomes taxes and welfare, some of which were in the Henry tax review, like increasing the tax free threshold to 18,000.

      A good discussions on this aspect here http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/Article/Carbon-tax-Julia-Gillard-Labor-Greens-tax-cuts-mid-pd20110711-JMTUA?OpenDocument&src=sph&src=rot

    • Gas power plants. They produce significantly less CO2. Remember we don’t have to eliminate emission, only reduce it.

      • You mean like to portland gas power plant in melbourne that was shut down because it was more expensive to run.

        • Portland is not shut down. It’s also an old, inefficient steam boiler technology.

          CCGT gas fired plant produce roughly half the emissions of a new black coal power station and about a third of new brown coal.

  4. This is a farce of a policy. It cross-breeds two mongrel dogs of today’s politics, both of which should have been put down long ago…

    To take a carbon dioxide tax (as opposed to broader general environmental taxation measures, which would be entirely more palatable to the electorate) and mate it with some form of taxation reform is reprehensible.

    Sure the impact of the introduction of the mechanism is negated for now (same same, but different comes to mind), but what’s going to happen in the future when public outrage has returned to the equilibrium of political apathy it normally enjoys here in Australia? More companies caught in the net, higher rates per tonne, more admin, compliance and reporting costs, and more public servants required to administer it all; and that’s just in the time before the market based mechanism kicks in.

    My other concern is what are they proposing in terms of compensation once the market mechanism takes effect? Where will the Government find these billions of dollars at that point in time? Either they will drop them, leaving the electorate to suffer, or they will divert funds from other essential spending to keep the peace. This from a government which already faces funding shortfalls in the coming decade and beyond as the demographic shift of the Baby Boomer generation shuffling off in to retirement continues.

    Finally, anybody who thinks that the efficiency of costing CO2 will improve under a market bases system needs their head read – just look at any commodity market over the past 30 years! Manufacturing businesses (and who knows how many will be covered by the mechanism by that time, let alone how many are left) will now need to become commodity traders in order to conduct day to day business unless they are prepared to engage (read pay) specialists to manage this for them.

    The way I see it, it will be neither painless (in the fullness of time), nor efficient (ever), but at least the financial markets will be happy; and that’s the whole point of this exercise after all, isn’t it?

    • The carbon tax is bundled with tax reform to render it impossible to roll back. The political calculation behind the move is brilliant, regardless of the merit of the scheme itself.

      • The tax reform can stay…the carbon price can be changed. This thing can be unscrabbled if its unpopular enough…plenty of time before it is even in place.

        Good luck getting Australian to accept this in the midst of a housing crash…they are frothing at the mouth already and they think they are flying financially.

        That was the source fot he rush for the Carbon Scam:
        1) to beat the fact thatt he world is getting cooler in recent years
        2) to beat the GFC 2.0 that will render this kind of reform totally unbackable

  5. Make fossil fuels more expensive to use while selling more and more to Asia. Hmmm nothing to do with the climate and everything to do with socialism.
    The alp are about to go the way of the Australian democrats. Elite-opinion in this country is forcing this on us the same way the single currency was forced on the Europeans. I expect the end result to be similar.

    • It also acts as a ‘backdoor’ mining tax. Coal is now around $120 a tonne, the tax will be less than $2 a tonne, so the claim that it’ll close down mines is greatly exaggerated.

      • Montgomery Burns

        I’ve wondered about that number ($2) which I’ve seen before. Is that low amount due to the subsidies or payoffs or whatever you want to call them? CEC might be able to shed light??

        What is the assumption relating to how many tonnes of CO2 are produced from a tonne of coal?

        • The number from the Garnaut report gives a price of $1.80 per tonne of coal when it’s $26 a tonne. You’ll have to read the full report to see how they got the figure.

          • Montgomery Burns

            Thanks, did a quick skim and the $1.80 is for the levelised price of electricity for coal use. So it is apples and oranges meaning that the levelised price of electricity is not the price of coal per tonne.

          • I get $5/tonne of coal on a mass balance around the carbon content of both CO2 and coal and using $23/t of CO2

          • I think there’s some confusion here.

            Coal producers are liable for emissions associated with extracting and transporting the coal to the point of sale, not the emissions associated with burning it. If it’s burnt domestically then the people who burn it (power stations) are liable for the emissions.

            The $1.80/tonne of coal figure is the carbon liability for emissions associated with extraction.

            $1.80/GJ is the assumed input cost of coal to a new coal fired power station in the Garnaut work. This input, along with capital costs and operating and maintenance costs is used to calculate the levelised cost of coal in $/MWh of production, often called the LRMC of a coal fired power station.

    • If the government did not give compensation to households do you think this would be a better policy?

      That’s all I ask of people who repeat Abbott’s new “wealth redistribution” catch phrase. Would they rather receive no compensation?

      Or are they only upset because they are the ones who are not getting compensation, and are they also against the scaling up of marginal tax rates vs. income in general?

        • It certainly would change behaviours but I doubt it would get through parliament.

          The Australian voter has become accustomed to handouts, and any major reform without handouts is untenable!

        • It will modify behaviour regardless of the level of compensation. It’s a lump sum compensation so it doesn’t change your marginal decisions to try and avoid high cost due to the carbon price.

          • Montgomery Burns

            I guess we need to wait for the next Boganomics article to see if that is what is likely to happen in the real world.

          • One aspect of the compensation package I suspect the government has not consider is that many households will not adequately budget for increased electricity costs, absorb the compensation into household budget and then be faced with utility bills they cannot pay.

            Certainly in WA, electricity charges have already increased significantly and will continue to increase – there have already been record numbers of customers unable to pay, having services cut, living in inadequately heated or cooled homes etc. These consumers have already limited their electricity consumption as far as possible – apart from living with candles! Just one to watch. Look, I understand the theory, a beautiful set of modelling numbers, but humans do not always make the rational choice – as evidenced by the imposition of this tax.

            Humans do not act like textbook non-variables. Wait until the full impact of inflation flows though – Teasury 0.7%, ANZ 1%, and more companies coming out with advice that prices will have to increase. And they will. Consumers will not be happy voters.

          • It is happening. NSW prices have been increasing around 20% pa over the last couple of years.

            Transgrid, the transmission operator in NSW, has just released their demand data. Ignore the forecast (they systematically overforecast as they are biased towards building stuff) but their current report shows that NSW demand has been flat for the last four years. This is unprecedented in NSW…but so are the price increases. This isn’t just the GFC effect, it’s a price elasticity of demand effect.

            2011 Annual Planning Report, see Appendix 4 – http://www.transgrid.com.au/network/np/Pages/default.aspx

      • it would be better without wealth distribution for the simple fact is that we wouldnt have to pay a ungodly number of useless public servants to administer the distribution program… waste waste waste

  6. On a lighter note, the other day I received a letter from my niece who lives in a small village in the UK. It appears to throw some light upon how they’re dealing with the Carbon issue over there, and a tax could well be delayed. It reads:
    “Well, what a year it’s been! Ever since our new MP Mr Gollard arrived here to live, so much seems to have happened. There’s been a HUGE effort to become environmentally (I think that’s the word) friendly. When Daddy first met Mr Gollard at a council meeting he agreed that it was true, most people ought to use less energy, as was their station. But then things began to change, first the gardener wasn’t allowed to use the hose for more than two hours a day any more when he was cleaning Daddy’s cars, and then Nursie and the butler had to carry lots of things all the way to the end of the drive where they’d put a special rubbish bin. It must have been awfully hard carrying all those gin bottles, one day I saw Nursie drop some and she was very upset. She shouted something that must have been quite hurtful because it made the butler wince.
    It all came to a head a few months later when Mr Gollard said that the electricity bills at Daddy’s factories were going to go up by quite a lot, because Daddy would have to pay a big new tax. Daddy came home very angry. He said that even though the repair bills for the drawbridge and the portcullis had been “tax deducta” something or other (as Daddy had been an MP), they’d been quite outrageous, and with this new tax we wouldn’t be able to sail the yacht to Cannes this year.
    It was all terribly testing.
    Well, what should happen next, but Daddy ran Mr Gollard over with the Hummer! It was perfectly awful, Daddy had only bought it the week before and now it had a dent in one of the headlight grills.
    Mind you, Mumsie thinks the Hummer’s rather vulgar and not very enviro-whatever, but Daddy says you have to make some compromises with the environment in order to remind people of your position in society, just like the government does with their cars.
    Of course it was all Mr Gollard’s fault. He’d been standing far too close to the road, and besides, everyone in the village knows that Daddy can be a little, well, uncertain when he drives home from the Conservative club on Friday nights. Really, I think Mr Gollard was awfully lucky to get away with two broken legs.
    Well, apparently Mr Gollard became rather difficult at the scene, so, to avoid any unpleasantness, Daddy didn’t bother to call the police, he got his dear friend Mr Pinoch to help Mr Gollard retire. Mumsie says Mr Pinoch used to be a very important person in Chile, but apparently he had to leave when those perfectly appalling communist people came. August (what a lovely first name) now lives in a huge house at the other end of the village. He’s all on his own, but Mumsie says lots of important people still come to visit him.
    It’s rather strange, but I haven’t seen Mr Gollard since it all happened. You’d have thought that he wouldn’t have wanted to move away when he retired. In fact, I asked August about it just the other day, but he said not to worry, because there are lots of places to retire someone here at Moreton in the Mire and it’s perfectly possible we shan’t see Mr Gollard again”.

  7. more taxes as we head into breakdown mode…were did all the money go during the “boom years”..oh well when the middle class becomes the beggar class i wonder were taxes will come from???

    comedy show watching these clowns “govern”.

  8. Again if we were going to use the tax (100% of it or close) to ‘really’ get renewable energy then fine, and hopefully in time we all benefit. But this approach is not going to change people’s energy habits, and how will industry change?

    This tax is attempting to buy votes, and re-distribute wealth. I’m not convinced economically this will make any difference other than to make us uncompetitive; time will tell.

    I’ve got my smart meter so my electricity is already 30% more expensive so I need a carbon tax like a hole in the head 🙂

    • So you have no plans to reduce your energy consumption and pocket the money the government gives you in compensation? Or is it too inconvenient to avoid running the A/C in your home 24/7?

      • Chill dude. No need for a font on attack. I turn off everything, every appliance is as energy efficient as I could buy, I have a house that is environmentally designed and as energy efficient as I could afford at the time when I built it. I don’t have an A/C, and get by with good insulation and high spec windows. I’d have solar, but I’m not sure of the regulations yet.

        My comment was a general one. I’m green as I can get, but this carbon approach makes no sense to me.

        • Sorry, but to say this is not going to change people’s habits is a bit short-sighted don’t you think? Isn’t it obvious to pretty much anyone that reducing your energy consumption will obviously increase the amount you can gain from this policy? How else do you change someones habits without giving them a monetary reason?

          • You have your view and I have mine. I go for the put the money into green energy. I’ve always turned off appliances/lights etc. but most don’t. Like I said time will tell. I honestly can’t see this working, but if you fully support the tax good on you.

          • I like any reforms that could encourage innovation and increase productivity, but I would also like to see that policy actually be passed in parliament.

            I’m with you in theory that more money should go into loans for renewable energy technology companies. But something tells me that without the compensation package it wouldn’t become law because Abbott’s scare campaign was just too damned successful.

        • Agree with you both, as strange as that sounds.

          The carbon tax followed by generous handouts puts no pressure on people to change their consumption habits…which is surely the first steps on any holistic environment strategy.

          Further, the fact that pepople are being told we can undergo this momunental change without any drop in our standard of living is a total lie.

          They are gonna boil us in water like we are silly little frogs.

          Luckily the housing crash will kick in beofre then and this Gov will be gone before July 2012

          • In the UK they found that the increase in electricity was 56 pounds, but on average households saved 80 something due to changes in behaviour.

          • “Further, the fact that pepople are being told we can undergo this momunental change without any drop in our standard of living is a total lie.”

            I disagree with this, perhaps I’m overly optimistic or just put a lot of faith in technological innovation but I think there are definitely ways we can increase emissions efficiency and maintain our standard of living (if not continue to increase it).

            However so far noone has even tried because there has been no economic reason to do so. With a price on emissions this should hopefully change.

          • The carbon tax followed by generous handouts puts no pressure on people to change their consumption habits…which is surely the first steps on any holistic environment strategy.

            Lets try this one more time for the dummies…

            Lets say the carbon tax doubles your electricity bill from $1000 to $2000, but Julia hands back $1000. No incentive to conserve right?

            Wrong.

            Each extra kWh you use now costs you twice as much as it did before, and equally each kWh you don’t use, saves you twice as much money.

            So when you go out and buy the next appliance, are you gonna buy the Chinese cheapie with the 1-star rating, or are you gonna pay 20% more for the super-efficient Euro appliance with the six star rating?

            Honestly, you guys are so blinded by your denialist dogma you’ve stopped thinking. Your brains have gone into Abbott-mode, and all you’re capable of is mindless negativity.

  9. Montgomery Burns

    Any discussions/modelling on how the new marginal tax rates will/should effect superannuation contributions given there will now be a mismatch between the rates (unless there was an announcement on super rates that hasn’t been discussed)

  10. I’m in Adrian’s boat. There is nowhere I can save. I don’t waste just on a matter of principle. To be fair I’d guess we are a minority.

    • If this is the case then the next step is to look for the lowest price energy provider. As the market changes the lowest price providers will be ones that produce less CO2.

    • Drive around the richer suburbs at night during Xmas , and you’ll realize carbon reduction based on simple altruism is not working.

      As some commentators have picked up already, the increase in the tax free threshold from 6k to 18K will have a much bigger effect on the economy than the price of carbon.

      • You know tax rates are actually going up right? They increased the tax free threshold, but they increase the next two thresholds by 4% and 2.5%

        And they say this isn’t about wealth redistribution. Laughable.

        • You do know how marginal tax rates work, right? Increasing the tax free threshold means that EVERYONE pays less tax, because the tax-free threshold is subtracted everyone’s income. Increasing the higher marginal tax rates accounts for this.

          The net effect on the amount of tax paid by the high income brackets? Zero.

          • That’s not true. The increased threshold balances against the increased marginal rates at around $80K for a single. Earn more than that and the benefit of the higher threshold is more than offset by the higher marginal rates.

            That’s why 3 million households are expected to pay more (be undercompensated), it’s the >$80K side of the income distribution. It’s also why low income earners are overcompensated.

    • It’s worse than that. Wait and see.

      There’s a reason why Treasury is not releasing any numbers behind the reports and have scaled all axis so that you can’t see the real numbers. They also haven’t released any of the detail on the stationary energy analysis…the largest polluting sector.

      • Montgomery Burns

        Are you suggesting they are being deliberately opaque about this?

        One thing I’d like to read more commentary about is the buying of credits from overseas. We have already had this equated to Nigerian email scams. Frankly despite my skepticism of all of this I’m not sure why opponents of the tax would let Barnaby Joyce be one of the official ranters. Presumably invites for him to speak on this matter would be a deliberate tactic by the MSM to sink the opposition — or is that being too conspiratorial?

        • They are being deliberately opaque if not out and out misleading.

          For example, their own report shows wholesale electricity prices rising by 40% in the early years of the scheme (Table 5.14). They then say retail prices will rise by 10% over the same period (Table 5.15). They explain that the lower retail increase is because wholesale energy is only a part of total retail prices, which is true. But let’s see how much using their numbers.

          For total retail to rise only 10% due to a 40% increase in wholesale requires that wholesale energy comprise only 25% of the total retail tariff. That is just flat out wrong. Wholesale energy is more like 40% (See Box 1 – http://www.ipart.nsw.gov.au/files/Consumer%20fact%20sheet%20-%202011%20Annual%20review%20of%20wholesale%20energy%20costs%20and%20cost%20pass%20through%20applications%20-%20February%202011%20-%20Website%20version.PDF).

          If wholesale is actually 40% of the total retail tariff (and it is) then their forecast increase in wholesale prices will lead to a 16% increase in retail, not a 10%. That alone puts average income Australian underwater with the package (by at least $100 p.a.) and eats up most of the 20% margin of error for low income earners. That’s without even looking at secondary effects (the increases in other goods and services are in part driven by higher electricity prices for secondary/tertiary industry).

          This is an example of a mistake they are too dumb to have noticed. Hopefully the ones they actively tried to hide will become public soon and I can talk about them also.

          • Montgomery Burns

            If you know of stuff that they have deliberately tried to obscure, why not reveal all?

          • Thanks – you appear to be well informed on this issue – I do hope we all are soon.

            Surprised to see H&H or CeC have not explored this further – perhaps that is in the wings. Could be a real coup for all.

            Would still love to hear even more…!

      • Just one other thing on Treasury modelling – ironic to see all those here that disparage Treasury modelling in regard to the importance of the resources sector in the Great Transition – yet take Treasury modelling as Gospel in regard to the moderate effects of the carbon tax.

  11. Love that we get the usual anti-democratic sentiments from people when they push any policy regarding the AGW myth. Sorry mate, but the next election will be a referendum on this tax and Abbott will have a mandate to remove it.

    You can’t unscramble an egg but you can always put it in the bin if it tastes bad.

    Good that you pointed out the massive amounts of money being spent on green schemes that the productivity commission said were even more useless than a carbon tax. This from the government that gave us pink batts, the BER and other assorted disasters.

    But you have ignored two gaping holes in this farce of a policy.

    1. So called ‘compensation’ is $4b more than the tax takes. So we are borrowing money to sell a tax.

    2. “Polluters” will be able to buy permits over seas, so they will be sending even more of our money off shore.

    This is a tax that wasn’t given consent, that will put prices up AND send our money offshore. And the benefit? As close to zero as you can imagine, even if the catastrophic predictions are right! How could anyone in their right mind support it? Truly bizarre.

    • Re your second point. Sky Business carbon special last night – expert said that by the year 20xx (can’t recall 2015 or 17?) the equivalent of $600 per man woman and child would be sent offshore for permits, every year, as a starting point!

    • +1

      The only money leaving Australia faster than the money for cheap permits will be the capital investment dollars of the MNC brigade as they seek out new every lower cost countries to exploit!

      As far as the overseas permits go, god only knows where this crap will come from anyway. No doubt some countries will be lining up to print them and sell them o/s yet give them away to domestic producers!

    • Unless the Coaltion runs on a campaign of taking money away from pensioners, overturning the tax will require revenue to be raised from somewhere else. For better or for worse, once it’s passed, the carbon tax will be here to stay.

      • Right, the extra $10 a week going to pensioners?

        Abbott only has to run a campaign promising to remove this tax we were promised we wouldn’t get and he will win in a landslide.

        • You forget that the Liberal party also backs what you call the “AGW Myth”. Their climate change policy is to hand over billions to the same people that the Gillard govt is taxing.

          Where do you think they will get the money for these incentives from? The money tree?

          • You forget that the Liberal policy might actually have a benefit (ie more trees) and has one factor that the carbon dioxide tax doesn’t have. The ability to be cancelled at any time.

            At any rate, I vote for the LDP and they are adamantly against the myth of catastrophic AGW.

    • “Love that we get the usual anti-democratic sentiments from people when they push any policy regarding the AGW myth.”

      anti-democratic??? Can you elaborate on how the proposed carbon tax legistlation is anti-democratic?

      • “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead”

        From the first parahraph here:

        “The leader of the opposition may want a referendum on the issue but in my view, but once it’s in place, the tax will give way to famous Australian pragmatism (you can’t unscramble an egg and other such wisdom) and simply become a part of the furniture.”

        So we were promised we wouldn’t get it (or does Gillard not lead this government) and now H&H, along with other supporters, are commenting on the fact that it can’t be removed and that this is somehow a good thing.

        Do I need to explain it any further?

        No taxation without consent is a fundamental principle of democrasy.

        • Bit off topic but its ‘no taxation without representation’, and more a slogan than a fundamental principle.

          Your local MP is your representative.

          I don’t consent to any taxes, but that doesn’t stop the ATO.

          • This doesn’t change the fact that Julia Gillard, 6 days before the election, said “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” and we are now getting one.

            When a potential candidate for PM specifically rules out a new tax in order to ‘win’ an election then introduces said taxation after scraping over the line, then I would say ‘no taxation without consent’ needs to be a fundamental princple of democracy.

            Many people accept the need for taxation and do consent to a point, but this tax has been fundamentally regected by the community and needs to be scrapped.

          • And Tone said the best way to reduce carbon was to put a price on it, now that he’s on the other side of the fence putting a price on carbon is the worst way to reduce carbon. Inconsistency in politics? Go figure..

          • He also said climate change was c***.

            Policies change, the difference, the Liberals take their changes to elections.

        • “No deals with the minor parties” – Barry O’Farrell, NSW Premier

          And yet, NSW Liberal MPs in the upper house on Thursday backed a Shooters and Fishers Party bill calling for a five-year moratorium on new marine parks.

          http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/nsw-govt-accused-of-marine-park-politics-20110623-1ggtt.html

          How can we roll back the destruction of marine life caused by a miniscule party holding the Liberal government to ransom? As a liberal, what do you have to say about that?

          • I say unicorns don’t exist, I live in Victoria and I’m not a Liberal.

            Anything else?

          • So no faux outrage over anti-democratic sentiments if it isn’t happening in your backyard? LOL

          • Did they specifically rule out this policy before the election? Ever thought that maybe the Liberals actually support the bill?

            You are going to have to do way better than this if you want to beat: “there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.”

    • Any reduction in carbon emissions will soon be swallowed up by an overall increase in the population anyway and neither of the two large parties want to stop rapid population growth.

  12. the new source of economic growth is by using no electricity… lets export this idea to Africa to make them rich

    • Actually, the new source of economic growth is the magical, age old, tax one thing so other things get invented strategy.

      Isn’t this how cars, trains, roads and light bulbs were invented? By taxing horses, cars, dirt and candle sticks? It’s the innovation taxation theorum. Championed by Adam Smith himself!

      • Roads are build by the Government using taxation, and without roads, there won’t be any car.

        The history of railway is a bit more complicated, and varies by country to country. In the US, the building of the railway is a government sanctioned and subsidized wealth transfer scheme. They’re not call ‘Robber Barons’ for nothing. In Australia, it’s once again funded by taxation.

        • Good to see you totally got my point about taxation not creating innovation.

          Roads – invented by Romans in order to make travel easier.

          Cars, more specifically mass production – developed by Henry Ford to make money, improve transport and solve the issue of horse dung in the city.

          Steam engine – invented as a way of converting steam energy to kinetic energy and solving transportation issues.

          Light bulb – invented to bring light into homes without the use of candles.

          Note: not one of these were a result of government taxation of the product they superceded.

          I don’t have a problem with the government building Nuclear plants, or roads, or railway lines. What I have a problem with is them telling us what energy source to use, simply because they see one as a problem.

  13. I see Jason has been holding the fort today for the forces of sanity and reason.

    Denialist loonies out in force, as usual.

    See Mr Holes, nothing’s changed.

    • /sigh, can you just delete any post that uses the smear ‘denialist’ please? It’s offensive and childish.

      • What would you prefer to be called?

        Anti-science nutcase?
        Oil-industry shill?
        Foot soldier for the Minerals Council?

        • Actually, don’t worry, I enjoy it when you guys call us names. Shows we are winning. 😉

          • Don’t worry, it’s only Lorax. We know what to expect when the medication wears off…