What a waste! Episode 3 of The Killing Season…

The program wasn’t a waste: it was in fact excellent.

“I always had this long shadow from the way in which I became Prime Minister and active steps were taken basically every day of my Prime Ministership to have that shadow become darker and darker and not lighter and lighter.” – Julia Gillard

With Kevin Rudd deposed, Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female Prime Minister. But the repercussions of the dramatic change of leadership cast a long shadow over her time in office.

Within weeks of taking over, Gillard called an election for late August 2010. The campaign was dominated by internal leaks damaging to Gillard; Wayne Swan called them “the greatest act of political bastardry” he had ever witnessed. Gillard secured the support of the Independents and the Greens to form a minority government. However, her continued struggle with legitimacy, a carbon “tax”, a flood of boats and the actions of Kevin Rudd and his supporters, dogged her Prime Ministership.

Facing an election wipe-out, the Labor Caucus moved again – this time to return Kevin Rudd to power. Gillard’s political career was over.

The third act was complete. Did the “original sin” of the 2010 challenge make that end inevitable? Did Gillard herself – or Rudd’s relentless will to return – bring Labor to that point?

After such a good start 2007 through to 2009, the dégringolade (a rapid decline or deterioration as in strength, position, or condition) was truly tragic.

We were reminded of early intimations of the dubious character of what was to follow. Never forget this image.


Let me recycle a couple of posts.

Neurolinguistic programming 101 – according to Tone

Posted on February 2, 2010 by Neil

big new tax great big tax great big tax on everything big new tax bloody new bloody great big bloody tax





See: Archive for the ‘climate change’ Category on Floating Life. I did a lot there in November and December 2009.

There are some commendable ideas in Tony Abbot’s policy, it seems. But none of it addresses the consensus that seems to exist that some form of carbon tax or carbon trading scheme is necessary. See for example Chapter 5: Climate Change and the Environment [PDF 144KB] from the latest Treasury Intergenerational Report.


Climate change is the largest threat to Australia’s environment and represents one of the most significant challenges to our economic sustainability. Failure to address this threat would have severe consequences for weather patterns, water availability in cities, towns and rural communities, agricultural production, tourism, infrastructure, health and Australia’s unique biodiversity. The social and economic consequences of failing to act would be severe.

As Australia will be one of the countries that are hardest and fastest hit, we must be part of an effective global response. Thirty-two countries are currently operating emissions trading schemes and others are in the process of introducing them. There is a clear global consensus that this is the best way to tackle climate change, and we need to be part of the global solution.

Early action via the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) will allow strong long-term economic growth and employment by steadily transforming the economy. Delaying action would impose on future generations the need for a sharp, more costly adjustment task.

Market-based mechanisms like the CPRS achieve large-scale reductions in greenhouse gases at least cost. The CPRS will provide businesses and consumers with the incentives to adjust their behaviours, and will include financial assistance to help them adjust. The CPRS will also be enhanced by a range of complementary measures that support the transition to a low pollution future.

There are real doubts among scientists about the time-frame and long-term effectiveness of some of the carbon sequestration measures central to Tony Abbot’s package, though they certainly have a place. Wikipedia does summarise this well – and yes, though no expert I have looked beyond Wikipedia – but jump to tree-planting especially.

See as an example of papers around the topic this one: “Quantifying the effectiveness of climate change mitigation through forest plantations and carbon sequestration with an integrated land-use model” (2007-8) in Carbon Balance and Management Journal.

Carbon Balance and Management is an open access, peer-reviewed online journal that encompasses all aspects of research aimed at developing a comprehensive, policy relevant to understanding of the global carbon cycle.

The global carbon cycle involves important couplings between climate, atmospheric CO2 and the terrestrial and oceanic biospheres. The current transformation of the carbon cycle due to changes in climate and atmospheric composition is widely recognized as potentially dangerous for the biosphere and for the well-being of humankind, and therefore monitoring, understanding and predicting the evolution of the carbon cycle in the context of the whole biosphere (both terrestrial and marine) is a challenge to the scientific community.

This demands interdisciplinary research and new approaches for studying geographical and temporal distributions of carbon pools and fluxes, control and feedback mechanisms of the carbon-climate system, points of intervention and windows of opportunity for managing the carbon-climate-human system.

Carbon Balance and Management is a medium for researchers in the field to convey the results of their research across disciplinary boundaries. Through this dissemination of research, the journal aims to support the work of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) and to provide governmental and non-governmental organizations with instantaneous access to continually emerging knowledge, including paradigm shifts and consensual views.


See How climate change came to tax us all.

So what’s it going to be? The Greatest Moral Challenge Of Our Generation (GMCOOG) or a Great Big New Tax On Everything (GBNTOE)?

Gentlemen, start your acronyms.

We are getting a sense now, thanks to yesterday’s release of Tony Abbott’s climate policy and the afternoon’s testy parliamentary exchanges, of how the climate issue will be framed in the weeks and months before the year’s political climax – the next federal election.

If one thing is clear from the detail Abbott announced it is that the balance in the Liberal Party between those who see climate change as an urgent, looming and potentially catastrophic possibility and those who deny its very existence, has shifted to favour the latter. As much was flagged in Abbott’s election but now we know for sure.

To accept that climate change is profound, entrenched, man-made and potentially disastrous on the other hand – the Government’s professed position – is to accept the necessity of some sort of solution that involves fundamental changes in human behaviour, here and everywhere else. The Government has taken the line that this might best be achieved through market mechanisms, placing a price on carbon to drive sweeping grass-roots change toward a quickly achieved lower carbon future.

The Opposition sees climate change as a milder, possibly purely political, phenomenon that can be addressed through a range of ‘direct action’ palliatives…


Repeat after me: BIG, NEW, but NOT A TAX

Look who’s at the rally along with A Jones and A Anderson… With friends like these

Posted on July 2, 2011 by Neil


Yep, The Skull – live and loud. I thought it was him when I caught Channel Seven’s account of the “people power” AKA “highly vested interests” rally against the Carbon Tax in Martin Place yesterday.

He does seem committed to the cause.

You may recall seeing him with Lord Monckton:


See Where are the loons of yesteryear? and Documentaries to make you think, cringe, cry, or wonder.. 2.

Meanwhile Tony Abbott may have made a few more friends – or not:

The opposition leader told a Melbourne conference that “market enthusiasts” should remember that the revenue raised from the carbon tax would go directly into the federal government’s coffers.

“It may well be that most Australian economists think that a carbon tax or emissions trading scheme is the way to go,” Mr Abbott said on Friday.

“(But) maybe that’s a comment on the quality of our economists rather than the merits of the argument.”

Prominent economist Saul Eslake was quick to return fire.

The Grattan Institute director said Mr Abbott only delivered the “cheap shot” because he couldn’t find a single economist to support his direct action policy.