Turnbull’s Failure

20 09 2009

Why is Malcolm Turnbull prepared to negotiate on ETS ahead of Copenhagen when even Rudd is trying to position himself for the talks failure?

KEVIN Rudd has talked down prospects of international agreement at a crucial climate change summit in Copenhagen in December, amid fresh predictions the conference is doomed to failure.

ETS is the only policy where the Coalition can have a win over ALP. CO2 is a product of industrial activity and ETS is a punishment for what Rudd calls “making things”. Turnbull should be out there explaining that anyone who is involved in manufacturing, mining, agriculture, transport etc. will be very badly impacted. Many will lose their jobs because the same goods from their competitors in China and India will be ETS free. Nobody will escape the impact of the ETS as prices of electricity, transport and pretty much everything go up.

Will ETS reduce emissions? No. The polluters can simply buy the carbon offsets and pass on the costs. Heavy industrial polluters can relocate to ETS-free jurisdictions.

ETS is a great chance for Turnbull to paint Liberals as the party of the business and the party of the workers in one hit. He should be selling the message that he is trying to protect OUR JOBS, while Rudd is trying to kill them. He – Turnbull will stand up for the workers. Rudd will only stand up for SMH and The Age readers. Turnbull will save current jobs that exist right now, Rudd will give you “green jobs” that may never exist.

Here is something Turnbull can try. He can show two widgets: A (made in Australia) and B (made in China). Under the ETS widget A becomes a lot more expensive to produce. Widget B stays the same – Chinese goods are not penalised under the ETS. The likely outcome: The Aussie company that makes widget A goes under. We now have 2 widgets B made in China. Australian economy shrinks and our foreign debt grows. CO2 emissions are actually higher, as the widget has to be produced abroad and shipped to Australia. It is bad news all round.

The only reason Turnbull wants to support the ETS is because he wants to be the Mr. Popular so badly he is prepared to support a bad policy for a short-term political gain. This is what we want from our politicians, right? More short-term populism. Turnbull is showing a very poor judgement. People are not stupid and once the implications of the ETS become clear they will turn on the ALP, no matter what Laurie Oaks and Paul Kelly think. Libs are going to loose the next election whether it is double dissolution or not. If Turnbull supports the ETS he gives Labor a powerful argument to claim that ETS had the support of both parties and Libs were going to introduce it anyway.

Turnbull should oppose the ETS because it is a very bad policy that is against the national interest. It will probably hurt him in the short run but in the long run he will build a powerful platform for the Liberal resurgence. Unfortunately I fear that Malcolm is the SMH reader himself…

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