Against all expectations, Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt have actually come up with a clever climate change policy, and certainly one that will change the debate in Australia.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will now have to quickly do a deal with the Greens to get a government scheme through parliament, or else simply give up and blame everyone else.
With the failure at Copenhagen having pulled the rug out from under him, and a global agreement on emissions trading now impossible this year, Kevin Rudd must avoid a 2010 election on his current CPRS at all costs. To do that by dealing with the Greens now would mean a two-year carbon tax eventually turning into an emissions trading scheme â€“ a big risk.
Unfortunately, this kind of commentary is completely misleading, unhelpful and uninformed. For a business analyst, it shows a concerning naivete in the political process and the dynamics of the Australian Senate.
For the record, the Labor Government needs seven (that’s seven) additional votes in the Senate to pass legislation.
The Greens Party has five (that’s five) votes in the Senate.
There are two (that’s two) cross-bench, independent senators, Senator Xenophon and Senator Fielding.
To pass any legislation through the Senate, Labor needs both (that’s both) cross-bench Senators and all (that’s all) of the Greens Party Senators.
There is simply no possible way for a “deal with the Greens” to deliver a carbon tax or anything else. A “deal with the Greens” would deliver an extra five (that’s five) votes in the Senate, falling two (that’s two) short of a majority. Even if Senator Xenophon voted with Labor and the Greens Party, Senator Fielding is an avowed climate denier (and so wouldn’t vote for a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme).
“Dealing with the Greens” would not deliver a two-year carbon tax. It would deliver precisely nothing at all.