Yesterday, I stumbled on this ABC transcript while looking for more on Combet’s criticism of the opposition leader, Tony Abbott. What I found more interesting (and continually chuckle over) is the coversation with Abbott about his plans to lower electricity prices beyond removing the carbon tax;
TONY ABBOTT: We would have the ACCC (Australian Competition and Consumer Commission) out there making sure that businesses did not profiteer once the carbon tax was off.
LISA WILKINSON: Okay but you still haven’t answered my question, how much will you bring down energy prices beyond taking off the carbon tax?
TONY ABBOTT: Well, we will do vastly better than the Labor Party Lisa, because there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead …
LISA WILKINSON: You’re still not answering my question Mr Abbott.
TONY ABBOTT: But Lisa, I’m saying there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead and when I say that I’m telling the truth.
LISA WILKINSON: So should I get from that that you don’t actually have a plan on how to bring those prices down beyond the carbon tax?
TONY ABBOTT: But getting rid of the carbon tax …
LISA WILKINSON: Beyond the carbon tax Mr Abbott.
TONY ABBOTT: That is a very, very good start Lisa.
LISA WILKINSON: Okay, well I’ll have to take it that you don’t have a plan. Unless you are going to put one forward, it doesn’t look like you’ve got a plan Mr Abbott.
TONY ABBOTT: Lisa, the plan starts with getting rid of the carbon tax. Now …
LISA WILKINSON: Okay, I think you’ve answered the question.
TONY ABBOTT: No one who is serious about getting power prices down whacks on a carbon tax because the whole point of a carbon tax is to get prices up. If they don’t go up the carbon tax isn’t working. That’s the whole point of a price signal, Lisa.
Is anyone really fooled by this bloke? Honestly, he’s notorious for skirting difficult questions. I fail to see how the Coalition could believe this character is their best chance to win the election.
Not to mention, the manipulative and shallow explanation he gives of the carbon tax. The tax is not about driving the prices up, but about providing incentive to business to increase units of energy per unit of carbon emission, thereby reducing their overheads. In fact, Taylor et al. (2005) illustrate that regulations in this style are effective to drive innovation.
The alternative offered by Abbott was a real tax on everyone. The tax payer was going to pay to fund industry improvements. So, business wasn’t only hitting us as “consumers” but also as funders to their R&D, completely beyond our control and obviously no market drivers to push effective innovation.
The more I think about it, the more concerning it is that such a character has obtained that level of power and stands a chance of becoming the PM of Australia!
This brings me to why Greg Combet’s comments were of such interest to me. Combet said;
GREG COMBET: It is simply too important for our country and for future generations to concede a single millimetre of ground to a short term political opportunist like Tony Abbott or other mates of his like Alan Jones. They are reactionaries and they are out of touch and they should not be allowed to manipulate the community into wrong perceptions of the impact of the carbon price…
We don’t plan on losing the election. We are going to win the election and fight it right out to the end and explain our policy to people and why it is important for future generations.
In the event unfortunately for the country that Mr Abbott were to win, contemplate then the challenges he is going to face. We will have carbon markets in a properly constructed legislative environment, private contractual commitments in place throughout the economy and it is a very difficult thing to unpick. You need a majority in both houses of parliament of course to make a change of this nature.
I’m not too certain that would be the outcome either and given that everything here said about this issue, to be frank about it and so that you don’t misunderstand anything I’m saying, has been complete bullshit.
Fitting and refreshing for a politition to be so honest, rather than the typical knee-jerk poll pandering we have been subject to in recent years. Of course, the opposition has attacked his language as a publicity stunt, but what else could they do? Abbott’s position is indefensible, after all, and self-evidently full of it.
I disagree with the critics. I believe, like much of the general public and perhaps even the media (suggested in the transcript above), Combet is fed up with responding to such mind numbing Orwellian doublespeak and intellectual-retardant nonsense sprouted by a man the Coalition back as favoured leader.