Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rudd the wrecker will kill action on climate change and forests

Where there is smoke there is fire.

I have wondering about media reports over the last several months about "Kevin Rudd agitating to be Prime Minister again".  Initially I thought these were a beat up. There seems to nothing some sections of the media like more than political conspiracies and plots to oust political leaders.  It is s a form of virtual blood sport.

With recent reports and comments from Kevin Rudd, and now Daryl Cheeseman (MP for Corangamite) we can see there is some substance to all this speculation.

Rudd wants his old job as Prime Minister back, at any cost.  I think he also wants revenge on those who orchestrated his sacking.

He, assisted by a secret (small?) band of followers, has been systematically undermining Julia Gillard as PM. His "campaign" includes:

  • Leaks at strategic times to derail the Gillard Goverment's momentum (including during the last election campaign)
  • Making "Presidential" statements and assuming a high profile as Foreign Minister
  • Not ruling out contesting for PM if there is a leadership ballot - even though he says he doesn't want on and there won't be one.
  • Saying he has "learnt from his mistakes" and is "more humble etc" - when by his current actions clearly this is not true.
So the Labor is in a death spiral.  Gillard cannot lead effectively with all the attention on leadership intrigue. 

Look at the Gonsky report on education - a core issue for Australia.  There has been virtually no coverage of it.  Our public education system is being denied adequate funding and is being run down.  Middle and high income earners are deserting it in droves.  It appears there is more public money going to private and "independent" schools per student than there is going to public schools.  Yet this issue is hardly getting any attention.

I can only speculate on Rudd's motives.  It would seem revenge and ambition are outweighing all other considerations.  If there was a leadership spill and Rudd got to be PM again, all the bad publicity, and his past skeletons in the closet, would mean Labor would lose the election.

Those who think Rudd can be Labor's salvation have short memories. He lost his mojo just before he was deposed. There was the complete stuff up on pink batts - this should have been done by the States, not Peter Garrett. The Australia 2020 talkfest delivered virtually nothing. Then he abandoned his compromised CPRS and adopted Brendan Nelson's policy on climate change! 

Rudd was also operating as a cell within Labor (as Latham did 2004) - this was the real reason he was shafted. However, now some nervous Labor poll-watching MPs think he might win the next election. He won't as he is shitting in his own nest in public. 

The real issue is that 19C (Labor) and 20C (Liberals) institutions are not well equipped to handle the big challenges and transitions we face in 21C as we run out fossil fuel, forests, water and degrade agricultural land. Both parties have their own right and left and are floundering about what to do. Labor has stepped in the right direction under Gillard by supporting a transition to a clean energy economy but they are having trouble selling this (Rudd's antics are not helping) while the Liberals under Abbott have stepped back in time.

If Rudd was more sensible, smart and strategic he would let Gillard lose the next election (as current polls indicate she is on track to do, if you believe them) then sail back in as the "knight in shining armour" with no bad blood and a clean(er) slate.

If Rudd and his followers keep de-stabilising the government, then Gillard will lose the next election.  One of the few things John Howard said that I agree with was "division is death".   While I am not in favour of autocratic rule by an single political party, this axiom is quite true for the game as they play it.

Unfortunately, the consequence of the current Labor-Greens-Indepedant government falling is that Tony Abbott can just sit back, keep pointing out that Labor has lost the plot, is paralysed and can't be trusted, then sail into government.

Once in government he will ditch the price on carbon and just about every other reform and piece of legislation that the current government has achieved.  Abbot would also axe National Disability Insurance, plain packaging for cigarettes, the NBN, education reform, the mining tax (weak though it is).

The Gillard government might just finalise the Intergovernmental Agreement to protection another 400,000 hectares of Tasmania's government.  They might also recognise and act on the opportunity to protect the rest of Australia's native forests subject to logging and reduce Australia's emissions by a further 5%.  An Abbott government would certainly do neither.  

Game on Kevin.  Its a lose-lose scenario.

1 comment:

Grant said...

I don't think you need to just blame Rudd as the current Fed Gov is doing pretty good at messing up without his help, and in fact the Greens seem powerless to stop the decline. Just look at the following as a few examples:
a. Dropping the solar hot water scheme
b. A $23/tonne carbon tax when the Greens stated it must be at least $40+, although they have tried to pacify the electorate by covering increased costs with the vast majority of the electorate. Ie. Not much if anything will be gained.
c. Wind turbines in Victoria can be vetoed by surrounding residents
d. Green car scheme shelved, so we currently have record sales of SUV's (although hybrid and electric cars are also on the nose with the public)
e. Solar energy feed in tariff in many states dramatically reduced to the point where Choice magazine advises they are not economic
f. Coal exports to be increased with Gov support/drive and Gladstone harbour dredged to enable more / larger ships
g. Unable to agree a suitable location for low level nuke waste, so this material resides in may suburbs of Australian cities
h. Unable to beat the banks on controlling interest rates, so ANZ and others decide on what rates will be charged
i. Bounced the high speed rail link (Melbourne - Brisbane) to the usual time waster of a committee (this is possibly understandable as not even the Fed Gov can afford)
j. Allow LPG to increase by 60% so this industry will probably decline dramatically as less cars are converted, and therefore increasing carbon emissions.
k. Sabre rattling with the newspapers, knowing full well they cannot force changes to editorial policy, and in fact the Fed Gov even appears to be getting the Age and ABC off side. Just look at the thumping Bob Browne received on the ABC 07:30 when interviewed a couple of days ago. Bob appeared to be flustered and not prepared.
l. Watered down gaming reform trial as clubs / pubs etc. threatened to mobilise against the Gov / Greens. Cost to taxpayers of approx $70 mil just for Canberra, so I can imagine what it would cost the Fed Gov to implement Australia wide.
j. Token Medicare style Dental scheme, as there is no money to implement for all.
Any way the list goes on and on where the Fed Gov and Greens have dropped the ball, and have not been able to achieve anything except minor token changes, if agreement with impacted groups could not be achieved. The Feds also need to abide by the International Rating Agencies decree that they must move to a surplus, so not only the Fed Gov must reduce spending, but the state Govs must also dramatically reduce their spending.