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The mad monk’s success story?

The byelections in Bradfield and Higgins were interesting as they provided a test of what might happen to the Liberal Party as a consequence of Tony Abbott taking the leadership.  Some former Liberal voters might have been expected to desert the Party as a consequence of its stance on climate change, some might actually be attracted by the policy and presumably a few (as usual) might move towards the party as a result of the usual byelection protest vote against the Government.  Tony Abbott seems to have done well overall with the Liberal Party vote holding strong.

Abbott is an attractive candidate and may prove electorally much more successful than his opponents believe.  His eventual stance on climate change may gravitate towartds the Government’s. He is now distancing himself from his earlier denialist remarks, argues that policies are necessary to deal with climate change and, after embracing a central-planning supply-driven approach, now seems to even see the eventual need for pricing carbon after the US decides on how it well price its emissions.  Of course whatever influence  Australia might have exerted in fostering a decent deal in Copenhagen is now gone.

The obvious point is that it is hard to know what Abbott stands for despite his pretense at being a ‘conviction’ politician.  He has endorsed, then rejected and now half endorsed an ETS and wants to “pick winners” in the energy field in the best socialist tradition in order to deliver a path to controlling carbon emissions that conceals all cost inefficiencies in bad political choices – in bad technological choices and in further delays to dealing effectively with emissions. It might work and be electorally successful. I guess he would then be regarded as a successful leader and a canny politician.

8 comments to The mad monk’s success story?

  • The idea that Abbott would have made any measurable difference in the Lib vote in Higgins (I know nothing of Bradfield) was a product of journos and bloggers getting a bit feverish.

    Perhaps of the Greens had gone local there would have been a small difference.

    The whole idea of the Greens flying in Hamilton is just bizarre on a number of levels.

    Some of their candidates in others seats that I know reflect some strange process within the Greens whereby ability to engage people and have something resembling a personality is deemed to be a negative.

  • observa

    Well if I were a really canny politician who believed AGW was really crap, but more’s the point it was giant tax grab and tie us all into the gaggle of gangsters I’d pull the ‘Climategate’ and the ‘science isn’t settled’ card right out of the drawer and as such an ETS is far too risky and full of problems to risk it until the science is settled (note the UK Met needs 3 years to ‘check’ it’s data PM and then there’s those NZ funny graphs, etc, etc) However if the PM can get agreement at Copenhagen for a globally agreed straight carbon tax which could be applied in all countries with ofsetting income and company tax here of course, we’d send the PM with our blessing. What about it PM?

  • conrad

    I think the problem with Abbott is that all he’s doing is preaching to the converted. Wait for a few months (so people are more sick of him than now), and see what happens in a marginal electorate.

  • observa

    Read Dr Pauchari’s blog here- http://blog.rkpachauri.org/

    The money bit-
    “What is important is to see that we start measuring economic growth and biocapacity accurately, so that policies target both sets of variables in order to reverse the damage of the past.

    The Copenhagen Conference of the Parties to come up with an agreement on climate change is clearly not making much headway. This may be the result of frozen mindsets, strong vested interests and ignorance[or Climategate]. The question is whether the additional time that the world would now have to arrive at an agreement at the next Conference of the Parties in Mexico will give us time and space to look at the larger problem of unsustainable development, of which climate change is at best a symptom. Human society cannot continue to ignore the vital dependence that exists between human welfare and the health of our natural resources.”

    Yes he gets it just like any half intelligent agnostic on AGW can, or a Hansen believer or a skeptic like Bellamy. We all got that critical bit that “climate change is at best a symptom” and while AGW devotees were completely absorbed in their crusade for a global cap and trade they were totally blind to the many and obvious criticisms of the practical mechanism itself, let alone the simple fact that they were treating at best a symptom of the true greater problem Pachauri outlines. Jones, Mann, et al have done us all a great favour in letting wiser heads see the greater folly of it all (they fell for the same temptation as objective scientists) and politicians like Abbott will no doubt benefit from that in the short term. However after the flames of Climategate have finally subsided and the smoke clears, politicians like Abbott will be left to deal with that real underlying environmental concern Pauchari outlines. It’s deep and it’s there. They’ll either have the true answers to deal with that or if they don’t they’ll quickly fall from favour. That’s for the Abbotts and all of us to think about now. Also if you see your beloved Plan A going up in smoke you need to think about your Plan B.

    That’s where I come back to. Assuming Copenhagen falls flat on it face again and with Climategate that appears certain now, do you (or Abbott and Rudd perhaps) see an immediate compromise with straight CO2E taxing and if so by how much?

  • rog

    Whatever Abbott stands for is irrelevant – Rudd has a considerable mandate which he has maintained from 2007.

  • derrida derider

    Harry, take a look at the huge serve Turnbull has just directed at Abbott and the deniers in the party room. After the disgraceful way they behaved last week I can’t say I blame him, but the turmoil in the Libs is not ending anytime soon.

  • hc

    I posted it in full above. I don’t blame Turnbull. Abbott has been a weathervane on the climate change.

  • penguin peregrine

    I’m not quite sure how embracing a ‘central-planning-supply-driven approach’ squares with Abbott’s statements that there is too much regulation on the country. I’m also not quite sure how he’s planning to pay for this direct action which will also certainly involve tougher regulation of buildings for energy efficiency purposes.

    The risk Abbott runs with this anti-ETS campaign is whether he can be both environmentally credible and economically feasible (to paraphrase the ALP’s tests on the CPRS) in his alternative measures. If not, it will very quickly look like a climate skeptic stance and also potentially blow a colossal hole in the Coalition’s much vaunted economic management credentials.

    Not sure we can read much into a couple of booths in Chatswood and Hornsby. Every analysis seems to miss a rather important point – the Greens are to the left of Labor and some people who vote Labor are more likely to turn to the right and vote Liberal regardless of the whole ETS debate. Probably all you can say for the Abbott change was it sured up the ‘base’ – conservative – vote from running off to the 9 Fred Nile candidates!

    Would be fascinating though if some of those results in Wahroonga and St Ives which swung to the Greens were repeated in say, North Sydney, at a Federal election.

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