Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Australia's opposition disintegrates over climate change

While the New Zealand government is busy ramming through a polluter-friendly ETS, over the Tasman its right-wing allies are busy disintegrating over the same issue. Australia's "Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme" is even friendlier to polluters than our ETS, with generous free allocations, billions in direct subsidies, and long phase-outs to ensure that the polluting coal and electricity industries keep on doing exactly what they're doing at the moment: ruining the global climate. But the government doesn't have the numbers to get it through the Senate, and so yesterday came up with an extra helping of polluter pork to buy off the opposition. Their negotiator accepted the deal - which precipitated a mutiny in the opposition caucus as the rump of Howard-era Denier MPs refused to accept it. And now, there's a leadership vote.

Whichever way this goes, it won't be good for the Liberals. Either Turnbull will limp on as leader with no real power, or they'll roll him, vote against the CPRS, and force a double dissolution and an election on climate change - which can only be bad for them (the phrase "electoral oblivion" has been used; certainly they'd be looking at losing seats rather than gaining them). Its the same problem seen with the US "teabaggers": right-wing radicals, angry at defeat, unable to accept that the world (and the public's position) has changed...