What should Kevin Rudd do about climate change policy before the election?

No-one should doubt the political potency of the climate change issue. Malcolm Turnbull’s demise came as a direct result of the bi-partisan agreement on an ETS negotiated between Ian Macfarlane and Penny Wong in 2009. In a three-way contest Joe Hockey was expected to win in a landslide, but he was eliminated in the first round of voting.

So what went wrong for Joe?

Yesterday, Mr Hockey was demanding a free vote to decide Coalition policy on climate change early next year, if he were to agree to take on the leadership.

That angered right-wing Liberal powerbrokers and prompted Mr Abbott to stay in the race for the top job.

It’s worth noting, as I did in the post Political thuggery and climate change that it was Abbott and Nick Minchin who told Turnbull he could only keep his job if he changed his stance on the CPRS. Also that Andrew Robb’s actions were described by Hockey as “the worst act of political treachery I have seen in twenty years of politics” and by Turnbull as “an act of almost inconceivable treachery and dishonesty”.

Rudd’s dumping of the CPRS in April 2010 was followed by a sharp fall in Rudd’s approval rating and party voting intentions. As I pointed out in Rudd, Gillard, the CPRS and public opinion the notion that Rudd was talked out of doing something about climate change by Gillard and Swan does not hold up. Rudd was dithering and unapproachable on the issue. When he called a meeting to discuss the issue his view was to leave an ETS until broad international agreement was achieved. Gillard wanted to wait for a return of bipartisanship with the LNP. Rudd decided to do it his way.

Climate change was nominated by Gillard as one of three policy areas where the Government had lost its way.

Recently Mark Textor said that a politician can survive breaching trust once, but not twice. Gillard’s change of position on carbon pricing after the 2010 election was arguably her second, her first being the way she came to power. It’s public perception that matters here rather than substance.

After announcing the intention to introduce carbon pricing early in 2011 Labor plummeted in the polls and never recovered although an upward trend emerged after the ETS was introduced in July 2012 until the end of the year.

The ETS was a signal achievement for the Gillard Government. Tony Windsor thinks no-one else could have done it in the prevailing circumstances. Rudd needs to build on that achievement. Any perception that he is going soft on the issue would be a negative politically.

Rudd has indicated that he would like to move earlier to a trading system rather that a fixed price. He has enphasised that he needs to consult and look at the budget implications. The proposal would be to move to a market-based system rather than a fixed price in July 2014 instead of July 2015.

When this was proposed to Gillard, she said it was in the too hard basket politically. The Greens and the indies would have to agree. She’s right. There is effectively no chance of effecting such a change by recalling parliament before the election.

Today in the AFR Laura Tingle tells us that Combet says such a change would be possible, but not easy. There would have to be negotiations with the EU and many commercial contracts are written assuming a three-year fixed price. The budget implications are thought to be about $4 billion for 2014-2015.

The big worry to my mind is that Rudd might cut back on some of the complementary effort to save funds thus relying unduly on carbon pricing.

In recent times Gillard defended her flip on the ETS as the right thing to do and in sync with Coalition policies under Howard to which Abbott was party. She might have pointed also to his history as a human weathervane on climate change an other policies (see the transcript of the Oakes interview posted by tigtog at Hoyden and cross-posted at LP).

Recently in the Senate I heard that 150,000 jobs had been created by the introduction of the ETS. Christine Milne understands that it is about economic transformation rather than just climate change. This was reflected in the full suite of Greg Combet’s general industry responsibilities. In the new Rudd ministry (story here) climate change has rejoined responsibility for the environment with Mark Butler in charge.

Elsewhere Graham Readfearn has a post Can Kevin Rudd protect Australia’s climate change crediblity?. Towards the end he mentions that “Abbott leads a party with several climate science denialists in its ranks…” He’s being generous, surely.

On the weekend John Davidson sent me a discussion starter on what Kevin Rudd should do before the election on climate action policy. Please find it reproduced below.


It is worth remembering that Kevin Rudd started plummeting in the polls when he ditched the CPRS. To my mind dumping the CPRS was a good move, partly because I believe there are much better ways to reduce emissions than putting a price on carbon and partly because it was too complex to understand and sell in the face of the Barnaby and Tony show.

However, the real problem was that the CPRS was ditched without any sign of it being replaced it with another climate action plan. This was too hard for the voters to take from a leader who claimed that climate change was the great moral challenge of our time.

So what should Rudd do about climate action leading up to the election?

Firstly, what Rudd shouldn’t do is anything that can be interpreted as diluting the carbon tax. All the lies Abbott has told about the carbon tax can be used to help build up a picture of an opposition leader that has a chronic honesty problem over a whole range of topics.

Secondly, Rudd should make some simple moves that reinforce his commitment to climate action. Kevin raised the RET renewable target when he got into power the last time. Raising the RET target again would be a good way of signalling a commitment to climate action and recognition that the RET emissions trading scheme that has been an effective driver of the clean-up of electricity that doesn’t cause the dramatic price rises associated with simple carbon price schemes.

It would also be easy to raise short term emission reduction targets in conjunction with the medium term target, preferably backed up with some ideas that would help such targets to be met.

What else? Some time in the next term I would like Rudd to commit to something like the BZE Stationary Energy Plan (pdf). This project would stimulate our economy at a time when it looks like it will need stimulation as well as converting our power supply to zero emissions. However, it would be brave to start sprouting complex projects like this between now and the election.

What do you think Rudd should and should not do between now and the election?

53 thoughts on “What should Kevin Rudd do about climate change policy before the election?”

  1. I gather from today, July 1 the tax or price on carbon rises to $24.50.
    Maybe that should be reversed to $21.50 and those price increases to $29 planned, be similarly reversed incrementally. By the time the ‘floor’ of $15 a tonne has been reached the EU price might have, hopefully, risen to something similar. At the same time pray that other ETS’s in California, some cities in China, Korea etcetera hit their straps and are roughly equivalent. It’s a gesture that could get Rudd through the election and sound roughly plausible?? Let’s face it getting some sort of international credibility in carbon trading or climate change action is a waiting game.
    On the Beyond Zero Emissions plan for stationary energy I doubt that Rudd would commit to the estimated cost ($100+ billions).
    A scoping study sounds more Ruddster like. Meanwhile he could be bold and commit to a Very Fast Train with multiple starting cites between Melbourne and Brisbane to speed things up. Given his sobering comments about the resources boom to China being over, providing jobs on big infrastructure could be popular. Maybe there is some synergy between the two?

  2. Pablo: I’d accept that if he announced that, per expert advice, he was limited future carbon exports to 20% of currently known reserves in order to avoid frying the planet.

  3. In my opinion, there are two things Kevin Rudd should do:

    1) The government has always got the messaging of the carbon price backwards. The empahsis has always been on the cost of carbon, rather than the compensation.

    Instead of emphasising the compensation to housholds — including taxcuts and pension increases — by calling its carbon policy a “Low Emissions Taxcut Plan”, the emphasis has instead been on the cost by constantly refering to the price on carbon.

    The goal should be to emphasise the possibility of pension increases and taxcuts being greater than the carbon price passed on by utility companies for low emissions households — of people giving themselves a taxcut.

    After all, if your budget is already tight, the idea of any tax increase is naturally going to be unappealing — even if it’s in the name of a worthy cause. Abbott has milked this for all its worth. However, defending the possibility of voters giving themselves is a much easier task.

    2) Short-circuit the sceptical argument by emphasising the risks.

    The science is well and truly settled enough (to paraphrase Tony Abbott) to show there is a risk of more frequent natural disasters as a result of carbon emissions. And of course the federal govenrment is not going to abandon bushfire or drought survivors.

    Surely, if government is to some degree going to insure us against the costs of climate inaction in the form of natural disaster, it’s only fair that those who have contributed to the risks — directly (for companies) or indirectly (for consumers) — pay a higher level of taxes accordingly.

    After all, even if the likelihood of me needing to put in an insurance claim tomorrow is low, I still don’t get my insurance coverage for free. So why should the rest of us cross-subsidise polluters?

    In short, the messaging around climate change has been utterly awful. If Tony intends to use the “big new tax” line all the way to the election (and there’s no sign he won’t), the government should respond accordingly by explaining how taxpayers can “give themselves a taxcut”, while highlighting “the people who contribute to natural disaster risks should pay the bills for it”.

  4. The other political factor that may change the game is if Abbott is ditched before the election. It seems that this may now not occur until October. Plenty of time for the Libs to switch if Rudd continues to do so well in the polls. If Turnbull became leader then it seems there would be room for bi-partisanship, unless his riding instructions were strictly otherwise. But, he maybe replaced by someone else. Hockey? Robb?

  5. Why not Julie Bishop?
    Or do you think the Liberals regard her as a “token female leader”, Liz?

  6. I don’t think Abbot will be replaced. I think the libs know that carries the stench of fear, and Turnbull is the only credible alternative but he has a patchy history and isn’t well-liked. They’ve strapped themselves into the roller-coaster of doom, and they’re at the top of the loop – just gotta hold on now and hope the ride ends well…

  7. An earlier transition to an ETS would make little difference in the greater scheme of things. Its main effects, rather, are economic and political. Christine Milne’s objection to an earlier transition was an economic one, that it would create a large hole in our budget. She made no mention of any environmental costs or benefits that might follow.

    Rudd has a large ego as we all know, and likes to be seen as a kind of moral visionary. Making an earlier transition to an ETS could give us an opportunity to insert ourselves into the global climate change debate, giving us more, not less, political influence internationally, and it would allow Rudd to rekindle that role for himself as a moral visionary.

    So I say, do it, Kev!

  8. Brian, surely any tweak to Labor’s agenda on carbon pricing is kabuki theatre, in that not only won’t it pass without either Green or Coalition support, as you say, but it still doesn’t mean l-a-w if Labor pulls off a ’93 here. A surprise new term for the government doesn’t really mean those other parties will be deciding to change their stance any time soon, IMO.

    I’m not dismissing the importance of sound policy formulation, just saying that Rudd’s cabinet would be coming up with a policy change that isn’t primarily intended for passage… it’s meant to show he’s getting a handle on governing, as per Tingle’s analysis.

    And it’s meant to provide a constructive alternative to the Coalition’s very own unimplementable(?) plans for AGW policy.

    It can be sold as a good, fresh counterclaim to Abbott’s plans should he become PM. The outgoing Combet being agin it is useful for the spin on that for a Labor Opposition.

  9. We seem to be obsessing about the carbon price. My take is that it is not clear whether the carbon tax has made much difference compared with other factors that may have influenced emissions. Other factors include the decline in manufacturing, large increases in power prices beyond those caused by the carbon tax, the RET scheme, FIT schemes and people convinced by Tony Abbott that they faced ruin if they didn’t cut their emissions.
    One thing is for sure, Kevin has to convince people that he will do a lot more about climate change during the next parliamentary term than Abbott. If he decides to drop the carbon tax or takes other steps to water down the carbon price he will need to have alternatives that will clearly provide tangible benefits. “Tangible” means actions that will result in an increase in the production of clean power, a predictable reduction in the average fuel consumption of new cars.
    With this in mind he should be considering things like increasing the RET target, using something like the ACT reverse auction system to drive investment in clean electricity, using RET style offset credit trading to drive down the average fuel consumption of new cars etc,

  10. Amy @3: I like the idea of emphasizing the other benefits of a carbon tax. To my mind the carbon tax can be justified in terms of the way the revenue is being used with any reductions in emissions a bonus.

  11. The Greens have launched a pitch

    to increase Australia’s renewable energy target to 90 per cent by 2030 and tip an extra $20 billion into Australia’s clean energy finance corporation, but have rejected an earlier move to an emissions trading scheme being considered by cabinet.
    Speaking on Monday morning, Greens leader Christine Milne said the minor party wanted to see all of Australia’s electricity come from renewable energy sources as soon as possible.
    She said the first step should be to increase Australia’s renewable energy target to 90 per cent by the end of the next decade. The target is currently set to ensure 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from renewables by 2020.

    Not sure why she is wimping out on an achievable 100%.
    100% over 15 years is only 6.7% per year.

  12. There’s nothing Kevin Rudd can do about climate change policy before the election because he’ll never get it through the Senate. The Greens won’t change the existing legislation and the Coalition won’t agree anything but the abolition of the policy. We’ll have to wait after the election for any change.

  13. @David While there probably won’t be any legislative changes before the next election, how the government presents its existing policies (see my post above) is certainly something Kevin Rudd and Caucus can change.

    Similarly, what the government can do is make election promises about how it will handle the issue going forward if it wins the next election. So that might be to argue — for example — that Australia will adopt the European market price sooner than expected if it wins the next election.

    In fact, the big benefit of announcing any key changes now as a pre-election pledge (rather than trying to immediately ram them through parliament) is that if it somehow pulls off a miraculous win, and the Coalition or the Greens become too obstructionist down the road, it can claim it has a mandate from the people to implement its changes.

  14. I doubt that Rudd will call Parliament back to legislate any changes. He doesn’t have the skill set to deal with a hung parliament. Remember, he’s not there to govern; he’s there to win the election.

    So, he’s much better off crafting an electorally palatable policy to take to the election. If he changes to an early ETS, he has the problem of filling a hole in the budget.

    It does open up the issue of when to hold it. If he goes later, he needs to either recall parliament or prorogue it. He has the right to do the latter, but it may not play well with the electorate.

  15. Rudd has to demonstrate that he is different than his unpopular predecessor and the unpopular opposition leader. He can make this separation more potent by making a few simple changes before the election. For example demonstrating he is more humane by raising the dole NOW and/or reversing the decision to treat single mothers harshly now is a lot stronger than merely promising. If he is lucky Abbott will complain about the changes and thus allow Rudd to talk about something that the poor will lose if Abbott wins.
    In terms of climate action a logical step would be to significantly raise the RET emissions trading scheme target to the level required for the government to reach the overall emissions reduction target. It helps create climate credibility and provides support for a scheme that the dirty power producers are trying to get rid of because it is working. It also separates Rudd from the damage Gillard did by setting the carbon tax too low to provide the impetus for serious change.

    Steve O’Conner in REneweconomy argued strongly that Rudd Needs to Seize the Moment on Climate Change

    Moving the date of the EU carbon trading linkage forward a year is unlikely to woo voters from the Abbott camp, and probably further entrench dislike from the Greens. If he wants to win hearts and minds, he’s going to have to do better than that.

    If Kevin truly wants to capture the public’s imagination he should articulate a vision for the future and not shy away from directly addressing what’s becoming a very large elephant in the room: how that very same future may be jeopardised if we don’t get serious about climate.

  16. doubt that Rudd will call Parliament back to legislate any changes. He doesn’t have the skill set to deal with a hung parliament. Remember, he’s not there to govern; he’s there to win the election.

    I don’t think Rudd will recall parliament. There was a report that the Greensonly offered confidence on the condition that an election is called before Sep 30. And if they attempted to bring forward the ETS the Greens would oppose that.

    However – re a hung parliament – it was Windsor and Oakshott that said immediately after the 2010 election that the negotiations with the ALP would have been easier if Rudd had stayed in power because throughout his term as PM Rudd had kept in personal contact with them even though they he did not need their vote. A bit of contrast to Gillard who dumped Wilkie as soon as she didnt need his vote. So whilst there is no doubt they ended up with a pretty good relationship with Gillard, I think it’s a bit of a myth that only Gillard was capable of negotiating the hung parliament. The Greens and Wilkie would never have supported Abbott and Windsor and Oakshott already a good relationship with Rudd.

  17. If there is no prospect of Parliament being recalled before an election, then Rudd should definitely announce that he will move swiftly towards an ETS and adopting the EU floating carbon price. This would provide him with several advantages: (1) it would provide his government with some distance from one of the Gillard government’s most unpopular policies; (2) it would antagonise Christine Milne – and with any luck also Sarah Hanson-Young and Lee Rhiannon – which plays well with Labor’s working class/outer suburban voter constituencies; (3) it would open up a space to negotiate with Xenophon and try to bypass the Greens (who are likely to be down two Senators on current polls) if re-elected; and (4) it would give Labor a position should the Coalition win the House but not get a Senate majority that is between an “extremist” Coalition and an “extremist” Greens position. I suspect that Bruce Hawker may be offering Kevin Rudd advice that is along these lines, which is perhaps also why Greg Cobet felt compelled to resign.

  18. Chris, Tony Windsor clearly stated on his retirement that Gillard was the only person in that Parliament who could have negotiated through.

  19. Furthermore, it’s not a question of Rudd negotiating the Parliament up front in 2010. It’s a question of Rudd being able to negotiate all that legislation through. Windsor has been completely clear about that. Rudd would have failed miserably.

  20. Windsor has been completely clear about that. Rudd would have failed miserably.

    That’s a huge “what-if” though. No one knows because only Gillard was in charge. Windsor never had to actually negotiate with Rudd. Might as well speculate that there wouldn’t have been a hung parliament in the first place if Rudd hadn’t been replaced and so no need to negotiate with the independents.

  21. Or if Rudd hadn’t leaked before (as well as during and after) the election. And for three long years including as a minister for the Government he was serving. Nice man.

  22. A hypothetical 2010/13 minority PM Rudd would have had a Katter card up his sleeve in negotiations with the other two RARA indies, even on the stuff the member for Kennedy didn’t want in on (that’s the great thing about making ad hoc alliances with pols who have poker faces).

    Also, from a purely pragmatic perspective, one of Gillard’s great strengths as minority PM was her ability to ruthlessly cut Wilkie loose, ruthlessly bring Slipper in, ruthlessly keep Thomson from flipping out. Not necessarily feelgood unity stuff.

  23. I agree Brian – whatever he does with pricing, he should raise the RET to 25%.

  24. Chris, there’s no speculation in it. It’s what a really smart, honourable man who knows all the players well, has stated.

  25. It’s still speculation because it never actually happened.

    Or if Rudd hadn’t leaked before (as well as during and after) the election. And for three long years including as a minister for the Government he was serving. Nice man.

    Or if Gillard and her allies hadn’t leaked and undermined Rudd before and after his overthrow. Nice woman.

    See we can all play this tedious what if game.

  26. Or if Gillard and her allies hadn’t leaked and undermined Rudd before and after his overthrow.

    Yes. its really tiresome how the self-righteous overlook this logical barrier to their outrage.

    Oh well, of purely academic interest now anyway.

  27. Except that you need to show evidence of Gillard spending 3 years leaking, moaning, bitching, whiteanting and undermining. If you have evidence, please present it.

    And no, it isn’t of purely academic interest. Labor still has the problem of a leader who is widely loathed within Caucus and has been chosen to win an election, solely. The underlying structural problems are still there and it’s no good trying to paper them over.

    Not to mention the underlying misogyny of Australian culture which Rudd has taken advantage of. Not that I blame him for that. But, gosh aren’t people relieved we don’t have to think about that anymore.

  28. I think there is a reasonable case to suggest that the CAGW card has been the poisoned chalice for leaders in Australian politics for some time.
    Howard embraced CAGW late and lost an election.
    Rudd dropped the ball after Copenhagen and was dumped.
    Nelson kept Howards policy and didn’t get any clean air.
    Turnbull refused to change policy to accord with the rank and file of the party and was dumped for it.
    Gillard lied to the electorate in an election campaign on the matter and never recovered.

    Going by this Rudd’s best bet would be to discard the price on carbon and any idea of an ETS.
    The example shown by Obama in the USA demonstrates this. Climate change wasn’t mentioned as an issue in the last US Presidential Campaign.

  29. From Liz@ 22 we’ve opened a theme that would be better on the other thread.

    Hemry2, burn it into your brain, Gillard did not lie about a carbon tax before the last election. She changed her mind after the election as part of the deal with the Greens.

    Those who say she lied actually themselves lie and have been doing so ever since.

  30. Gillard did not lie about a carbon tax before the last election. She changed her mind after the election as part of the deal with the Greens.

    That’s correct. As George Constanza once famously said, “it’s not a lie if you believe it”.

  31. Sam @37, considering what happened the last time we said that, the possibilities are endless.

  32. Labor should run ads with clips of a few Nobel Prize winners talking about the reality of climate change, subtitled ‘our scientific advisers’, followed by one of “Lord” Monckton denying climate change subtitled ‘Tony Abbott’s scientific adviser’.

    Rudd should get back to the theme that this is a great moral challenge and expose the Libs for the ignorant, unprincipled, duplicitous weasels they are. Forget the finer points about policy, they go straight over most people’s heads. The issue needs to be framed as a simple contest between a party that accepts scientific consensus and wants to engage in basic risk management, and a mob of know-nothings who are prepared to imperil the future of the country for the sake of political advantage. All the rest is just noise.

  33. Except that you need to show evidence of Gillard spending 3 years leaking, moaning, bitching, whiteanting and undermining.

    If Gillard had spent even a bit of time playing, as the Americans say, “D Fence” against Rudd, instead of maintaining an Olympian detachment, she would still be PM, and probably with a fighting a chance of winning the election.

    The lesson, as always, is that in politics, if you don’t destroy your enemies, they will destroy you.

  34. Henry2@33: Funny thing is that both Rudd and Turnbull are far more popular than Abbott or Gillard. Abbott has stated that AGW is crap. Gillard, to her credit got a carbon tax up but settled on a compromise price of $23/tonne – Not high enough to drive significant climate action, too low to convince people like me she was seriously committed but high enough to drive those who think we should do nothing into a frothing frenzy. Politically, she might have got a lot more respect and support if she had set the figure high enough to drive investment in clean electricity. (over $40/tonne?)
    Turnbull did interesting things environmentally including Australia’s world leading banning of low efficiency light globes. He was also a srong supporter of the ETS.
    Rudd started off supporting strong climate action and lost support when he dropped the CPRS without replacing it with alternative climate action.
    Rudd would be a slow learner if he goes into the election without a stronger proposal for climate action than that of the Gilard government.

  35. Hemry2, burn it into your brain, Gillard did not lie about a carbon tax before the last election. She changed her mind after the election as part of the deal with the Greens.

    Sorry to have to say this, but even this is wrong.

    Gillard did not even change her mind. She in fact kept her promise. She promised no tax (correct), and on that she delivered; for the carbon price is not a tax, and anyone who says it is is lying. Even Abbott made the distinction between a carbon tax and a carbon price in that famous Sky News interview from 2009.

    But Gillard also said she wanted a price that led to an ETS (she said this to Paul Bongiorno on Channel Ten, and also to The Australian, on the eve of the election), and on that, with the help of the Independents and the Greens, she also delivered.

    Let’s remember history as it really happened, not as the MSM/ABC tell us happened.

    Where Gillard could be said to have fallen down was on her commitment to carbon pricing; for she also said she wanted a public discussion – remember the aborted People’s Climate Conference? The people rebelled, and forced a parliamentary committee that gave us action.

  36. Except that you need to show evidence of Rudd spending 3 years leaking, moaning, bitching, whiteanting and undermining. If you have evidence, please present it.

    It does seem likely, and I’ve seen journos citing other journos. But every time I followed the citations the primary source came down to ‘everybody knows that…’ or ‘you’d expect that wouldn’t you’. Have you had more success in finding actual, real evidence?

  37. silkworm @ 43, yes there was this story on 20 August 2010, the day before the election:

    In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step.

    “I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism,” she said of the next parliament. “I rule out a carbon tax.”

    This is the strongest message Ms Gillard has sent about action on carbon pricing.

    While any carbon price would not be triggered until after the 2013 election, Ms Gillard would have two potential legislative partners next term – the Coalition or the Greens. She would legislate the carbon price next term if sufficient consensus existed.

  38. And just before last week’s spill, Rob Oakeshott was on Lateline defending Gillard’s position on carbon pricing. He said Gillard had promised a carbon pricing scheme, and that she had delivered. Oakeshott should know – he was on the parliamentary committee.

  39. Interesting article, Paul.

    … might dissociate Rudd’s “new policy” from Gillard’s so-called dishonestly introduced carbon tax …

    Oh dear. Even Matthew Wright seems to have succumbed to the Coalition’s rhetoric on carbon pricing.

  40. I’m not a ruddite but I do take umbrage with the Coroner in today’s finding that Rudds pink batts so called fiasco was responsible for the unfortunate deaths when a million installations resulted in those deaths.
    Not forgetting the contractors and others involved and the speed at which the roll-out occurred it would be more balanced to compare the fatality numbers with the average deaths occurring per million workplace individual jobs.

  41. Exactly, zorronsky. I’d like one of our resident lawyers to let us know whether the coroner erred. It seems to me you could lay all those (very few) deaths solely at the feet of a few extremely dodgy small businessmen.

  42. It seems to me you could lay all those (very few) deaths solely at the feet of a few extremely dodgy small businessmen.

    Ultimately that’s where the legal responsibility lies – and IIRC there have been prosecutions. However I think governments and corporations should bear at least some moral responsibility for their actions.

    For example corporations who put so much price pressure on suppliers (or simply turn a blind eye) that the suppliers start taking safety short cuts like has happened in the clothes making industry.

    And with the insulation scheme it should have been entirely forseable that if you throw that much money into an industry over a very short period of time growing the industry temporarily a huge amount that you will inevitably have lots of dodgy people attempt to catch the money. Even if the accident/death rate stays the same there’s still an absolute increase in the number of incidents.

    IIRC at least some of the state safety bodies were saying they were insufficiently resourced and perhaps some of the federeal insulation program money should have been diverted there so the regulatory bodies were proportionally increased in size compared to the industry growth.

    I guess its the downside of trying to combine a stimulus program with environmental program. In the long term it probably would have been better for the insulation industry if the subsidy was only available when house ownership changed – it would have led to a much more sustainable growth, rather than boom/bust which the Rudd and Gillard govts have been guilty of in the green industry sectors.

    And the unfortunate side effect is that foil batts now have very bad public acceptance when they can in fact be very beneficial for reducing the summer heat load.

  43. Chris that’s pretty much on the mark. See also on the other thread.

    I think foil is now illegal in Qld.

    One of the problems was that the government paid for the whole job so there was no co-payment. With a co-payment householders themselves would have taken a greater interest in the competence of the outfit doing the job.

  44. Rudd should attack Abbott agressively on his total lack of honesty and his complete unsuitability to be a leader of this country.

    Rudd has the advantage of not having any such issues and can dominate the platform on this issue. He can use Abbott’s many polar shifts on Climate Change to bring the issue to a stable positive place before the election.

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