There had been some speculation in the press as to whether Labor would maintain its commitment to carbon pricing in the face of LNP plans to remove it.
Albanese has declared that they will.
But please note, Albanese made this declaration before a shadow cabinet meeting at which Opposition strategy was to be discussed. After the Meeting Shorten confirmed the position. It seems they will seek to implement the position they took to the election through amendments to Abbott’s legislation. They propose moving directly from the initial fixed price, moving directly to an ETS with international trading facility.
I’m not sure when Barrie Cassidy wrote his piece: it appears to predate the decision. Cassidy manages to put a leadership spin on the issue in terms of what would happen after losing the next election where he saw Shorten as vulnerable to a challenge from Plibersek if he wimped out on carbon pricing. My first reaction was to groan inwardly. Couldn’t we discuss any policy without framing it in a ‘leadershit’ context? Nevertheless Cassidy does make the interesting point that the left now essentially controls the leadership. I think the idea is that party membership is to the left, and Shorten only won because of a once off defection of some of the left in caucus to Shorten, which he thinks unlikely to happen again.
Shorten would look like a complete dill with no convictions if he changed positions from the one he put forward in the leadership context, but it raises the issue of how sensitive a leader now has to be to the views of party members on major policy issues.
The Guardian article reports on Essential Research polling:
A new Essential poll published this week showed 31% of the sample thought the carbon tax should be dumped and not replaced; 21% supported replacing it with an emissions trading scheme; 15% preferred the Liberals’ “direct action” plan; and 15% thought the government should keep the carbon tax.
Support for the tax or an ETS was highest among Labor and Greens voters, young people, and people with a university education.
Support for dumping Labor’s regime was highest among Coalition voters – but the poll showed only 28% of Coalition voters preferred the Abbott government’s “direct action” plan.
Abbott’s negative sloganeering seems to have had an effect, but there is little enthusiasm for his ‘positive’ plans, if they can be thus termed.
Another interesting point is Abbott’s use of terms of denigration, dubbing Shorten as “Electricity Bill”, or “Bill Shock Shorten”. Abbott never misses an opportunity to lower the standards of political discourse.
Meanwhile neither side is reacting with the ambition and urgency that the science demands.