Tag Archives: Palmer_Clive

What does Clive Palmer want? – Election 2019 follies 3

Clive Palmer wants balance of power in the senate. Why? He wants a future for coal mining, and the development of his Galilee Basin tenement. Simple as that.

So I’ll take a look at Palmer’s impact on the campaign and how the senate is likely to turn out.

Continue reading What does Clive Palmer want? – Election 2019 follies 3

Saturday salon 12/3

1. Human supremacy under threat as computer beats world “Go” champion?

    “Yesterday I was surprised but today it’s more than that — I am speechless”.

After the first victory by the computer, that was the reaction as AlphaGo defeated grandmaster Lee Sedol for the second time. Continue reading Saturday salon 12/3

Will Clive Palmer and QNI go the way of the fibreglass dinosaurs?

Palmer_4429712-3x2-340x227_300As far as I know Clive Palmer’s two main cash producing assets were Queensland Nickel and the Coolum Resort, known now mainly for the fibreglass dinosaurs he installed all over the place. Coolum is presently shut, and Queensland Nickel has gone into receivership. Terry Barnes thinks “Palmer and his political influence are going the way of the fibreglass dinosaurs inhabiting his defunct resort at Coolum.” Continue reading Will Clive Palmer and QNI go the way of the fibreglass dinosaurs?

Saturday salon 15/11

voltaire_230

An open thread where, at your leisure, you can discuss anything you like, well, within reason and the Comments Policy. Include here news and views, plus any notable personal experiences from the week and the weekend.

For climate topics please use the most recent Climate clippings.

The gentleman in the image is Voltaire, who for a time graced the court of Frederick II of Prussia, known as Frederick the Great. King Fred loved to talk about the universe and everything at the end of a day’s work. He also used the salons of Berlin to get feedback in the development of public policy.

Fred would only talk in French; he regarded German as barbaric. Here we’ll use English.

The thread will be a stoush-free zone. The Comments Policy says:

The aim [of this site] is to provide a venue for people to contribute and to engage in a civil and respectful manner.

Here are a few bits and pieces that came to my attention last week.

1. Abbott puts his foot in his mouth

Yesterday David Cameron made a speech in Parliament about freedom and democracy. At an international business breakfast attended by David Cameron Abbott said there was ‘nothing but bush’ in Australia before white settlement.

The self-appointed “Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs” Tony Abbott has reiterated the legal fiction of “terra nullius” stating that Australia was “nothing but bush” before British invasion and called pre-colonisation civilisation “extraordinarily basic and raw”.

Will someone please take this embarrassing man away and give us a real prime minister?

2. Palmer DisUnited Party

Clive Palmer and Jacqui Lambie have been engaging in a colourful slanging match. Lambie says she won’t resign unless she’s kicked out, but she might have to distance herself from the party. Palmer says she won’t answer the phone or return his calls and that she raises no issues when the party meets. It’s hard to see this fracture being patched up.

According to a vox pop conducted in Tasmania, she has a bit of support, but many are scathing and find her embarrassing. Her attitude may make things harder for the LNP to get legislation through the senate, but will reduce Palmer’s leverage.

3. Rundle on Palmer

Meanwhile Guy Rundle has been studying the mercurial Clive Palmer’s politics. He finds the politics of Clive Palmer:

a mildly centre-right politics, grounded in Australian Catholic traditions and social movement doctrine, and tracing their lineage back to the party whose name he wanted to adopt, the United Australia Party.

Rundle identifies a doctrine on which the Australian political and social settlement is based.

Because the arbitration system and the Harvester judgement that inaugurated it took their moral language from Rerum Novarum, the 1891 encyclical that sparked off the Catholic social movements, we can say that it is this doctrine, and its secular variants, that sits at the very centre of Australian political values, and major parties depart too far from it at their peril. It consists not merely of a set of social rules, but of an idea of what it is to be human, an idea of depth, and of selfhood as achieved in the exercise of mutual obligation.

Such a doctrine, drawing also from nineteenth-century social liberalism and classical and Christian notions of freedom as flourishing within communal life, is a world away from the atomised and content-less self of classical liberal doctrine, and the neoliberal political-economic movement that derives from it.

He locates Palmer’s politics within this tradition. Abbott promised to govern within this tradition, but he lied.

4. Wayne Goss in memoriam

Former Queensland premier Wayne Goss died during the week. Goss is noted for bringing the ALP back to power after 32 years of conservative rule and implementing the reforms recommended by Tony Fitzgerald in his inquiry into police corruption which flourished under Joh Bjelke Petersen. Fitzgerald described Goss as a man of “uncompromising integrity”.

The other Fitzgerald, Professor Ross Fitzgerald, described Goss as a “steady hand, but he really wasn’t a radical reformer”.

There was nothing steady about the way Goss’s government turned the public service inside out. In fact I left in 1991 in large measure because of the hypocrisy the Education Department displayed in ‘valuing people’. Ironically schooling in Queensland was modernised and humanised in the 1970s and 1980s under Joh, possibly because Joh himself took little direct interest in it and always handed education to a junior minister.

It’s astonishing to think that the magnificent Cultural Centre complex was built during the Joh years.

Still, the joint certainly needed cleaning up and Goss certainly did it.

5. Remembering the Berlin wall

“Die Mauer muss weg!” (“Away with the wall!”)

We also had the 25th anniversary of the destruction of the Berlin Wall during the week.

Originally it was assumed that the West would take over the East. Der Spiegel suggests that in fact there has been movement the other way and what has happened is that a genuinely new Germany has emerged.

6. WA plans to close Aboriginal communities

I couldn’t believe this when I heard it. The West Australian Government will close as many as 150 remote Aboriginal communities in the next three years.

PUP does a deal on Direct Action

Palmer_Article Lead - wide6279022411dszqimage.related.articleLeadwide.729x410.11dt8w.png1414570114131.jpg-620x349

If we didn’t know before, we know now that Clive Palmer will do a deal with the devil. He’s going to vote for a scheme that he comprehensively rubbished, said was a complete waste of money and he would never vote for it.

His price?

Clive Palmer won a Government commitment to salvage the Climate Change Authority and to ask it to conduct an 18-month review of the PUP plan to legislate an emissions trading scheme (ETS) at a zero rate.

This is of course a good thing. I understand that the Climate Change Authority will have something to say about targets before we have to make commitments in Paris next December. And the review can take into account Paris outcomes. The review and the work of the CCA may provide a road to redemption for the backsliders in the LNP. Bernie Fraser sees his task in this light, as he was quoted on PM:

What you’ve heard today is perhaps the beginning, the beginnings of an emerging broad, broader political consensus on climate change and the need to take effective action. Because that’s what this country needs more than anything else – the development of a broad political consensus.

Of course, the Government needs six votes from the cross bench.

Victorian senators Ricky Muir and John Madigan and South Australian senator Nick Xenophon have also given their vote to the Government after negotiations.

Xenephon was said to have won four out of five of his requirements. Included was his penalties for big emitters proposal.

To win the necessary support, the government has accepted a proposal by Senator Xenophon to put in place a “safeguard mechanism” to ensure companies comply with the scheme’s requirements.

Details of the safeguard mechanism will be mapped out later. Observers expect it to include some form of penalty for companies that fail to meet government-set benchmarks, although it remains uncertain what the penalties would be.

Uncertain too what the benchmarks will be.

Not included was Xenephon’s proposal to set aside $500 million to buy carbon offsets from abroad to ensure the target is met. No doubt that would be too much like carbon trading for the LNP to stomach.

Christine Milne slammed the direct action policy as “embarrassing”. She reminded us that Palmer helped the Government tear down the ETS. Here’s their Facebook entry.

Bill Shorten:

“Tony Abbott has once again sold his soul to Clive Palmer and Australia will pay the price,” he said.

“This is a dirty deal that will send our country backwards.”

The Climate Institute welcomed the preservation of the independent Climate Change Authority but wanted to see more details about the review.

“Moreover, we are deeply concerned that the amendments to the CFI Bill fail to establish a climate policy that gives a reasonable chance of achieving even the lowest level of Australia’s 5-25 per cent 2020 target range, let along the deeper decarbonisation of the economy that will be needed beyond 2020. The Climate Change Authority has recommended Australia adopt a 2030 emission reduction target of 40-60 per cent below 2000 levels.”

“Without access to international carbon permits, stronger domestic regulations will be needed to meet Australia’s emission goals. The ‘safeguard mechanisms’ in the legislation—the emission limits that companies will have to adhere to—will need to be very strong and get more stringent over time, and regulations to limit emissions and tighten energy efficiency standards across the economy will also be needed.”

Greg Jericho made the excellent point that the Abbott Government “has been extremely successful in making climate change policy more about electricity prices than about climate change.” Maybe Bernie Fraser and the CCA can gently nudge it in a different direction!

There’s more at The Conversation.

Update: Bret Harper and Hugh Grossman give the detail of the agreement on Direct Action. They include:

The government will also withdraw its Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2014 and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Repeal) Bill 2014 during the Spring 2014 parliamentary sittings.

The CCA will produce three reports, going into targets for Copenhagen as well as emissions trading schemes.

The proposed GP co-payment is dead

Along with apologising comprehensively to the Chinese, yesterday Clive Palmer announced that the proposed GP co-payment was not going to happen. Not one cent, he said. Palmer was effectively saying that as a wealthy country we can afford the health system we’ve got.

Well, I think that there won’t be a $7 co-payment. It’s just media beat up, you know, it’s not going to happen. And, you’ve got to remember that in Australia we spend 8.9 per cent of our GDP on health. In the United States they spend 17.2 per cent of GDP on health, yet 60 million Americans have no coverage.

I’m not sure he’s right about 60 million Americans having no coverage. In my mind it was 40 odd million and that was before Obamacare. fROM MEMORY bout the same number who are ‘food insecure’, that is they aren’t sure whether they will eat tomorrow.

Minister Peter Dutton, however, was saying that we need the co-payment because the health system is unsustainable. In other words, in the government’s view, we need as a matter of social and economic policy the poor to go to the doctor less. However, GP services are recognised as being in the front line as preventative medicine. Ignoring the health welfare of the poor, health policy aficionados question whether the co-payment would not actually cost the system more in the long run.

We can’t assume that the Government actually knows what it wants to achieve with its policy. Laura Tingle finds the government’s position completely muddle-headed and inconsistent.

No matter how much it may now criticise the AMA proposal, no matter how large a hole the proposal leaves in the budget, the government is yet to find its own way through the debate, or even clarify what the actual aim of its policy really is.

Apparently the AMA proposal, the one Tony Abbott personally asked them to put together, eliminated 97% of the projected budget savings. But Tingle says that it dealt with the equity problem and addressed

the very issue the government said it wanted to deal with when it first raised the idea of a Medicare co-payment before the budget.

That is, that those who can afford to make a contribution to the cost of going to the doctor should do so.

It should be remembered, I think, that savings from the GP co-payment initiative would not be used to pay off the deficit. Rather a research fund was going to be established which was going to save the nation, having lost the car industry, and find a cure for cancer. Or something.

Yet minister Pyne can threaten to take the savings out of general university research funding if his proposals re universities are not passed.

This is a government that far from tackling problems in an orderly way as they claim is resorting to ad hoc threats and bullying rather than deliberative policy processes. Part of the problem is accommodating Abbott’s signature policy initiative, the paid parental leave scheme. As Tingle says in this article:

Wherever Hockey, or other ministers go trying to sell the budget, for example, they have to try to explain how its paid parental leave scheme fits with spending cuts that hurt low-income earners hardest.

Coming to terms with Clive

It is simply too easy to write Clive Palmer off as interested mainly in his business interests or more recently as a racist or xenophobe. Phillip Coorey in the AFR thinks Palmer taps into a deep vein of political mistrust (paywalled). Coorey bases this on research by Tony Mitchelmore who did some research on who votes for Clive and why.

“The stereotype of the Clive Palmer voter is of an outer-suburban, white-bread, lower socio-economic Anglo male,” Mitchelmore says in his findings summary.

“Attitudinally, they are thought by many as a bit ignorant, uneducated and even a bit angry and disaffected. Many see them as naive.” But this is “off the mark”.

“The reality is, yes, some are disaffected and, yes, cost-of-living concerns are at the forefront for many, but discussions with them are actually quite calm, thoughtful and insightful.

“They are not enraged by the boats issue, for example, like many in outer-suburban electorates, and appear less overtly ‘entitled’.”

Unlike the student politicians now running the country, some of whom have an ideology a mile wide and an inch deep, Palmer was perceived as having both sparkle and substance and, “unlike most politicians, he has actually done something”.

About 10% of voters vote for PUP in Queensland, 5% nationally. They want Palmer to shake things up and frequently mention Keating, Kennett and Joh.

In his rant about the Chinese, Palmer apparently mentioned the desire of the Chinese to undercut wages and conditions. Their desire to use their own labour for mining and agricultural projects is a sticking point in current free trade negotiations. Mitchelmore says that in any focus group, “457s go off”. Coorey:

The government has told China it could never allow the import of labourers en masse and options are still being negotiated to allow a limited and temporary importation of skilled workers under the 475 visa scheme.

At her peak Pauline Hanson attracted more voters but flamed out. Nevertheless there’s an enduring market, especially in Queensland, for conservative politicians who buck the system and perhaps replace the National Party, which too frequently sells out to the Liberals. Bob Katter probably left his run a decade too late. Barnaby Joyce initially had a bit of a go, but then chose to stay inside the tent, as did De-Anne Kelly, remember her?.

Conservative leaders need a strategy of dealing with Palmer which goes beyond hoping he will implode. The problem for them goes beyond the individual personality of Palmer. Mitchelmore:

“Unless the main parties can start to project Clive-like qualities, there are plenty of other voters out there who might be attracted to the next antidote to the status quo.”

Personally I think the key to Palmer is that he sounds unlike a politician, who it should be remembered rate just above prostitutes and used car salesmen in public esteem.

Whether Palmer can hang on in Fairfax, which he won by 53 votes, is a question. I suspect he’d easily win a senate seat. The quality of his senators is also a problem. Glenn Lazarus, the nominated leader, doesn’t say anything much and Jacqui Lambie sounds more like an independent than a team player. Nevertheless, when Labor and the Greens line up PUP can’t be avoided. The same will likely apply after the next election.

The future of emissions trading

While the Senate has not yet passed the bill to repeal the ETS the question arises as to when if ever carbon pricing will return. I’m not a psephologist but I suspect that the Palmer United Party are going to be in a similar position after the next election of having a stake in the balance of power, perhaps more so! Given that Labor appear set on retaining carbon pricing as part of their policy platform and the Greens will sign up to a reasonable scheme, the introduction of carbon pricing appears to depend on either the Liberals growing up or PUP.

Assuming PUP don’t change their mind they have said we won’t have emissions trading until India, China, the USA, Europe, Japan and South Korea do it. So the prospects of carbon pricing appear to depend on the US Tea Party losing a controlling position in the US Senate, or the Australian Tea Party turning into a mature modern party that respects the science.

The most likely to give I think is the PUP. Recall what Bernard Keane said at Crikey:

The key to understanding Palmer is that he’s always about what’s ahead. What’s in the past is irrelevant. The issue of consistency simply doesn’t arise, because Palmer eternally moves forward, toward the next announcement, the next stunt.

Palmer has said that PUP are going to be on the right side of history. The international scene is likely to be somewhat fluid leading up to the UNFCCC Conference of Parties in Paris in December 2015 where a legally binding post Kyoto deal will be attempted. Negotiations under the UNFCCC are almost continuous but the next big event is in September 2014 when UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders to a Climate Summit Catalyzing Action:

This Summit will be a different kind of Climate Summit. It is aimed at catalyzing action by governments, business, finance, industry, and civil society in areas for new commitments and substantial, scalable and replicable contributions to the Summit that will help the world shift toward a low-carbon economy.

In preparation for the summit economist Jeffrey Sachs’s Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project has produced an interim report plotting specific measures for the world’s 15 largest economies “to cut their emissions quickly and deeply enough to meet an international agreed goal of limiting warming to two degrees above pre-industrial levels.”

The 15 economies are, in alphabetical order, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, France, Germany, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, the UK, the USA.

I’ve highlighted the ones nominated by Palmer.

The report

found that it’s technically possible for Australia to get almost all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2050 and to offset the rest by storing carbon in soil or planting more trees.

We can do this while growing our GDP at 2.4% pa.

The importance of Australia’s role in New York in September is possibly two-fold.

Firstly, will Abbott be embarrassing? Will he be negative and disruptive or just irrelevant? It’s extremely unlikely that he will show any vision or learn anything.

I did hear that he was going to be too busy at home destroying Labor’s legacy in climate change to attend. No doubt Julie Bishop will fill in since Greg Hunt is not allowed out alone.

Secondly, and of greater importance, will Palmer as a result of what other leaders say decide that Australia should ride at the head of the peloton and show a bit of leadership without breaking away?

Palmer saves the world!

Clive Palmer Addresses National Press Club

Meanwhile here on the local scene PUP are planning to introduce their ETS on trainer wheels as an amendment to the legislation proposing the demise of the Climate Change Authority.

Senate wrangling as the budget gets mangled

Palmer spoiling Abbott’s party

That was the headline of the sensible Dennis Atkins’ opinion piece in the Courier Mail on Saturday.

Abbott now has to wait until next week and cede the centre stage in the House of Representatives to Clive Palmer, the pest who has become a nemesis while also being the guy the PM cannot ignore.

Tony Wright in the SMH describes Palmer as the emperor in the check shirt holding court upon a leather chaise longue at the entrance to the Senate chamber. There “the formerly mighty paid obeisance, begging his mercy”:

Here came Eric Abetz, leader of the government in the Senate; Mitch Fifield, manager of government business in the Senate; Simon Birmingham, parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Environment; all of them very nearly falling to their knees. A swirl of harried government advisers circled and whispered, knowing there was no escape for their masters.

Clive Palmer had no pity to dispense.

His eyes were dead to the presence of the supplicants, his ears closed to their pleading.

Repeal the carbon tax today? No chance.

He drew around him his little band of senators, instructing them on their duty.

And so on.

There is plenty at stake. Atkins article identifies the following:

  • Stopping Newstart for the young for 6 months – $2.1b
  • Changes to family tax benefit B – $1.9b
  • Axing seniors supplement $1.2b
  • Co-payment for pharmaceuticals – $1.2b
  • Higher education cuts – $5b
  • CPI petrol excise rise $4.1b
  • Medicare co-payments $3.6b
  • Freezing family tax benefit indexation – $2.6b
  • Axing family tax supplements $1.2b
  • Other measures – at least $2b.

Right there is $25 billion I assume over forward estimates. Surely Hockey will need a mini-budget to effect repairs, but I hate to think what he might cut in the process assuming he won’t increase taxes.

It’s important to remember, however, that Palmer only becomes potent when Labor and the Greens line up in opposition to the Abbottistas.

And then Palmer only controls three votes whereas Abbott needs six of the eight cross-benchers to line up.

Ricky Muir is stressing his autonomy. Again from the SMH:

Ricky Muir is moving out of the shadow of Clive Palmer, describing his agreement with the Palmer United Party as nothing more than a “loose alliance” and warning the government not to assume he will vote with PUP.

Senator Muir stressed his agreement with the bloc boiled down to being “together but autonomous”.

“The memorandum of understanding [signed with PUP] did say, and I stand by it, we will work together where practical. But we’re going to need to do our own research on every different topic and then work together where practical.”

Topics that interest Muir are:

The so-called ”rev-head senator” outlined personal passions that include organic food, which he grows and eats from his garden in rural Victoria, preventive healthcare, which he is interested in championing at a political level, and renewable energy, following his surprise intervention last week to protect the Australian Renewable Energy Agency from the government’s budget knife.

Giles Parkinson says Muir decided to make his mark in rescuing ARENA after the famous ‘brain freeze’ interview with Mike Willisee.

We’ll have to see whether that means the Government will stop playing hardball. The Guardian reported earlier that industry minister, Ian MacFarlane, had been refusing to renew the contracts of ARENA board members meaning that within a few weeks the secretary of the industry department would be the only remaining board member of the authority. Parkinson emphasises that no investment will flow until confidence is restored.

In this as with the senate generally the Government is struggling to appear in control. Abbott assured the faithful in Brisbane that all was “normal” which Shorten thought delusional. Greg Hunt huffed and puffed and said:

he was “sending a very, very, very clear message” to any crossbenchers who voted against repeal that they would have to “explain themselves” to the Australian people, saying he was “firming up [his] approach from diplomacy to send a very clear message”.

He only said that because he thinks he has PUP, Muir, David Leyonhjelm and Bob Day on board. There’s just one small problem. Clive has been relaxing in New Zealand:

The PUP leader, Clive Palmer, told Guardian Australia that he was on holidays and “oblivious” to any deal, the PUP senators are not scheduled to meet to consider any changes until Monday morning, and four other Senate crossbenchers refuse to guarantee their vote until they see the final form of the agreement.

Still the Government says they are going to call Palmer’s bluff and bring on the vote. I thought that was where they went wrong last week. That included them accepting Palmer’s amendment with all of 15 minutes consideration. Then it all fell apart again. Xenephon:

“I think if the government was asked to put red underpants on their heads in the Senate chamber, I reckon they probably would have done it.”

Still it might all go smoothly and the Government will succeed in stripping another $9 billion off the bottom line!

Last week Tony Wright says:

It was as if Labor’s 36 faceless men of 1963 had been revisited in reverse.

And while all around wore serious suits and smart little business frocks, the big man lounged in chinos and a checked shirt unbuttoned halfway to his belly. An emperor in clothes of his own choosing.

Here’s Palmer at a press conference looking relaxed:

Palmer_art-Palmer_presser-300x0

We wait to see whether the soapie continues!

Se also Disorder in the house.

Disorder in the house

Palmer_clive_palmer_729-500

Mark Thursday 10 July as the day the Abbott government achieved the trifecta. They gagged discussion on the carbon price repeal legislation while filibustering so that negotiations could proceed with Clive Palmer’s PUP in the corridor. Then the legislation was voted down.

Why did the Government trip up and score an own goal?

To meet Abbott’s media schedule, that’s why. Penny Wong to the cross-bench:

“We are already having backgrounded to media…what the Senate will be doing. Media are already being told to prepare for the Prime Minister’s announcement, because gag-and-guillotine will be moved, here in this Chamber, to get the bills on and voted on. So I want the crossbench to be clear on what you are being asked to do — you are being asked to run this Chamber so as to accord with Mr Abbott’s media schedule.

Later she called it “a special blend of arrogance and incompetence”.

Apparently it was pre-ordained on Monday that the bills would be passed today, to fit in with Abbott’s media schedule.

As far as I can make out, the problem arose when the PUP looked at the latest amendment overnight and decided it didn’t go far enough. So they came up with a new one, the third version, essentially mandating a 250% penalty for firms and other entities not passing on to customers savings from the repeal of the carbon tax.

When this was sprung in the morning Palmer reckons there was a “violent reaction” from LNP pollies with lots of angry phone calls. Nevertheless the LNP leadership acceded to the new version, but it ran into trouble because it was deemed a money bill which must originate in the House of Representatives.

Somewhere along the line the Government decided to press on with the Mark 2 amendment without telling PUP. That’s according to Palmer:

It doesn’t look like the carbon tax is going to go through in the Senate today, right, because our party will most likely vote against the bill, right.

Of course, this morning at 8.30 we had an amendment which we discussed with the Government and we left with the clerk’s office. It was to be circulated by the time Parliament came down and it hadn’t been circulated.

And our senators hadn’t been told and they were left in the dark so when the gag motion was brought, their old amendment was in there, which they thought was the new amendment, and they would have voted for that and not the critical amendment which is critical in getting electricity and gas prices back to consumers, and then under the misapprehension they would have voted to repeal the carbon tax, right.

But fortunately we discovered that and they were able to become aware of it, so I just met with them down there and their view was that in no circumstances they wouldn’t be voting today for the carbon tax repeal.

Now, of course the matter may be sorted out, I don’t know, but that’s how it stands at the moment. I think you call it double-crossing people.

We went to lodge our amendment at the clerk’s office at 8.30 and we asked that it be distributed and we had a violent reaction from the Government and our amendment nearly…

Then in the final scramble, the LNP promised to originate Palmer’s desired changes next week in the HoR if the PUP would kindly pass the existing defective version. Palmer told the 7.30 Report that he simply didn’t trust them.

The bill will now go back to the HoR and could be back in the Senate on Monday. But will it be passed?

PUP’s amendment is actually problematic and there is no certainty that six cross-benchers will approve it.

Palmer sees the amendment as applying to entities selling electricity and gas:

The list proposed by PUP includes “an individual, a body corporate, a body politics, a partnership, any other incorporated association or body of entities, a trust or any party or entity which can or does buy or sell electricity or gas”.

There is concern that other entities may be drawn in. There is concern that some firms have absorbed the cost of the carbon tax in whole or in part.

There is concern as to whether the Commonwealth can legislate to control firms in the specific manner proposed.

But it seems the Abbott Government will do anything to axe the tax.

People are wondering what the politics of it all means.

Laura Tingle says it’s karma rather than Palmer. Abbott is getting his own medicine back in spades. But

The all or nothing Abbott modus operandi is simply not going to work any more.

Whatever Palmer’s unpredictability, the Coalition team has been exposed as woefully unprepared to deal with what it faces in the upper house.

This is true in both a tactical and strategic sense. Tony Abbott has to reconsider whether his Senate team is up to the job of handling Palmer.

Bernard Keane at Crikey says:

The key to understanding Palmer is that he’s always about what’s ahead. What’s in the past is irrelevant. The issue of consistency simply doesn’t arise, because Palmer eternally moves forward, toward the next announcement, the next stunt. Clive only ever stops moving so he can momentarily bask in the media spotlight. Then it’s onward again.

The Courier Mail has a biographical article on Palmer that everyone should read.

They say he plays a long game and he understands the media. He grew up on the Gold Coast where Russ Hinze was big. Already wealthy he became media director for the National Party in 1986. So he was there in the last days of Joh and during the Fitzgerald inquiry.

I think on the current issue he is genuinely concerned for consumers. But he doesn’t mind making the LNP look chaotic and shambolic. Abbott is going to have to, as Tingle suggests, look for 80% and 90% solutions.

Meanwhile Xenephon thinks the gaggle of cross-bench senators are part of the solution rather than the problem. I’m not sure Eric Abetz is up to handling the situation.

Palmer does climate change

And how!

As noted on another thread Clive Palmer has announced the PUP policies on climate change with Al Gore on board.

Gore_cb_al_al_20140625155001761135-300x0

In case you were wondering, Gore wasn’t specially imported, he was in Australia Gore is for the Climate Reality Project, hosted by the Australian Conservation Foundation.

The central point is that PUP will support the Government’s legislation to repeal the carbon ‘tax’ on condition of an amendment that companies be required by law to pass on the savings to consumers.

Two additional votes from the other four swinging senators will be required.

Secondly, PUP will vote against the Government’s bid to abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Renewable Energy Target and the Climate Change Authority.

Palmer pointed out that while in opposition the Abbott had promised that Australia would retain its renewable energy target. He will make them keep the promise. There were fears that the RET could be shut down as soon as January.

No mention was made of ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, which already has a budget of $3 billion “to fund renewable energy projects, support research and development activities, and support activities to capture and share knowledge.” Presumably it stays.

Third, PUP will give the thumbs down to ‘Direct Action’. Direct Action is:

“a waste of money, at a time when families, pensioners, young Australians, stay at home mums and single parents and indigenous communities are facing unfair measures in the budget, to increase excise and indexation is not the answer”. (From the SMH)

Instead, Mr Palmer says his party will move another amendment to set up an emissions trading scheme similar to the one proposed by former Labor prime minister Kevin Rudd.

But this version will “only become effective once Australia’s main trading partners also take action to establish such a scheme”, Mr Palmer said.

“Climate change is a global problem and it must have a global solution,” he said.

“Air moves around the world.”

The price will initially be set at zero.

My interpretation is that the PUP ETS is not linked to repealing the carbon ‘tax’, but to the proposed Direct Action.

This policy mimics what Abbott has been spruiking, so the might just go for it.

Greg Hunt must be happy. He won’t have anything to do and won’t have to fight his recalcitrant colleagues every step of the way.

The Guardian notes:

As recently as April Palmer indicated he did not accept the findings of the latest intergovernmental panel on climate change report and thought countries should be concentrating on reducing “the 97% of carbon dioxide emissions that come from nature”.

Perhaps Palmer has been reading some recent opinion surveys, where Australians are increasingly looking for action on climate change. According to Giles Parkinson, Palmer said:

“The world is constantly changing, and our ability to adapt to change and keep open open mind is what really matters.”

Any way he’s now going to “deliver hope to mankind”.

The Guardian also notes:

Palmer wholly owns a nickel refinery in Queensland that is liable to pay the carbon tax. He has now paid its outstanding carbon tax bill in full, and abstained from the vote on the carbon tax repeal in the lower house because of his conflict of interest.

Moreover:

Under existing law, the fixed carbon price is set to rise to $25.40 next week. A floating price would mirror the international price which is about $8.

Elsewhere there’s Michelle Grattan at The Conversation, and Laura Tingle at the AFR.

Tingle sees palmer as a populist who has outplayed Abbott and wedged Labor and The Greens. After Clive the ETS lives on as a viable policy notion with anyone but Abbott at the helm.

There’s an interesting piece at The Drum by Peter Lewis and Jackie Woods Palmer: top dog or annoying PUP? Voters see Palmer as above all arrogant, aggressive, erratic, out of touch with ordinary people and superficial. This is how the four leaders stack up overall, according to Essential Media Communications:

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