Pru Goward, then Liberal Shadow Minister for Climate Change in NSW, put it so well in an address to the Lowy Institute in Nov 2007, when she said "the most important part of developing a climate change policy was to ensure it had wide ranging public support" (http://www.nsw.liberal.org.au/ - the headline is 'Climate Change Action Needs Public Support')
That is, the MOST important part of Liberal Policy is that it be electorally popular. No mention of the need for good policy. At all. And Tony Abbott has tried hard to deliver a 'popular' set of slogans and ideas to the following groups:
- farmers, who will not be restricted in the amount of land clearing they can do. Any pollution they create, or vegetation they remove will not be counted.
- big polluters, who are promised $Billions to conduct "business as usual"
- so-called "mum & dad" voters whose only worry is when the next tax cut is coming, and fearful of paying tax for public good (Note: that is not all of us! Many of us DO want good policy)
- Industry, which will not have anything extra to pay. Yes, there are promised "sanctions" for those who exceed "business as usual" levels of pollution, but how much is unspecified. The base level seems to be 2010 levels. The reduction is supposed to be from 1990 levels.
- climate change sceptics & deniers, who will recognise how very little this scheme will do.
- The Liberal Party right-wing, who will have been happy to hear Opposition Shadow Finance Minister, Barnaby Joyce, say he would cut public service jobs to help fund the subsidies. Abbott later distanced himself from this, but didn't specifically rule them out, either!
So, Tony Abbott has heeded Pru Goward's 2007 advice, and gone for electoral popularity over good policy! "Looks good (in the smoke), sounds good, but it isn't. Now, if we can only get PM Kevin Rudd to improve his ETS legislation from 'ordinary' to 'good' policy ...