Rudd’s quick fixes

I seem to be on a roll with Kevin posts at the moment… Here’s my post for AusVotes 2013, where I canvass the four problem issues that Rudd has neutralised in preparation for an election that I predict will take place on 31 August.

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Prime Ministerial half-truths will not save the climate

Not that long ago I wrote that Julia Gillard could regain control of her carbon price campaign by adopting a four-part strategy. While I don’t think for a minute the PM actually read my advice, it seems someone within her camp independently came up with a similar strategy. At least that’s how it first appeared on Monday night when the Prime Minister gave a confident, polished and personable performance on Q&A. The first part of my strategy required the PM to be honest – to admit her broken promise and explain the constraints she had to work with in the minority government that Australian voters had imposed upon her. That’s pretty much what she did: “Now, I did say during the last election campaign – I promised that there would be no carbon tax. That’s true and I’ve walked away from that commitment and I’m not going to try and pretend anything else. I also said to the Australian people in the last election campaign that we needed to act on climate change. We needed to price carbon and I wanted to see an emissions trading scheme…. Now, if I’d been leading a majority government I would have been getting on with an emissions trading scheme. It’s what I promised the Australian people. As it is, in this minority parliament, the only way I can act on climate change by pricing carbon is to work with others and so I […]

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How to sell a carbon tax

Let’s admit it. One time or another, most of us have taken the easy way out. We’ve criticised instead of giving constructive criticism; we’ve focused on what can’t be done instead of what can. When it comes to the carbon tax, my hands aren’t clean. I’ve been critical of the climate change mantra that claims putting a price on carbon in Australia will reduce global emissions. However, putting my misgivings aside, if I look at the carbon tax as a communicator I’ve no doubt that it could more effectively be pitched to the Australian community. So I challenged myself to craft a communications strategy that would successfully sell such a tax. And here it is. This strategy is an all-or-nothing approach. Each of its four components relies upon the other. It also relies upon the sincerity of our Prime Minister to be successful. Step 1: Say sorry There’s only one way for Julia Gillard to defuse the ongoing and escalating accusations of deceit. She must apologise, unreservedly and genuinely, for breaking the commitment she made before the last federal election. Such apologies can be done badly, so the PM must study key examples to avoid making similar mistakes. Ms Gillard would do well to note how her predecessor mishandled an apology exactly 12 months ago by mouthing the right words, but in such a sing-song manner that any perception of empathy was shattered in the process. Like Rudd, Gillard also […]

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Has the flood levy damaged the carbon price?

The unknown extent of altruism in the hearts and pockets of Australian voters must be playing heavily on the minds of major political players right now. They will carefully be examining taxpayers’ response to the flood levy to assess whether individuals truly are willing to pay more for the collective good. This willingness has implications much broader than flood reconstruction – it goes directly to public acceptance of the carbon price that is now at the heart of the government’s climate change response. Australian governments have been watching taxpayers for quite some time to gauge their willingness to take a little monetary pain for a broader public gain. Evidence so far suggests that Australians are generally prepared to be altruistic when they can see tangible benefits delivered within a relatively short space of time. Australians were happy enough to pay a levy to buy back guns or assist East Timor* because the “results” were depicted often and compellingly on our television screens. The twinge in our hip pocket nerve was ameliorated by the images of guns being turned into scrap and Diggers playing footy with smiling East Timorese children. In fact, we took pleasure from bearing a small cost which contributed to the mitigation of a much bigger problem. The challenge facing Julia Gillard is that there is no similar way to depict how climate action costs which affect individuals will deliver community benefits. There is no tangible way to […]

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