Open Thread

Take a Deep Breath

On this subject of carbon trading and suggestions that the government is not doing enough. Well, I’m not convinced. Thing is there is a bunch of legislation already passed that deals with the obligations of organisations to publish data about the energy levels they are consuming, the energy they are producing, and the emissions they are generating as a by-product. That legislation has a significant impact on these bigger companies out there (and ok, it’s a smaller number of companies but it is the industries that matter when we do the numbers). So right now those big industries (including those constitutional companies that we don’t talk about much) are doing the stuff necessary to meet the legislative reporting requirements (and this is both a cost for those organisations and a economic stimulus for those other organisations providing the info-technology to support this).

So if we project out into the future a couple of years from now – we will be seeing the emergence of data coming from out from major industry players. For any one of these players chances are we are talking about hundreds of millions of dollars in potential liabilities (with or without an ETS). Factor into this equation the emergence of an ETS irrespective of targets (because the target is partially academic if we look at the end-game). What is more important is the putting in place of the mechanisms – because once you have the reporting mechanisms in place then, and only then can you start playing policy with the economic configuration (a.k.a. tweaking taxation dials and whatnot). With those mechanisms in place (and I can’t emphasise enough that the establishment of those reporting mechanisms is what is really important here) you turn a page of the management equation – only then can you actually start to manage the problem – and only then can we start to be responsible – companies (even the big polluters) will start to understand and factor into day to day decisions the economic consequences of operational decisions.

The reduction target does not matter (at least today) – because today – today we are just grappling with the problem of capturing the information about what we are doing. Two years from now and the federal government will start to see numbers that are meaningful (as in the Australian Federal Government will have the initial numbers of the flows of energy and the emissions from individual companies and those constitutional corporations at a level of granularity that will make your head spin). But that time-point is important but it’s not what we need – what we actually need is trend lines. We need a few years to get to the point of understanding the picture of what is happening in Australia. It is from this perspective that I think that less is more – because what Australia does in emissions production is not the issue, what is much more important is what Australia does in establishing the regulatory framework from which we can demonstrate a national comprehension and from that – grounded and concrete actions – based on national facts that are linked to national corporate entities – that implicate national employees – that change union policies – that generate informed local opinion.

Australia is not a global leader on this issue – but the Australian Federal Government is working on fundamentals that are critical for a responsible solution. Targets and levies are just numbers and dials – what is more important is establishing the machinery capable of responding to adjustments, and the machinery capable of returning accurate and reliable feedback on changes.

We are heading in the right direction.

And take a deep breath – because we still have a way to go.

774 replies on “Take a Deep Breath”

Cat –
“We need a few years to get to the point of understanding the picture of what is happening in Australia…”
I would love to support your reasoned argument. Trouble is we don’t really have a few years.

apart from that
Abbot is running too… get the horses ready my friend.

Jen at 1

Trouble is we don’t really have a few years.

Thing is I don’t think we (the people of the planet) will do what is needed from the pragmatic scientific perspective in the necessary time-frame simply because we (the western nations) are for the most part democracies. And because of that one unfortunate attribute – we cannot act with the fervour of logical persuasion. We (the democratic) need time to evolve, to change public opinion – and that’s something that happens with children, with generations – democracy sucks because it is evolutionary in nature and incapable of direct and purposeful reaction (except in response to war). But a war on nature is the probably epicentre – but we are not there yet – we need a lot more casualties before we turn on mother nature at the ballot box.

get the horses ready my friend.

Put me down for a ticket!


Cat – all too true.
however – if those who accept the scientific facts about CC do not stand up and make a noise -a LOUD one- we will continue on the absurd and in fact suicidal path we are on, while our ‘Masters’ play
Blindman’s Buff in the parliament.
Capitulation can be dangerous.
Think Obama’s election.
Think the power of a Vision,
(And don’t think about Abbott in speedos.. v. bad for your health.
πŸ˜‰ )

Good post Catrina. Everything looks like it is all heading in the same direction. Especially after GHOGM. Even China and India are pulling the same direction as the USA. Russia signed up to Kyoto so they are already on board. The co operation of all the countries is paramount. The fact that everyone was on board regarding Iran may be an early indication of the co operation of the new world order. Only a few conservative countries will be left behind. It well be very hard to be left out. Obama doesn’t have to lead on this one. The fact that he is not George Bush, means that just about everyone is on board.

By the way when is that Thanks Giving holiday over? Things have been dead since the start of Thanks Giving.

8- Chris-
let me just tell you that our Miss Catrina is a deceptive and evil girl.
…after my own heart.

For the record …

The Opposition’s chief climate change negotiator, Ian Macfarlane, says that if Joe Hockey is successful in a Liberal leadership contest, the Rudd Government’s emissions trading scheme bill could still pass the Senate this week.

Mr Macfarlane told ABC 1’s 7.30 Report that up to 12 Liberal senators have told embattled Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull they will vote for the bill “because the party room has instructed the Senate to vote for the legislation”.

His comments come after stunning developments in the Liberal leadership contest, with frontbencher Tony Abbott reneging on his offer to withdraw from the contest if fellow frontbencher Mr Hockey nominates.

Mr Abbott said after a day of discussions with Mr Hockey, who is in favour of a free vote on the ETS, he had decided to challenge whoever may stand.

Mike Huckabee’s political career is over.

Huckabee Granted Clemency To Maurice Clemmons, Person Of Interest, In Ambush That Killed 4 Cops.
A man with an extensive criminal past — whose 95-year prison sentence was commuted in Arkansas nearly a decade ago by then Gov. Mike Huckabee– was being sought Sunday as a “person of interest” in a deadly ambush on four police officers who were gunned down inside a coffee shop.

Pierce County sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer told reporters that Maurice Clemmons, 37, was one of several people investigators want to talk to and that he could not be called a suspect at this point.

In a news release, the sheriff’s office said Clemmons has an extensive violent criminal history from Arkansas, including aggravated robbery and theft. Clemmons was also recently was arrested and charged in Pierce County, Washington state for third-degree assault on a police officer, and second-degree rape of a child.

According to The Seattle Times, Clemmons was released from the Peirce County Jail last week, despite facing eight felony charges. Clemmons posted $15,000 with a bail bondsman, who paid the remainder of the man’s $150,000 bail.

continued on..

Blame George Bush.

Asked who leads the Republican Party at this point, one group participant, Ryan Brown, a computer programmer, cited two men who are often at odds: Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, and Rush Limbaugh, the conservative radio talk show host. But he was hesitant: “I’ll bet you could go around here, and either people would not have an answer or they would have a different answer for that,” he said. He was right, and the poll reveals similar threads of uncertainty.

Nearly three in 10 of those surveyed expressed no opinion about who in the GOP best reflects the party’s principles or volunteered that no one does. Topping the list of named leaders was former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, the party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee.

In the poll, taken amid the media whirlwind surrounding the release of her memoir “Going Rogue,” more cite Palin than other Republicans as best reflecting the party’s core values and as the top vote-getter in hypothetical presidential nomination contests. But on neither question did she exceed 20 percent backing among all Republicans.

Just 1 percent pick George W. Bush as the best reflection of the party’s principles, and only a single person in the poll cites former vice president Richard B. Cheney. About seven in 10 say Bush bears at least “some” of the blame for the party’s problems.

more on the Washington Post.

Imagine the independents and Democrats then.

Uruguay elects Jose Mujica as president, polls show.

A former left-wing militant who spent almost 15 years in prison during the country’s military rule appears to have won the presidential elections.

Reliable exit polls give Jose Mujica, 74, just over 50% of the vote in a run-off poll.

His main rival and former President Luis Alberto Lacalle has conceded.

Mr Mujica succeeds a popular head of state, Tabare Vazquez, who has been in power for the last five years as Uruguay’s first left-wing president.

With his election victory, Mr Mujica has completed his transformation from left wing rebel to statesman.

A plain-speaking maverick, who lives a frugal life and enjoys gardening, Mr Mujica’s election is being seen as an expression of the desire for left-wing continuity.

Mr Lacalle was a conservative former president whose administration was mired in corruption.

continued on the BBC…

One positive result about the Lib shambles is that Nick Minchin seems to have been put back in his box.
And not before time.
He really ought to have read Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War”.

It’s a great result. The most entertaining a left leaning political junkie could hope for. They are completely rooted. And Abbott won by one vote – they’ll be stabbing each other for years.

Vote was 54 to 29 to oppose ETS in Senate. I think there’s a good possibility some senators might cross the floor. Judith Troethe on ABC Radio this morning was clear she wanted to vote for the ETS.

I am sad that Turnbull lost. He fought a brilliant fight.

They won’t be fighting for years. The conservatives now have control over the party, and they will maintain that control for at least a decade now. The moderates will be decimated at the election, so Abbott will have a clear majority in the party room.

They will, however, be out of government for years.

The vote was much closer than I thought it would be. I thought Abbott had the numbers last week (my pick was a win by five or so), although I thought that they might be bleeding away a touch over the weekend.

DG – Abbott doesn’t have a clear majority of support. They’re split down the middle. They will be infighting for years, IMO.
Abbott is unelectable. And people know it – not everyone in the Libs is delusional.


After the election, he will have a clear majority. They will lose 20 reps seats, 18 of which will be moderates. They will lose 5 senate seats, four of which will be moderates.

Well who would have thought, the military arm of the Catholic Church running the Liberal Party.

The Libs are hilarious.
Could you script a soap opera any better?
I got on Abbott at $5.00, and then hedged with Turnbull at $5.00 for the Liberal Leader for next election.
Hockey was poor odds and in my view had no chance.
Now Abbott just has to hold on and lead the Libs to electoral oblivion πŸ™‚

DG @ 25 – Good point. Hockey’s North Sydney seat is marginal and probably worse given a conservative takeover of the Libs.

The Huffington Post.

Australia Builds World’s Largest Homes As U.S. Dwellings Shrink (PHOTOS).
The American McMansion has met its match. A new study reports that Australians now live in the world’s largest homes, overtaking the U.S in the rankings.

The study, commissioned by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, found that the average Australian house had grown by 10 percent in the past decade to 214.6 square meters (2,310 sq ft)

Interesting. There are 3 pro Tony Abbott groups on Facebook. No anti Tony Abbott groups. Surprising really.

I am in shock!!
Tony Effing Abbott!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Good in that the party will be a corpse after the next election (and surely Rudd must be tempted to a DD…)
appalling that a contemporary mahjor Australian political party could be headed by a religious fundamentalist and Climate change denier.
Holy Fuck.

And Bronwyn Bishop’s political career seems to have been resurrected. She’s with the in crowd now. Hehe. Gone will be the talk about cleaning out the dead wood. The Minchinites need the dead wood for their own survival. Says a lot really.

Oh, and it’s my birthday today. Happy Birthday to meeeeeee. What a great day. Off to drink now.

I think Abbott and the Right’s ascension creates a really telling future for Kevin Rudd Labor.

Let’s assume what looks inevitable, the Greens win BOP in a DD or next normal election. And the Libs , as David Gould pointed out correctly, lose a fair swag of moderates .

That would leave the Coalition as more Conservative and Right wing than they are now.

Does Kevin Rudd work with the Greens on CPRS and ETS and other numerous social and economical issues?..or does he work with a further right Coalition Party?

I don’t think Rudd will be happy at all with this situation. I believe he deeply loathes the Greens and will be reluctant to work with it.

He is much more ideologically aligned with a Howard Liberal Party than the Green Party.



If Rudd does a DD, then he will not need to work with the Greens on the ETS – he will not have to work with anyone, in fact.

On other issues, it certainly makes it a difficult choice for him.

(And because he will not have to compromise with anyone if he uses a DD, that is a very compelling reason for him to go down that path.)

Of course, that assumes that the ETS legislation is voted down. Fielding could vote with the coalition on referring it to a committee; moderate Liberals could cross the floor in sufficient numbers to pass it. There are a lot of possibilities here.

Yeah, i bet Darth Minchen is applying the thumbscrews to Fielding right now. That dickhead is a huge chance of doing an about face to defer the vote to a committee.

That way Minchin will have gotten his exact preferred way on everything.

I can’t see 7 Libs crossing the floor though. Maybe Troethe will, but that’s about it.

Oh, and David, if Rudd wins the DD and passes the ETS at a joint sitting, does he pass his original Bill or the amended Bill?

Another tough choice for him.

I know he personally would much preferr the amended Bill because he is business to his bootstraps, but without the skirt of the Lib Party to hide behind, can he do that electorally and morally?


Firstly to the important stuff… Happy Birthday Katielou.
And what a lovely present for your special day. :mrgreen:
Hope you enjoy a glass or two of the finest fizz, as you toast the demise of those zombies in the Liberal party.
(Brains….they want brains!!)

I note on twitter there’s talk of 4 libs currently prepared to cross the floor and maybe more to come. Hardly a reliable source…But one can hope.
If they could just find 7 senators with something resembling a spine between them….Well it would be a truly glorious day.
I think the mad monk’s secret hero is a certain General Custer. πŸ‘Ώ


That is an interesting question. I do not think that it would worry him electorally, considering that he would have just won an election and would not have to face the people for another three years.

Further, as he knows that Greens voters will preference Labor over the Liberals, any boost to the Greens vote at Labor’s expense does not really worry him greatly.

Well, Greg Combet just answered my question at #51 on SkyNews.

The amended browned down, brown ETS is now Government policy moving forward.

Kevin Rudd really is running a Liberal Party in Labor clothing.

It’s just that the real Liberal Party have gone GOP feral.

Too true HarryH –
we have a conservative government with no effective opposition.
Not good for lefties.
(as for Sophie on the front bench – undoubtedly if they won. Better try and knock off her 9% lead :roll)

I don’t think that there as conservative as all that. The simple fact is, they are representing the centre, which they took from the Liberals. The centre had shifted slightly to the left because of issues like climate change and especially work choices. Labor was never going to move hard to the left and risk losing the centre.

David, i totally disagree that they are occupying the Centre.

They are occupying the Centre/Right if not the outright Right.

There is a vast chasm between the Greens and the Labour position of Right.

It’s just that the Coalition have jolted to the “extreme Right”, in Labor’s own words.

But under Kevin Rudd and Labor Right control, the Labor Party continue to chase them and keep dragging “the centre” further Right.

Now you have the spectacle of pro business AIG backing Labor….pfffft

I mean, you had Tony Abbott and Graeme Morris today saying explicitly that now, under Tony Abbott there is at least differentiation between Labor and the Coalition.

Under Turnbull and Hockey, they said there was hardly a differentiation between the 2 Party’s.

And, ideally, there is nothing wrong with only little difference between the Party’s. That way we could vote on competence of personel.

But the “centre” is always dragged Right.

Why can’t it get dragged “a little bit Right” then “a little bit Left” then “a little more Left” then “a little more back Right”.

There seems no will to stop the “centre” being dragged continually further Right.

Happy 27th Birthday katielou.
Go the Mad Monk, lead your party to what one journo has described as a political “billabong”.


I think by definition they are occupying the centre, given that they got 43.4 per cent of the primary vote, the Greens got 7.8 per cent of the primary vote, and Labor got enough preferences to tip them over 50 per cent.

Unless you are saying that the centre is where you define it to be, rather than where the electorate defines it to be, which is a little odd.

I guess the other option that you might be arguing for is that there is no party that represents the centre and thus those people are forced to compromise, either voting for the Greens or voting for the Labor Party.

I do not think that that holds. If it did, a party of the centre could easily arise and take the balance of power in the Senate, as happened with the Democrats until their implosion. The fact that the Greens will soon have the balance of power indicates to me that the centre is within the Labor Party, not external to it.


After the Coalition becomes a far right rump at the next election, it is within Malcolm Turnbulls scope to start a socially moderate Menzies Liberal Party. They could vie for BOP power with the Greens or share it.

This would be bad for economic fairness and workers but good for social policy.

And with your definition of “centre”. Isn’t 51% the real definition of “centre”?. Currently Labor are at 56-57% and still chasing more.

An interesting, if damning, take on the Liberals woes by Alister Drysdale in today’s Business Spectator.
(Hardly a bastion of left wing ratbaggery) πŸ˜†

Tony Abbott wins, by one vote – so does Kevin Rudd, by a mile.

After an extraordinary week in the history of Australian politics, the Liberal Party chose a leader who will lose dozens of marginal seats. He will run a rump party, confined to political exile for a generation.

Tony Abbott’s leadership will not be about claiming the centre ground. It will be about pandering to the far right and centre right – his core constituency.

He will be cheered by the heartland but jeered by mainstream Australian men and women……more.


Of the central 10 per cent of Australians in the voting, 8 per cent voted Labor and 2 per cent voted Liberal. This would seem to me that Labor has effectively captured the middle ground.

The problem, I guess, is that I do not know what you mean when you refer to ‘the centre’. From my perspective, the centre would have to be defined by the demographics of the population that is under discussion.

We know that the Australian population is pretty conservative – they demonstrated that pretty overwhelmingly by voting in Howard four times running. So the centre is unlikely to be anywhere close to, for example, the Greens.

(Of course, with current polling, Labor have captured 17 per cent of the middle 20 per cent, which is even better for them).


They might. The chances are, though, that there are around 40 per cent rusted on coalition voters, so any movement becomes exponentially tougher.

There are issues to do with those who are right-wing on economic issues but who lean left on social issues – as you pointed out, there is not really a party for them, as no-one is left-wing on social issues, really, apart from the Greens. Labor could aim to capture them. But they would then run the risk of losing socially conservative blue-collar workers. So there is a bit of tricky balancing act.

Personally, I would love it if a socially progressive but economically conservative party arose. It would provide some push on issues that get no real attention at present. But I do not think that Malcolm will bother. Someone else might, though.

They might. The chances are, though, that there are around 40 per cent rusted on coalition voters, so any movement becomes exponentially tougher.

David, i know about rusted ons.

My point is that just because Labor have the Greens to their Left and the Coalition to their Right, doesn’t mean they are the “centre”.

Say if we had a 1-10 scale of Left to Right.


Gren Party 3 out of 10
Labor Party 7 out of 10
Coalition 8.5 out of 10

does that make Labor in the “centre” ?

Now, given, that someone of a different view than mine might rate them differently. I guess what you are saying is that the median with the public is 5 for Labor.

My point is that if you are consistently polling 56-57% , you have the scope to drift a little Left and test the waters. But the only inclination is clearly to keep drifting a little more Right.

Anyway, i guess people are sick of reading about Lefts and Rights and Centres. I’m probably getting repetitive.

I should have known not to get on the David Gould Roundabout πŸ˜‰

I guess that was what I thought might be your reasoning: that some voters are forced into picking between the Greens and Labor because their views are not represented by any political party.

I think that if they represented a substantial group a party would arise to grab those voters, personally (at least in the Senate – there is not much chance of success in the reps).

Question: How can you tell the Pope is running the Liberal Party.
Answer: There is an Abbot and a Bishop in charge.

Boy oh boy. Hasn’t aunty scored a coup with Annabel Crabb.
What a fun time she’s having. πŸ™‚

All aboard the ‘People Skills’ wild ride

Snap on your Speedos. It is going to be that sort of an election.

After the most wild and disordered week imaginable in conservative politics, the Liberal Party has staggered forth, somewhat to its own surprise, having adopted Tony “People Skills” Abbott as its federal parliamentary leader.

The party has turfed Malcolm Turnbull and ignored the public’s popular choice in Joe Hockey.

Having spent the past two years agonising over the best way to move on from John Howard, the Liberal Party has instead placed itself in the hands of the man who most faithfully represents Mr Howard’s legacy in the land of the political living…….

Well I’ll risk it-
in truth (not public perception I grant) teh Greens in my view have also become more “moderate”.
Which is why they are atrracting more support from former Labour voters who otherwise may be discontented but who were willing to change thier vote. It might be slow – but last election it was a million voters. I am curious now that teh libs are basically a neo-con party thanks to this latest circus whether some of those who voted Labor to be sure of getting rid of Howard will move further to the left in protest at the conservatism of Rudd – particularly around climate change.

Jen, it will fascinating to see what happens in the two by-elections and what sort of polling the greens can score.
Hell, if the Liberals can jump off a cliff with the mad monk….Then perhaps the good burghers of Higgins could surprise us all and elect the the good Dr Clive. πŸ˜†
I know it’s hardly likely……but it *would* be a marvellous hoot. πŸ‘Ώ

and what about moderate Libs – they’re not going to vote for Abbott and Co., and most likely will never vot e Labor.
Wonder how long before Cossie reappears and is given a safe seat to save them all

paddy – right now nothing would surprise me.
I reckon Clive could certainly do it… what choice if you are Lib and pisse off with your own mob, and no candidate for Labor.
Much stranger things have happened – like today for instance.

Jen, i think there is plenty more room for the Greens Party to moderate further. Right up to 5 on the Left/Right scale. The ground is there. My whole family are Labor born and bred but as of last election 5 out of 6 immediate family voted Green in both Houses, including 68yo mum. The ol man is hangin in there still as a rusted on lol.

I hope they can do it. Because in the Labor Party, even figures like Julia Gillard, Greg Combet and Peter Garrett will be playthings of New Labor’s new bestest supporters…big business.

Btw, can you give me an opinion on Scott Ludlam pls? I’ve read about him a bit, but i saw him speaking the other day in the Senate and he struck the right tone as a future leader.

Penny Wong’s currently putting the ETS up for the third reading in the senate as I type.
So I, as a committed atheist, will light the incense, chant verses from the Grand Grimoire and even whistle Dixie in the faint hope that 7 rogue senators will cross the floor and shaft the mad monk on his first day as dickwit in chief. πŸ‘Ώ
Hell after today’s hi jinks, it may even work. πŸ™‚

Damn ya Paddy.

I turned over to A-Pac and copped the grotesque cartoon character Barnyard Joyce going purple and calling Penny Wong an out of control monster.

HarryH Whoops!! Sorry Harry. :mrgreen:
He’s certainly a nice shade of puce though.
I’ve turned off the sound and I’m hoping he’ll actually explode.
I note on the twitter feeds that none of the journos actually seems to know if there’ll be a revolt. (sigh) It would be the perfect end to a wonderful day if they did.

Well stuff that. Barnyard did his filibuster rave and the senate is back again tomorrow for another try. Time for a calming ale and a bit of lateline.

as I said earlier the public perception is still not there – we are still regarded as a pack of feral pot-smoking hippies, or pathetic dreamers living in utopia.
however as Scott L., showed you tonight -bunkum.
(I don’t know him personally but by all accounts he is impressive. My heart, however lies with Richard DiNatale – amazing person. )Either way the calibare of these two, and the other Greens senators, leaves most of the other pollies for dead.
There is hope πŸ™„

Just a heads up for those who missed it.
Phillip Adams talk with Bill Heffernan on LNL was a cracker tonight.
Catch it on the web later or on the repeat tomorrow.
Now I don’t think Bill will be crossing the floor tomorrow, but he sure talked sense compared to barnyard. πŸ™‚

Lateline: Christopther P is saying that the Govt’s ETS targets are Too Low.
Is this a parallel universe (or am I just pissed??)

EU Lisbon Treaty comes into force

The EU’s Lisbon Treaty comes into force on Tuesday following its ratification by all the bloc’s 27 member states.

The treaty is designed to streamline decision-making and give the EU greater influence in world affairs.

It creates two new posts – president of the European Council and a high representative for foreign affairs.

Celebrations are planned in the Portuguese capital later on Tuesday with fireworks, music and speeches from EU leaders.

EU Treaty more

The European Union is celebrating the entry into force of a new set of rules today (1 December), hoping to put a full-stop behind the years of wrangling, set-backs and lowered ambitions that have marked this lengthy phase of institution building.

The Lisbon Treaty, named after the Portuguese capital where it was signed in 2007, is coming into place a full eight years after member states decided that the European Union needed both to address its democratic legitimacy – sometimes described as its democratic deficit – and allow for more flexible decision-making.

Since that time, the European Union has grown by 12 member states to encompass almost 500 million citizens, expanded the area where the euro is employed as the currency to 16 countries, and sees its main challenges as tackling climate change, dealing with the effects of globalisation, and lately trying to exit the economic crisis.

continued here…

5 %.
what a joke.
when all the hooha about which tosser is leading the now- defunct oppositon is over , we will have to face facts.
FIVE percent.
The hot air talking about it, and the paper it is written on just about negates it already.

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