Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard Doesn’t Want To Hear From The Citizens, After All

Posted on Fri 10/08/2010 by

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Andrew BoltBy Andrew Bolt

There is some history about this, and it needs to be stated, so that there is some context to what is happening. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd always said that a price needed to be placed on Carbon (Dioxide) emissions, whether that was in the form of an ETS, or a straight out cost. After he was deposed in a Party Room coup, the New Prime Minister moved away slightly from that, saying that we need to have opinion about it, so she was going to set up a citizen’s forum where 150 people, supposedly off the street could come to a consensus on what should actually be implemented. As if 150 uninformed average people with no real knowledge on any of this can make an informed decision, and all this then depends on whether or not anything they said would have been taken into account. 150 people out of a Country with a population of 22.5 Million. Anyway, wasn’t an election result more of a pointer than this ridiculous and tiny forum, which effectively meant nothing anyway. All this was canvassed prior to the election being called.

Then, during the campaign, after taking some political hits from the other side of politics, she changed that and categorically stated that, if returned, there would be no discussion whatsoever on a cost on CO2 emissions or any such implementation during her first term.

Then, after the result was so close, and so she could cling to power, even after gaining less seats than the Conservative Opposition, deals were done with The Greens Party, and the Independents so that, with their support, she might remain in Office. After those deals, this citizen’s forum was suddenly put back on the table, a classic broken promise, that of nothing in this first term.

Then, after taking more advice, she started to set up a Parliamentary Committee to discuss the matter. The Conservatives oppose this and were not asked to be on the Committee, made up only from Parliamentarians who agree with this huge new tax, which is all it really is. Those Government members will join with Greens and Independents, so only those who support this are on that Committee, which now gives the distinct impression of bringing out a report which will be a foregone conclusion.

Now, PM Gillard has had another rethink, and said that she is now closing off the option of a citizen’s forum altogether.

This whole thing literally stinks.

Keep in mind that even at the low end of a cost on CO2, the amount raised, just here in Australia comes in at $24 Billion.

This all has nothing whatsoever to do with the Environment. It’s just about the money, and the Government wants to cut off any and all avenues that might jeopardise their chances of getting access to all that money…..TonyfromOz

I’d thought she’d broken her ludicrous promise already, days after the election, but consider it really broken now:

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has ditched her election policy of a climate change citizens’ assembly.

The excuse?

“I thought it was important that we harness community members to rebuild a broad general public consensus on how to tackle climate change, how to price carbon,’’ she said.

“There is not one way of doing that. There is not one way of harnessing and involving community members. Obviously the multi-party climate change committee today is looking at going to work through ways of doing that.’’

Actually, there is one importance difference between the deservedly derided Citizens’ Assembly and this climate change committee that Gillard claims will do the same job of persuasion. The citizens’ assembly was intended to get 150 uninformed people holding different beliefs on global warming to come to a “consensus”. The climate change committee is intended to get half a dozen uninformed Labor, Greens and independent MPs all holding the same belief on global warming to come to a “consensus”.

Somehow the citizens assembly seemed to have more integrity to it.

Andrew Bolt is a journalist and columnist writing for The Herald Sun in Melbourne Victoria Australia.

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Andrew Bolt’s columns appear in Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph and Adelaide’s Advertiser. He runs the most-read political blog in Australia and is a regular commentator on Channel 9′s Today show and ABC TV’s Insiders. He will be heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of new radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.