Kevin Rudd’s promise to terminate the carbon tax (in fact, switch to an emissions trading scheme in July 2014) cannot be delivered.
He would need to get any such plan through the Senate. But the current Senate will sit until June 30, 2014, and a Greens and Coalition majority is almost certain to block Rudd’s plan:
Greens leader Christine Milne made it clear the government would not win her support to get the changes through the Senate, dismissing the new plans as a “hypothetical” election promise.
“I do not expect that parliament will be recalled before the election, but suffice to say these changes cannot be introduced or legislated without the Greens,” Senator Milne said.
“The Greens do not support making it cheaper for the big polluters to pollute. And we certainly do not support slashing climate programs that are playing a vital role in helping Australia reduce emissions, address global warming and protect the environment.”
The Liberals would also oppose the switch, on current indications, if it means simply moving to an emissions trading scheme which could see the carbon price soar.
So how will Rudd deliver his promise? With a double dissolution election if he’s blocked?
Or will we just see a rerun of 2010 when another Labor Prime Minister also promised: “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead?”
Rudd did not terminate the carbon tax yesterday. Indeed, he does not have that power. The tax still exists. It is the law of the land. There is not the slightest suggestion from Rudd PM that he will recall the parliament to legislate his changes. That is because his model is rejected by both the Coalition and the Greens.
It cannot pass the Senate before the election and it cannot pass the Senate after the election. That is its beauty and its flaw. Rudd is campaigning, not governing. He is promising, not legislating…
Rudd is perfectly correct to invoke his emissions trading scheme mandate from the 2007 election and his first period as PM. The point, of course, is that Rudd’s carbon pollution reduction scheme failed to pass the parliament because it was unacceptable to both the Coalition and the Greens.
He has now devised a new policy that is, once again, unacceptable to the Coalition and the Greens. This freedom makes his policy more popular yet also makes it unrealisable.
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 hosts Channel 10’s The Bolt Report each Sunday at 10am. He is also heard from Monday to Friday at 8am on the breakfast show of radio station MTR 1377, and his book Still Not Sorry remains very widely read.