The Inside Word

The Climate Wars return – Honeymoon is over for Albo!

The Albanese Government’s honeymoon period in Parliament is over, as it wrestles with policy rejections on many fronts. 

With the first two Parliamentary sitting weeks coming to an end, one would say the chaos is reminiscent of the dying days of the Morrison Government.

It’s a perfect storm made up of rising interest rates, energy costs and rising inflation pushing the CPI to a three-decade high. The decision made by the Reserve Bank Governor Phillip Lowe to lift rates by a further 25 basis points to a cash rate of 3.35 per cent won him no friends in the mortgage belt and in Parliament if Senate Estimates are any indicator 

Credit to The Australian:Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Philip Lowe. Picture: NewsWire/Monique Harmer

What’s been central to recent political discussion and debate is ‘The Voice Referendum’. The defection of Senator Lydia Thorpe at the beginning of February from the Greens to become an independent Senator set off a chain of events destroying the collagen equilibrium between the Government and the Greens.

Adam Bandt has been forced more aggressively to the left on climate action to reassure their electoral base, many of whom are sympathetic to Thorpe’s stance on The Voice. The Greens are pushing the message that they are not just ‘puppets’ for the Government to pass legislation through the Senate but stand for what matters to the people, saving the planet!

Credit to Sky News: Independent Senator Lydia Thorpe

Consequently, the Greens have hardened their opposition against the Safeguard Mechanism which now threatens the Government’s core policy to reduce carbon emissions by 43% by 2030.  Bandt is demanding a ban on all new coal and gas projects before his party can consider supporting this legislation along with key legislation aimed at supporting the 10 billion Housing Australia Future Fund and the 15 billion National Reconstruction Fund.

The crux of the dispute focuses on Australia’s 215 largest polluters and how they use carbon offsets to mitigate their carbon emissions. Recent revelations that some carbon offsets are questionable has hardened the Greens support against the Safeguard Mechanism. The Greens have now made it conditional that support will only be granted on the latter and key legislation if the Government puts a stop to all future fossil fuel projects. 

This is a dangerous play for the Greens and a tricky situation for the ALP Government since it could lead to mutual destruction over climate policy. Anybody experiencing déjà vu from the Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard dalliance from a decade ago? 

Credit to Sky News: Adam Bandt, Greens Party leader

For the energy sector which is already reeling from the Government’s market intervention policies on gas and the hardened position from the ACCC, the future looks uncertain. 

What a Shakespearian tragedy for an energy rich nation. Australia is the beneficiary of huge tax revenue, employment opportunities and economic development from the resources sector. It is a critical export industry generating positive terms of trade and still supplies much needed energy to the domestic market critical in the transition to a renewable future. Lets hope common sense will prevail. 

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