Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Aussie election - tide turning?

Three Tuesdays ago I considered cap and trade - both in relation to Edinburgh and international governments. 

In particular, it was noted that in Australia, both the prime minister and the leader of the opposition had been replaced with unusual speed within the space of 9 months. 

What happened is worth a closer look. 

Malcolm Turnbull was leader of the oppostition coalition having been a minister in the Howard government which was defeated in 2007.  He was closely associated with the introduction of proposals for an emissions trading scheme (ETS).

On 1st December 2009 he was challenged for the leadership by Tony Abbot and defeated by 42-41.  Abbot is a sceptic and opposed to the ETS.  A fuller account can be found here.

With disarray in the Coalition camp, at that time is was considered the Labor government would be a safe bet for the next election - with the country almost always going for two or more terms of the same government.

But Abbot seemed to be striking a chord with the Australian people and Prime Minister Kevin Rudd pulled back from implementing ETS in its original form.  In doing so he took criticism from within his party and this was one of a number of reasons behind his deposition on June 24th 2010.  He was replaced by his deputy, Julia Gilliard, herself in favour of taking strong action on climate change.

Even at that time, the Labor Party looked almost certain to win an early election which was duly set for 21st August.  

In the event, Australia now has a hung parliament with both Tony Abbot and Julia Gilliard failing to get a majority in the 150 seat House of Representatives.

Of course there were other issues in the election - the proposed mining tax and immigration being the major ones.  But the results, when taken with the stalling of ETS in Japan and the US, seem to represent the beginnings of the reversal of the Gadarene rush in the developed world to do something in response to global warming.  

Whether right or wrong, the electors in the free world do have influence.  I wonder if the issue will be a factor in the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2011.

More cartoons by Josh here.

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