The old workhorses of the press gallery have no idea

Two infuriatingly asinine comments by established press gallery journalists this morning, highlighting just how poorly served are Australians by the media on which they rely for political information – one by Malcolm Farr, the other by Michelle Grattan.

Grattan on the Melbourne by-election:

Gillard would be likely to cop much of the flak – within the party and in the commentary – if the Greens seize this traditional Labor patch. That would also reinforce the message from the Greens’ Labor critics about how dangerous they are to the ALP.

Great advice there, Michelle. If the Greens win, if progressive voters in a left-wing seat think the Greens are better advocates for consistently progressive policy than the ALP, then the ALP should conclude that it must attack them more (ie: smear them in papers with mad claims like “they’re going to shut down football”, and preference right-wing parties like Fundies First and the Liberals ahead of them) and alienate more left-wing voters.

The message of the Greens taking the seat couldn’t be that voters want the ALP to work more with the Greens, not less, could it?

I love this “heads” the ALP should be nastier to the Greens, “tails” the ALP should be nastier to the Greens thinking. If the ALP wins, I’d bet good money Michelle would argue that it should be taken as a refutation of the Greens and evidence that the ALP should treat them worse. If the ALP loses, well, it’s a refutation of Labor working with the Greens and evidence that the ALP should treat them worse.

No serious assessment of just what those voters might be thinking, and what the ALP might need to do to win them back. It must be infuriating being a Melbourne voter, voting Greens to tell Canberra WE WANT MORE PROGRESSIVE POLICIES (which is precisely the message of a Greens vote) and being wilfully misrepresented, again and again.

And here’s Malcolm Farr, with this mystifying swipe at Sarah Hanson-Young:

Then there was the chutzpah of such Greens as Sarah Hanson Young who last Sunday said the ALP stood for nothing. Being lectured by a senator who has never even been in Opposition, let alone government, was fuel to the heated relations.

“Never even been in Opposition, let alone government”? What the hell does that mean? The Greens have never had 51% of the seats and been a majority government, true, but they have been in a loose governing arrangement with a government that needed their vote to govern, which makes them at least as powerful as a government back-bencher. And what’s Farr’s definition of opposition, even with a capital “O”? Just how many seats that aren’t a majority does a party need to have to qualify? Every party that isn’t the government is an “Opposition”.

That sledge was just weird.

No wonder Australians are increasingly confused about politics, with the media apparently unable to understand, let alone describe, anything but the same old two horse race they’ve always pushed.

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46 responses to “The old workhorses of the press gallery have no idea

  1. The media like the nice, simple framing of two opposing teams/parties. It reminds me of a particular Christian argument against atheism: “You’re just angry with God!”

    Having all arguments strained through the oldest, rustiest sieve in the kitchen doesn’t separate the lumps from the good stuff; you just get a gluggy mess full of rust.

  2. Splatterbottom

    “No wonder Australians are increasingly confused about politics, with the media apparently unable to understand, let alone describe, anything but the same old two horse race they’ve always pushed.”

    Because people are too dumb to think for themselves so it must be the media’s fault. This attitude is at the heart of the Greens’ fascist attempt to introduce government censorship of the press.

  3. Right. Because criticising poor political commentary is the same as calling for it to be censored.

    Perhaps try and exert a bit more self-control, SB. You act as if every thread here exists for you to indulge your obsessive hatred of the Greens. It’s incredibly tiresome stuff.

  4. Pls let’s stop feeding the trolls. Instead let’s try to analyse WHY these old hoWARd era attacks are resurfacing just now.

  5. If the ALP loses, well, it’s a refutation of Labor working with the Greens and evidence that the ALP should treat them worse.

    To be fair to Grattan – her article doesn’t actually conclude that Labor should “treat the Greens worse” or “attack them more” – it merely asserts that a Greens win will highlight the danger the party poses to Labor.

    And in many ways she is correct. A Labor loss to the Greens would add fuel to the argument that the current ‘coalition’ has failed to win Labor any votes from the Left and has driven away votes on the Right.

    Perhaps a re-think is now required. The way Gillard has managed Labor’s partnership with the Greens has arguably been good for the progressive side of politics, but it has quite clearly been an utter disaster for Labor.

  6. Carlitos – SB has commented here for about 10 years and has taken a reasonably consistent (although often questionable and offensive) ideological position throughout. This is, however, the first thread I’ve seen you comment on.

    If anyone is surfacing “just now” it’s you I’m afraid.

  7. As for the MSM, firstly let’s ask WHO is echoing the Murdoch talking points, because not everyone is, nor are all ALP pollies:
    http://www.smh.com.au/wa-news/the-greens-are-not-our-enemy-mcgowan-says-20120711-21v47.html
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/politics/doomed-eye-cabin-boys-20120710-21u5g.html
    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/opinion/political-news/confected-stoush-with-greens-is-helping-coalition-says-labor-mp-20120710-21sqh.html
    http://newmatilda.com/2012/07/10/labors-spectacular-own-goal

    Then let’s ask WHY.
    Ask WHY another five or six times and then we’ll get closer to real motivations of the right wing “faceless” men like Mr Bean NSW Labor secretary Sam Dastyari and Paul Howes…

  8. Splatterbottom

    Buns: “Because criticising poor political commentary is the same as calling for it to be censored.”

    That wasn’t my point at all.

    “You act as if every thread here exists for you to indulge your obsessive hatred of the Greens.”

    I take the view that on threads like this, which discuss the Greens, not all comments have to be uncritical. One of the good things about this blog is that it is not an echo chamber and that dissenting views are allowed. I take the view that the Greens’ proposal to impose government censorship of the press is wickedly anti-democratic.

    Jeremy’s comment blaming the media for views held by the public contains the same basic flaw as the Finkelstein report – that people are too dumb to sift through the various views in the media and arrive at their own conclusions. It is basically saying that “I’m smart, I’m part of the intellectual elite and if people disagree with me it must be the media’s fault.” This same arrogant hubris led Finkelstein to his totalitarian conclusion that the press and blogs need government censorship.

    This is not trivial issue. Free speech is fundamental to democracy and should not be undermined in this way.

  9. Have a look at the latest Labor polling data and that will tell you all you need to know about why Labor is reviewing its current alliance with the Greens.

  10. “Have a look at the latest Labor polling data and that will tell you all you need to know about why Labor..” should “..review its current alliance with the..” MSM.

  11. What parts of the MSM is Labor currently in an alliance with Milfoot?

  12. Have a look at the latest Labor polling data and that will tell you all you need to know about why Labor…

    …should review just how much it listens to the Labor Right, would be my conclusion to that sentence.

    It wasn’t the Greens who turfed Rudd for Gillard with no clear explanation.
    It wasn’t the Greens who made a moronic promise before the election not to implement any kind of carbon pricing scheme.
    It wasn’t the Greens who came up with the moronic idea to send refugees to Malaysia.
    It wasn’t the Greens who decided to stand against marriage equality despite a majority of the population supporting it, or to then do this kind of half-arsed conscience vote cop-out.
    It isn’t the Greens who say one thing one day and then abandon it the next.

  13. narcoticmusing

    It isn’t the Greens who say one thing one day and then abandon it the next.

    Which makes me think perhaps the end to the sentence should be:
    Have a look at the latest Labor polling data and that will tell you all you need to know about why Labor…
    should perhaps stop governing based purely on polling data and tweets, rather they should try governing based on sound policy…

  14. “Have a look at the latest Labor polling data and that will tell you all you need to know about why Labor…”

    SHOULD FOLLOW MY ADVICE WHATEVER THAT IS.

    -Everyone.

  15. So no one here seriously disputes that Labor’s polling should prompt it to look hard at what it’s doing that is causing its electoral malaise.

    Also, no one here seriously disputes that there is no one cause for thie – i.e. that there are a range of policy and internal decisions that have led Labor to its current predicament.

    But Jeremy refuses to accept that Labor’s alliance with the Greens could be one of those things. It must be something else, because the alliance with the Greens can’t possibly be damaging Labor in any way shape or form.

    I mean – look at the Carbon Tax – a direct product of that alliance – it’s been a gold-plated winner for the ALP.

  16. Jeremy refuses to accept that Labor’s alliance with the Greens could be one of those things.

    Its “alliance” with the Greens? You mean, willingness to negotiate with them in the way it also negotiates with the Coalition, as opposed to its strategy under Rudd of refusing to negotiate with them which worked out so brilliantly for him?

    I mean – look at the Carbon Tax – a direct product of that alliance – it’s been a gold-plated winner for the ALP

    Actually the problems with the carbon tax come down to the ALP Right getting Gillard to stupidly promise no effective action on climate change, something which voters rejected leading to her having to embarrassingly reverse her position, giving the Liberals a free kick.

  17. I mean – look at the Carbon Tax – a direct product of that alliance – it’s been a gold-plated winner for the ALP

    I guess that was the ALP’s option. When they agreed to that compromise, they knew it was contrary to the promise Gillard had given going into the election. You can’t blame the Greens for the ALP’s decision to contradict itself. That’s why the carbon tax (or whatever you want to call it) is so on the nose – because it was contrary to the pre-election promise. The ALP could have stuck with the position it took going into the election. That the choice was made to do otherwise was entirely theirs.

  18. You can’t blame the Greens for the ALP’s decision to contradict itself.

    I’m not blaming the Greens. I’m pointing out that it was a result of the Labor/Greens alliance and thus evidence that said alliance has been of questionable value to the ALP.

  19. I take the view that on threads like this, which discuss the Greens, not all comments have to be uncritical. One of the good things about this blog is that it is not an echo chamber and that dissenting views are allowed. I take the view that the Greens’ proposal to impose government censorship of the press is wickedly anti-democratic.

    Fantastic. But that wasn’t the subject of the post – the Greens and how wickedly anti-democratic they are. We shouldn’t have to indulge your hatred of the Greens in every thread here. But we have to, because you can’t control yourself.

  20. I’m pointing out that it was a result of the Labor/Greens alliance and thus evidence that said alliance has been of questionable value to the ALP.

    Well, it did give them government. Just because the ALP can’t seem to persuade people that’s a good thing, that’s not the Greens’ fault. Nor is it a direct result of working with the consistently principled party. The main problem is that every time the ALP does something principled the ALP Right comes out and ruins it.

  21. Given that the ALP appears to be losing more votes via stage-right to the Coalition then are exiting stage-left to The Greens, Dastyari et al would seem to be making an electorally astute move.

    Far better to cede a few inner-city seats to The Greens and focus on the far greater amount of suburban and regional seats that are vunerable to the predations of the Coalition. The wealthier white-collar inhabitants of seats like Melbourne where The Greens poll well are not the base of the ALP, or an other would-be workers’ party for that matter.

  22. Splatterbottom

    “Fantastic. But that wasn’t the subject of the post.”

    My comments were addressing a particular paragraph in Jeremy’s original post on this thread which I quoted and then commented on.

    Given that we have different points of view, it should not surprise you that I would have a different take on it to you. But that is no reason for you to try to shut down the discussion just because you don’t like the Greens being criticised.

    “We shouldn’t have to indulge your …”

    You are not indulging me. No one makes you read what I say, much less reply. You are indulging yourself. With both hands.

    Howard, B:“the ALP appears to be losing more votes via stage-right to the Coalition then are exiting stage-left to The Greens”

    This has to be correct. The last Victorian election showed that there are a significant number of people who will give their vote to the centrist party that puts the Greens last rather than giving that lunatic fringe the credence of preference deals.

  23. Actually the problems with the carbon tax come down to the ALP Right getting Gillard to stupidly promise no effective action on climate change, something which voters rejected leading to her having to embarrassingly reverse her position

    So you believe that Gillard’s reversal of her no carbon tax promise was the result of voter pressure, and you reject the common understanding that the reversal was, in fact, a condition of her alliance with the Greens?

  24. Just because people are stupid here it is again.

    Julia Gillard’s carbon price promise

    JULIA Gillard says she is prepared to legislate a carbon price in the next term.

    It will be part of a bold series of reforms that include school funding, education and health.

    In an election-eve interview with The Australian, the Prime Minister revealed she would view victory tomorrow as a mandate for a carbon price, provided the community was ready for this step.

    “I don’t rule out the possibility of legislating a Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, a market-based mechanism,” she said of the next parliament. “I rule out a carbon tax.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/julia-gillards-carbon-price-promise/story-fn59niix-12259075229834

    This isn’t a Carbon Tax, as defined by people who compared a Carbon Tax to an ETS before the election.

    It might be hard for some of you to actually think using your brains and realise that Gillard promised to do what she has done, (except she didn’t bother with yet another stupid talkfest.) Twice people elected governemtns that promised a form of emissions trading.

    If you say “Gillard broke her promise on a “Carbon Tax” then really you are either stupid or disingenuous. Sorry if you don’t like it, but tough. If you are too lazy to remember what the difference between the two policies was before the election you are probably lucky to even be voting and no doubt need another brain in your backside just to be able to coordinate your leg movements.

    If you’re too lazy to take notice of what people actually said before the election or too stupid to think about what people said and what happened … then wrt to different policies well I guess you’re proving the idea of a “clever country” was just a stupid pipe dream. if there was an intelligence test for voting some people here would fail it.

    There was a time in history when all the braindead fuckwits thought the world was flat. These days they think Gillard somehow didn’t say she was gonna do what she did. The only valid criticism’s of her wrt to this policy are that she wasn’t totally clear about what she was doing after the election – fair enough criticism too, and that afterward she didn’t defend her policy with enough vigour.

    You can spin it how you like but we don’t have a carbon tax and no doubt our grandkids will be screwed because of thast fact.

    (BTW Feel free to put the boot into Gillard’s policies on asylum seekers, same sex marriage, actual CO2 reduction targets, strikers in low paying jobs, Afghanistan or any number of areas where she deserves criticism. Stop contributing to the dumbening.

    Sheesh

    /off rant.

  25. Ahhh fucken italic tags.

  26. No Mondo.
    I believe that the “No Carbon Tax under a government I lead” pledge, did not lead Liberal voters to suddenly support Gillard.
    Not in any appreciable numbers anyway.
    I do believe, however, that many progressive Labor voters abandoned Gillard in favour of The Greens after she made that pledge.
    At least enough to put the election on a knife-edge.

    I always saw that pledge as a play to the voters who swing between Labor and Liberal.
    It was silly because it ignored the growing group of voter who swing between Labor and The Greens.

    Presumably the calculus of internal polling shows that it’s easy to steal conservative votes from the Liberals than it is to estrange progressives.
    I suspect that’s correct because, at the end of the day, when faced with a choice between Labor and Liberal, progressives will always pick the least disagreeable candidate and that will always be labor.

    Cheers.

  27. I always saw that pledge as a play to the voters who swing between Labor and Liberal.

    I saw it the same way Marek. I saw it as a play for votes from the centre – in fact let’s not mince words here, it was a play for the centre.

    Presumably the calculus of internal polling shows that it’s easy to steal conservative votes from the Liberals than it is to estrange progressives.

    Perhaps, although I think it more likely that the calculus of the ALP machine was that our preferential voting system would deliver them the ‘estranged’ progressive vote anyway. They certainly ended up with mine after I voted Green and preferenced Labor.

    But Marek, do you agree with Jeremy’s assertion above that Gillard reversed her position on the Carbon Tax because of voter pressure?

    Surely you understand that he is in error in this regard.

  28. Thanks Jeremy

  29. Mondo, I lost a sentence from my last comment.
    It should have read;
    “No Mondo.
    I don’t think that’s what Jeremy meant. I think he meant that the pledge turned away progressives.
    I believe that the “No Carbon Tax under a government I lead” pledge….”
    …and so on.

    That’s how I read his statement, however, the counsel of perfection would suggest that I should let Jeremy speak for himself.

    it was a play for the centre.

    I’d like to think that it was a play for the centre-right, but I fear that you could be right…. and by ‘right’ I mean ‘correct’.

    Cheers.

  30. Aww Shit!
    Sorry, I’ve got the Jules disease.

    Cheers

  31. You can spin it how you like but we don’t have a carbon tax and no doubt our grandkids will be screwed because of thast fact.

    Yes we do Jules. We currently have a Carbon Tax that will transition to an ETS in a couple of years time (unless the Libs are elected). Gillard has implemented exactly the policy she promised not to implement.

    Look up the definition of “Carbon Tax’, then look up the definition of “Emissions Trading Scheme” and all should become clear to you.

    Unless, of course, you’re one of these people you have characterised as being too lazy or stupid to understand the difference.

  32. I don’t think that’s what Jeremy meant. I think he meant that the pledge turned away progressives.

    Even if that’s true – and I agree that it’s the only loigcal interpretation of what Jeremy wrote above – it doesn’t change the silliness of the second part of his sentence, i.e.:

    something which voters rejected leading to her having to embarrassingly reverse her position.

    The idea that Gillard’s backflip on the Carbon Tax was the result of pressure from Left-wing ALP voters, and not a specific condition of the ALP’s alliance with the Greens, is a gross distortion of the historical record.

    The reality is that the ALP’s alliance with the Greens has hurt it politically – it has driven the centre and the centre-right into the hands of the Liberal party. Obviously many here are unwilling to accept this.

    And for the record I’m not having a go at the Greens in any way shape or form – the Greens quite obviously set their policies to appeal to the Left and far-Left and good for them. I’m merely observing that Labor’s alliance with the Greens under Gillard increasingly looks like a strategic error and that Journalists are perfectly within their rights to make that point to their readers.

  33. Yawn…
    The original post was really about how the Press Gallery chorus of sycophantic opinions lack any insight, analysis or actually NEWS value. You know, like with a quality of novelty, or some new understanding and not just the same old BS Greens bashing.

    As for a lot of the comments above… just the same old BS Greens bashing.

  34. Splatterbottom

    Yawn…

  35. Yawn…
    The original post was really about how the Press Gallery chorus of sycophantic opinions lack any insight, analysis or actually NEWS value.

    Perhaps you missed my comment immediately above yours noting the following:

    Labor’s alliance with the Greens under Gillard increasingly looks like a strategic error and that Journalists are perfectly within their rights to make that point to their readers.

    I don’t think you’re very serious about honestly evaluating the viewpoints of others or in actually participating in this discussion Carlitos. I think you’re more interested in point scoring.

    YAWN indeed.

  36. [Please delete/ignore previous!]
    I’ll second and quote a great post in another thread by
    narcoticmusing | 13 July, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    …I also disagree with that statement on the most fundamental grounds. If we had a functional 4th estate we may not require government in the news business at all. But we do not. News product is what we have, not news. While we have massive interests purchasing opinions, often through misleading and deceptive advertising campaigns, the Australian public deserve and require, in order to have informed choice, adequate information on government policy. This necessitates government funded information dissemination. It is not appropriate that the people be informed of only one side of a debate by those with the deepest pockets.

    Now, Mondo, by all means let’s talk and analyse strategy, especifically what quite a few of us consider to be crucially bad long-term Labor “strategic errors”.
    I listed links earlier a number of actual analyses from a few different outlets and indeed Labor commentators, who provide quite a comprehensive demolition of such lame short-term tactical blunders from Mr Bean NSW ALP secretary Sam Dastyari, Paul Howes and their other ALP right-wing clones.
    Even old hands at this game are quite critical indeed: “Labor MP Laurie Ferguson criticised the ALP attacks on the Greens as a ”fairly clumsy, late-in-the-day effort to indicate that we have differences” with them.” [ http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/political-news/brown-lashes-labors-big-end-of-town-view-20120711-21wb9.html#ixzz20U88svQN
    ]

    The full quote is much more telling:
    “I think it’s been a fairly clumsy, late-in-the-day effort to indicate that we have differences with the Greens.
    “Just to disparage, attack and ridicule them is not the solution.”
    “Labor has to be seen as running the agenda on a policy front rather than going into personal denigration of the Greens.” [ http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-11/ferguson-decries-labors-clumsy-attack-on-greens/4123800 ]

    Regardless of how much Libs and other right-wing splatterbottoms hacks might love such attacks, they are not about to start voting for the ALP anytime soon. So, the question is where is the upside? Plus, a lot of peeps know it’s perhaps the stupidest way to go about it.

    Mondo, let’s see who is “very serious about honestly evaluating the viewpoints of others or in actually participating in this discussion”.
    The key point is WHY. And why NOW. Next, by WHOM.
    These are basically the same hoWARd style criticisms The Greens have coped for the last ten, perhaps fifteen, years. All provided by the Murdoch echo chamber of Bolt, etc.
    Yawn indeed!

  37. Bullshit mondo and you know it. We had this discussion a year ago, when you expressed surprise at Gillards pre election comments cos you hadn’t heard them, then gave us the opinion that the terms carbon price and carbon Tax were interchangeable because … well I presume cos it meant you didn’t have to change your mind or admit your mistake.

    The companies that pay the actual Carbon Price receive a permit to produce CO2 in return for their payment. They don’t pay a tax because some authority doesn’t come and measure the amount of CO2 then bill them for it without the purchase of permits to mediate the transaction. They buy permits.

    If you are prepared to say a driver’s license or an irrigation permit is also a tax then perhaps you are not as disingenuous about the whole thing, but even then you’d be wrong.

    You know might help lower our CO2 emissions? An actual Carbon Tax. One of those things we don’t actually have.

    FFS. (Rolls eyes and shakes head.)

  38. Very interestingly, some of the Lamestream Media are FINALLY! starting to put 2 and 2 together:
    “By week’s end, its very public spat with the Greens prompted former federal leader Simon Crean to declare: “We’re obsessing about ourselves and we’re talking about ourselves (when) people want us to be talking with them about them.”
    His words will go unheeded this weekend when delegates to NSW Labor’s state conference debate a motion that seeks to overturn the current practice of automatically preferencing the Greens over the coalition.
    Within ALP ranks, the party that helps keep the Gillard minority government in power is increasingly being branded extremist.
    The timing of the confected barney is intriguing, coinciding as it did with the collapse of Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s doom and gloom predictions around the July 1 introduction of the carbon tax.
    For once, the Gillard government was not being smashed on the “great big tax”.
    But the positive message Labor was trying to sell – that there could be environmental gain without too much pain – was quickly swamped by a mess of its own making….

    Only took’em a week and a half! As for the Press Gallery, clueless in the key area of their job: analysis.
    While the good journos are given no space, no money and crowded out by the BS “opinion” spinners.
    And some wonder why Journalism is in such dire straits!, being choked to death by corporate propaganda, PR industry and simple incompetence. No wonder Murdoch’s got them by the curly ones and at the first sign of UK-style blowback flushes journos down the drain like a…

  39. Here we go, just after 6pm a little while ago on the radio. Absolutely worth a listen! transcript is not there yet.
    After all if you are still in the ALP Left after all these years, you sure gotta know who the real enemies are.
    Tories (both outside and inside the ALP).

    Leading Left senator, Senator Doug Cameron was concerned a motion foreshadowed by NSW state secretary Sam Dastyari, to abandon the automatic preferencing of the Greens ahead of any other party, heralded a lurch to the right. Senator Cameron says he’s spoken with Mr Dastyari and a compromise for ‘an appropriate resolution’ has been reached.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-07-12/labor-moves-to-avert-brawl-over-greens-preferences/4127686

  40. CarliosM, four posts within an hour?
    YAWN!, indeed.
    You raise some good points,but so does the guy at the pub who yells all the time.
    Doesn’t mean that everybody want’s to listen.

    Calm down and engage.
    I look forward to your contributions.

    Cheers

  41. Jules, any mechanism of legislated government revenue collection can be argued to be a tax; the definition is somewhat blurry, and a carbon pricing scheme can be argued to fall in or out depending on specifics.

    However, any coherent concept of a “Carbon Tax” would have to operate essentially as per the current scheme. If the government starts selling permits to allow us to earn income, that have the exact same end result as our existing income tax arrangements, people are justified in calling it a tax.

    Most importantly, given linguistics is descriptive, not prescriptive – common usage of the term is for any fixed price scheme, as opposed to fixed supply schemes with tradeable permits such as an ETS, or more complex hybrids. When Gillard made her promise to legislate for a price but not a tax, it was widely understood to mean she might have a scheme, but not a fixed price one (at least by anyone who comprehends the distinction). There isn’t any other meaningful interpretation to her words, and her own subsequent statements support this – on announcing the package she conceded that for the first few years it would operate “like a tax”.

    The Prime Minister, and the vast majority of her audience, including generally Labor voters and strong carbon price supporters such as myself, believe she broke a promise.

    And for the record, the broken promise was for the sake of negotiating with the Greens and Independents, because the initial fixed-price mechanism, combined with the independent authority determining emissions levels (about the only substantial advantage of this scheme over Rudd’s original CPRS), sidesteps the issue that the Greens and ALP couldn’t negotiate over originally – the short term reductions targets. The Greens refused point blank to discuss anything lower than 25%, and likewise Labor would not countenance anything that high.

    I think it was the right thing to do, in the circumstances – breaking a promise (for only a couple of years, as it happens) to form stable government beats sending people back to an immediate second election. But the issue would not have arisen if Labor had taken an outright majority of seats, or, indeed, if the original CPRS (NOT the one negotiated with Turnbull that Jeremy keeps trotting out, which was substantially weaker) could have had support in the Senate from the Greens and Fielding.

  42. narcoticmusing

    The current scheme that operates ‘like a tax*’ was not to placate the Greens, it was to placate the actual sector that would be paying for it. Rather than making the dramatic move straight to an ETS the sector itself sought a transition arrangement. Why are people pissed at Gillard and/or the Greens for the transitional arrangement the people paying for it wanted?

    *Jules, while I agree with you that it isn’t a tax, it borders on semantics when you consider the High Court’s pretty broad definition (which is so broad they may consider drivers licences taxes, they certainly consider incentive schemes taxes like giving discounts to buying govt bonds) So it is one of those things that is legally close enough to be a tax but in accounting terms, no one would consider it a tax.

  43. If any mechanism is a tax then the permit auction is also a tax and therefore the whole argument is useless or non existent but if a fixed price scheme is a tax, then its a tax on any CO2 production. However from what I can tell even during a fixed price companies are charged a penalty for exceeding the amount of permits they buy or producing more carbon than they said they would.

    So instead of companies producing CO2 during the fixed price period and being taxed on whatever they produce it appears they buy permits and get credited if the don’t use them all and penalised if they produce more Co2 than the permits they agreed to buy, even during the fixed price period.

    From what I can see that is an attempt to cap emissions, even if its pretty ineffective. Like a cap and trade scheme with training wheels.

    But I’m prepared to admit I was wrong if someone can explain to me why what i wrote in the preceding paragraphs is wrong. IE if you can show there is no penalty for exceeding the amount of permits you buy and no credit for under estimating your CO2 production. Its a long and convoluted act and I may have misunderstood it.

  44. I’ll reiterate my most salient point:

    Most importantly, given linguistics is descriptive, not prescriptive – common usage of the term is for any fixed price scheme

    Both Gillard, the speaker, and the vast majority of her audience – i.e., the two parties to the act of the communication – understood the phrase “carbon tax” to refer to a fixed pricing mechanism, regardless of whether this was via a direct charge on emissions, or an ETS-like permit sale (and indeed, for most companies in most cases, the two implementations will have identical effects.)

    From what I can see that is an attempt to cap emissions, even if its pretty ineffective.

    The only part of this that I dispute is “ineffective”.

    Something does not need to be primarily aimed at raising revenue to be termed a tax in everyday use. See Congestion Taxes, or indeed, the common economics term for the entire class of government externality pricing schemes – Pigovian Taxes.

    The current scheme that operates ‘like a tax*’ was not to placate the Greens, it was to placate the actual sector that would be paying for it. Rather than making the dramatic move straight to an ETS the sector itself sought a transition arrangement.

    I’ll grant this was a factor, also; but it was the Greens who first started advocating a few years of fixed pricing (after I think perhaps Garnaut proposed it?) in the wake of the failure of the CPRS, as both an achievable compromise position between their stance and Labor’s, and also as a transitional arrangement that promises relative stability for business planning to start off with. Indeed, one of the main arguments for permanently opting for fixed pricing over an ETS is that there is far less volatility, and hence risk for business.

    Given the Greens’ position, and the fact Gillard had no other significant incentive for breaking her election promise, clearly this was a major factor in the decision.

    Why are people pissed at Gillard and/or the Greens for the transitional arrangement the people paying for it wanted?

    People are pissed at Gillard because they accurately perceive that she broke a pre-election commitment, and inaccurately assume the current measures are somehow vastly different, and worse for them, than the measures she had put on the agenda, or indeed the scheme Rudd won a mandate for at the previous election. The nuances of businesses’ preferences for different implementations of carbon pricing are certainly off the radar for most people.

    Who knows what the average person really thinks of the Greens and how much resemblance it bears to reality.

  45. We had this discussion a year ago, when you expressed surprise at Gillards pre election comments cos you hadn’t heard them, then gave us the opinion that the terms carbon price and carbon Tax were interchangeable because … well I presume cos it meant you didn’t have to change your mind or admit your mistake.

    Utter, utter nonsense Jules. You’re inventing history.

    ‘Carbon Price’ and ‘Carbon Tax’ are not interchangeable words at all and I have never argued that they are. My position was, and continues to be, that one is a subset of the other: i.e. that a Carbon Tax is one specific form of Carbon Pricing (as, incidentally, is an ETS and many other policy approaches).

    Your memory of what has previously occurred is simply incorrect.

    As for the substance of your argument, if indeed calling everyone who disagrees with you “stupid” can be considered a substantive argument, I think Jordan has sufficently dismantled it and so I will bow out.

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