While you’re looking at electoral reform…

I’m not convinced that this proposed voting change is a positive:

Against strong opposition from Coalition MPs, the Labor/Greens majority on the parliamentary electoral committee has proposed adopting the South Australian system, in which votes that mark only one preference are counted – and assumed to follow the candidate’s preferences.

Really? Doesn’t that just repeat the problem we already have with above the line votes in the Senate that trick voters into, for example, “electing” Steve Fielding. What about the option of preferencing above the line, as a balance between leaving all the control of your vote to a party’s preferencing committee, and having to number eighty boxes below the line. I’m pretty sure that is Greens’ policy, but it’s not in that report.

Of course, the main reform we need to our electoral system is the removal of single-member electorates that lock in the big parties and prevent real competition, and give us a profoundly undemocratic lower house. But obviously there isn’t a committee made up from the presently-designed parliament that’s going to advocate that.

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98 responses to “While you’re looking at electoral reform…

  1. Catching up

    If we are to take into account Mr. Abbott’s behaviour since the last election, there needs to be a mechanism that allows the coalition to demand another election if they do not win.

    Some believe if you do not like the elected government, the GG should be forced to call call an election immediately. They appear to think it is funny that elected government, which free from corruption, that they do not like should be allowed to remain in power.

    This idea that we elect a government for three years according to the constitution to some is not fair.

  2. jordanrastrick

    I’m glad we’re agreed that this one is a bad idea, Jeremy.

  3. No preferances. One vote and whoever has the most of them wins. Simple and effective.

  4. jhdfhgvdafjberk,hbthl;egik

    If we are going to persist with compulsory rocking up to the ballot box then we must have an inquiry into the media in Australia. If you have to vote you may as well be armed with the facts rather than the tosh the media (especially News Ltd) serve up.

  5. kimsonof
    One vote and whoever has the most of them wins.

    Two thirds of Canadians recently voted for a Centre-Left government, and didn’t get one. And don’t get me started on the UK.

    btw there’s no A in “preferences”

    Simple and effective
    If your objective is to reinstall the only Prime Minister in Commonwealth history to be found in contempt of Parliament, then yes

  6. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy, I’m pretty sure a referendum on electoral reform will go the same way as the one in the UK. People don’t want a system that advantages minority parties. They now have an example of a coalition government formed with independent and minority party ratbags and it is monumentally unpopular. But of course the people are stupid and need to be told what they need by their betters, and dissenting voices in the media need to be shut down, don’t they?

    Bobbyboy, calls for a media inquiry are just the Greens putting on their fascist face and attacking free speech. Where do these thin-skinned pricks get off?

  7. “People don’t want a system that advantages minority parties. “

    By which you mean “doesn’t undemocratically disadvantage minority parties”.

    Because the present system disenfranchises millions of Australians every election.

    Now that’s obviously in the interests of the big parties, and the powers-that-be may well be able to use their entrenched power to sabotage any referendum proposing genuine democracy – a representative House of Representatives – but that doesn’t mean we should just accept the undemocratic status quo.

    Because of course by “minority” parties you mean “challengers to the established parties”, since ALL the parties are really minority parties. Of course there is no real “majority” party, because there’s no “majority” in the electorate that agrees with each other on most issues. Those holding the “majority” position on issue A may well completely disagree with the “majority” position on issue B. No party can represent 50% or more of voters because 50% or more of voters don’t agree with each other on a majority of issues.

    That’s why the big old parties avoid taking positions on a lot of issues, because whatever they choose will alienate part of their base. Much better to just tell everyone that you’re on their side and then hope they don’t notice when you vote for the opposite of what they want you to do. That’s the “broad church” approach.

    Or you can vote for what they call “minor parties” like the Greens that are quite clear what they advocate, and you know exactly what you’re getting. A much more enticing prospect if you want an actual representative in Parliament: you can see why the big old parties need an electoral system that stacks the cards in their favour so they can control parliament despite not actually representing their actual voters.

    “They now have an example of a coalition government formed with independent and minority party ratbags and it is monumentally unpopular.”

    People have been lied to by the biggest media company in the land, relentlessly, shamelessly, hysterically. Many believe its lies. We’ll see what happens when they see how much they differ from reality when the carbon price is finally implemented.

    And this “disastrous” coalition government has passed more and better legislation than either of its predecessors.

    “But of course the people are stupid and need to be told what they need by their betters, and dissenting voices in the media need to be shut down, don’t they?”

    No-one’s said that. You’re making it up.

    “Bobbyboy, calls for a media inquiry are just the Greens putting on their fascist face and attacking free speech.”

    No, it’s the Greens recognising what the big parties have hitherto been too complicit and cowardly to identify: the serious threat to democracy when too much media power is concentrated in too few hands.

  8. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “By which you mean “doesn’t undemocratically disadvantage minority parties”.”

    Your mistake is to suggest that there is only one system of government which is democratic. You could, for example, argue that it is more democratic for a system of internet voting on government decisions whereby all citizens could participate directly.

    The point is that there are many systems which qualify as democratic and it is up to the people, within broad parameters, to choose the one they think will produce the best practical outcome. If they prefer one which gives them a more stable government capable of implementing its agenda then the should be free to do so.

    “the serious threat to democracy when too much media power is concentrated in too few hands.”

    Do you mean the ABC?

    It is very important that offended politicians not use their power to shut down critical voices. What we have now is nothing other than an orchestrated campaign by the left to shut down opinions critical of them. Brown is now complaining about opinion seeping into news coverage, after having recently attacked the Murdoch. It is clear that he doesn’t mean the insertion of opinion into news that occurs hourly on the ABC or in virtually every news story Phil Coorey writes, but rather those who dare disagree with him. Brown is a bigger threat to democracy than those he criticises.

  9. “What we have now is nothing other than an orchestrated campaign by the left to shut down opinions critical of them.”

    Link us to your criticism of that Luddite Richard Alston and his ridiculous assertions and complaints of ABC bias..

    waiting..

    BTW Alston was right, the ABC is biased, to the right, anyone who thinks it’s biased the other way must be a right wing fascist.

  10. ““What we have now is nothing other than an orchestrated campaign by the left to shut down opinions critical of them.”

    You really can’t make this stuff up. How I love to read the thoughts of wingnuttery. We have a media in this country that is blatantly bias, and is actually running an orchestrated campaign against the Gillard government that is so blatant and crystal clear, to be risible. But wait “we are trying to shut them up” What unmitigated bollocks. What the left would like is for our media just to tell the truth, report facts with out the spin.

    I bet the old dog and bones will be running hot in Canberra at the moment. I bet old Tones is saying to his scaly mates “Jesus what are we going to do? These bastards are finally on to us. The jig is up tee he.

    I know says Tones I’ll get my number 1 redneck Scott to dress up as an Indonesian fisherman, load up an old boat full of some dero Aboriginals from the Kimberly’s,and get them all to come ashore on Hayman Island. Problem solved.

  11. lynot
    You really can’t make this stuff up. How I love to read the thoughts of wingnuttery

    It WAS made up.*

    You see, a vital component of Jeremys evil plot to install a gay communist One World Government was “the strawman”… ie. to caricature the views of those who would undo his dastardly scheme, and demonise the caricature.

    To do this, press clippings from Viscount Monckton, Andrew Bolt, Fred Phelps, Glenn Beck and other eminently sensible moderates had to be fed into an AI algorithm (possibly ELIZA). A dummy WordPress account was generated into which to feed the AI output. A suggestive avatar (and sphincterish tag) was added to create the impression of sexuality “issues” consistent with A Certain Demographic.

    Voila – a Rightist Strawman!

    And you almost got away with it – didn’t you Jeremy.

    *(I mean, surely such people can’t actually exist – can they?)

  12. ” It WAS made up.*

    No No tell me it isn’t so.

    “*(I mean, surely such people can’t actually exist – can they?)”

    Unfortunately yes. What’s more, at the moment they’re winning the campaign. I guess if you trowel on the caca thick and long enough, it even baffles the so called intellectuals. The so called left, if you look around the blogs, are swallowing the swill coming out of our media like the conservatives. Not all mind you (exasperated sigh)

    I am old enough to remember the not to subtle propaganda spewing out of the electronic media in the fifties and sixties. The farmers federation owned most of the radio stations in the country across Oz. They didn’t have the shock jocks back then, just that conservative mumsy feel, only conservatives know how to deliver. In South Australia it was Gery Mandered up to seven votes a seat. The conservatives called this democracy.

    .

  13. narcoticmusing

    lykurgus – got an actual argument on topic?

    SB – I do not agree that there is a minority party coalition atm. That being said, even if I conceded the point, how is that any different to Lib Co? People vote Liberal or National, it is not that often that the two parties policies align, and yet, you get both not one or the other. So, how is this setup any better? Indeed, it has got to the point where Nat voters are so disenfranchised that they are no longer voting Nat because it just means voting Lib which – and Lib generally means a big fuck you to the consumer/little guy and a big hand out to the rich/corporate interests.

    You put forth an interesting argument, SB. There is animosity towards minority parties not being representative but I’d suggest it is the Nationals that have an issue here. The Greens are doing exactly as they promised. Whether you like what they promised or not. That is appropriate. I only wish all political parties would do as such. I disagree that Australia doesn’t want minority parties in – I think Australians simply want representation and we are seeing significant disenfranchisement due to both. At the risk of sounding like I’m channeling Rudd’s insulting Aussie-slogans, Australians want all parties to get a fair go.

    It is very misleading to continually pretend there wasn’t a hung parliament that required negotiation and movement on position. Do you believe that Lib Co wouldn’t have had to do something similar in order to gain support? Of course they would. This is where the media bias comes into play – do you really think we’d have the demonisation of any deals with the Greens? It was Lib Co that got Adam Bandt in after all, why aren’t they being blamed?

    In terms of the media, we have a situation where in many jurisdiction the only source of news is News Corp. This is not a good thing. The ABC, while it may have once been left, is now so hell bent on proving it isn’t, it airs the most extremist ridiculous, un-backed up opinions as fact just to appease the right. This surely isn’t what you want from the ABC. Surely you want them to simply report the facts. If there is an opinion piece/show, then let it have balance, but balance isn’t centrist left vs extremist right.

  14. narcoticmusing

    Lynot – thanks for educating us young’ns 🙂

  15. It is very important that offended politicians not use their power to shut down critical voices. What we have now is nothing other than an orchestrated campaign by the left to shut down opinions critical of them. Brown is now complaining about opinion seeping into news coverage, after having recently attacked the Murdoch. It is clear that he doesn’t mean the insertion of opinion into news that occurs hourly on the ABC or in virtually every news story Phil Coorey writes, but rather those who dare disagree with him. Brown is a bigger threat to democracy than those he criticises.

    What is it with the Right and bullshit false equivalencies?

    The difference is that while there’s no actual evidence of left-wing bias at the ABC, the constant whining of conservative crybabies notwithstanding, The Australian has actually called for the Greens to be “destroyed”. You’re not suggesting The Australian is in a position to report objectively on matters involving the Greens at the same time as the paper’s editorial position is that the party must be “destroyed”, are you? Or that Bob Brown or any other members of the Greens should have anything other than contempt for The Australian following the publication of that editorial?

  16. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “The Greens are doing exactly as they promised. Whether you like what they promised or not. That is appropriate. I only wish all political parties would do as such.”

    I assume that by this you mean that you wish Gillard had not broken her promise. I agree with you on this.

    “It is very misleading to continually pretend there wasn’t a hung parliament that required negotiation and movement on position.”

    Gillard didn’t have to sell out. She chose to. With alacrity. Her main claim to fame is that she is bending the country over so the Greens can have their wicked way with it.

    I agree that the ABC “airs the most extremist ridiculous, un-backed up opinions as fact”. I listen LNL most nights.

    Buns: “The Australian has actually called for the Greens to be “destroyed”. You’re not suggesting The Australian is in a position to report objectively on matters involving the Greens at the same time as the paper’s editorial position is that the party must be “destroyed”, are you? Or that Bob Brown or any other members of the Greens should have anything other than contempt for The Australian following the publication of that editorial?”

    I don’t see what a statement in an opinion section has to do with the ability to report facts in the news sections. And I think you’ll find that Brown had already started showing his contempt for the Australian and it was that which provoked the “destroyed” comment.

    What we have here is a bunch of thin-skinned princesses trying to shut down critical reporting about them. Freedom of speech is far too important to be curtailed by Green hypersensitivity to criticism. Anyway that would be just shooting the messenger.

  17. I don’t see what a statement in an opinion section has to do with the ability to report facts in the news sections. And I think you’ll find that Brown had already started showing his contempt for the Australian and it was that which provoked the “destroyed” comment.

    Try reading their “news” articles on the Greens then. They’re every bit as biased.

    What we have here is a bunch of thin-skinned princesses trying to shut down critical reporting about them.

    The Australian calls for the destruction of the Greens because Brown has the audacity to criticise the paper, but Brown’s the thin-skinned princess? The Australian has been crying like a big baby ever since Brown rightly called them out on their bias. News Ltd’s skin is a lot thinner than Brown’s.

  18. What promise did Gillard break SB? The one where she promised to legislate a price on Carbon before the next election?

    In the Australian no less. Thats dishonest on the part of the OZ. The Oz has a page where she promised to do exactly what she has done the day before the election, yet even that continue to lie about this so called “Carbon Tax”.

    “And I think you’ll find that Brown had already started showing his contempt for the Australian and it was that which provoked the “destroyed” comment.”

    Got a link? Mind you the Oz deserves contempt. Its a national paper with pretensions of seriousness, yet it plays word games to further a political agenda and as a result its contributing to the confusion and dumbening of the debate in Australia.

    This is the sort of thing Orwell talked about (in his essays especially) and frankly the Australian has shown that it should really be in the dustbin where it belongs.

  19. They said sorry buns3000 – what more do you want?
    Nobody told them. None of it was their fault.
    But they’re VERY sorry.

    narcotic
    lykurgus – got an actual argument on topic?
    Before or after I tipped a bucket on “no preferences”?

  20. I’m a little surprised at you SB – defending a newspaper that’s essentially subsidised (the Oz’s chief 10M-a-year client being bureaucracies).
    Isn’t that socialism?

  21. narcoticmusing

    I assume that by this you mean that you wish Gillard had not broken her promise. I agree with you on this.

    You know I wasn’t, at least not specifically. On the misleading and deceptive conduct scale, I don’t think either major party is without sin to thus have dibs on throwing the first stone.

  22. narcoticmusing

    Gillard didn’t have to sell out. She chose to. With alacrity. Her main claim to fame is that she is bending the country over so the Greens can have their wicked way with it.

    I disagree with this. Gillard promised a price on carbon. The Greens promised some form of regulatory regime on carbon. The current set up is a reasonable compromise, given the circumstances, not a sell out. It is consistent with the policy position of both parties entering the election. Abbott would’ve sold out to gain power. Abbott lied too. You harp on and on about Gillard’s lie, which was stricting misleading and not necessarily a lie, and yet, despite claiming to be a creature of balance, never call out Abbott for the very conduct you seem to dispise from Gillard. I can’t stand Gillard, I didn’t vote for her despite the temptation of changing Austrlian male dominated politics history, but objectivity doesn’t rely on pet agendas.

  23. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic Gillard broke lots of promises. There was Gillard’s promise that there will be no carbon tax under a government she leads. The least she could do is to stop leading this government. Then there was this:

    “I will maintain the Government’s current commitment to review our progress in 2012, as we approach the end of the current Kyoto commitment period.

    But now that review will be informed by the independent public commentary of the Climate Change Commission on the dimensions of international action and by the common sense of the Australian people.

    This means I will act when the Australian economy is ready and when the Australian people are ready.”

    No doubt you will argue that her reference to the Australian people being “ready” meant ready to be dicked over by the Greens. Clearly the the majority of people who oppose this useless destructive tax are not “ready” in any other sense of the word. Then this:

    “I will develop a dedicated process – a Citizens’ Assembly – to examine over 12 months the evidence on climate change, the case for action and the possible consequences of introducing a market-based approach to limiting and reducing carbon emissions. ….

    The role of this Citizens’ Assembly will not be to become the final arbiter or judge of consensus, but to provide an indicator to the nation of the progress of community consensus and the issues that will need to be addressed in making the transition I have described today to a successful, lower pollution economy. ……

    This means I will act when the Australian economy is ready and when the Australian people are ready.”

    Despite the seductive sweet-talking and the promises of ample free lube for all the people are resisting. They are not “ready” they are resisiting with all their might. This is not only the rape of the Australian people, but the rape of democracy itself.

    Ultimately Gillard and her Green enablers will learn that you cannot govern without the consent of the governed.

    The “Bob Brown forced me against my will” defence shows exactly why people hate minority parties – they are an excuse for politicians to break their promises. People want to vote for a government capable of keeping its promises. They realise that electoral “reform” to empower fringe parties will only make matters worse. They will also remember this present act of bastardry and before too long this hideous government will be rear-ended by the great schlong of justice.

  24. Splatterbottom

    Sorry narcotic, that was a reply to Jules.

  25. “Your mistake is to suggest that there is only one system of government which is democratic. “

    I didn’t. But clearly the numbers in a genuinely democratic parliament should match, as close as possible, the support in the community for those parties. And clearly that’s not what we get with single-member electorates, where a party with 1.5 million voters is lucky to get a single MP in a House of Representatives with 150 members.

    “You could, for example, argue that it is more democratic for a system of internet voting on government decisions whereby all citizens could participate directly. “

    You could, but that’s a much more radical change and I’ve not seen a workable system for that proposed. How would you do it?

    “If they prefer one which gives them a more stable government capable of implementing its agenda then the should be free to do so.”

    Sounds a lot like the tyranny of the majority to me.

    “It is very important that offended politicians not use their power to shut down critical voices. What we have now is nothing other than an orchestrated campaign by the left to shut down opinions critical of them.”

    Absolute rubbish. You have a problem with greater diversity of media ownership? You think that the massive power wielded by the Murdoch empire has no chilling effect on democracy?

  26. Splatterbottom

    Lykurgus “Isn’t that socialism?”

    I know, I know. Every-fucking-where you look you find a socialist.

    Narcotic: “On the misleading and deceptive conduct scale, I don’t think either major party is without sin to thus have dibs on throwing the first stone.”

    That is not a relevant answer. And certainly doesn’t exempt Gillard from criticism for her stinking deceptions. If the other mob do the same thing when they get in, deal with that then. The point is that when the government breaks its promises it should be called out. Excusing such conduct just because you agree with her policy sacrifices democracy for expediency. Obviously some people don’t give a shit about democracy so long as they get their own way.

  27. Splatterbottom

    Jeremy: “How would you do it?”

    I wouldn’t. It was an ab adsurdum comment.

    “Sounds a lot like the tyranny of the majority to me.”

    Governments need a mandate to implement a specific program. Clearly this doesn’t include flouting basic democratic principles like due process, equality under the law or freedom of speech. It does however mean that people should know what to expect from their government if elected. The current debasement of democracy is an example of precisely why people will oppose any system that gives fringe elements more power.

  28. “This means I will act when the Australian economy is ready and when the Australian people are ready.”

    We’re ready now and have been for years, as has our economy.

    Gillard promised to legislate this sort of ETS as opposed to something everyone defined as a “Carbon Tax” before the election. Now everyone is calling this a Carbon Tax, including you. Thats very dishonest SB.

    There was a particular meaning to that term before the election and it referred to a specific policy. Now that policy isn’t happening, so the name has been transferred to another policy that meant something different.

    We don’t want a citizens commission. We have 2 groups in Australia. One group want action on climate change the other don’t give a fuck.

    Now the other group that doesn’t give a fuck is lying hysterically about anything it can and saying shit like “When the Carbon Tax starts it’ll be the end of money, it’ll be like y2k only money will disappear and explode, not air-o-planes and computer chips.”
    “All the coal and iron ore will move to brazil, leaving big empty holes all over the country.”

    And other bits of stupidity.

    I’ve got an idea, every time a mining company threatens to go overseas we should nationalise their mines and show them the fucking door.

    (Meanwhile, I completely agree with the OP.)

  29. narcoticmusing

    Hmm SB, I don’t know where to start with your response.

    That is not a relevant answer. And certainly doesn’t exempt Gillard from criticism for her stinking deceptions.

    I was not exempting Gillard from criticism for deceptions. I was calling you out, to which you didn’t respond, on why you insist you are a creature of balance but only criticise the ALP/Greens.

    If the other mob do the same thing when they get in, deal with that then.

    So are you saying that the opposition shouldn’t be in any way accountable for what they say do? How do I then judge their worth as a potential future government?

    The point is that when the government breaks its promises it should be called out.

    I agree 100% But I also think it should be all parts of government, not just ALP or Greens. I also believe anyone making a public statement/promise and then going back on that should be called out.

    Excusing such conduct just because you agree with her policy sacrifices democracy for expediency.

    I also agree with this concept. I do not excuse deception. You know this, so I do not understand – are you accusing me of excusing deception? You realise that your opinion is your own and that having an opinion doesn’t automatically make you correct? There are other views on this, see for example, Jules’ many posts. Hers are at least as credible as yours – you conveniently ignore facts in yours, such as what she promised and that the words price and tax are not the same. You also ignore the hung parliament and pretend Abbott wouldn’t have done whatever it took. The electorate VOTED for a compromise of party policy, it would be wrong to stick 100% to your previous policies with such a loud message from the electorate. You also know Gillard promised a price on carbon – how do you reconcile that with your ‘govt should do as they promise’? Or, is it just because you disagree with her policy despite it being what she promised, you sacrifice democracy for your own agenda?

    Obviously some people don’t give a shit about democracy so long as they get their own way.

    Touche

  30. Splatterbottom

    Jules: “We’re ready now and have been for years, as has our economy.”

    Clearly Gillard disagreed in 2010 when she made that statement. And clearly the majority of the population who oppose the carbon (dioxide) tax disagree.

    “I’ve got an idea, every time a mining company threatens to go overseas we should nationalise their mines and show them the fucking door.”

    It is this kind of utterly demented statement that is turning people against the “progressive” fringe.

    Narcotic: “I was not exempting Gillard from criticism for deceptions. I was calling you out, to which you didn’t respond, on why you insist you are a creature of balance but only criticise the ALP/Greens.”

    Your proposition is based on false equivalence. When Howard was in power, I spent more time hammering him than the ALP opposition. Now Gillard is in power and she is breaking promises made before the election as to what she would do when in government. Abbott hasn’t done this because, for better or worse, he isn’t in government.

    Abbott hasn’t done what Gillard has done. He hasn’t had the opportunity to break his promises yet.

    So are you saying that the opposition shouldn’t be in any way accountable for what they say do?

    What the opposition say is far less relevant than what the government does. The time to hold people to account is when they are in power. The opposition may deserve a kick in passing, but the focus should be on how well the government is governing.

    “How do I then judge their worth as a potential future government?”

    I pay more attention to the opposition during the campaign, as they may change their policies or even their leader prior to that. I am unlikely to believe any ALP campaign promises in the near future.

    “are you accusing me of excusing deception?”

    That was a reference to others here who have downplayed the perfidy of her cynical behaviour because they like the outcome.

    “You realise that your opinion is your own and that having an opinion doesn’t automatically make you correct?”

    That goes without saying. I see no need to preface every comment with “In my opinion …..”

    “You also ignore the hung parliament and pretend Abbott wouldn’t have done whatever it took.”

    Where have I done that? What has your guess at Abbott’s hypothetical conduct got to do with Gillard’s all too real acts of bastardry?

    “The electorate VOTED for a compromise of party policy”

    Interesting. The vast majority of the electorate, ALP and Coalition voters voted against a carbon (dioxide) tax. The majority of voters are still against it. Yet this stinking turd of a tax is being rammed down their throats.

    “You also know Gillard promised a price on carbon”

    We have done the price/tax thing to death – what we have got now is a tax. There are other methods of determining price. This is one which she promised not to implement. She is not a fit and proper person to lead the country.

    Also, I have quoted some of Gillard’s other promises about this in an earlier post. You don’t seem to want to talk about them.

  31. narcoticmusing

    What the opposition say is far less relevant than what the government does.

    Fair call. I judge parties by their continued performance and believe the opposition plays a vital role in democracy and thus judge them on how they have fulfilled that purpose as it demonstrates their capacity to represent issues etc.

    That goes without saying. I see no need to preface every comment with “In my opinion …..”

    Also a fair call. I also feel I should clarify, I didn’t intend for that to come across as a personal attack. I apologise.

    I believe the majority of voters voted for neither party – the hung parliament was a statement to the Government and opposition that the country wasn’t happy with either of them.

    We have done the price/tax thing to death

    Agreed. I won’t raise it again if you don’t 😉

    Also, I have quoted some of Gillard’s other promises about this in an earlier post. You don’t seem to want to talk about them.

    Again, apologies. I simply thought my post was too long and self serving already 🙂 I have stated on many occasions that I agree that Gillard mislead re: carbon tax/price (at the very least confused, at worst, down right lied) and I agree that she back tracked on re the citizens assembly. I suppose we both say things the other agrees with or at least doesn’t find offensive enough to rebut, thus I didn’t.

  32. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic we probably agree on many things, but agreement is boring. What is life without argument?

  33. “I’ve got an idea, every time a mining company threatens to go overseas we should nationalise their mines and show them the fucking door.”

    It is this kind of utterly demented statement that is turning people against the “progressive” fringe.

    Why is it utterly dememnted?

    And I think my fringe is receding not progressing…

    Gillard hasn’t lied tho, the Murdoch travelling circus has, and no doubt they’ll be shown to be responsible for Climategate pretty soon at which point they should probably be put up against the wall and shot for threatening the future. Given it was that crock of shit that has put the whole idea of action on climate change under question.

    And there is no carbon Tax sb, Keep saying it tho, if you want to keep parroting someone else’;s propaganda.

  34. Splatterbottom

    Jules: “Why is it utterly demented?”

    Because, under the constitution and in order to preserve Australia’s ability to attract further foreign investment, the government would have to compensate the miner.

    Because the government is utterly incapable of running a mine.

    Because I want to live in a country that is economically stable. I don’t want to go back to the stone age.

    Because governments ought to protect property rights, not debase them. Protection of property rights is the first duty of a government and is required for civilisation to exist.

    “I think my fringe is receding not progressing”

    The way you are arguing here, your fringe is looking like a bad case of the mange.

    “Gillard hasn’t lied”

    See above: there has been no citizens’ assembly, there is no consensus and clearly there people are not ready for the wretched tax. Opposition to it is increasing every day. Must be false consciousness, eh?

    “And there is no carbon Tax”

    True. It hasn’t been passed yet. And any case it is a carbon dioxide tax. But it is most definitely a tax.

  35. Jules – for the record it is you who is parroting propoganda and not SB.

    The initiative schedules to start on 1 July 2012 is a carbon tax. It is a fixed price ($23 per tonne) attached to business on the basis the CO2 output associated with their energy/fuel consumption.

    There is no mechanism for trading credits at this time, and thus it is not an ETS. It may become an ETS in several years (that seems to be the plan), but when implemented on 1 July next year it will be a Carbon Tax.

    If you want to get really technical you could argue that it’s better described as an Emissions Tax, but there’s just no getting past the fact that all commonly accepted definitions capture the Gillard government plan as a “Tax”.

  36. narcoticmusing

    Mondo – for the record, who is ‘parroting’ propaganda is subjective and pretty much down party lines too.

  37. Narc – while I agree that the ‘truth’ of most claims injected into political debate is subjective, that is not always the case.

    Words/terms have meanings, and it is simply dishonest to insist that they can be interpreted differently in order to suit your ideological agenda.

    The Gillard Government’s carbon pricing policy is, by definition, an Emissions Tax. Describing is as a Carbon Tax is close (but technically incorrect) however describing it as an ETS, as Jules insists on doing, is just a flat out factual error. When the proposed scheme comes into effect on 1 July 2012 it will not be an ETS, it will be a Tax.

    That’s not subjective opinion – that is easily provable fact. All one needs to do is look up the accepted meanings of the terms “Emissions Trading Scheme”, “Carbon Tax”, and “Emissions Tax” to see that Jules is categorically wrong.

    Gillard promised Australia she would not introduce a Carbon Tax, and then introduced an Emissions Tax instead. Wheter the two are sufficiently different to absolve Gillard of the accusation that she broke a promise is up to the electorate to decide I suppose, but there is no doubt whatsoever that Jules is misrepresenting the truth by calling the plan an ETS.

  38. narcoticmusing

    Words/terms have meanings, and it is simply dishonest to insist that they can be interpreted differently in order to suit your ideological agenda.

    Ah, Mondo – what a simple and dull place you must live in. Everything so black and white. But SB knows my favourite colour is grey. Prepare to see the blur.

    Are you suggesting the meaning of words isn’t subjective? Do we need to go back to primary school english and start discussing meaning within a context and nuance and even sarcasm? All these wonderful, magical things that happen when words are used in certain ways to subtly change their meaning. Nuance – its mystery is only surpassed by its power. Words are meant to be subjective. They have meaning, but it always has that graining fudging on the sidelines. Even words we all think have a very strong meaning, often don’t, or have a more general meaning, in a different context.

    Rape, for example, has a very strongly defined meaning to me. But I’m pretty sure Andrew Lovett has another understanding of it. And I’m pretty sure you have a different understanding of it. And, when used to simply mean, violate rather than sexual penetration without consent, then it has another meaning again. Despite the fact that I can’t read the word rape without thinking of the former meaning, I still comprehend the latter. SB used the word rape recently (to mean violate) and while it made me shudder just reading the word (due to its subjective meaning) I could still comprehend his meaning, thanks to context.

    Gillard promised no tax, but also promised a price. She must, then, have either a context or something else that made her believe these were different things. Perhaps a magical fairy told her – what do I care? A hung parliament also has a meaning. Compromise is required.

    If you want to go into the word tax, I disagree with you that what is proposed is technically a tax just because the Opposition and News Corp say it is. The instrument just simply isn’t set up as such. The ATO rules are quite strict on such instruments/mechanisms. Nevertheless, I agree that in lamens terms it looks like a tax, particularly to News Corp subscribers. Ergo, SUBJECTIVE.

    Gillard certainly saw a distinction between the two or she wouldn’t have promised to do one and not the other. Jules obviously sees a disticntion. The ATO certainly would. I don’t give a shit, really. The point being it is utterly subjective based on how technical you want to get or not. I don’t expect you to be a taxation specialist or taxation lawyer (who, if you knew enough about tax, would know that even these two groups disagree as to what exactly a tax is).

    It you want to use broad definitions of taxation as just any levy on the public that goes into some public purse regardless of any other factor, then it is a temporary tax that is used as a policy instrument to enable the thing promised, a carbon price. So do you focus on what it is or what it is to be or what it is now (which is nothing because it isn’t legislated yet).

    You say Jules’ description is dishonest. I disagree. I think she has a reasonable argument based on a stricter definition of tax than the lazy lamens one you use – but yours is perhaps what the majority of the ill-informed public have so it is relevant because Gillard was addressing said public. Which is my argument that it is all semantics and who really cares? Nevertheless, your explanation is dishonest by purposefully ignoring the intention for it (the ‘tax’) to act as a temporary measure to deliver a market mechanism – a regulated set up like this is not necessarily bad nor truly a tax.

  39. Its not a Carbon Tax. I want a Carbon Tax, not this bullshit.

    I don’t want a scheme where some clown can buy emissions abatement from some overseas company that marched into some 3rd world country, brought out shitloads of traditionally owned farmland plant trees on it and lock the local population out of their land. Stop them growing food.

    That will happen with this bullshit mark my words. Thats just one problem with it. All GHG should be priced at the source, which means they need to be taxed. This alleged tax is closer to an irrigation license than a tax. And thats what it is – its a license to produce co2 as an industrial by product.

    A “carbon tax” means all industrial (tho it should include agricultural and domestic un organic – your car but not your farts) carbon dioxide production is taxed. That what it meant before the last election. It was a particular process.

    You can call it a CO2 tax if you want, provided you then do the honest thing and it point out its different to the CO2 tax that Gillard promised not to bring in last year. If anything itsd the one she promised to bring in if she managed to legislate a carbon price.

    I dunno if that too hard for you to follow or not.

    The Carbon Tax Gillard promised not to bring in was a specific policy.

    This is a different policy – its actually the policy she promised to implement.

    Ok she promised she’d hold a year long citizens commission and hasn’t done that. Good. As if we need another bullshit talk fest about whether or not AGW is real and happening. She promised to end work choices but didn’t really. What we have is obviously not as bad as WC (geddit?) but its worse than it was before, as anyone who works on dangerous worksites will know. Thats fucked.

    She’s sending boat people to Malaysia – thats also fucked.

    She didn’t break any promises or lie about this Carbon Price Mechanism.

  40. “She’s sending boat people to Malaysia – thats also fucked.”

    This! This is far more despicable than any porkies she may or may not have told about the carbon tax, it still isn’t good enough for the likes of Morrison and Abbott though. Perspective people. We’re getting a carbon ‘tax’ if you don’t like it or want to punish her for her ‘lies’ then vote against her, though if you decided to vote for Abbott you’d be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  41. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: ” I disagree with you that what is proposed is technically a tax just because the Opposition and News Corp say it is. The instrument just simply isn’t set up as such. The ATO rules are quite strict on such instruments/mechanisms. Nevertheless, I agree that in lamens terms it looks like a tax, particularly to News Corp subscribers. Ergo, SUBJECTIVE.”

    This is not a subjective matter. The meaning of the word ‘tax’ has come up in cases where it is important to know whether some government measure is a tax for the purposes of Australian law. The carbon (dioxide) tax is a tax because the high court has told us what a tax is and under that definition it is a tax.

    You can (subjectively) say that the high court is wrong about which legislative measures are taxes, but that is completely irrational.

    “Gillard certainly saw a distinction between the two or she wouldn’t have promised to do one and not the other.”

    You are assuming a level of honesty and rationality that is uncommon among politicians. You are also assuming she wasn’t lying to get votes. In the case of Gillard, as we have seen, that is an unwarranted assumption. Where is the citizens’ assembly? Why is she not waiting until 2013, or until the people are ready for the tax? She lied about that too didn’t she?

    Also there are ways of having a carbon price without it being a tax. An ETS for example.

    And you are assuming that she even remembered what she had said earlier.

    Finally you are assuming that she can’t change her mind or qualify what she said earlier, in which case the more recent statement “that there will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” takes precedence.

    There is no reason at all to believe, as you assert, that “Gillard certainly saw a distinction between the two or she wouldn’t have promised to do one and not the other.”

    “I think she has a reasonable argument based on a stricter definition of tax than the lazy lamens one you use”

    You mean the high court definition to which I have drawn your attention previously but (apparently) you have been too stupid/dishonest/lazy to refer to, choosing instead to pretend it doesn’t exist.

    The bottom line is that it is a tax and there is no rational argument against that proposition.

    Your pathetic argument that it is a temporary tax is irrelevant. It is still a tax she promised not to implement. You can believe it will be temporary, but why on earth would you believe a compulsive liar like Gillard?

    The only reason it will be temporary is that the Australian voters will give her the arse as soon as they can and the tax will be repealed. If you really don’t want Abbott as PM you should oppose this tax and encourage Gillard to give up lying.

  42. Narc: If you want to go into the word tax, I disagree with you that what is proposed is technically a tax just because the Opposition and News Corp say it is.

    Narc: here’s a simple task that you can perform that will prove me wrong and you (and Jules) right. Go onto the web and find a generic definition for the term “Emissions Tax”. Don’t go to a News Ltd or Liberal Party website (as you falsely imply that I have done), go to an independent authority – whoever you want. I used Wikipedia for my research, but perhaps you can find a more authoritative site.

    Once you have found the definition, please post it here – with a reference to your source – and then highlight to the rest of us why it is not the correct terminology to describe the Gillard government’s proposed policy.

    If the policy is not, in fact, an Emissions Tax then this should be fairly easy for you, and will settle this debate once and for all.

  43. narcoticmusing

    SB, it is unnecessary to insult me to get your point across. You seem to have taken offence at my interpretation of Mondo’s understandable definition of tax as being an afront to yours, which I actually (albeit subtly) tipped my hat to.

    I don’t see why I should bother in debate if you are going to insult me.

  44. Narc – any luck yet in finding an accepted defintion of “Emissions Tax”?

    Happy to provide one for you if you’re struggling . . .

  45. “Because, under the constitution and in order to preserve Australia’s ability to attract further foreign investment, the government would have to compensate the miner.”

    Yeah fair enough, cept for the bit about foreign investment, about the constitutional arrangements at the moment but … I’m sure there are creative ways around it if there is a will. Foreign investment doesn’t create wealth it drains it. Its a myth that stuff wouldn’t happen without it. Innovation creates wealth. Foreign Investment is a form of colonialism, of exploitation.

    Stone age is where we are headed tho. What you gonna burn when the oil is gone and all the coal and gas has been sold to china – in about 20 years or so… (OK the oil will last longer, but the average australians ability to buy it probably won’t.)

    “See above (re gillard lying): there has been no citizens’ assembly, there is no consensus and clearly there people are not ready for the wretched tax.”

    People were ready for a tax 5 years ago. Or this ETS the govt just brought to parliament and twice voted in a govt that promised to implement an ets – there’s a consensus among people who actually know what they’re talking about, and a group of self interested rich pricks have been dominating the media via some clown who about to go down, for years.. No one but you is calling for a citizens assembly. What you gonna say – AGW isn’t warming isn’t happening? Or we shouldn’t do anything about it?

    If the answer to either of these is yes you are not worth talking to about it. IT won’t be productive cos the two views are mutually exclusive.

    But nationalise and fuck the foreign investment off anyway. This market mythology is not actually based in rational science, its unchallenged dogma.

  46. I suspect this is unhelpful but I will point out when the lie about the lie started.

    On Feb 24th the ABC published this:

    Gillard unveils carbon price details.

    “Deputy Opposition Leader Julie Bishop says the announcement is a betrayal of trust for the Australian people.

    “This represents a fundamental breach of an election promise that the Prime Minister gave solemnly to the Australian people on the eve of the last election,” she said.

    “She said there would be no carbon price, no carbon tax under any government that she led.

    “She has broken the trust the Australian people put in her at the last election.””

    Clearly its at this point that the dishonest conflation of the carbon price and the carbon tax. Julia Bishop there actually lying by saying Gillard promised no Carbon Price.

    Clearly Gillard lied about the peoples assembly. BFD. Thats not why there’s such a poisonous hysteria in the political debate.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-02-24/gillard-unveils-carbon-price-details/1955968

  47. narcoticmusing

    Mondo, I’m not sure why you think I’d care about your ‘research challenge’ as if this undermines my position? I’m not going to be ‘converted’ to your way of thinking, and similarly, I do not doubt you will not be converted by my rationale. We may have to agree to disagree.

    I agree it is about emissions and not just carbon (or CO2 for that matter) as the four emissions in the Kyoto protocol will be regulated (the term carbon is used for simplicity). So the key matter we disagree on is if it is a tax. I disagree that it is a tax. Nevertheless, I also agree that, and have stated this many, many times, that on the ground, it will, at least in the transitional period, have the same impact as a tax.

    I could go into why I believe it isn’t a tax, but that won’t convert you any more than what you’ve said won’t convert me. Like I said, we may have to agree to disagree. I think you are incorrect, you think I am. Fair enough.

  48. You’re right Narc – you’re clearly not open to counter-argument.

    It’s a shame that you’re unwilling to conduct even the most basic review of your own position, beacuse as it happens you’re flat out wrong. Words/Terms have meanings Narc, and it’s simply childish nonsense to adopt a different meaning for your own partisan purposes.

    If you were so inclined you could quickly and easily look up the terms “Carbon Tax” and/or “Emissions Tax” and see that they have accepted common meanings. They aren’t just random word associations that individuals are free to interpret as they see fit – they are pieces of technical jargon that describe specific carbon pricing mechanisms.

    The current Gillard scheme is an Emissions Tax as per the commonly accepted definition of that term. Much as Australia is a Parliamentary Democracy or the GST is a Consumption Tax.

    Sure, if you make up your own definition for words and phrases then anything can be anything. I can be President of Australia and you can be my loyal lap-dog.

    But that’s not reason – that’s childish stupidity.

  49. narcoticmusing

    Mondo, I’d say I’m far more open to other views than many on this blog, including yourself. That I disagree with you doesn’t make me closed minded or wrong. It means I disagree. Rather than call me childish for allowing us to disagree perhaps you should reflect on your little temper tantrum response.

    I won’t be converted by your argument as you’ve yet to deliver one that resembles the scheme Gillard is proposing. Yes, you’ve argued what News Corp claims it is – but have you looked at the proposed instrument? Or just taken the media’s word for it? If appears that you are starting with a definition and then seeing if you can force Gillard’s proposal into it, rather than looking at what it is and seeing what it most looks like. Top down reasoning will always lead to error.

    If you look at the actual proposed instrument you might agree with me. It appears more like, as described by Jules, the regulatory regimes we see with water rights. This doesn’t make it a good thing necessarily, as we’ve seen in the Murray Darling, it can lead to not knowing who owns your water (or in this case emissions). Particularly where most jurisdictions have sold off their power to foreign companies, thus the permits will be in foreign hands. But that doesn’t make it a tax. There are many registration schemes that provide money to consolidated revenue (or some other aspect of the public purse) – that doesn’t make it a tax. For example, to register a company one must pay a fee; does that make it a tax? When you renew your licence, you pay a fee (plus insurance costs). Is this tax?

    This is an ETS, initially fixed price and then moving to a floating price later. An ETS is quite different to a carbon tax as an ETS is dominated by permits, provided by Government for emissions – this has the impact of the cap required to meet our international obligations. Initially, there will be a set price on these permits to enable market stability and certainty during the transitional period. The revenue to government from selling the permits is one off (unless there is some form of licence renewal type process – also not considered a tax), after this, the permits are able to be traded – even during the transition period (albeit at the fixed price). A carbon tax caps carbon using the value of the carbon as the lever. An ETS caps carbon via permits – which are definite in number, much like shares – and then also prices the permits (again like shares). And like shares, they are initially being sold at a set price to be floated later – ie TRADING SYSTEM.

    Just as a charitable organisation and a public benevolent institution may look very similar, and let’s face it, for most people the effect is the same, they are different types of entities in both accounting and legal terms and very much so for taxation purposes (despite both having similar tax concessions). So they may appear the same due to the application, but are very different.

    Similarly, a fixed-ETS looks very much like a carbon tax (or an emissions tax) on the ground if the permit price is set at certain levels but they are quite different. Even during the fixed price permit period, there is able to be trading of the permits. It is the permits that cap the emissions, not the charge on carbon. I agree, the publicity for this has been terrible and misleading. So if you thought that it was purely just billing people for their emissions, please blame the publicity, not the instrument. Of course, there is a need to inform an approximate of what the emissions costs are based on the permits, but that isn’t the same as actually taxing emissions.

    Most of my information comes from academic assessment of the instrument, plus a little interpretation of what parts of the instrument are available for public review. The ATO website is a good starting place. Not google, anti-climate web-sites, or Lib Co.

    A good, non-hysterical academic discussion on this can be found here http://theconversation.edu.au/explainer-the-difference-between-a-carbon-tax-and-an-ets-1679 (although I will disclose that was not my source for my post, it is just a sound, objective assessment).

  50. narcoticmusing

    Mondo- also, as you are a fan of wikipedia, I thought I’d give you another link you might enjoy.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_words_having_different_meanings_in_British_and_American_English:_A%E2%80%93L

  51. narcoticmusing

    Mondo – Apologies, I did actually respond to your pose prior to the 11:16am post. WordPress ate it. I will try again later.

  52. No reason to apologise Narc – I too have experienced the wonders of wordpress.

  53. narcoticmusing

    It was a long post, so if is suddenly comes out of the mysterious black hole I’d not want it to be here twice.

  54. narcoticmusing

    Here goes – the post from before…

    Mondo, I’d say I’m far more open to other views than many on this blog, including yourself. That I disagree with you doesn’t make me closed minded or wrong. It means I disagree. Rather than call me childish for allowing us to disagree perhaps you should consider that adults disagree.

    I am yet to be converted by your argument as you’ve yet to deliver one that resembles the scheme Gillard is proposing. Assuming I’m stupid is a poor starting point. It appears that you are starting with a definition and then seeing if you can force Gillard’s proposal into it, rather than looking at what it is and seeing what it most looks like. Top down reasoning will always lead to error.

    I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that you based your argument on the media because you’ve argued what the media claims it is and your examples are based on an emissions tax (to prove your point) rather than on the proposed instrument. So you say it is an emissions tax because an emissions tax prices emissions with revenue back to govt and then QED it as it that is it – without reference to the proposed instrument which does not do that.

    If you look at the actual proposed instrument you might agree with me. It appears more like, as described by Jules, the regulatory regimes we see with water rights. This doesn’t make it a good thing necessarily, as we’ve seen in the Murray, it can lead to not knowing who owns your water (or in this case emissions). Particularly where most jurisdictions have sold off their power to foreign companies, thus the permits will be in foreign hands. But that doesn’t make it a tax. There are many registration schemes that provide money to consolidated revenue (or some other aspect of the public purse) – that doesn’t make it a tax. For example, to register a company one must pay a fee; does that make it a tax? When you renew your licence, you pay a fee (plus insurance costs). Is this tax?

    This is an ETS, initially fixed price and then moving to a floating price later. An ETS is quite different to a carbon tax as an ETS is dominated by permits, provided by Government for emissions – this has the impact of the cap required to meet our international obligations. Initially, there will be a set price on these permits to enable market stability and certainty during the transitional period. This is common practice even for companies when selling shares before a float (ie buy at prospecus price, then they get floated). The revenue to government from selling the permits is one off (unless there is some form of licence renewal type process – also not considered a tax), after this, the permits are able to be traded – even during the transition period (albeit at the fixed price).

    A carbon/emissions tax caps carbon/emissions using the value of the carbon/emissions as the lever. An ETS caps carbon via permits – which are definite in number, much like shares – and then also prices the permits (again like shares). And like shares, they are initially being sold at a set price to be floated later – ie traded like on the stock market. This is why Turnball is so into the idea of an ETS. He’s a banker. He loves the idea of the market owning everything.

    As an example of how words can be similar but not the same, consider a charitable organisation and a public benevolent institution. They may look very similar, and let’s face it, for most people the effect is the same However, they are different types of entities in both accounting and legal terms and very much so for taxation purposes (despite both having similar tax concessions). So they may appear the same due to the application, but are very different.

    Similarly, a fixed-ETS looks very much like a carbon tax (or an emissions tax) on the ground if the permit price is set at certain levels but they are quite different. Even during the fixed price permit period, there is able to be trading of the permits. It is the permits that cap the emissions, not the charge on carbon. I agree, the publicity for this has been terrible and misleading. So if you thought that it was purely just billing people for their emissions, please blame the publicity, not the instrument. Of course, there is a need to inform an approximate of what the emissions costs are based on the permits, but that isn’t the same as actually taxing emissions.

    Most of my information comes from academic assessment of the instrument, plus a little interpretation of what parts of the instrument are available for public review. The ATO website is a good starting place. Not google, anti-climate web-sites, or Lib Co – not suggesting this is where you are getting your info, just that this is where most of the media are.

    A good, non-hysterical academic discussion on this can be found here http://theconversation.edu.au/explainer-the-difference-between-a-carbon-tax-and-an-ets-1679 (although I will disclose that was not my source for my post, it is just a sound, objective assessment).

    Btw – you made a very incorrect assumption that my argument is partisan, based on me disagreeing with you. Disagreement does not make a person partisan/biased. Before you throw words like ‘childish’ around, it would be wise to remember that.

  55. narcoticmusing

    Tried again, post eaten again. I think it might be eating long posts.

    I will try breaking it up.

    Mondo, I’d say I’m far more open to other views than many on this blog, including yourself. That I disagree with you doesn’t make me closed minded or wrong. It means I disagree. Rather than call me childish for allowing us to disagree perhaps you should consider that adults disagree.

    I am yet to be converted by your argument as you’ve yet to deliver one that resembles the scheme Gillard is proposing. Assuming I’m stupid is a poor starting point. It appears that you are starting with a definition and then seeing if you can force Gillard’s proposal into it, rather than looking at what it is and seeing what it most looks like. Top down reasoning will always lead to error.

    I assumed, perhaps incorrectly, that you based your argument on the media because you’ve argued what the media claims it is and your examples are based on an emissions tax (to prove your point) rather than on the proposed instrument. So you say it is an emissions tax because an emissions tax prices emissions with revenue back to govt and then QED it as it that is it – without reference to the proposed instrument which does not do that.

  56. narcoticmusing

    Part 2 – here goes nothing…

    If you look at the actual proposed instrument you might agree with me. It appears more like, as described by Jules, the regulatory regimes we see with water rights. This doesn’t make it a good thing necessarily, as we’ve seen in the Murray, it can lead to not knowing who owns your water (or in this case emissions). Particularly where most jurisdictions have sold off their power to foreign companies, thus the permits will be in foreign hands. But that doesn’t make it a tax. There are many registration schemes that provide money to consolidated revenue (or some other aspect of the public purse) – that doesn’t make it a tax. For example, to register a company one must pay a fee; does that make it a tax? When you renew your licence, you pay a fee (plus insurance costs). Is this tax?

    This is an ETS, initially fixed price and then moving to a floating price later. An ETS is quite different to a carbon tax as an ETS is dominated by permits, provided by Government for emissions – this has the impact of the cap required to meet our international obligations. Initially, there will be a set price on these permits to enable market stability and certainty during the transitional period. This is common practice even for companies when selling shares before a float (ie buy at prospecus price, then they get floated). The revenue to government from selling the permits is one off (unless there is some form of licence renewal type process – also not considered a tax), after this, the permits are able to be traded – even during the transition period (albeit at the fixed price).

  57. narcoticmusing

    3rd attempt at 2nd post

    A carbon/emissions tax caps carbon/emissions using the value of the carbon/emissions as the lever. An ETS caps carbon via permits – which are definite in number, much like shares – and then also prices the permits (again like shares). And like shares, they are initially being sold at a set price to be floated later – ie traded like on the stock market. This is why Turnball is so into the idea of an ETS. He’s a banker. He loves the idea of the market owning everything.

  58. narcoticmusing

    3rd attempt at 2nd part of 2nd post

    This is an ETS, initially fixed price and then moving to a floating price later. An ETS is quite different to a carbon tax as an ETS is dominated by permits, provided by Government for emissions – this has the impact of the cap required to meet our international obligations. Initially, there will be a set price on these permits to enable market stability and certainty during the transitional period. This is common practice even for companies when selling shares before a float (ie buy at prospecus price, then they get floated). The revenue to government from selling the permits is one off (unless there is some form of licence renewal type process – also not considered a tax), after this, the permits are able to be traded – even during the transition period (albeit at the fixed price).

  59. narcoticmusing

    As an example of how words can be similar but not the same, consider a charitable organisation and a public benevolent institution. They may look very similar, and let’s face it, for most people the effect is the same However, they are different types of entities in both accounting and legal terms and very much so for taxation purposes (despite both having similar tax concessions). So they may appear the same due to the application, but are very different.

    Similarly, a fixed-ETS looks very much like a carbon tax (or an emissions tax) on the ground if the permit price is set at certain levels but they are quite different. Even during the fixed price permit period, there is able to be trading of the permits. It is the permits that cap the emissions, not the charge on carbon. I agree, the publicity for this has been terrible and misleading. So if you thought that it was purely just billing people for their emissions, please blame the publicity, not the instrument. Of course, there is a need to inform an approximate of what the emissions costs are based on the permits, but that isn’t the same as actually taxing emissions.

  60. narcoticmusing

    omg – last bit – apologies, I warned you it was long

    Most of my information comes from academic assessment of the instrument, plus a little interpretation of what parts of the instrument are available for public review. The ATO website is a good starting place. Not google, anti-climate web-sites, or Lib Co – not suggesting this is where you are getting your info, just that this is where most of the media are.

    A good, non-hysterical academic discussion on this can be found here http://theconversation.edu.au/explainer-the-difference-between-a-carbon-tax-and-an-ets-1679 (although I will disclose that was not my source for my post, it is just a sound, objective assessment).

  61. Progress!!

    OK Narc, so you didn’t post a definition of “Carbon Tax”, but you did post a link to a website that provides a useful definition of the term. That definition is as follows:

    A carbon tax is sort of the opposite. A cost is added to all emissions, equal to the level of the tax, and this causes people to cut back. There is no cap on emissions in a tax-based system. People are free to emit as much or as little as they like, but if they do emit, they must pay the tax. Unlike an ETS, under a carbon tax it is the price that determines the level of emissions.

    So, the phrase “Carbon Tax” does have an accepted meaning after all! There are defined characteristics that differentiate a Carbon Tax from an ETS and according to your link these are:

    – permits to pollute exist and can be traded under an ETS; and
    – “there is no cap on emissions in a tax-based system”, i.e. polluters can pollute as much as they under a carbon tax want as long as they’re prepared to pay the price.

    I’m sorry to tell you this Narc but by your own definition the Gillard government plan (for the next few years at least) is a Carbon Tax. During this time there will be no ability to trade permits, and there will be no cap on emissions for any of the 500 companies subject to it.

    Maybe it will transition to an ETS in 2015, but until then it’s clearly a Carbon Tax as per the accepted defintion of that term.

    Accept it or don’t accept it – it won’t change the reality of things.

  62. narcoticmusing

    Mondo, I still disagree with you. The trading of permits purchased will be restricted during the transition period, but this is a) not unusual for transition periods in commercial situations let along government and b) doesn’t suddenly make it a tax. Restriction on permits that are purchased during the fixed price period is often a necessity to protect from exploitation. However, freely allocated permits (ie your allotment based on what your max is you can pollute) can be traded, even during the transition period.

    I have already said many times that the effect is essentially the same as a tax, yes, but I disagree that it actually is. A cap on the actual companies would be another regulatory mechanism separate again from an ETS – indeed, capping the actual companies emissions is often what is needed in places that implement a carbon tax and it fails to reduce emissions. An ETS doesn’t cap individual companies, it simply has permits for sale. The government determines how many permits and thus the nationwide cap – it is up to them how big or small this is. If they choose to let this be very loose, which they have during the transition period, that is still up to them. They are waiting for the dust to settle, but it is still a permit program, not a direct tax.

    So I agree, there will be no cap on emissions for any of the 500 companies subject to the tax, but they will be capped on how many free allocated permits they get and the rest they need to purchase, which is the lever. The freely allocated permits CAN be traded during the transition period.
    See Appendix A – http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/clean-energy-future/securing-a-clean-energy-future/#content011

  63. narcoticmusing

    Oh ffs – i replied and it is black holed

  64. narcoticmusing

    I will try again.

    Mondo, I still disagree with you. The trading of permits purchased will be restricted during the transition period, but this is a) not unusual for transition periods in commercial situations let along government and b) doesn’t suddenly make it a tax. Restriction on permits that are purchased during the fixed price period is often a necessity to protect from exploitation. However, freely allocated permits (ie your allotment based on what your max is you can pollute) can be traded, even during the transition period.

    I have already said many times that the effect is essentially the same as a tax, yes, but I disagree that it actually is. A cap on the actual companies would be another regulatory mechanism separate again from an ETS – indeed, capping the actual companies emissions is often what is needed in places that implement a carbon tax and it fails to reduce emissions. An ETS doesn’t cap individual companies, it simply has permits for sale. The government determines how many permits and thus the nationwide cap – it is up to them how big or small this is. If they choose to let this be very loose, which they have during the transition period, that is still up to them. They are waiting for the dust to settle, but it is still a permit program, not a direct tax.

    So I agree, there will be no cap on emissions for any of the 500 companies subject to the tax, but they will be capped on how many free allocated permits they get and the rest they need to purchase, which is the lever. The freely allocated permits CAN be traded during the transition period.
    See Appendix A – http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/clean-energy-future/securing-a-clean-energy-future/#content011

  65. narcoticmusing

    3rd attempt

    Mondo, I still disagree with you. The trading of permits purchased will be restricted during the transition period, but this is a) not unusual for transition periods in commercial situations let along government and b) doesn’t suddenly make it a tax. Restriction on permits that are purchased during the fixed price period is often a necessity to protect from exploitation. However, freely allocated permits (ie your allotment based on what your max is you can pollute) can be traded, even during the transition period.

  66. narcoticmusing

    I have already said many times that the effect is essentially the same as a tax, yes, but I disagree that it actually is. A cap on the actual companies would be another regulatory mechanism separate again from an ETS – indeed, capping the actual companies emissions is often what is needed in places that implement a carbon tax and it fails to reduce emissions. An ETS doesn’t cap individual companies, it simply has permits for sale. The government determines how many permits and thus the nationwide cap – it is up to them how big or small this is. If they choose to let this be very loose, which they have during the transition period, that is still up to them. They are waiting for the dust to settle, but it is still a permit program, not a direct tax.

    So I agree, there will be no cap on emissions for any of the 500 companies subject to the tax, but they will be capped on how many free allocated permits they get and the rest they need to purchase, which is the lever. The freely allocated permits CAN be traded during the transition period.
    See Appendix A – http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/clean-energy-future/securing-a-clean-energy-future/#content011

  67. narcoticmusing

    I’ve attempted to put the full post up 7 times in 3 different browsers. Sorry, we’ll have to debate this another time.
    See Appendix A – http://www.cleanenergyfuture.gov.au/clean-energy-future/securing-a-clean-energy-future/#content011
    Can still trade free allocated, just not the purchased permits – this allows govt to control total permits etc at transition point.

  68. narcoticmusing

    Mondo – I note you also didn’t scroll down on that link I sent you to where it said the current scheme, despite being fixed etc, is still an ETS not a carbon tax… bit disingenuous to selectively quote eh?

  69. narcoticmusing

    Oh ffs – now it has released them all.

    I am so bailing for the day.

  70. Well Narc – at least you now admit that the term “Carbon Tax” has an accepted meaning, and that there are various characteristics of a carbon pricing policy that will positively identify it as such.

    It is not a phrase that has different meanings depending on which country you live in, nor a term that can be dismantled and attacked on the basis that the user happens to understand the word “Tax” to mean something different. “Carbon Tax” is an accepted piece of economic jargon with a real and fixed definition.

    Our disagreement now seems to come down to whether or not the specifics of the Gillard government proposal actually fit that definition. Which is fair enough.

    Like you I am a bit suprised at how little information is actually out there. The website you link to discusses “freely allocated permits” under the initial scheme, but I’ve certainly not heard of that before and I can’t find anything authoritative to confirm/deny it. To my knowledge the scheme, when implimented, will simply charge 500 companies $23 per tonne for their CO2 emissions, without cap and without the ability to trade credits.

    If I’m wrong on those facts then I will gladly alter my position – my commitment is to accuracy and honesty in debate, not to any particular ideological position.

  71. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “SB, it is unnecessary to insult me to get your point across.”

    Don’t be so sensitive. When you insulted Mondo you used “lazy layman’s language”. When I described your motivations I gave you a choice “stupid/lazy/ dishonest”. Admittedly each is insulting, as was your comment to Mondo. You shouldn’t cast the first stone. And you should explain why you persist with this line of argument. We know what a tax is and we know that Gillard is imposing a carbon (dioxide) tax. She is rightly being kicked from pillar to post by the electorate because she did lie to them. She insulted their intelligence and took them for fools with her half-hearted attempt to pretend it wasn’t a tax. Those who carried on with her argument and fought a rear-guard action for her also profoundly insulted the intelligence and common sense of the Australian people, who have little time and many colourful descriptions for bullshit artists.

  72. narcoticmusing

    Mondo – this is the position I’d said here. We didn’t disagree that there is such thing as a carbon tax nor that this was about emissions, rather whether Gillard’s actually was one – 23 July, 2011 at 4:50 pm. I disagreed that in prinicple words can only have one meaning, because they can. When you buy organic chicken you think you are getting something different to non-organic – but technically, organic just means carbon based. Words can and do have different meanings, sometimes just for convenience.
    Like I said Mondo, the actual instrument provided to members of Parliament, described at the link I gave, is not what the media are representing. The cleanenergyfuture website is fully endorsed by the Australian Government.

  73. narcoticmusing

    I continue to be tortured by wordpress. You said if you were wrong on the facts you’d reconsider – you are, in my opinion. You wanted authority for the facts – well the last link I gave you is the Australian Government authorised position, the appendix is the instrument provided to members of parliament.

  74. narcoticmusing

    Mondo – I too am committed to honesty in debate and resent that you repeatedly accused me of being partisan simply for disagreeing with you. When it was actually that I have seen the instrument we are debating and you had not. I didn’t disagree with your terms/definitions. I disagreed that it described the instrument.

  75. narcoticmusing

    SB – I was referring to the terms Mondo was using, I was not attempting to imply he was lazy. These are the same terms we see all the time in the press. I thought that was obvious.

    I think you need to not be so sensitive about being called out. What you said was unnecessary and added nothing to the debate. You weren’t using my words to be clever, you were just outright insulting me. I’m not sure I’ve demonstrated any of the things you claimed. If I wanted debate that pathetic, I’d go watch question time.

  76. narcoticmusing

    At the risk of double posting – I have been tortured by this all day – SB, out of my respect for you as a commentator on this site, I will give you the benefit of clarity. I described as lazy, the terminology used by Mondo and the press. Not Mondo. You didn’t describe my ‘motivations’, you out right insulted me. I am pretty thick skinned, which is also why I’m comfortable enough to call you out, why I don’t just sit and take shit. We were having a reasonable, intelligent debate and I was quite honestly shocked at your comment.

  77. Narc – if you wanted to argue that Gillard’s tax does not meet the accepted definition of the term “Carbon Tax” then you should have presented a recognised definition and then explained why it is the wrong terminology to describe Gillard’s scheme.

    This is what I asked of you (repeatedly) above, but instead you refused to do so, preferring instead to give me post-modernist waffle about how words can have different meanings depending on who uses them.

    In the end it was me who managed to obtain and present an accepted definition (from one of your links) for all here to see. And I should add that the defintion provided is an almost word-for-word description of the Gillard plan. The only point of differentiation that I can see is the claimed existence of “freely allocated permits” under the Gillard plan which can apparently be traded by their unknown recipients – but apart from that it is a textbook Carbon Tax.

    It’s an incredibly thin premise on which to rest your “Gillard never broke her promise” defence, and one which has rightly been rejected by most Australians.

  78. narcoticmusing

    A) this isn’t the carbon tax thread, I didn’t want to get into it.
    B) this has all been discussed to death
    C) your methodology is not necessarily the only way to prove something.
    D) I never said Gillard never broke her promise

  79. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, saying that someone used “lazy lamens language” is at least a sharp rebuke. It is denigrating them by suggesting that they have not thought about an issue before speaking. It is only slightly different, and only in degree, from my comment. What you got from me was a mild escalation in tone commensurate with your own epithet. You did not need to use the phrase you did. It adds nothing (other than a mild slap at mondo) to your argument.

    If I had really wanted to insult you I would have included an especially florid paragraph describing my disdain for people who say profoundly offensive things like:

    “If you want to go into the word tax, I disagree with you that what is proposed is technically a tax just because the Opposition and News Corp say it is. The instrument just simply isn’t set up as such. The ATO rules are quite strict on such instruments/mechanisms. Nevertheless, I agree that in lamens terms it looks like a tax, particularly to News Corp subscribers. Ergo, SUBJECTIVE.”

    This statement is offensive to logic and reason. The question of whether a particular legislative measure constitutes a tax has been considered by the high court, which has been required to decide what a tax is. The carbon (dioxide) tax is not even close to the boundaries of that definition. It is clearly a tax. There is no room for subjectivity.

    Now, I intended my comment as a rebuke in the same tone as your “lazy” comment to Mondo, not some cutting insult. I try, I really do, not to insult you because you are sincere and make a lot of good points, and I apologise for any offense I may have caused you.

  80. narcoticmusing

    SB, thank you for your apology. It was clear that Mondo hadn’t accessed the instrument – it wasn’t my job to do his research for him which he seemed to insist I do. Nevertheless I provided him the instrument to enable him to consider if his reasoning still fit.

    That you and Mondo disagree with me, and I disagree with you, doesn’t make you right and me wrong (or vice versa). If there were such absolutes in debate we wouldn’t need courts. As for the tax definition, of which I fully understand and of course consider very persuasive – I assume you refer to the Latham formula (which has been criticised as too mechanical) and the subsequent flexibility granted to it later (also criticised as too broad). However, in my opinion you err in the same manner as Mondo – you’ve started with an opinion and then forced the description of Gillard’s instrument to fit. Such top down reasoning will always wind up this way. Consider the HCA’s scathing rebuke of the NSW Supreme Court in the infamous Farah Constructions case.

    I would be interested as to how you reached your reasoning that the instrument proposed by the Gillard Government is a tax, based on HCA definition and subsequent cases that have stated a charge for use of property (such as air – which is why there are permits) and/or a fee for a privilege (eg the privilege to pollute) would not be considered a tax. That is why it was set up with permits, rather than simply a charge per tonne. Doesn’t make me any less cynical about the Gillard government (perhaps more so), but does make me disagree it is a tax.

  81. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, according to the high court taxes include “any form of tax which ingenuity may devise”. It is also clear that the proposed carbon (dioxide) tax satisfies the Latham definition: a compulsory exaction of money by a public authority for public purposes, enforceable by law, and not a payment for services rendered. Subsequent cases have only expanded that definition. If a royalty paid on blank cassette tapes is a tax then a price on carbon emitted is likewise a tax.

    Your denial that the “carbon price” is a tax means you are now well into the category of invincible ignorance, in fact you have become a denialist beyond compare. If you can’t understand that the “carbon price” is a tax, there is nothing more I can do to help you. You have completely left the realm of logic and sanity.

  82. narcoticmusing

    How do you reconcile this with the HCA determining (in Harper v Minister for Sea Fisheries ) that a fee payable for a right was not and excise nor a tax? And that this was particularly so if the rationale was conservation of natural resources? You know, like species preservation, forests, clean water, clean air. Further, in 2002, the High Court said The fact that the amounts exacted pursuant to the legislative scheme were paid to the Consolidated Revenue Fund was not conclusive of whether the sum was a tax. You have also not contested the examples I gave where the High Court has said that in addition to services rendered, fees for property or privileges are not taxes, nor are penalties/fees for licences (esp relating to conservation of natural resources). Please, tell me a case that has overturned these. They certainly distinguished cases that affirmed Latham’s quite old principle (of which these pro-Latham cases have been criticised as making his principle too broad) and modified the overall principle. Ergo, I think the Gillard scenario can be distinguished from what Latham spoke of and thus not a tax – I base this on the facts of the instrument proposed, not on how it is described by the media. I am not sure what the basis for your conclusion is. The media have incorrectly described it, and if I were to base it on their inaccurate description I might agree with you (and Mondo for that matter).

    You are yet to apply the particular facts of this situation to your interpretation of the relevant case law; rather you say ‘it is a tax’ and then tell me what a tax is, but as with Mondo, you haven’t applied the facts of the instrument to what a tax is. And then, with no further argument, simply claim it is insane. I don’t want nor need your help. I have a fully rationalized view, yours is missing facts.

  83. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic would you mind linking to a copy of the “instrument” you are talking about.

  84. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic you are sounding more and more like Dennis Denuto by the minute.

    In Harper the distinction was that the licence fee was a payment for property – the fish. There is no such property (or service) being provided here.

    Also, if indeed the rationale was conservation, species preservation, clean air etc this would support the “public purposes’ requirement of the test. The fact that revenue raising is not the main purpose of the legislation is irrelevant.

    All of the elements of the narrower Latham definition of tax are present: a compulsory exaction of money by a public authority for public purposes, enforceable by law, and not a payment for services rendered. Which bit of this don’t you get?

  85. narcoticmusing

    I already put a link to it for Mondo, I’m not doing your homework too. Are you suggesting that all your negativity comes from a place where you haven’t even read what the Government says they are going to do?

    Again, support your claims with the actual facts of this case. I know what a tax is, I know what the cases say. Apply them.

  86. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic the document you linked to is not in any sense and “instrument”.

    As you insist on a statement of the bleeding obvious, please note that the “carbon price mechanism” which is stated to function like a tax and which Swan calls a tax in moments of candour, not unsurprisingly satisfies the elements of even the narrower Latham definition of a “tax”. It is:

    a compulsory exaction of money Check. Purchase of permits by designated taxpayers is required;
    by a public authority Check. Presumably the Clean Energy Regulator, but in any event a government body;
    for public purposes Check. Revenue raising and various alleged environmental benefits;
    enforceable by law This will be legislated; and
    not a payment for services rendered Check. There is no service provided or property obtained by the taxpayer.

    Now, again, which bit of this don’t you get?

  87. However, in my opinion you err in the same manner as Mondo – you’ve started with an opinion and then forced the description of Gillard’s instrument to fit.

    What an incredible inversion of reality. What text-book projection.

    Narc – all I have ever asked for in this debate is an accepted definition of the terms “Carbon Tax” and “Emissions Trading Scheme” so that we can all measure the specifics of Gillard’s proposal against them to determine which is the better descriptor. In other words the exact opposite of what you’ve accused me of above.

    I have repeatedly asked that we establish an accepted defintion of “carbon tax” for this very purpose. You have repeatedly refused to do so.

    It is now clear that your reluctance was based on a suspicion that such a comparison would demostrate that the Gillard plan fits the “Carbon Tax” defintion far better than it does the “ETS” definition. Which, as it turns out, is clearly the case.

    This is nothing but a statement of banal fact.

    Focusing instead on esoteric arguments over what the word “Tax” means in a strictly legal sense is a complete irrelevancy, and a deliberate distraction from the real issue. The phrase “Carbon Tax” has an accepted meaning within the policymaker community – a definition – and that definition clearly describes Gillard’s carbon pricing policy for the next three years.

    This is not a case of reverse engineering the definition of “Carbon Tax” to fit Gillard’s policy – it is the exact opposite of that.

  88. narcoticmusing

    Now, again, which bit of this don’t you get?

    The parts where subsequent cases I’ve cited modified the rule to provide further exceptions and even clarified that the fact that something is in legislation (thus enforceable) and payable to consolidated revenue does not make it a tax. If you don’t get that rules as old as Latham’s have been modified there is no point discussing this. I won’t bother repeating myself.

    SB – that paper at the link is what members of Parliament got and is endorsed by the Australian government. It is what they are proposing. Thus it is the most reliable publicly available source of the Government proposal, as it is from them, saying ‘here is what we propose’, rather than biased commentary page from either side of politics or the media.

    Apologies Mondo if I was not clear. I did not suggest you changed the meaning of carbon tax or ETS etc to fit Gillard’s instrument, quite the opposite. I wasn’t debating what a carbon tax or ETS or ET etc were (other than having a little fun dig at you suggesting the meaning of all words was hard set), rather I was debating what the proposed set up is. What is meant by top down reasoning is starting with a conclusion then cherry picking bits of the facts and case law to prove a point. Rather than looking first at the facts and seeing what it most looks like to come to a conclusion. I acknowledge you hadn’t seen the proposal and thus it may have only appeared you did that based on what you complained to be a lack of information about it (the ets mechanism). Apologies if I was wrong about your reasoning methodology.

  89. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic, if you think that some subsequent case is authority for the fact that this is not a tax, please tell me what it is. Clearly your last attempt at this where you referenced the Harper case failed. Harper is in fact an application of the Latham test, specifically the final element of that test.

    “I won’t bother repeating myself.”

    Please don’t. Please try to make a logical argument instead.

  90. narcoticmusing

    You assume I have time to do legal research beyond off the top of my head without charging.

    Off the top of my head – the Latham decision was in Matthews v Chicory in like 1937? 1938? Anyway, it has faced a lot of criticism as being too narrow (your point) eg the Air Caledonie case but also that it didn’t take into account that some things are commonly accepted as not a tax, such as a fine isn’t a tax (so too broad – my point). In the Australian Tape case (early 90s), the court ruled a levy was a tax, but it was a very slim majority and thus demonstrated the split view. And it was the Mason High Court who were often criticised for their judicial activism rather than interpreting the law. Dawson and Toohey JJ, who were part of the Air Caledonie judgement, said in the Australian Tapes case that the Air Caledonie rule was too wide. Ie, they realised that their own judgement, when applied elsewhere, was causing error.

    Nevertheless, in Air Caledonie itself, it was recognised that the exception (fee for services) was just an example of an exception and not an exhaustive list. It went on to list more examples of exaction that would otherwise fit the Latham test but are exceptions, such as: a charge for acquisition/use of property; a fee for a privilege; a fine or penalty imposed (also seen in R v Barger ) for criminal conduct of breach of a statutory obligation. Note a penalty is relevant here, because even when Govt has tried to claim something is a tax and it fit Latham’s test, it was overruled as not a tax due to it not being a consequence from sale of goods or earnings, but a consequence of evading some responsibility such as a duty to pay (see Re Dymond ).

    Harper is merely a demonstration of those principles. The Harper principle was not limited only to fish, the principle was for ‘appropriation of a limited public natural resource to the commercial exploitation of those who… acquire or retain commercial licences’ – this is what Gillard’s carbon price is doing.

    I don’t particularly like/agree with Gillard’s ETS, I simply don’t think it is a tax.

  91. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic: “the principle was for ‘appropriation of a limited public natural resource to the commercial exploitation of those who… acquire or retain commercial licences’ – this is what Gillard’s carbon price is doing.”

    If this really is your argument it is deeply flawed. There is no “limited public natural resource” involved here. Your argument depends on the High Court making up some new category of exception which has not been previously applied. That is not a reasonably arguable position.

  92. narcoticmusing

    I don’t rest it on that alone, but you permitted me to not have to repeat myself. I was giving one example of how an exception would fit. In addition, the High Court said the categories weren’t closed. I believe on the balance it would fall into one of the exceptions because it is fee for a licence to do something.

    As for the Harper example, It is not a stretch to consider that the ocean could similarly be described as ‘not a limited natural resource’ (please forgive the double negative) and yet we have licences restricting exploitation of it, just as we have licences restricting pollution of it and this will be licences restricting pollution of the air which, in terms of massive volume, is comparable to the oceans. On your logic, Harper would’ve turned and been a tax because the defendants in that case argued exactly what you are saying that it wasn’t a limited resource – all fisheries try this line. The High Court disagreed with them, and thus, you.

  93. Splatterbottom

    Narcotic Harper wasn’t a tax because the payment was for the right to acquire property, namely a specified amount of abalone.

  94. Do either of you realise how completely and utterly irrelevant the “High Court definition” line of reasoning is?

    The question is not whether Gillard’s plan is properly described as a “tax”, but whether it is properly described as a “Carbon Tax”. In all the definitions of “Carbon Tax” that I’ve found not once has the Australian High Court been mentioned, nor have academic notions of what is or isn’t a “tax”.

    I’m not sure how to get this point across – as you just seem to be rejecting it wholesale – but the term “Carbon Tax” is not simply the ajoinment of two ordinary English words with independent meaning: it is policy jargon. A Carbon Tax (or more specifically, an Emissions Tax) is not a tax on carbon – it is a carbon pricing mechanism where a fixed, uncapped price is allocated to business taxpayers based on their emissions.

    That’s what a Carbon Tax is, and as it happens that’s also what Gillard’s proposal is.

  95. Splatterbottom

    Mondo I understand you are making a different and more relevant point and I agree with it.

    However, Narcotic and I are enjoying gnawing at each other’s bones on this particular side issue.

  96. narcoticmusing

    Mondo – I too believe you make a relevant point, however based on the ability to trade allocated permits it still appears like a fixed price ETS, nevertheless, I concede (and have previously) that it will still feel like a tax on the ground in that regard.

    Nice descriptor there SB 🙂

  97. narcoticmusing

    Btw – the fact that on the ground it’ll ‘feel’ like a tax is the main reason why I think Gillard mislead people. We are all pretty intelligent people debating this – it is unreasonable for her to have expected the general public to be debating at this level. So I think she very much misled the public re ‘no carbon tax’.

  98. I apologise unreservedly to you both – please continue to gnaw.

    Narc – for the record I do concede that these ‘allocated’ permits will, if they exist on any material level, be a legitimate distinguisher of the Gillard scheme from a Carbon Tax.

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