Op Ed column pointing out the problems with Abbott’s Direct Action deal with Palmer

by ray goodlass

My Op Ed column pointing out the problems with  Abbott’s Direct Action climate change deal with Clive Palmer published today in the Daily Advertiser. Here’s the full text:

Underneath the climate change deal is the oldest trick in the book

When I first heard the headlines about Clive Palmer’s Direct Action climate change deal with the Abbott government I remarked to a dear friend “I smell a rat”, but she replied “That’s an insult to rats”.

She’s quite right, for despite their reputation for being dirty, rats are very intelligent and perform vital functions in our eco-system. She’s right too in that Palmer’s deal making is nothing to celebrate, no matter how much Messrs Hunt and Palmer tout it as a breakthrough. But more about the ‘rat in the ranks’ later.

Direct Action, the key plank of which is a $2.55 billion fund that pays major polluters to reduce their emissions became law on Thursday night. On the surface it is a substantial backdown from Mr Palmer’s declarations earlier this year that Direct Action was “hopeless and dead” because it would be too expensive with little environmental outcome.

But to achieve it, the government left in place the Climate Change Authority and with it the possibility of a return to an emissions trading scheme at some point in the future, for Tony Abbott has left open that possibility as part of his trade-off with PUP.

Labor’s environment spokesman Mark Butler welcomed the retention of the CCA, branding it a minor broken promise in the scheme of things, but said there was absolutely no need for further study on an ETS as that work had already been done.

The Australian Greens say coal miner Clive Palmer has helped our climate denier Prime Minister to demolish emissions trading in favour of a complete sham that benefits coal miners and polluters. “All Clive Palmer’s huff and puff about global warming has come to absolutely nothing.  He has torn down emissions trading and the mining tax, is promoting a massive coal mine, and is now pretending he cares about global warming. He cares no more than Tony Abbott, which is not at all. What a joke” said Christine Milne. Thankfully Senator Milne went on to say that “Now the Greens will move amendments in the parliament, to try to give this pathetic excuse for climate policy some actual spine and rigour . And what is the rat I smelled? Nothing more than though touting the possibility of a return to an emissions trading scheme at some point in the future as part of the deal both Captain Abbott and his Mate Greg Hunt said this would never happen (“Funding Climate Change Authority when its “Efforts will be ignored” Paul McLoughlin, DA Opinion Piece 1 November), so have Mr Palmer and the Australian people been taken for a ride?

Captain Abbott must be hoping that Mr Palmer isn’t aware that sending something off to an authority to investigate is the oldest trick in the political book to make sure that it will never see the light of day. He can perhaps fool Mr Palmer, not all of us.