ETS: Policy not politics
The Opposition Leader, having decided to deal with the government rather than be trapped into a green election the Coalition would be hard-pressed to win, must now offer effective ideas on the legislation. For its part, the government (after months of rhetoric) must be more precise about the impact of its scheme. While the opposition may be out of wriggle room on this issue (it must ultimately pass the legislation or risk a double-dissolution election), the government must make sure it does not bestow a costly and risky scheme on future generations.
And the first place where the Prime Minister must convince people of the ETS's economic feasibility is at this week's federal Labor conference. The ETS is not universally popular with cabinet ministers, and backbencher Jennie George spoke for other MPs with energy-intensive industries in their electorates when she said she was "mindful" of the scheme's impact. Mr Rudd has been adept at exploiting conservative divisions over the ETS, but the time for politics is past: he must now show a willingness to explain and justify the detail of an ambitious and unproven scheme.
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