Malcolm in a muddle on ETS
MALCOLM Turnbull is facing a rebellion from the Liberal Party's West Australian branch, which is demanding he drop his plan to negotiate with the Rudd government on an emissions trading scheme before the UN summit on climate change to be held in Copenhagen in December.
The looming revolt in Western Australia this Saturday comes as divisions on the ETS spread to the Coalition front bench and the Liberal leader remained locked in a desperate battle with the Queensland branch of the Liberal National Party to save the career of promising frontbencher Peter Dutton.
The first item on the agenda at Saturday's West Australian Liberal Party state conference demands a rethink on the ETS, urging Mr Turnbull to "delay any negotiation with the federal Labor government on the design or introduction of any emissions trading scheme until after the climate change conference in Copenhagen". The motion from the state party's influential rural policy committee, which appears to have wide support among the West Australian Liberals, further declares: "We also ask that any future decision to introduce an ETS be in line with the actions taken by Australia's major trading partners." The motion follows shadow parliamentary secretary Mitch Fifield's call that any vote be deferred until after the Copenhagen conference. (source)
And Turnbull's decision to put his leadership on the line has also come in for a caning:
LAST week Malcolm Turnbull had one of his brain snaps that so many Liberals feared he would have.
He put his leadership "on the line" over an emissions trading scheme, accused some colleagues of being climate change deniers and called others "anonymous smartarses".
It was a public expression of frustration and a determination to assert his authority and impose his leadership through force of personality.
His bold endeavour - to simply tell the Liberals they couldn't have him as leader without his ETS policy - was also based on the belief that because there was no leadership alternative he would prevail.
He may be right but his strategy may be careering out of control because now the Liberal Party is snapping back. The Nationals have been snapping for some time and it's showing in the latest Newspoll surveys. (source)
And the Newspoll results are indeed pretty bleak:
LIBERAL Party support has slumped back to the level it was at early in Brendan Nelson's embattled leadership, as Malcolm Turnbull loses economic credibility with the public and fights his own back bench over an emissions trading scheme.
The slump in party support - which would wipe out the Coalition at an election if it does not improve - will increase tensions between the Liberals and Nationals as the Opposition Leader tries to impose his authority on the Liberal National Party in Queensland, rebellious Liberal MPs and Nationals threatening to split the Coalition. (source)
But we would do well to remember what the ETS will mean. Already, the government is setting up a "super bureacracy" to administer compliance with the laws, despite the ETS not even having passed into law yet. It will be a civil servant's dream:
At the heart of this is the Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority, which will be supported by a new division created within the Department of Climate Change.
Informed sources say that about 100 staff and officials will initially be involved in this operation, but this is likely to blow out dramatically when the full implications of what will effectively amount to a federal consumption tax on carbon emissions become clear.
This new regulatory agency will have sweeping powers to enforce the government's climate change regime. It will also issue and auction emissions permits and collect the revenue from these. The bill to provide for this agency went up to a Senate committee inquiry earlier this year but it received little attention as the focus was largely on the scope of the CPRS proposals. (source)