Gadget by The Blog Doctor.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Did Julia Gillard Lie?

It is often claimed that Julia Gillard is a liar on the basis that she said before the last election that she would not introduce a Carbon Tax. The argument continues that as she is now introducing a Carbon Tax she lied. Some people have taken to calling her JuLIAR.

There are two issues to consider here:

1. What did Gillard actually say before the last election?

2. What is the nature of the legislation that is currently before the parliament?

The day before the election the Australian published an article on Gillard that can be found at this link.

Here is the direct quote from Gillard from that article:

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

The Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme mentioned in the quote is the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) that was negotiated between the Rudd Government and the then Opposition led by Malcolm Turnbull. (The Opposition kicked out Turnbull, but only by one vote, the then reneged on the agreed ETS.)

So she ruled out a Carbon Tax but not an Emissions Trading Scheme.

See this post and this post for analyses of the differences between a Carbon Tax and an Emissions Trading Scheme.

So what is the Government introducing a Carbon Tax or an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS)?

The clear answer is that it is an ETS.

There is an interesting wrinkle though. For the first few years of the scheme it will operate somewhat like a Carbon Tax as the price per tonne of carbon released will be charged at a fixed price ($23 per tonne). There are differences though as the permits can be traded.

The reason why there will be an initial price placed on carbon emissions is to facilitate the transition to a full ETS and avoid the problems of excess permits that occurred in the early years of the European ETS.

So the simple answer to the question: did Gillard Lie, is clearly no.

She did not rule out an ETS before the election and she is now introducing an ETS to the parliament.

It is significant that the quote from Gillard came from the Australian newspaper. This is not some left of centre paper. The Australian has made its life work to destroy the Gillard Government.

Here is a link with comments by Gillard on how the price mechanism would work.

The best speech in the Federal Parliament given on the topic of Carbon Pricing was by Malcolm Turnbull. The speech can be found here.

This post emphasises the importance of checking original sources. For an interesting take on this issue see this post.

The climate policy worked out by the Multi-party committee - Government, Independents and Greens - is based on the Garnaut review, the summary of which can be found here.

1 comment:

William and Joan Spencer said...

Good argument Stephen. Very informative.
however Julia is not my favourite at the moment. Much prefer K Rudd.