In a week that was punctuated by US President Barack Obama’s strong words on climate change and his plans to take action, Australian politics appears to be staying the course: In which the federal climate minister calls the Leader of the Opposition “Australia’s biggest bullshit artist;” a Liberal member calls renewable energy a “dirty business which is the clean, green daydream;” and a Labor member compares Abbott to a Stalinist crank.
“For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. …We can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late. …But if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.” – US President Barack Obama in his State of the Union speech this week.
“The government can’t change the weather. I said that in the speech. We can pass a bunch of laws that will destroy our economy, but it isn’t going to change the weather. Because, for example, there are other countries that are polluting in the atmosphere much greater than we are at this point, China, India, all these countries that are still growing. They’re not going to stop doing what they’re doing. America is a country, it’s not a planet. So we can pass a bunch of laws or executive orders that will do nothing to change the climate or the weather but will devastate our economy.” – Senator Marco Rubio in the official Republican rebuttal.
“We have made arrangements for our nation to seize a clean energy future, to reduce carbon pollution and to make sure that we get the benefits of jobs and opportunity in the future. We have done what Prime Minister Howard intended to do before he lost the election in 2007: we have introduced a market based mechanism to price carbon, which will give our nation an emissions trading scheme – something that the Leader of the Opposition and every serving member who was here in 2007 was in favour of at the time.” – Prime Minister Julia Gillard, speaking in parliament on Wednesday
“What we see is the Leader of the Opposition back to form on his negativity about carbon pricing. …The Leader of the Opposition might not like it, but there are these things called facts. If the Leader of the Opposition is in a position to, he should outline to the Australian people which one of his statements during his campaign of fear has come true.” – Prime Minister Julia Gillard, speaking in parliament on Tuesday
“[Tony Abbott]’s wrong on every front. In fact on the issue of the carbon tax he’s Australia’s biggest bullshit artist.” – Federal climate minister Greg Combet, speaking at a press conference.
“The position that the opposition has is so ridiculous, so environmentally absurd and so economically irresponsible that they will be under pressure from people on their own side of politics to keep the carbon price in place. The so-called pledge to get rid of it is simply not credible.” – Greg Combet, Federal Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, speaking in parliament
“I thank the member for Wentworth [Malcolm Turnbull] for his question. …I did not notice that he was at the ALP candidates seminar, but I am not surprised! I am not surprised …that he would like to be at a meeting where there are no climate change deniers and where people, like him, believe in a market based solution to carbon pollution. So, if he is ever feeling the need to talk to people who are actually on the right side of history when it comes to carbon, he will be very welcome indeed.” – Prime Minister Julia Gillard, speaking in parliament on Wednesday
“Alan [Watts] reminded those of us who had been sucked in by the clean, green, wind turbine daydream that we are paying through the nose for the high price of our ignorance and inner-city elitist ideology – and, worse, that we will continue to pay until such time as the dirty business which is the clean, green daydream of renewable energy ideals is replaced with sensible and achievable objectives.– Alby Schultz, Liberal Party member for Hume, speaking in parliament on Wednesday
“We have had to endure some loud and very laughable protestations by the coalition in relation to carbon pricing… Senator Joyce also claimed that the introduction of a carbon price would lead to us all paying $100 for a leg of lamb. …I did a fair bit of cooking over the Christmas break and cooked a lamb roast on more than one occasion. It did not cost me $100… it cost me about $20 at IGA in Flinders View, the suburb in which I live.” – Shayne Neumann, ALP member for Blair, speaking in parliament
“Lysenkoism [named for Russian botanist, and political favourite of Joseph Stalin, Trofim Lysenko] is used metaphorically to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives. …there could be no better description of the climate change statements of the Leader of the Opposition.” – John Murphy, ALP member for Reid, speaking in parliament