Abbott’s World Leadership: An Opportunity for Leading on Climate Change
Abbott’s world leadership on the MH 17 disaster has not only been recognised internationally but across party and media lines in Australia too (see articles below). Although there is no necessary connection between this incident and other international policy issues, the establishment of a leadership position (and the exposure of the relatively weak responses from the Europeans and the US), could provide an opportunity for Abbott at the G20 meeting.
On the agenda for that meeting is an attempt to agree on policies to lift the rate of economic growth. One way of doing that would be to propose that G20s cut their wasteful expenditure of billions of dollars and wasteful employment of hundreds of thousands of public servants on measures to reduce emissions. The savings would probably be enough to eliminate the budget deficits of some countries and make a major contribution to reducing investment uncertainty.
Such a proposal would require a submission by Australia which examined the causes of temperature changes and showed that they appear to have mostly been due to natural, uncontrollable causes. It would also suggest that available evidence makes it (in IPCC phraseology) very unlikely that the world faces the threat of dangerous warming postulated by the IPCC.
The drafting of such a submission could be undertaken in Australia by the expert scientists and statisticians which we have here but who have been hidden away by “the authorities”. Time now to bring them out into the open.
And an Opportunity for Hockey
Treasurer Hockey’s strategy in defending the budget proposals has focussed on the need to overcome deficits and debt inherited from Labor, for everyone to contribute and deal with the so-called “emergency” situation. But, as I have argued previously, Hockey’s has failed to justify the budget and its proposed changes from broader economic and equity perspectives: in particular that the large increase in per capita incomes over the past 20 years reduces the need for the government to provide welfare assistance or justifies cuts in such assistance.
The publication by the ACTU of a critique of several major budget proposals (see below) provides an opportunity for Hockey to ask his chosen Treasury Secretary to produce the “missing” analysis. He should also persuade fellow ministers that the government will oppose any proposal for compensatory wage adjustments via the Fair Work Commission and, if necessary, seek legislation to prevent any such proposals being given effect.