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25 February 2011 @ 12:24 pm
Brief Australian Politics ...  
Some of you may remember that Australia was once led by Harry Potter, aka Kevin Rudd. He was one of the most popular Australian Prime Ministers for a goodly period of his leadership. He won power with a promise for a Carbon Tax as a major part of his platform. Three times he tried to get an Emissions Trading Scheme through parliament, three times it was knocked back by a hostile Senate controlled by the conservative Opposition.

Kevin gave up and declared that his government would not try to institute any sort of Carbon Tax again until 2013.

His popularity plummeted and people expressed extreme disappointment with him as a leader. For all that the mining companies then spent $22 million to get him out of office a few months later, this was the moment that the general populace expressed as a breaking of faith.

As many of you will recall, shortly after, the mining companies mounted a scare campaign and the NSW Labor Party and their Victorian Mates acted like weasels and knifed poor old Kev in the back, replacing him with Julia.

After another short period of time, Julia took her team to an election. The Opposition said 'Don't vote for them! They will impose Great Big New Taxes!' (Note that this was despite both the current Opposition Leader and the previous one both having espoused Carbon Tax as an effective mechanism of reining in Australia's appalling reliance on carbon-heavy technologies.)

In response, Julia promised there would be no new Carbon Tax under her government.

The Greens said: 'YOU PEOPLE ARE INSANE! DID YOU NOT NOTICE THAT VICTORIA BURNED DOWN IN A RECORD HEATWAVE LAST YEAR??!!'

Julia's party lost many votes. The Opposition gained a few.

The Greens gained a record number of votes.

Julia has just declared that her government will be imposing a Carbon Tax after all. The Opposition has declared that this is the most appalling thing ever in the history of Australian politics and that the Australian people will rise up in revolt because they did not vote for this!

Except, quite a lot of us did.
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nikethana on February 25th, 2011 01:37 am (UTC)
YAY YAY YAY Gillard!
mrsquizzicalmrsquizzical on February 25th, 2011 01:44 am (UTC)
i want to wake up when people are sane again.
mayela_delarue: Excitementmayela_delarue on February 25th, 2011 07:47 am (UTC)
There isn't an alarm with a long enough time frame - if there were, I'd have one too.
prone to mischieftreacle_tartlet on February 25th, 2011 01:58 am (UTC)
As one outraged, red-faced, shouty Opposition MP bellowed during Question Time: THIS IS THE MOST APPALLING BREACH OF TRUST WITH THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE SINCE...

...since John Howard won an election on the promise that we'd never never have a GST? Hmm?

Also, I hate Tony Abbott's Smug FaceTM. He would be better served if he were to take to wearing a mask and lurking under Parliament House singing Andrew Lloyd-Webber songs.
(Deleted comment)
Meredyth: Draco's Not Impressedmeredyth_13 on February 25th, 2011 02:07 am (UTC)
I can't start headdesking over this or my migraine would reach brain damage proportions. I actually want to slap Abbott's face, I find him THAT offensive right now.

Aside from the recent floods (oh, do we remember the floods), or the heatwaves, or the fires, there has been scientific reports that (as much as I don't like it) climate change is actually affecting the weight of the oceans and could actually precipitate increased volcanic activity in susceptible areas. Hmmm, volcanoes, earthquakes ... anyone?

I'm not saying that climate change caused the earthquakes in NZ - but if there is a risk that it CAN cause increased crustal plate activity, surely what we're seeing now is one of the most potent and immediate cautionary tales for why DOING SOMETHING about it is important.

On the other hand, I don't see that a carbon tax is actually the answer - because it's just another way of being seen to do something WITHOUT actually doing anything to reduce emmissions. It's shifting money around, which seems to be all anyone is good at. The actual, hard measures needed in this country to shift our reliance, not on energy, but on energy produced by fossil fuels, simply isn't and hasn't taken place. AT ALL.

And even worse, every time someone has come up with new technology that is genuinely innovative or alternate in this country, they have been laughed down, excluded, given less than zero support, and most of them have either ended up bankrupt, burried, bought out by energy companies that then bury the tech, or have gone overseas where they are actually being of benefit to a few enlightened countries.

Hmmm, soapbox? Moi? This is why I don't work in environment any more, and why I have given up on the human race. Bring on the apocalypse, I say. Hopefully the planet will survive us - sooner, rather than later.

:D
Kareinakareina on February 25th, 2011 08:01 am (UTC)
What is your source on the climate change-volcano connection? I'm a geologist, but haven't heard that one yet.
blamebramptonblamebrampton on February 25th, 2011 09:08 am (UTC)
Ooh, I know the answer to this one: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20327273.800-climate-change-may-trigger-earthquakes-and-volcanoes.html

It needs a NS subscription to read, alas. The following blog links to a paper on the topic, too:
http://feww.wordpress.com/2009/01/01/climate-change-earthquakes-volcanic-eruption/
Kareinakareina on February 25th, 2011 09:30 am (UTC)
Ok, that article makes more sense than the above paraphrase "changing the weight of the oceans". The change in pressure on land surfaces when glaciers melt is well documented. Parts of Canada and Scandinavia are still in the process of bouncing back now that the weight of the last major ice sheet are not pushing them down...
Meredyth: Accio Brainmeredyth_13 on February 25th, 2011 10:26 am (UTC)
To be honest, I can't recall which reports it was - I know at the time (some time in the last year or so) I was really annoyed that people were linking the two because I felt it was just public/media catastrophising, and then someone pointed out a couple of studies that were investigating both the effects of glacial loss weight shift on continents and oceanic increase weight shift, resulting from climate change, and how those could impact tectonic movement/activity.

I was even more annoyed at the idea that all the disaster-sayers might have had a grain of truth. >.>

If this is not generally being supported in geological circles then I would love to know, but while I may be vague, I did think at the time that the reports were from reasonably reputable scientific sources, which is why they stuck with me at all.

:D
Kareinakareina on February 25th, 2011 11:06 am (UTC)
I'm not really clear what is and isn't accepted in that field of geology--my specialty is the changes in mineral composition and new mineral growth as a result of changes in temperature and pressure in rocks that are at the roots of a mountain or going down a subduction zone.

Even so I do know that Scandinavia is still rising now that the weight of that ice sheet is gone. Some of that rebound does result in fault movement in the rocks themselves as they adjust. However, these days only Greenland and Antarctica have enough ice left, I think, to cause huge adjustments were it all to melt (in which case a huge percentage of humans would be busy looking for new homes as their old ones would be under water).

The other thing to consider is that tectonic process happen at odd scales from a human point of view. How long has it been since most of the big northern hemisphere ice sheets melted, and the rebound is still happening? Earthquakes take time--first pressure has to build, and keep building until the rock can't take it anymore and breaks. That split second of breakage is the quake, but it can be anything form centuries to millions of years of pressure build up before the quake.

Likewise volcanic activity takes time--first something has to happen to cause rock to melt (commonly from being carried down a subduction zone till the minerals in it aren't stable at the pressure and temperature), then the melt has to segregate and rise to the surface. If it doesn't make it all the way up, no eruption.
sorrel_forbes: mad hattersorrel_forbes on February 25th, 2011 08:29 am (UTC)
I was hoping you'd post about this. I've yet to research the 'hybrid' plan and how the tax will actually work because the quick look through the newspaper I had at hand today was all about residential price hikes, which wasn't really what I wanted to know. Hopefully the tax will actually be good for something, but it is all a bit farcical.
Vertelemming: Politics is a Fandom - Rudd Mutedvertelemming on February 25th, 2011 11:29 am (UTC)
Myself, I'm still sick to death of both of them. I look at pretty much every frontbencher of both major parties right now and go, "... want to buy new political parties plzthx."
Lidda_Annelidda_anne on February 25th, 2011 01:11 pm (UTC)
Here here!
illereynillereyn on February 25th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
I'm glad they're finally putting a Carbon Tax - just need to make sure it's not ridiculously low with huge concessions to big polluters (because then it would sort of lose its point, and my cynical side will laugh maniacally)
tinofbeanstinofbeans on February 25th, 2011 11:07 pm (UTC)
About time on this one.

What I think is really amusing is that the Liberal Party has almost certainly delt themselves out of having any influence on this tax and with the balance of power held by the Greens and the independents it will almost certainly be a greener tax then it would have been if the Liberal Party had of actually negotiated the first time around.

Abbot is .... I just can't even say what Abbot is he makes me so angry. How dare he say that the Government has no mandate for this when he squashed the last time around when the Government had a clear mandate. He didn't care then but all of a sudden he wants a mandate now, screw that!

I agree that this tax is not the best way that we can go about this but it is a start and I think that is really important. If we can't actually make a start we won't move in the right direction at all. So even though I don't think this is the best start it is better than anything we have had so far.
ladyjanevaladyjaneva on February 27th, 2011 02:55 pm (UTC)
It is sad to see that politicians appear to be the same all over the world.

We're currently having a scandal ebcause our military minister has been found out to have copied LOTS of texts from other scientists in his Doctor paper. Without citing, naturally. On something like more than 200 pages.

ooops. But of course that was an accident and he did not do that on purpose. Oh no. He's being build up as the nect chancellor candidate by the christian conservative party, so it's all ok.

Except, if we students copy without citing, we fail or are expelled. He gets to stay minister.

/end of rant.
drbunsen: lifedrbunsen on February 28th, 2011 10:38 am (UTC)
On the problem of exemptions: written in response to the 2008 Rudd scheme.