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March 23rd 2011 print

Walter Starck

The stolen election

Gillard’s promise of no carbon tax effectively removed this issue from the election debate. Without this promise it seems certain that the close balance of votes would have favoured the opposition. The attempt to now impose a carbon tax makes it difficult to perceive the promise of no tax as other than a deliberate lie calculated to deceive voters. 


Julia Gillard’s promise of no carbon tax under her government was not just an extemporaneous comment or even an expression of intent which was subordinated by subsequent events. It was a considered statement of policy, unequivocal and repeated.


The only relevant changes in circumstances have been an ongoing weakening of the political, economic and scientific support for any urgent necessity to impose costly measures to curtail use of fossil fuels.

At the time of the last election polls clearly indicated that a majority of the electorate were opposed to a carbon tax and that majority has only increased since then. Gillard’s promise of no carbon tax effectively removed this issue from the election debate. Without this promise it seems certain that the close balance of votes would have favoured the opposition. The attempt to now impose a carbon tax makes it difficult to perceive the promise of no tax as other than a deliberate lie calculated to deceive voters.

This situation clearly constitutes an electoral fraud. It was both a fraud against voters and a defrauding of the Commonwealth government of some millions of dollars in salary, pension and benefits thus falsely obtained. While it is reasonable that politicians be extended some latitude in stating intentions, there is no reason in law or natural justice that they should be exempt from clear and deliberate violations of the statutes prohibiting fraud.

Though the moral turpitude may be disgusting, the stupidity of the proposed tax is perhaps even worse:

  • It is clearly against the will of a strong majority of the electorate.
     
  • No significant warming has taken place or is indicated as having begun.
     
  • The climate models being relied upon to predict future warming have repeatedly failed to predict actual climate trends.
     
  • Any reduction in Australia’s 1.4% share of global emissions will have no detectable effect on climate.
     
  • Any unilateral action by Australia in reducing emissions can be expected to have no influence on other nations.
     
  • The predicted warming by the end of the century is similar to that which occurs many mornings while you are eating breakfast.
     
  • The natural sequestering of CO2 in our land/sea area exceeds our emissions and we are a net sink for global emissions. By any reasonable accounting we should be receiving carbon credits, not paying for them.
     
  • The known effects of a modest warming with increased evaporation/precipitation and greater atmospheric CO2 are clearly beneficial. The claims of catastrophic effects are entirely speculation unsupported by evidence, theory or even the models.
     
  • Increasing cost of fossil fuels makes a significant additional tax to discourage their use about as useful as throwing a stone to a drowning person to encourage them to try harder to swim.
     
  • At a time when most families and small businesses are struggling to remain solvent under the burden of massive mortgages on top of across the board increases in rents, rates, food, fuel, utilities, insurance and government imposts, a massive new tax on energy will be a king hit.

A recent OECD survey of food prices revealed Australia’s increase of 34% over the past seven years was the world’s highest at double that of the 17% OECD average.   Over the past three decades the number of farmers, graziers and fishermen has been reduced by 2/3 or more with government over-regulation being the predominant cause. For most of those still surviving, profits have plummeted and are on a trajectory set to reach zero sometime in the next few years.

The independent farmer, grazier, or fisherman is an endangered species being displaced by corporate operations whose prime interest is not in the land, the sea or the way of life, but simply the bottom line. They will produce only what is most profitable and sell where they can get the best prices. Increasingly this will be overseas unless Australian consumers are able to pay even more.

Energy is essential to the entire modern economy and represents a significant cost in most sectors. Food production is a high energy user at every stage of the process. Regardless of any exemptions or compensation, the proposed carbon tax can be expected to exacerbate the ongoing increase in food prices. With charity organisations already estimating about a third of families as being under financial stress and many already having to cut back on food purchases, a further escalation in prices will bring real hardship.

Reducing fossil fuel consumption is not simply a matter of flipping a switch to Alternatives. No viable alternatives now exist for most usage. Ships, trucks, trains, bulldozers and tractors aren’t going to run on batteries nor are we going to power our homes, factories and cities by sunbeams and summer breezes. If imposed at a level having any meaningful effect on fossil fuel consumption, Gillard’s carbon tax can only result in poverty, hardship, economic decline with the spectre of hunger in a land of plenty.

Surely wiser heads in Labor must recognise that Julia’s deal with the Greens is turning into an electoral suicide pact for their party. If she can blatantly lie to voters, reneging on promises to the Greens shouldn’t present any ethical qualms. In any event, however unpalatable, the choice for the party is simple; if she can’t be persuaded she must be replaced.

The Climate Crisis

It isn’t known if, when or to what extent it may take place. What the actual effects will be are unknown. We do know that a slightly warmer climate is better than a cooler one and that plants thrive on more CO2. We have no effective prevention and no idea what it might cost. However, an overwhelming consensus of “experts” are certain that it is imperative we take extreme action, immediately, at any cost to address this "crisis". 

Would you buy a used car from these people? Should we commit the global economy to their advice? Might there be a better use for the billions of dollars spent annually on "climate science"?