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December 01st 2009 print

David Flint

Abbott wins – media loses

The choice of Tony Abbott as leader is a victory for common sense. He showed that in his first decision, which was  to hold a secret ballot. The party then sensibly decided not to accept the government ultimatum to pass the ETS for the sole purpose of allowing  Kevin Rudd to boast about it  at Copenhagen.

A victory for common sense

Tony Abbott’s win today was a victory for common sense. It was also a defeat  not only for the Rudd government, but also for its allies in the commentariat.

There was absolutely no good reason whatsoever to ram the ETS bills through the Parliament – except to satisfy Kevin Rudd’s vanity and perhaps his international career plans.

It is now accepted that computer modelling has failed completely to explain the fact that with the substantially increased carbon dioxide emissions over the last decade, the temperature has gone in the opposite direction.   

So the alarmists have substituted “climate change “for “global warming”. Worse , some scientists have engaged in fraudulent and improper practices to justify their theory. The point is they cannot now  talk as if their theory were established  fact; they can no longer talk of “the” science.  The theory of anthropogenic global warming remains exactly that – a theory. It is a theory which is becoming more questionable, and is being supported by some very disreputable tactics.

No one denies climate change; the only issue is the cause. Even if the 3 or 5% of carbon dioxide which results from man’s activities affects the climate significantly, Australia’s share is hardly worth talking about, a mere 0.18%. If we stopped all emissions, it would make no difference to the climate. It would impose an unbearable cost on the Australian people.

But let us assume man made carbon dioxide is significantly affecting the climate. Let us further assume that the Americans, Indians, Chinese and Europeans agree to reduce emissions. Then let us assume they actually reduce them. What is to stop the other factors which have changed the climate for millions of years?

In any event an early Australian ETS is pointless. But worse it creates, as Tony Abbott says, a new burdensome tax   which creates a slush fund with politicised handouts, a giant bureaucracy and an enormous and growing burden on the Australian people.

Tony Abbott has already demonstrated how well suited he is to the leadership. His first act as leader was to have a secret ballot on the government’s ETS legislation. Given the differences and the fluidity of the situation this was the best way to find what the party wanted without any recriminations.  The result was to refer the bills to a Senate Committee, and failing that, to reject them. How wise. How reflective of not only the Liberal rank and file and the Liberal support base, but also of the electorate at large.

As I said on 23 November, Tony Abbott’s time was coming. The commentariat disagreed. The front page of The Australian predicted a rout if the Liberals did not roll over and endorse the Rudd-Turnbull ETS.  But times are changing and the people have woken up. The latest polls are showing the Australian people want to know more about the ETS, and want any action delayed until after Copenhagen.

The rank and file were first to begin to suspect the Rudd-Turnbull ETS, and eventually the even “doctors’ wives” may come to this.

I first got to know Tony Abbott when he was executive director of Australians for Constitutional Monarchy. In that role, and then as a MP, and a senior minister he has not changed. He is absolutely straight – he answers questions truthfully and without spin. He does not luxuriate in the comforts of office. He is one of the least affected politicians, and is obviously strong intellectually, morally and physically. He is also a considerable communicator, both written and oral.

If they do not know  this already, Australians will soon realise that the brand he offers is very different from that of many other politicians.

His life as an athlete and an intellectual, and his honesty, means that rank and file Australians will identify more with him than many others.

The Liberal Party has been revived, and it has followed the Nationals into the only correct position they should have on the ETS – opposition.