In the recriminatory aftermath of the Wentworth byelection, various coroners have pronounced the results of their political autopsies. Former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s refusal to help his nominated successor, Dave Sharma, with even a kind word has been said by some to have tipped the scales in favour of independent Kerryn Phelps, who leads as of the latest AEC numbers by some 2000 votes.
Others have observed that Wentworth is the quintessential “doctors’ wives” electorate — high incomes, dinner party enthusiam for social justice causes, including welcome mats for asylum seekers and wind generators on every second hill. These are easy positions to wear on one’s designer sleeve, as renewable turbines and unassimilated populations will always be dumped in the less well-heeled electorates of others.
And then there was the post-loss appraisal and prescription of Member for Goldstein Tim Wilson, who nine years ago while an IPA scholar observed the Copenhagen Climate Conference for Quadrant Online. Here is what he told the Australian Financial Review on Monday (emphasis added)
The Wentworth result has already prompted backbenchers Trent Zimmerman and Tim Wilson, who hold two of the seats, to publicly call for action on emissions reduction.
Mr Wilson, who holds Goldstein in bayside Melbourne, said modern Liberals had to confront contemporary challenges and not allow them to be defined by the left.
“The Liberal Party can only be successful when every Australian can see their lives through our values. That’s why we have to project a forward-looking modern liberalism that conserves our culture and institutions while defining economic and social progress,” he said.
“People vote Liberal because they trust us to be the better stewards of the nation and provide serious economic leadership, steer social progress and provide environmental stewardship. Australians rightly expect us to lead, not just slow the success of Labor.”
The Australian put the Wilsonian view this way:
Trent Zimmerman, Jason Falinski and Tim Wilson — who represent blue-ribbon electorates that are affluent and socially progressive — say the government needs to do more to show it is serious about combating climate change and working to meet the Paris targets.
Like the climate itself, it seems the windvanes of Liberal policymakers can swing wildly from one direction to its opposite.
Below, a clip from 2012 in which a relentlessly logical Tim Wilson lays out the case against another government’s efforts to show it was “serious about combating climate change”. As he says at the clip’s conclusion:
“It’s time Australia recognised reality, followed other developed countries out of the Kyoto Protocol, and ditched the carbon tax it helped create.”
Then there is this from 2009. Roughly two minutes in, Wilson brandishes a bag of crisps and explains the inevitable consequences of the Labor government’s bid to “combat climate change” with taxes.
When reporting from Copenhagen for Quadrant Online, Wilson had this to say:
I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether climate activists were actually interested in listening to the impact of their policies on those who couldn’t afford the plane ticket to Copenhagen.
the “Fossil of the Day Award” … is announced at 6pm every day in the NGO trade stalls section of the conference for the country that is deemed by activists to have done the most to hold back global emissions reduction cuts. It’s a ceremony that is ten years old and is held at every climate change negotiating conference.
On Monday that Award was won by Annex 1 countries under the Kyoto Protocol for having “an overwhelming lack of ambition” to cut emissions, and on Tuesday by Ukraine for setting the lowest emissions reduction target in the developed world – allowing a 75 per cent increase in emissions.
Today it was Russia’s turn for refusing to discuss its Kyoto Protocol obligations. And for the first time in the ten year history of the Awards the “Ray of the Day” Award was given out to Tuvalu for arguing for a binding, international treaty to cut global carbon dioxide emissions.
If the event weren’t such a farce, it’d almost be funny.
…there was a much greater presence of anti-capitalist sentiment amongst protestors today with placards and posters decrying “toxic capitalism” and “change the system, not the climate”.
Clearly these protestors have never looked at the rising emissions from centrally planned economies.
But opposition to capitalism clearly only went so far with a little coffee stall where you could get a “green bean” coffee.
I presume the protestors turned a blind eye to the fact that beans were imported from the other side of the world by a carbon emitting shipping line and traded on globalised international markets.
But considering how cold it is in Copenhagen I can understand putting ideology to one side especially when the objective is to warm up. Oh, except when it is the climate.
For developed countries the negotiations are about how much they have to give to that adaptation financing pool, and how much they’ll have to harm their economies and their competitive advantage against developing countries through emissions reduction as well.
Tim is a lovely fellow, a witty companion and sharp as a box of tacks — qualities none who have met him could ever doubt.
But what, with a federal election just down the road, does he actually believe? And what, for that matter, does his entire party believe?
Voters staring mouth-agape at their latest electricity bills have a right to know.