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July 11th 2011 print

John Izzard

My fellow polluters

John Izzard on the greatest speech Julia Gillard never gave. The one that would have saved her government, and Australia, from the impending disaster.

Carbon Sunday, as Andrew Bolt called it, was fascinating theatre, all played out on TV screens for the huddled masses as they awaited details of the nation’s carbon-free future. It was all very taxing. Following Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s 12pm Canberra press gathering and confirmation of all the carbon-leaks that had dribbled out during the week, the alternative PM, Bob Brown, gave his press conference where he confirmed that the Gillard government had done what it was told to do by the Greens and therefore could continue in government. Brown’s presentation wasn’t a patch on the Gillard spin but we learnt more, and it revealed the chilling future Bob has in mind for us all. 

Come 6.30 Sunday evening, with a mug of hot Milo in hand, we waited breathlessly for the Address to the Nation, the bit where the punters were to learn their fate, and the fate of our country’s carbon-free (and possibly energy-free) future. It was a much more up beat, Pollyanna style Julia that fronted the mums and dads (and others) of Australia. It was a polished performance. All the key spin-words that so captivated the press from the noon-day announcement were presented with a certain homely, caring-spin that so well suited the day’s activities. Saviour-ness generates its’ own special kind of atmosphere 

In fact it was all so homely and caring that it didn’t ring true. As we all know it was Julia Gillard and Wayne Swan who convinced Kevin Rudd to get out of the ETS and the whole climate change business just over 12 months ago. It was Julia who rounded off that bit of hanky-panky with an election promise that there would be no carbon tax. So what happened between then and now? Bob Brown—that’s what happened. With that in mind, it seems fair to jot down an Address to the Nation that perhaps Julia Gillard should have given — but didn’t.

Here goes, the greatest speech Julia Gillard never gave: 

My fellow Australians,

I come before you this evening to give you an honest and detailed account as to why I have decided not to introduce a new tax on the nation’s use of carbon dioxide. 

Over 12 months ago I advised my colleague, former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to get out of the climate-change debacle that was so damaging our government. When I took over the task of prime minister from Kevin, I was forced to do some deals with the Greens to secure a minority government. One of those deals involved the reintroduction of a carbon tax and an Emissions Trading Scheme. 

I now realise that I was wrong in doing this, and that my original inclination was the correct course to follow. 

I also realise that in science things are only settled until such time as existing theories are proven wrong. Climate-change theory is no exception. 

I also accept that economic theories are also only settled until such time as they are proven wrong. Or go terribly amiss. 

Unfortunately, in the past 12 months, my government and I have been swept up in an avalanche of scientific and economic notions that have only looked at one side of the climate-change argument. Alternate views and opinions have been excluded and dogmatic attitudes by climate-change activists have silenced debate. This is unacceptable in a free and open nation. 

I also acknowledge that Australia cannot ever achieve the proposed cuts in carbon dioxide emissions while we are supplying three of the world’s largest importers of coal and LNG with these fossil products. To say we can is a nonsense and an evil charade. 

As well, I acknowledge that there is no proof that the planned carbon tax and emissions cuts, the government was proposing, can achieve any of the goals set out. I now realise that wishful thinking is no substitute for well thought out and achievable targets. That ideology is no substitute for sound and responsible government. That all opinion must be considered. 

With serious doubts now being raised as to whether my government’s plans to reduce carbon emissions by the combination of a carbon tax and an ETS, and the failure of such schemes, as those in Europe, I believe it is prudent to take another look at the situation. Does an ETS and carbon taxes merely shift the problem to another country? Can Australia operate in a carbon vacuum while the world guzzles fossil fuels? 

With these thoughts in mind I have decided to set up a Climate Academy to examine all arguments, for and against the theory of climate change. The academy will examine all the criticism of the methods used and the activities of IPCC. To my knowledge there has been no oversight of the IPCC, covering all aspects of their work, by any government, anywhere in the world. 

Without alternative scientific evidence, no theory should be taken as gospel. 

Men and women of Australia, I regret the inconvenience I have caused with the plans to introduce a carbon dioxide tax but, on reflection, I believe we are rushing prematurely into an area that is potentially pregnant with unintended consequences and hidden dangers.

Thank you for your time. 

If only this was so.

See John Izzard on "Tax launch bombs" here…