ALP MP breaks ranks on carbon tax


Federal Labor should allow the Abbott government to scrap the carbon tax to expose the coalition's climate change policy as a "disaster", a backbencher says.

Labor MP Nick Champion has broken ranks with his senior Labor colleagues who have signalled they will block the coalition's plans to repeal the carbon tax in parliament.

"If the majority of people vote for bad policy, then they simply need to see that experiment fulfilled," he told ABC Radio.

"It's not our job to save the Liberal Party from bad policy and it's not our job to save the Australian people from bad policy if that's what they choose and vote for in an election."

Scrapping the carbon tax and moving to the coalition's direct action plan would push electricity prices up, raise Australia's emissions and waste $3 billion dollars, Mr Champion said.

That would expose Prime Minister-elect Tony Abbott's policies as a "disaster" and would hasten his demise.

"In effect, I think the Liberal Party want to hang themselves," Mr Champion said. "Well, we should give them as much rope as they need."

He says Labor should oppose the carbon tax repeal legislation in the lower house and abstain in the Senate.

Liberal MP Kelly O'Dwyer welcomed Mr Champion's comments.

"Finally, we're hearing somebody on the Labor party side actually say `we shouldn't be so arrogant as to dismiss the mandate that's been given to the coalition at this election'," she told Sky News.

Labor's Richard Marles said questions of mandate had to be considered by the party.
"We do need to acknowledge the fact that Tony Abbott won the election, and we lost," the Victorian MP told Sky News.
"On the one hand putting a price on carbon has been good policy.
"By contrast the direct action plan is a silly policy. There is not an expert outside the Liberal Party who thinks it is anything other than a lemon."
But Tony Maher from the CFMEU hit out at Mr Champion and his "cheap kindergarten politics", saying "he's walked into it like an amateur".
"The people who voted for Labor want Labor to stand for something, and if they don't stand for something they will pay a further price, they'll lose more votes," the general president of the union's mining and energy division told ABC radio.
Mr Maher said Labor needed to appoint an "adult" leader and stop focusing on itself.
"The sooner they get a captain of the ship the better, otherwise muppets like this will keep saying stupid stuff," he said.

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Hmmm...first intelligent and fair statement from a Labor Party member.....
Don't get carried away Art, 'fair' I will accept, but I require more convincing on the 'intelligence' dimension. Poor Nick can now expect some serious bullying if he wants to remain a Labor member.
No. Mr Champion speaks nonsense. His duty is to respect support the positions on which he was elected. Mandates give moral authority to a Government in seeking to legislate its policies, but are of no significance to an opposition arguing its case in the parliament. Our political system does not provide a means for the people to directly decide issues, other than by referendum. For all other issues, the parliamentary process determines them.
Rau, I distinctly recall Abbott saying almost on a daily basis that the election would be a referendum on the carbon tax and mining tax. You like other Labor supporters clearly choose to have selective hearing - that together with waste & incompetence is why Labor got its lowest primary vote in more than 100 years.
Silvano, did the Coalition only take two policies into the election? If not, then it couldn't bean election based purely on those two areas. That sound-byte was a slogan, nothing more.
Silvano - not sure why you think I'm a labour supporter?? Can't we just debate the political process without having to align with a party? What I am saying is that we had a general election, not a referendum. It is not a referendum because one leader wants it to be seen as such. No matter which party one votes for. The electors are called upon to decide on the basis of a whole collection of policies.
Rau, I accept that the debate should be about the political process and that party alignment should not come into it. In that spirit, I believe that the issue of dealing with carbon pricing was so prominent in the coalition campaign that there was absolutely no doubt in voter minds as to the intent if the coalition won government - not dissimilar to Labor's Workchoices campaign in 2007. Michael, the coalition did indeed take many policies to the people at the election but none more pronounced than the removal of the carbon tax. Surely a democratically elected government that has campaigned so strongly on an issues should be permitted to enact that policy if elected. The alternative is that we are only voting based on personalities as any policy discussion where the major parties take differing positions becomes irrelevant. Somehow that does not seem right to me.
If the Australian people wanted the Coalition to repeal the Carbon Tax with no opposition or debate, they would have given the Coalition control of the Senate.
Note that even if we get to a Double Dissolution election, a successful outcome of that single issue election (for the government) does not deliver approval of the legislation. The new parliament must sit and vote. Only a successful, parliamentary vote (a joint sitting) can approve the legislation. This is what the Constitution requires.
Champion is not speaking nonsense, but rather adopting a pragmatic stance, which should be considered on its own merits. I accept that you don't accept that it has any merits, but some others will. As regards "mandates", I love your description that "mandates give moral authority to a Government in seeking to legislate its policies." As you imply, they don't bind oppositions or minor parties to vote for them. They just give moral authority to governments to do what they were elected to do (provided they can get a majority in both houses of parliament). We have two houses of Parliament. It was set up that way by the founding fathers, and I doubt that the voters want to get rid of one of them. The big newby-party votes suggest that the Australian public have some reservations about all the recognized parties. If the Coalition want to have a "referendum" they need to follow the processes that would lead to a double dissolution. Good luck with that. I expect that they will prefer to wait for the new Senate. Yet, by that time the dynamics of "global warming through GHGs" argument will have changed again. Who can predict it? It doesn't really matter, anyway if the ETS goes away. Labor's international ETS was going to achieve nothing on the carbon reduction front. It should be dropped, and a better scheme put in its place, when this becomes politically acceptable. Labor would actually be helped if the Coalition managed to dispatch its scheme. They could then promote one what would do the job that was originally intended. That would provide the grounds for an interesting debate in 3 years time.
Doesn't this champion fool fool realise that Labor's carbon tax disaster is already exposed Our businesses are currently locked-in to incur carbon tax @ 2012/13 $23.00 per metric tonne, 2013/14 $24.15 and 2014/15 $25.40. Whilst their European competitors have dropped the carbon cost to a new low of $5.20 for each metric ton allowance of CO2, down from a high of $23 in 2011.
It would rather say that there are fools at 50 paces on both sides. 1. Introducing a carbon tax (or even worse an international ETS) that reduces Australia's competitiveness unnecessarily, while overcompensating consumers, who don't have to compete with anyone, was folly of the first order. 2. Not taking the cheapest and easiest solution to GHG emission reductions, via a properly managed carbon pricing scheme, seems pretty foolish as well. Yet at least Direct Action is doing something, which is more than can be said for Labor's international ETS. An international ETS is a bad solution that is worse than no solution, since it makes real action even harder. Yet while we argue, Australia, and the rest of the world are not doing a bad job of cutting emissions (or at least not allowing them to grow at the rate predicted by the IPCC). In Australia, we have the bi-partisan 20% RET scheme, which now will begin to work again after the three years hiatus from five times over-rated Solar PV certificates making it impossible to build any more wind farms for that period. - Thanks Labor for the problem, and also for eventually stopping the fiasco. In the rest of the world, China is putting a cap on coal-fired electricity, USA is moving to coal-seam gas (representing a 50% reduction in emissions), and the EU have overachieved turning their carbon cap into a base-level of carbon emissions.
Its nearly certain that Abbott will negotiate his major legislation through the new senate post July14 ,by opposing it in the meantime Labor will simply be wasting energy repeating its lost election and creating a situation for a big Abbott victory.By acknowledging Abbotts mandate quickly and moving on they can begin a process of new policy formation.Champion obvously has a better political brain than many in the Labor Party.
Post July 14 is a bridge too far. It's not a matter of mandates but urgent economic necessity. Our businesses compete, at a clear disadvantage, with Europe, global and our regional merchants. It's lunacy that must be put right now.
Yes Nick, it IS your job to save Australia from bad policy. Otherwise, what exactly is your job? Do you think we are paying you simply to play internal Labor politics? If you don't care about policy, find another job.
Totally agree with Dave, there are too many politicians like Champion in the system, his comments stamp him as not fit to hold office.
Labor's problem is fools like Champion