When the Senate changes over next Tuesday, the Palmer United Party (PUP) will become the largest voting bloc on the new micro-party cross bench. This, coupled with the PUP’s agreement with Victoria’s Motoring Enthusiast Party senator Ricky Muir, means that Clive Palmer’s voting announcements are not being taken lightly.
Mr Palmer yesterday told Australia that his party would support the repeal of the carbon tax, and he will be meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott this morning to discuss his stance – it will be their first meeting in two years.
Mr Palmer made his announcement yesterday while standing beside by former USA vice-president Al Gore. Mr Palmer explained that he would only support the abolition of the carbon tax if the legislation was revised to guarantee that lower prices would be passed onto consumers.
Instead of the carbon tax, Mr Palmer announced that his party would like to see an emissions trading scheme (ETS) put in place, similar to the one proposed when Labor was in power. He also said that the PUP would vote against the Coalition’s move to disband the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Renewable Energy Target (RET) and the Climate Change Authority.
“True to our promises to the Australian people at the last election, Palmer United senators will vote in the Senate to abolish the carbon tax,” Mr Palmer said.
He also explained how he, a former climate change sceptic, had come around on the issue.
“Meeting with the vice-president, someone who is a world authority on that, was able to enlighten me on a number of aspects about climate change which I wasn’t fully familiar with and the importance of it for all Australians,” Mr Palmer said.
“There’s no point listening to people if you’re not prepared to change your view on certain things.”
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It seems strange that Mr Gore would lend his support to Mr Palmer as the PUP senator announced that his party would support the abolition of the carbon tax. Although Mr Palmer also discussed his hope that Australia could take part in an emissions trading scheme, the scheme would not come into effect until Australia’s major trading partners also got on board, an event which could take years, if it happens at all.
While it is commendable and, as a consumer, appreciated, that he is pushing to pass any savings from the repeal of the carbon tax on to consumers, it seems unlikely that this will ever be fully realised. Big business is well known for its ability to turn a profit, and no matter how carefully worded the legislation, they will never pass on all the savings to the little guy.
What this essentially means is that we won’t have a price on carbon, we won’t have an emissions trading scheme, big business will make even more money and there will be no incentive to reduce carbon emissions. The only people who will benefit are those profiting from big business, and Clive Palmer himself, as their knight in shining armour.
While it was heartening to see a former climate sceptic change his opinion, something rarely witnessed in Australian politics, this whole issue begs the question: what is Clive Palmer’s real agenda?
What do you think? Is Clive Palmer the only sensible politician in parliament? Do you agree with his decisions? Or do you think he is playing everyone for a fool?