TAXING TED: Baillieu supports Gillard's carbon agenda

carbontaxtedWhile Prime Minister Gillard has every reason to feel a little glum about the direction of the carbon-dioxide tax debate, she has an unlikely supporter in the form of Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu.

In contrast to feisty federal leader Tony Abbott and his fellow Liberal Premiers in NSW and WA, Baillieu is the only currently-serving Liberal Leader on record as supporting a carbon emissions trading scheme.

In November 2009, at a well-attended gathering, then Opposition Leader Baillieu went on record as saying, in what attendees recall as a long and rambling prepared speech where he passionately advocated the view that human activity was largely responsible for climate change, “We want to see carbon emissions reduced. We support an ETS or a CPRS (carbon pollution reduction scheme).” These “cap-and-trade” schemes work by the government selling carbon emission permits (a form of tax anyway), mandating that those engaged in carbon emissions must own a number of permits equivalent to those emissions. Permit-holders would be able to sell these permits should they be able reduce their emissions or shut-down their operations.

That’s why folk talk about a price on carbon. It’s ultimately still a tax though because it involves the sale of a permit from the government and that process will raise many billions of dollars in Commonwealth revenues.

Prior to that, in October 2008, Baillieu told the Victorian Legislative Assembly:

We support an emission capping and trading scheme as the least costly way of responding to global warming.

And in Parliament again, in November 2009, Baillieu argued:

I share the view that our climate is changing. I also share the view that human activity contributes to that change, and I accept the science that demonstrates we can and should do something about it. I also note that both sides of politics have for some time been committed to an ETS.ndeed the federal coalition under former Prime Minister John Howard first proposed an ETS before the 2007 federal election. That commitment is now evolving into a more detailed scheme under the label of the carbon pollution reduction scheme. [Of course since then the federal Liberals have changed their mind while it appears Baillieu has not]

Baillieu continued enthusiastically, channeling then Climate minister Senator Penny Wong:

The need for action on climate change has been set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, including in recent updates. That conclusion is based on a substantial body of work by climate and other scientists. That science is widely accepted. I do note in that regard a survey published earlier this year in the respected journal Eos. In a 2008 survey of more than 3000 scientists, including a broad mix of geochemists, geophysicists, oceanographers, hydrogeologists and climate scientists, 90 per cent of whom held PhDs, more than 90 per cent agreed mean global temperatures had risen since the 1800s, and more than 80 per cent agreed that human activity had contributed to that rise. It is a compelling or, as the motion suggests, ‘overwhelming’ reminder. As legislators we must acknowledge that and take steps to respond. Action must be taken.

Federal Labor in conjunction with the Greens political party intend to introduce a carbon tax as a precursor to a “carbon pollution reduction scheme” or ETS, if you prefer, within the next five years.

Since Baillieu made his position clear the issue has become one of the great fault-lines in Australian politics. Despite that he recently in Parliament confirmed his support for Gillard’s agenda on March 21st this year in Question Time:

We have had a number of debates in this chamber in recent years, and our side of politics was prepared to support the emissions trading scheme post-2007; we were prepared to support a carbon pollution reduction scheme, which was debated in this house in, I think, November 2009; and we have made the point that if we are going to reduce emissions, there will be a price for and a cost to that.

In taking this position, Premier Ted Baillieu appears to be on the other side from his athletic federal leader, every other state Liberal leader, a growing number of trade unions, many industry leaders and some 60% of Australian voters.

Until explored today for the first time by the VEXNEWS Investigation Unit, this split between Victorian and Federal Liberals on the biggest issue currently in Australian politics had not got any serious attention in more somnolent media outlets.

But now more serious questions must be asked. And we can confirm they are being asked in the otherwise relaxed-and-comfortable-in-victory Victorian division of the Liberal party where many activists and members express horror about Baillieu’s view on carbon taxing. One Liberal player asked:

“Will the Premier undermine the actions of his many passionate state and federal parliamentary colleagues who have vocally led protests to oppose this new tax by supporting it? Or will he do the right thing once and for all, and ditch his support of this doomed system?”

They say that Baillieu’s stand on the Greens was impressive, principled and uncharacteristically bold. But they say that opposing them is not just about How-To-Vote cards but also about doing everything in his power to oppose their extreme agenda and the huge costs burden their carbon tax agenda could impose on working families. Some think this could be as high as $800 a year and that the compensation won’t be as high.

When asked by VEXNEWS about their views on the carbon tax, Victorian Liberal insiders across the board were unanimous in their opposition to the scheme and reiterated their belief that Ted should do all he can to support Tony Abbott’s efforts to oppose the scheme. Our insider put the case well:

Ted Baillieu, while not a traditional conservative should have the common sense to change his mind and clearly and unambiguously oppose a guaranteed vote loser. He need only ask Kevin Rudd who had much higher approval ratings in his prime about the challenges of a small majority and leading your party down a path it doesn’t want to go.

The closest Baillieu has come to opposing Prime Minister Gillard on the carbon tax is pushing for consultation. In that area, and a growing number of other policy areas where a more activist approach is considered wise, the growing view in his own party is that the Premier is simply not doing enough. With former federal MP and Baillieu-booster Petro Georgiou urging him to support “action on climate change” it seems unlikely he’ll take much action at all on this issue, much to the disappointment of his Liberal support-base.



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53 responses to “TAXING TED: Baillieu supports Gillard's carbon agenda

  1. Pedro

    Always rely on the Victorians to stuff things up. Trying to stand out from the crowd, they are like the Jan Brady of Australia, suffering from perpetual middle child syndrome.

    Man up you Victorian liberals, it is time to knife this hoax, ala Gillard on Rudd.

  2. Observer

    Not at ALL surprised to read this. Ted B is proving to be the most hugely disappointing Liberal Premier in the history of this State. I struggle to articulate anything of a seriously important nature whih he has achieved in his first four months in office. I know that comparisons are odious, but just look at the performance of Barry O’Farrell in NSW – stamping his authority all OVER the NSW Government. Here in Vic? For example, STILL heaps and heaps of former ALP duds in positions of authority throughout the bureaucracy and statutory authorities, and STILL Ted does nothing about it. Well, he’d better do something about THEM before THEY do something about HIM! I’m sorry to say this, but I fear that Ted’s Government might very well end up being a one-termer. And THAT would be very, very sad! For Victoria.

  3. Syphologist

    As one of Ted’s enthusiastic supporters it pains me to admit that his government to date has been less than effective.

    We’ve still got Myki. They’re still rolling out smart meters. Trains are still stuffed. We’re not paying the Education salaries we promised. No extra police are in sight.

    Time for some concerted, consistent action, Ted.

    STOP the tired, old line about the black hole left by the Brumby government. Didn’t you anticipate this before coming to government? If not, then Kim Wells was asleep at the wheel. This isn’t a credible excuse for avoiding the spending promises you made.

    Scrap Myki now.

    Stop the smart meter roll-out before the *real* rip-off starts.

    Hire some security guards for evening patrols at railway stations. A short-term solution until you hire and train officers.

    Come on, stop letting me down.

  4. bravo

    Ted is returning to the old days of Kennett where he and his monkeys try to transform the party into their own image. The politics of the carbon tax should be so simple for Red Ted: support Abbott, express concern about jobs in the Latrobe Valley and the impact on consumer prices, wait for the details. If the tax is implemented, then confront his Lib counterparts in Club Fed, preferably after a national landslide win.

    Ted is turning into a Tom Hollway Liberal, much remembered for divisive grandstanding in postwar

    Moreover, I just can’t trust a Premier who doesn’t drink!

  5. dogs balls

    Bernie Finn said in a weekend paper he thinks that Ted balliue was doing a great job.Then he makes quotes ( being a Vexnews favourite) he wont put his name to the article above calling for Ted’s head.Yes man up Ted and cut out the cancer in the party. You know who they are.

  6. Anon

    Andy, where is our article on Rick Garotti the Rat?

  7. Giuseppe De Simone

    This is just a beat up.

    There is no way the victorian Parliamentary Liberal Party is going to support any form of carbon tax. The Premier is also not going to risk alienation from the party rank and file by going against the membership on this issue. He is after all a creature of the organisational wing who prospered as State President before becoming a Parliamentarian.

    With a parliamentary majority of one member in each house, he cannot afford to upset any backbencher. He will moderate his rhetoric to fall into line with the mainstream. The Premier is a sensible and consultative and careful leader.

  8. Giuseppe De Simone

    Re: dogs balls – Bernie Finn is very secure as a member of the Parliamentary Liberal Party. The Premier knows just how popular he is amongst the rank and file and how much Bernie’s views conform with the values of the Party.

    Also, if action was taken against Bernie, the consequences for the razor thin parliamentary majority would be dire indeed.

  9. god help us Rob Hulls is deputy leader

    Ted will never be any worse then Brumby

  10. Giuseppe De Simone

    By the way, Dogs Balls – put your real name to your comments. Which one of the relics of the old Kennett wars are you?

    I will always use my real name as I am proud of my views and prepared to defend them or when I am mistaken, accept that I was wrong and move on. I do not need to hide in the shadows sniping away at patriotic members of our inclusive and broad party founded on principles of personal freedom and the right to speak out.

    Nor does Bernie Finn need to hide behind anonymous comments – he says articulately and courageously exactly what he thinks. That’s what makes him so popular even amongst people who disagree with him on some matters.

  11. Giuseppe De Simone

    In the completely hypothetical circumstance where the Premier takes a position in opposition to his Federal Parliamentary colleagues on an ETS or a carbon tax, his own cabinet and then the party room will ensure that he does not do a Kennett. We will never again allow one man to run (and ruin) the party. The Premier knows this so he will consult widely before taking a public stance on this matter.

    As he is a man of principle, he may well express a dissenting personal view (as he is entitled to) but it will not be the official view of the government.

    After all, in the Federal Parliamentary Party, there are still members like the former leader who prefer and continue to advocate for a government mandated taxation based solution (which they disingenuously call a market mechanism). There is no reason why the Premier cannot be part of that coterie of economic and environmental vandals.

  12. Dominic

    Unfortunately for most Libs they risk being on the wrong side of history. I’m with Baillieu on this.

    I’m involved in the development of carbon markets throughout Asia, and I can tell you that there is a hell of a lot more going on than most people think. There are markets being developed in Japan (shelved for a bit), South Korea (on track to start cap and trading in 2012) and a number of provinces in China (2012 with some smaller markets already existing), with a national scheme to be developed by 2015. India currently has a carbon tax on coal imports of 50 rupees per ton (about $11 per ton for production emissions).

    India by the way emits one tenth of what we do per capita!!

    These countries are big and tough. They are our major trading partners and the future powerhouse economies of the world. Within 10 years, if we have done nothing on climate change, they will start telling us that at their borders our exports will face carbon tariffs (perfectly legal under WTO rules). When that happens, the carbon revenues will go overseas, we will have not decarbonised our own economy, and we will own none of the low carbon intelectual property.

    So, if we want our businesses to thrive in the future, we need a policy approach that allows them to innovate to reduce emissions, rather than current Coalition policy, which is to have government intervene and choose which power stations to shut down, which technologies to use, and where to use them. It is completely counterintuitive that the Libs support the big government option to reduce emissions. It is in my view a sickening ruse on the population, a hoodwinking that is for political power and not the future of the nation. But if they get their way they will wind up in that most terrible position, on the wrong side of history.

  13. Giuseppe De Simone

    Dear Dominic, it seems to me that given your economic well-being depends on the industry of selling climate change solutions, you are hardly a dispassionate and independent analyst on this stuff.

    My contacts tell me the exact opposite of what you are saying.

    There may well be a measurable human impact on climate change caused by greenhouse gasses and that climate change may well be a net negative to the world but neither of these matters have been demonstrated causally to any scientific standard of proof. What is clear beyond doubt is that the climate does change over longer periods of time than a few years and we are experiencing a change in climate right now and that based on observational analysis there is a slight but measureable increase over a reasonably short run (100 to 150 years) in ambient temperatures over largish areas of the planet’s surface.

    We unfortunately don’t have enough data or accurate enough models to extrapolate this.

    The hard, tough men (and women) in India and China and elsewhere know this is the case. Countries are being asked to take expensive precautions today over a possible negative eventuality at least 20 to 50 years away. So a few token efforts will be undertaken and a few skirmishes at some international meetings but in the end, decisions with significant economic impact will be deferred.

    This is good economics and also good politics. Not every risk is able to be insured against and this is one risk where the actuarial analysis is sadly lacking to determine a cost-benefit analysis.

    Intergenerational inequity is what gets governments elected.

    I am not a sceptic – I believe in climate change. I am however not convinced that it is detrimental to humankind or that human industrial energy production activities are a major cause capable of sufficient mitigation to alter the overall natural cycle of climate on the Earth.

  14. Syphologist

    Dominic, if you are involved with setting up these markets then you know that they are not about carbon reduction, but trading profits. Carbon is tomorrow’s CDO.

  15. Pet Poo

    ‘Choo-Choo’ Terry Mulder is wearing shit too. He forgot to ask V/Line about pets. What an idiot!

  16. Damien Kenny

    Dominic is to be commended for his exposition of this issue! This debate should have ended in 2007!

  17. Ben

    Red Ted needs to retract his old views. What an embarrassment.

    Of course, Gillard is the issue because she is running the country. She said no carbon dioxide tax before the election – and guess what?

    Perhaps they could both issue an apology. Or ban air travel.

  18. Red Ted

    I am having a jolly evening with my cup of Red Lentil tea.

  19. Mick

    Failyou, like Turncoat, is in the wrong party.

  20. We’ve got Baillieu supporting Gillard and opposing Abbott, and the unions opposing Gillard and agreeing with Abbott, if not actually supporting him. This is getting more tangled that a Tasmanian family tree.

  21. James

    I would like to know what the alternative Liberal policy is? Is it to ignore the science and do nothing? Or is it to advocate government programs that have been shown (by the Grattan Institute amongst others) to be less effective and much more expensive? Perhaps a healthy dose of Science 101 is needed for those who think that human induced climate change has not been proven to any scientific standard of proof.

  22. Syphologist

    WHAT bloody science?

    The scientific method relies on TESTING a hypothesis. Given that lying climate alarmists have been hypothesising for at least a decade now, why am I not seeing reports of how accurate were their models and scenarios?

    Then again, I’d have to go back ten years in a time machine to see what they were forecasting. Otherwise I’d run the risk that the shadey grant chasers and publicity whores would patch the data.

    Scam. Scam. Scam.

  23. Oxygen starved brains

    Carbon tax is here to stay in Europe and coming in Asia.
    Who cares about debt ridden US?
    this is now about economic strategy .
    Abbotts direct action puts us on expensive socialist style government intervention.
    Our trading partners will laugh all the way to the bank as they cream tax off our exports and we run down the federal budget with ineffective direct actions.

    Abbott’s fear campaign is working but his direct action will unleash ongoing economic pain….ironically the Greens will switch onto his direct action and simply ask for more money to be spent to reach carbon reduction targets.

    Abbotts anti carbon tax crusade would take Australia down a path that will hurt more than any carbon tax.

    Abbott’s ‘socialist solution’ to global warming will break the federal budget and is more evidence of low oxygen levels in the federal liberal leadership.

  24. Ben

    Syphologist: Are you saying that a U.N.-approved show of hands isn’t science? Point taken.

    I thought climate “scientists” worked for free and just happened to love leftwing governments with funding grants.

    Red Ted doesn’t drink beer – often a bad sign in my view. Gillard (my guess) drinks a little too much.

  25. Mick

    Hi James. Perhaps you could answer the question of what difference will be made to the worlds temperature by the proposed carbon tax.

    Then go on to examine the difference that would be made to the world’s temperature by closing Australia completely.

    When you figure out the answer to both questions is “f__k all”, perhaps you might understand that opposition to a bloody stupid policy that wont have any actual benefit isnt “ignoring the science”. Dumbass.

    International action > being retarded martyrs so the 2.6% of the population that pays for The Age can feel morally superior.

  26. Green dead end

    Julia is taking Labor to a nasty dead end with Greens policies. What happened to Labor policies?

  27. carbon taxed

    Labor will be judged badly for putting Greens in charge.

  28. futurist

    Taking no action as the deniers on this site advocate will cost more.

  29. Rational Ralph

    Red Ted and socialist gillard are being true to form in embracing green policies. No surprise here.

  30. Syphologist

    Is it better to be embarrassed or to laugh out loud when the PM tries to speak in words of more than one syllable?

    Just when I’m getting over the “hyper-bowl” she blurts out “Kap-ee-yong” in Korea. What’s next … the George Bush “Nuk-u-lah”?

  31. Red Ted

    Oh what a great day to remember the Fallen, I’ve just visited the Diggers at the RSL and enjoyed a glass of chilled lentil tea and a organic yogurt muffin.

  32. Abbott threat

    If the carbon tax is put in place next year, and assuming that Abbott wins the next Federal election then will the Liberals really rip it up?

    More likely they will leave it in place and over time remove the compensation for low and middle income earners.

  33. no excuse

    Gillard has the small matter of the balance of power…what’s Red Ted’s excuse for sloppy green-talk.


    If India has an $11 carbon price and China is still hesitating then why do we rush forward with a $20-30 price?

  35. medici

    Ah, the upside down logic of conservatives and fear mongers….so weak minded it is amusing.

    There will be a carbon price of some kind in all of our major trading partners before too long.

    You can hide your head in the sand or grasp the tiller and design one that guides our economy where we want to be.

  36. James

    Thanks for the responses. I could categorise the comments into two groups. Firstly, disbelief at the science. Whilst I don’t work in the field, I did some 20 years ago as an RA and remember the arguments were already well advanced then. After working for a dozen years as a stellar astrophysicist using many of the same computational techniques I can say this. The physics is complicated… but the evidence is very strong .. that global warming is occurring. However I wouldn’t expect an appeal to expertise to change many people’s opinions. The more difficult argument (that put by Mick) is that why should we do anything when our contribution is very small. The reason Mick is this. Stern and Garnaut have shown that it is cheapest to act now. The longer we delay the more expensive it will be… and cap and trade systems (as the tax is planned to become) have been shown to work. The US has had one since the early 90s! and it successfully reduced the atmospheric concentrations of the contributors to acid rain.
    And when it comes to that, we have succeeded in the past (with acid rain and ozone) so why not now?

  37. Cardinal Pell

    Brother Abbott our latest Choir Boy is a eager frisky young lad isn’t he?

  38. Mick

    We need international action James. Going it alone is nothing more or less than being silly. In world terms we are a tiny little country, what, 1.5% of the world’s emissions? Its not going to make a difference, and Stern/Garnaut are not plying the case of “cut 5% off 1.5% and you’ll save money”.

    The one in the US went bust mate. I think carbon was trading for 2 cents a ton last time anyone bothered to check it.

    Past successes were, of course, built on international agreements. Hey – dont get me wrong, im not a denier of basic frigging physics. Im just a realist who doesnt buy the idea that Australia can “lead the world” in anything more than economic suicide here by going rambo on climate change policy.

  39. Mad monk watcher

    Only a short time ago we had bipartisan support for a cap and trade policy on carbon.

    The mad monk’s vicious coup against Turnbull ended the Howard approach of measured change to one of blind opposition and the irrational and expensive gimmickry of ‘direct action’.

    The Abbott sickness has now spread to some industry ‘leaders’ who can look past next year’s dividend.

    We need national political leadership that will put in place a cap and trade system to deal with carbon that does not see oversea governments collect carbon tax on our untaxed carbon exports in the future.

  40. mother courage

    Ah, the nervous nellies are everywhere. First the AWU’s Howes becomes a carbon tax doubter then Vexnews rallies against this Labor policy.

    What gives guys? Lost your courage to stay the Labor course?

    Will a carbon tax doubter rise to replace a defeated Gillard?

  41. Anonski

    Milton Orkopoulos you sick f&*k, please stop posting under the nom de guerre of Cardinal Pell.

  42. Syphologist

    There is a story in today’s edition of The Australian that Tim Flannery has been approached to champion the NBN.

    Is anyone surprised?

    If I were the king of lying climate alarmism I would be rubbing my hands in glee … another scam to get rich at the expense of a gullible public.

  43. Cardinal Pell

    Anonski you are an idiot, it is me Cardinal Pell.

  44. The Cad

    Not more stories about the (dyed) red head. We need more critical data about (not so) sweet Kate Middleton and her cruel lips!

  45. Anonski

    Orko, your Cardinal Pell postings are becoming tiresome.

  46. Anon

    ANONSKI HAS A POINT…NSW Labor is not the most well placed institution to attack Cardinal Pell.

    For those outside this former bastion of ALP power let’s recap….

    Milton Orkopoulos (born 22 July 1957) is a former Australian Labor Party politician, and convicted criminal. A member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly from 1999, Orkopoulos was appointed Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Minister Assisting the Premier on Citizenship in August 2005.

    In November 2006, New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma sacked him as after he was charged with child sex and other offences. The following week, he resigned as MP for the state electorate of Swansea. On 14 March 2008 Orkopoulos was convicted on charges relating to child sex offences and the supply of drugs. In May 2008 he was sentenced to 13 years jail.

  47. Sensible steve

    Love the leftwing ACTU source fueling the union bashing in the Age today. Howes is being punished for raising job concerns on the carbon tax. The oldtimers at the Age ofcourse would live to put this 29 year old in his place.
    The article also flagged an old vexnews rumour of Howes tilt for federal preselection. Again no sources named.


    Bernie Finn for premier or Murray Thomson too! Tony Abbott has to get Red Ted under control! Sack that Loiuse Asher too she is always asleep!

  49. Either way; a carbon tax or carbon credits, we end up paying, so even if you vote Liberal, you still lose and pay. Ted should except funding for the hospitals and to support the NBN as well, and maybe he might fix the trains, maybe!

  50. Lowrain Woeful

    Being the Liberal MP for Mordialloc is the best job ! Most days, I don’t even have to leave my home in Berwick or give up my succesfful internet dating.

  51. Anon

    Convinced she is the weakest link, some gung ho members of the ALP are gathering dirt on Wenchy around Casey and Mordy.The ALP is woeful!

  52. teddy b

    *slow, drawled out, deep giant voice* “why you pickin on me?”

  53. DUD

    Gillard has never lived the life of an long term unemployed or a disabled or a young parent so how would she ever know the hardships that these people at times face! No she Ms Gillard delights in going to Royal weddings and having lobster dinners with Business executives to woo them re the carbon tax!So why should anyone ever believe or approve of anything this dud ALP PM Gillard does? So the budget is a dud and so is Gillard! Vote her out ASAP!

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