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Tag Archives: The Greens

Abbott mocks Labor over ties to climate ‘extremists’

Phillip Coorey

March 18, 2011THE Greens have questioned why the government is pursuing their policy on climate change if it considers the minor party to be extreme.

And the Opposition said yesterday that if Julia Gillard really meant what she said about the Greens, she should call another election rather than continue to govern with the support of ”extremists”.

”It’s like walking down the street holding your lover’s hand and yelling out ‘this relationship is a farce’,” said the Nationals’ Senate leader, Barnaby Joyce.

The Prime Minister used the Don Dunstan address in Adelaide on Wednesday to position Labor between the Coalition and the Greens which, she said, represented the opposing extremes of the climate change debate.

”Neither of the extremes in Australian politics can deliver this reform,” she said. ”The Coalition has surrendered itself to fear-mongering and denying the power of the markets. The Greens are not a party of government and have no tradition of striking the balance required to deliver major reform.”

Ms Gillard argued that Labor would protect jobs with transitional assistance for industries affected by a price on carbon. Simultaneously, Labor would create jobs in the clean energy sector by pricing carbon. She said the Coalition was capable only of the former and the Greens, only the latter.

The Greens leader, Bob Brown, said Ms Gillard’s barb was an attempt at product differentiation, sparked by sensitivity to criticisms that Labor was too close to the Greens. In reality, the government was embracing Greens policy, he said. “It brings a little smile to one’s face to see product differentiation while carrying through with a long-held Green political philosophy – that is, to have a carbon price en route to modernising Australia’s economy.

“The Greens are going to ultimately enhance Labor’s position in the polls. If Labor keeps taking our policies I think they’ll keep doing all right.”

The Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott, said if Ms Gillard regarded the Greens as extremists, ”Why has she formed government with them?”

”Why would any rational politician form a government with people whom she now thinks are extreme?”

The government and the Greens plan to strike a deal on a carbon price this year, have Parliament pass the legislation before Christmas and have the scheme begin on July 1 next year.

Ms Gillard said if there were no deal on a carbon price this year, there most likely never would be a price on carbon.

With the party haemorrhaging voter support over the issue, one minister confided that such a scenario would not be the end of the world. ”It could be a lot worse,” he said.

Climate change policy has dogged Labor for three years. After three unsuccessful attempts to pass legislation, it cost Kevin Rudd the prime ministership and nearly cost Labor government.

Ms Gillard defended the government promoting the scheme before the detail was worked out. ”Even if the government had gone out and announced every detail of this carbon pricing … Tony Abbott would be running a scare campaign,” she said.