What is it with the Left and absolutely imploding?
In 1999, there was enough sentiment in the country for even John Howard to realise he needed to do something about the republic. And what happened? The Left were completely outplayed by Howard and the sycophantic inbred loving fools of the Australians for a Constitutional Monarchy. How did this happen? Well for starters those in favour of a republic gave a damn about trivialities – they thought people wanted to have a big debate about what type of republic there should be.
The people didn’t. The people wanted to be given a model to vote on and for everyone who wanted a republic to come out in favour of it. Instead John Howard was allowed to organise a Constitutional Convention which (get this!) included people who didn’t want a republic at all! Yep those debating what type of Republic we should have included people whose only goal in life was to ensure there would never ever be a republic. They quickly saw the way forward was to ensure the pro-Republic side would splinter. Which they did (and admittedly they needed very little help).
You had fools like Phil Cleary banging on about an elected president, and saying people should vote no to any other model. You get that? Here’s a guy massively in favour of a republic saying the people should vote no on the question of Australia becoming a republic. Gee why does that sound familiar?
In 2008, there was a strong sentiment in the country for something to be done on climate change. As with the republic, it was quite bi-partisan: there were people from both the ALP and Liberal parties in favour, and again as with the republic, the National Party was pretty much dead against it (oh and Malcolm Turnbull was playing a leading role). This time the Government came up with an ETS, they did some deals with the Liberal Party, but in the final analysis, what happened? The Greens, playing the role of Phil Cleary, despite their whole point in life being to do something about climate change voted against the Emission Trading Scheme because it was not the type of scheme they wanted and it didn’t go far enough.
So what was the result? Well as with the republic, the ETS was defeated (and never ever forget if the Greens had voted YES in the Senate it would have passed), and now it is looking even less likely that we’ll get any ETS - exactly the same as with the republic.
The only good thing is now Phil Cleary can be joined by Bob Brown and his cohort as those who kept their principles and lost the war. (Golf clap everyone).
There are differences with the Republic: the madness of the constitutional convention was done in public. Yep each night we’d have people from the pro-Republic side go on TV and argue with each other! The ETS was mostly done behind doors. But other than that it is the same. And as the days go on it is becoming even more similar.
Look at the idiotic arguments coming from the climate change deniers. Lord Monkton gets wheeled out saying any old bullshit, and the media laps it up, just like the media never has nailed the constitutional monarchist. Think their arguments aren’t of the same calibre? Throughout the Republican debate we had to put up with the monarchists saying we needed the monarchy even though the Queen didn’t do anything, and we already have an Australian head of state because the Governor General has that role because the Queen doesn’t do anything, but we could not get rid of the Queen and have the PM appoint a President because the Queen performs a necessary role and besides that would not be democratic. Yes we had monarchists arguing that their system was more democratic. We had them arguing we already had an Australian Head of State. It was madness and it was eaten up by the media, and the pro-republicans were never able to counter it effectively because they were too busy fighting themselves.
Now listen to Barnaby Joyce – his contribution to the ETS debate with about one inch this side of insanity. He made stuff up, he pretty much fabricated every statement to such an extent that you wondered whether the National Party was employing CGI to create the effect – it was completely unbelievable. And yet he didn’t care. If lying and saying a roast leg of lamb will cost $400 is what he needs to say to defeat the ETS, then he’ll say it – and the media ate it up.
With the ETS we have the two parties who want an ETS – the ALP and Greens not working together at all – the ALP because the Senate maths being what it is, they figured it was better for them to get the Liberal Party vote; and the Greens, because God help them if they should ever settle for something imperfect now that can be improved later rather than voting for nothing now and perfection sometimes in the fairy-dust future.
Think back the the GST: do you recall any of the Right – whether it be the Liberal Party, National, or employer groups - saying that because food wasn’t going to be included in the tax it was better not to do it at all? Do you recall with Work Choices anyone of the employer groups quibbling with the laws, and suggesting the Liberal Party should vote against it because it didn’t go far enough?
The Right never vote no just because their plans aren't perfect (and yeah there is a joke there). The Left? Well hell, unless every little bloody group is looked after, unless every ambition of climate change policy is taken care of, unless every worker, pensioner, unemployed, child, and dead person is considered, well hell let’s vote no. Let’s argue among ourselves. Let’s splinter, and so the debate ends up being about minutiae of legislation.
The ETS debate should have been about one thing and one thing only – climate change. The Greens, the ALP, the sane people in the Liberal Party should have been all of one voice – this needs to be done for Australia to begin combating climate change. No it’s not perfect, but it is a necessary start and it must be done.
But where are we now? Tony Abbott – a bloke who (let’s put our cards on the table and say agrees with the science of climate change to the same level that John Howard believed we should become a Republic) is talking about combating climate change through a “green army”, through volunteer effort, through idiotic measures that have little logic, and less intelligence.
And guess what, the ALP has to counter them and explain why the ETS will do things better and blah blah blah, boring boring boring. And all the while the other side can throw out utter lies about whether or not we need to do anything anyway. Remember the Republic debate – the monarchists would say that the whole thing was all about “symbolism”, it was “too costly”, “there are more important things to worry about”. Heck you can damn near print off the arguments from 1999, change a couple phrases and voila there you go – you have your anti-ETS talking points.
Will an ETS get passed? I don’t know. At this point I don’t hold out much hope. The ALP needs to get focussed on the big picture; the Greens need to get real and understand their best bet is to get something in place and to improve it later – that will be kid’s stuff compared to getting it there in the first place; and the media needs to stop giving fools with no qualifications oxygen on the TV or radio, and if they must, at least go into the interview with some knowledge so that unsubstantiated and outlandish statements don’t go unquestioned (ie, be an actual news organisation, rather than just a ratings-chasing-controversy machine – if you can’t wipe the floor with Monkton, then what the hell are you doing calling yourself a journalist?).
But most of all the Left needs to realise that noble defeats are defeats, and those on the Right don’t give a damn how they win, so long as they win.