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Labor and its carbon scheme myth

History, according to Napoleon Bonaparte, is a myth that we decide to agree upon.

Paul Spooner’s letter last week, which uses the localisation agenda to bash the Greens, is a good example of how myths become accepted history.

According to Paul and other green Labor luminaries like Greg Combet and Julia Gillard (irony intended), when the Greens voted against Labor’s carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS) in 2009 they established themselves as environmental vandals.

But we might read the history of this period in a different light. The Greens sunk the CPRS because Labor – in their effort to appease Australia’s big carbon polluters – had diluted Ross Garnaut’s scheme to such an extent that it was environmentally useless. The fear was that it would only lock in failure.

The Gillard government’s subsequent legislation – which finally put a price on carbon in 2012 – was far from perfect. But it was much stronger than the earlier CPRS legislation which was a thinly veiled blueprint for business as usual.

Importantly, the package of measures whose centerpiece was a ‘carbon tax’ was legislated at the insistence of the Greens. They made it a condition for supporting the minority Labor government who had, prior to the 2010 election, decided that climate action was just too hard.

Only in Labor mythology did the Greens set environmental protection ‘back a decade’ when they voted against the CPRS in 2009.

Dave Lisle, Mullumbimby


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