RAW: Malcolm Turnbull and Climate Change

The consequences of climate change and comments about climate change – the Malcolm Turnbull story.

By Lewis Dowell   30 May 2011

Malcolm Turnbull was originally hoisted out of the Opposition Leader’s seat after he declared that any government that does not have a policy that considers climate change would be an irresponsible government, so it should come as no surprise that his recent comments on the Liberal party’s climate stance has upset his colleagues.

Turnbull made comments claiming that Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s climate change policy would blow out the budget, as well as the fact that the Liberal party’s climate strategy could easily be ‘terminated’ by climate change skeptic party members, and then to quote Turnbull “heaven help our future generations”.

The comments, although Abbott hasn’t taken any disciplinary action as yet, has caused a stir amongst the party with some Liberals calling for Turnbull to be dropped from the front bench.

It was shown when Turnbull was originally de-throned as leader in 2009 and it is showing its head now. There is an indoctrinated skepticism of climate change amongst the Liberal party. It is not seen as a priority and any interest or comment shown by its members is just to appease calls from the media and the Federal government. The only member of the Liberal party who seems to have legitimate concern for the cause is Turnbull who now seems in danger of being beheaded once again.

I’m not saying that that the Labor party is a passionate leader in the subject, they usually carry a sense of obligation over passion when arguing for a carbon tax. However, obligation or passion, they have still made climate change a priority and kept it on the agenda.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has commented on Turnbull’s comments just this week claiming that he has “told us the truth that basically this plan won’t work. He told us the truth that it would blow the budget”. I tend to agree that Turnbull has told the truth, in that the Liberal party’s climate strategy would be ‘easily terminated’. This tells me that whilst the Liberal party at the moment feels obligated to rebut the government’s carbon tax with a plan of their own, they would in fact drop the strategy if they were to ever get into power.

Leader of the Greens Bob Brown has praised Turnbull’s comments saying that his honesty shows a ‘wider loyalty’ to the country.

Climate change should be at the forefront of the Adelaide public’s minds this week as reports released by the government show that western Adelaide in the near future maybe subject to high levels of flooding, due to the rise in water levels that would affect over 40,000 properties. This is on top of longer and hotter heat waves than we are already experiencing by 2050.

The threat is so real that the western Adelaide councils have already secured State and Federal funding for a $540,000 project as revealed by The Advertiser this week. Make what you want of the government’s carbon tax, but don’t think that the carbon tax will be the first step against climate change. If the funding secured by western Adelaide council’s shows anything, it’s that councils and governments are already preparing for the consequences of climate change at a local level. You may agree or strongly disagree with the government’s proposed carbon tax, but climate change needs to be a priority for both major parties.

With this in mind, it seems that Turnbull has become an unlikely climate champion amongst the Liberal party, and has shown that his party is yet to completely accept that climate change is happening. And although Labor would like to stand back and use Turnbull’s comments to attack the Liberal party, it doesn’t mean they wouldn’t do the same thing and ‘terminate’ a carbon tax if it meant their jobs.

It’s time to accept climate change and put it as a priority. Skepticism amongst party members should be stamped out and climate strategies should be formulated on the basis of efficiency and not as simple party rebuttals and point winning with the public and media. A responsible government is one that treats climate change as a real threat, not as a political obstacle or obligation

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