Monday, May 31, 2010

Mine tax defence makes case for climate campaign

Today The Age published my response to Saturday's page one story, "Taxpayers fund mine tax defence". Essentially, I argue that if a resources ad campaign is justified, a climate campaign is justifiable on the same grounds, but it isn't in the offing – why? Here's the letter:

I support Labor’s campaign to explain the Resources Super Profits Tax. While any exemption of a Government campaign from political advertising guidelines should be questioned, the mining lobby’s “active campaign of misinformation” identified by Wayne Swan calls for an urgent and honest response.

A further question we should be asking, however, is why an “emergency” exemption should be granted for a public interest campaign about a tax, but not one to address the even more pervasive misinformation directed against the scientific reality of climate change.

The resources tax campaign will cost $38 million. The recent budget announced $30 million over two years for better communication on climate, but expects this funding to be drawn from the existing resources of a climate change department called on to find savings of $200 million.

If the Government is going to honestly claim exemptions for its advertising, a public interest campaign on climate change based on the latest science should be one of the first cabs off the rank. The trouble is, a truly honest campaign on the climate issue would show that the Government’s current climate measures simply don’t stack up when it comes to ensuring a safe climate.

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Comments are most welcome on any of the posts at Northcote Independent. I encourage feedback - positive or negative. Feel free to disagree, but remember that posts are moderated to ensure they are on the topic and in the spirit of open debate, as outlined in my editorial policy.