Thursday, June 17, 2010

Reply to Turnbull on the RSPT and climate

Malcolm Turnbull has published on his blog the full text of last Saturday's Deakin lecture speech on the politics of climate change, where he made the copiously reported comments about Kevin Rudd's "political cowardice" over climate change.

After my Twitter exchange disagreeing with Malcolm over his "support" for climate action coupled with his rejection of the resources tax, I left the following comment on his blog post. It will be interesting to see if it stays up, and if he responds. I'd also like to see this issue dealt with on next Monday night's Q&A, where Malcolm will be a panellist. Here's my comment:
I was there for your presentation, and I have to say you had the best jokes ("Kevin has always said such nice things about me"). However, you're wrong to support climate action - if only a weak version of it that doesn't reflect the science - and not support the resources tax. I am fully aware that the RSPT is not intended as a climate tax, but the fact is that, missing from this debate is a range of unacknowledged costs of the mining industry - from environmental and climate impacts, through to health impacts on local communities. You will never hear the mining industry acknowledge these costs, because they view them as external to their own narrow commercial self-interest. Sure we don't yet have an appropriate carbon price, but I'm willing to support the RSPT as a down-payment on the day when the true costs of the industry are accounted for and the wealthy mining barons are called on to pay up (I might have said "cough up", but that is done in the Hunter Valley and elsewhere). Of course, I also support the RSPT on the basis of Australians getting a fair share of profits in the meantime. Mining royalties have been declining as a percentage of mining profits, afterall.
 Comments welcome (you too, Malcolm).

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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.