Observations on My Role in Commenting on the New Albury Anti-Carbon Tax Group

BY BEN HABIB. Last Saturday I provided comment in an article in the Border Mail—‘Doug takes up fight on carbon tax’—about a new group called Border Says NO to Carbon Tax being established by local trucking operator Doug McMillan. No-one wants to see hard working local businessmen like Doug McMillan lose their livelihoods. If people with climate-related expertise can work cooperatively with local businesses and other impacted members of the community, we can constructively adapt to the many challenges posed by climate change instead of further fracturing the community for the sake of argument. However for the cooperative approach to work, everyone has to begin from a position of informed empowerment.

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ALP Leadership Contest, Factional Divisions and the Spectre of International Crises

BY BEN HABIB. The current Gillard-Rudd confrontation highlights the problems that Australia’s 20th century political parties face in dealing with 21st century policy problems. The Gillard-Rudd rivalry is a story of ambition, bitterness and betrayal. Yet there is a broader dimension to the ALP leadership crisis that is more complicated.

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Initial Analysis of the Gillard government’s ‘Clean Energy Future’ Proposal

BY BEN HABIB. On Sunday 10th July, 2011, the Gillard government announced the details of its long-awaited carbon tax—the Clean Energy Future scheme. The hype surrounding the announcement was justified; for a number of reasons, this was one of the most important public policy announcements since Federation. I have a cautiously favourable view of the scheme, based on clear scientific evidence about the seriousness of the climate change threat and expert analysis indicating that a market-based carbon price is the cheapest and easiest way to achieve comprehensive nation-wide greenhouse gas emission reduction.

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The Carbon Pricing Debate — A Battle for Australia’s Soul

BY BEN HABIB. In the past fortnight, Australian political discourse has been dominated by the debate over the pricing of carbon. The Prime Minister’s announcement of a draft carbon pricing policy with the Greens and the independent members has sparked off a vicious volley of hyperbole from those who would object to carbon pricing. The electorate has vacillated somewhere between cautious and hostile on the policy announcement. The ALP has not helped its cause with four years in government characterised by inaction, hot air and spin. We sit now poised at the beginning of a debate over a great systemic reform that will shape our nation for years to come. In many ways, this debate is a battle for Australia’s soul.

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Final thoughts on the Election Campaign—We’ll Get the Government We Deserve

BY BEN HABIB. Like many people, I have been intrigued by this federal election campaign and like many others, I will be pleased when the spectacle is over. As we move into the last two days before the poll on August 21st, I would like to offer my thoughts on the election campaign and what it says about Australian society…

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The Demise of Kevin Rudd & the Politics of Hot Air

BY BEN HABIB.

How did the Labor colossus come to grief so quickly? The 2007 election victory gave the Rudd government a huge store of political capital with which to prosecute a reform agenda and address the most pressing problems of the day. Today, that well of political capital has long run dry, the Rudd government having exhausted it to achieve absolutely nothing.

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