Having paid out Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd has turned his attention to The Greens.
Speaking on ABC TV’s Insiders programme on Sunday morning, Rudd said he was “the first one to admit that in the past the [Labor] government has got a number of things wrong” and he cited as an example: “I don’t think our actions on the carbon tax were right and I changed it … We didn’t have a mandate for it.”
Indeed – Labor did not have a mandate for a carbon tax; but I don’t recall Kevin Rudd complaining at the time. In fact he was one of the MPs celebrating the passage of the carbon tax through the Parliament. There he is kissing the PM. In a Don Corleone kind of way, I suppose.
There are three things going on here. Rudd is legitimising his own ETS scheme – the argument being that he won an election in 2007 on the basis of an ETS, while there is no electoral mandate for the carbon tax. He is also reminding the Greens that he failed to get the ETS up, largely because they did not support it in the Parliament. He has cruelled the chance of the carbon tax surviving he he loses the election – having admitted there was no mandate for the tax, the ALP can hardly refuse to abolish it after Tony Abbott does win a mandate to do so. Finally he is signalling to all voters who care primarily about climate change that they have to vote for him if they want to see any sort of ETS or carbon tax to survive in Australia.