Today the Financial Review had four articles promoting different aspects of the carbon tax agenda.
One was a lengthy amalgam by warmist staff writer Marcus Priest in which he canvassed the views of half a dozen supporters of carbon taxes/regulations. Two were from lobby groups with vested interests in promoting continued subsidies for their otherwise uncompetitive renewables, and one was from Greg Hunt, the Coalition spokesman with a strong attachment to the global warming theory and quixotic views on how to suppress emissions most cheaply.
This follows another cheer leading piece a week ago by Tony Wood from Australia’s leftist Grattan Institute. Mr Wood urged an incoming Federal Energy Minister (presumably the Institute has given up on its favourite political party) should undertake reforms to revitalise the competitive energy market. He says the new Minister should:
•Address network regulation, drive privatisation of the remaining government owned corporations, and either refocus the regulatory process or return to the concept of a national monopoly regulator across all industry sectors.
•Complete the journey to retail deregulation.
•Improve transparency and liquidity in the domestic gas market.
•Rationalise climate change policies with a carbon price, rising steadily and credibly over time, as the centrepiece. Other policies should only address market failures and barriers.
•Reform energy sector governance, put accountability for effective and efficient outcomes at the centre, and recommit to National Competition Policy and market reform.
In times gone by, socialists seeking to undermine the market system would conceal their real agenda deep inside their documented aims. Thus, the British Labour Party’s constitution comprised a number of clauses. The first three dealt the need to cooperate with unions and kindred organisations and to promote the benefits of the Labour Party. Then came the electrifying policy approach, Clause 4, buried within which was a call to nationalise all the means of production, distribution and exchange.
Modern socialist interventionists follow the same approach. Tony Wood’s Clause 4, an increasingly high priced carbon tax, is buried within relatively uncontroversial platitudes. This is promoted, regardless of it being expressly ruled out by the Coalition and downgraded by the ALP.
Actually, the dirigisme promoted by Grattan’s socialistic agenda is also seen in its own “Clause 3” (Improve transparency and liquidity in the domestic gas market). Though this sounds innocuous it is really an attempt to constrain the contracting conditions under which gas is traded so that all prices are published and far more transactions are forced onto the spot market. This approach is favoured by firms that have failed to contract gas at the prices they offered and which now hope that regulatory changes will cause prices to fall.