Give it up, Bernie

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I know that Sinc has written today about the consensus of the three wise men, aka prominent economists (Fraser, Henry and Garnaut) on the need for a carbon tax or some other intervention of which they approve to deal with their perception of the problem of AGW, as well as their open criticism of the Abbott’s direct action scheme.  Sinc is completely on the money in his post.

My post has a slightly different purpose and follows up on Samuel J’s post about the alarming activities of some ‘independent’ government bodies and the way in which those with statutory appointments often behave in treacherous and uncontrolled manners. And this is all the while these bodies are being funded, directly or indirectly, by the taxpayer.

John Howard was completely correct to ban effectively the creation of any new statutory authorities … he disliked the idea of them and couldn’t see the point when there were public servants to provide informed, frank and confidential policy advice.

The behaviour of the Chairman, Bernie Fraser (and other board members) of the Climate Change Authority has illustrated this point in spades.  I am not sure what motivated the Labor government to set up a statutory authority to give advice on climate change policies (the CCA can’t actually decide anything or enforce its recommendations).

I guess a return to favoured mates was part of the equation (Fraser, Rubin, Ridout, Karoly, Hamilton, Quiggin) is part of the answer.  But I wonder whether the existence of a SA, which could only be abolished through legislation, was a sort of poison pill for an incoming Coalition government to deal with.

Call me old-fashioned, but I think the board of the CCA should have all resigned when the Coalition was elected, in the knowledge that Coalition policy is to abolish the organisation. But I guess honour and integrity do not figure highly in their thinking, because the CCA has continued to produce appalling reports which it knows are directly contradicting government policy.  All at the expense of the taxpayer.

And then we have Bernie Fraser, Chairman of the CCA and a man with well-known Labor connections, particularly through the industry superannuation funds, giving a talk at the Press Club.  He obviously felt no inhibition slagging off at the current government’s policies and mouthing platitudes such as “we must not put profits before people”, whatever that means.

(Many years ago, I held a statutory position and the government of the day (Labor) asked me to resign.  I did.  I am not saying I was happy about it – I was doing too good a job at thwarting the operation of the authority.  But I don’t regret my decision.)

Here is a report of his speech:

CLIMATE Change Authority chairman Bernie Fraser has accused the Abbott government of standing up for business interests and not community interests in a parting shot ahead of the CCA’s abolition.

Mr Fraser, a former Reserve Bank governor, called for a more mature and informed debate on climate change.

He said the Coalition had demonised the price on carbon in a campaign that rivalled the Minerals Council of Australia’s “tirade” against the mining tax.

The CCA last month recommended Australia increase its emissions reduction target from 5 per cent below 2000 levels to an effective 19 per cent.

However, the CCA is set to be scrapped as part of the Coalition’s carbon tax repeal bills, although a bill to dismantle it was voted down by the Senate last week.

Mr Fraser said he was concerned the government professed to accept the science of climate change but the indications were that it was “unlikely to back that acceptance with appropriate actions”.

“It is lightening rather than adding to the policy tool kit. The price on carbon is to go, the Renewable Energy Target is to be reviewed and possibly headed for a downgrade,” he said.

He said many aspects of the Coalition’s Direct Action Plan remained to be clarified “but what has been made clear is that its scale will be determined primarily by budgetary – not climate science – considerations”.

Mr Fraser said he was puzzled why the government was not taking advantage of expert, balanced, informed advice from independent bodies.

“In that sense there is a need for the leopard to change its spots, really,” Mr Fraser said.

He said the government could ultimately face pressure to act on climate change from extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and bushfires.

He also predicted that elements of the business sector would see opportunities from a transition to a lower carbon economy and press the government for action in contrast to interests associated with fossil fuels.

Mr Fraser said there had been a loss of momentum on climate change action in recent years as concerns over the global financial crisis took precedence, but momentum was swinging back.

He said international climate change negotiations in Paris next year could put pressure on the government.

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38 Responses to Give it up, Bernie

  1. stackja

    Bernie is ALP and is allowed all comments. Voters’ decisions do not count to the ALP.

  2. JC

    The hysterically funny thing is that the authoritarians continue to refer to themselves as independent. That is so offensive the government ought to fire them all en masse.

  3. Mike of Marion

    It might need legislation to get rid of these SA, but another way surely is not to provide a Budget Funding Line.

  4. nic

    I’d love to know exactly what he means by ‘community’. He certainly thumbs his nose at the community, who voted en masse to elect a new Government and its clearly stated policies.

  5. ProEng

    These three s0-called economists (Fraser, Henry, Garnaut), all are blinded by their political agenda which prevents them seeing economic reality. As a consequence they are economic incompetents. “Nugget” Coomes was another incompetent through his political blindness. It is good to see the Government attempting to change Treasury direction. More than Parkinson should be sacked- another 3 of the top ten.
    (I had shares in Lihir and noted the pathetic performance of Garnaut as chairman- he was paid far too much while shareholders suffered. He had no clue about hedging unless he deliberately set out to destroy the company)

  6. cohenite

    The CCA is a grotesque. All sense and connection to reality has long since departed the alarmists’ mindset. They are merely ideological drudges driven by vanity, hatred of the ‘other’ and reflex.

  7. H B Bear

    Increasingly I think that the entire KRudd-Gillard-KRudd era should be preserved in a museum where future generations could come and marvel at the entire period from 2007 to 2013.

    Image walking into a mock-up of the Air Force jet and seeing the napkin where KRudd and the Nuclear Milkman reversed 60 years of telecommunications policy and re-nationalised Australia’s telecommunications industry on a flight between Canberra and where-ever. Then head down the hall to a recreated Senate Estimates, where an animatronic Wombat Whisperer disdainfully explains to you how the Resource Super Profits Tax will work and the banks will provide capital against a government IOU on project costs. Elsewhere banks of TVs will show historical footage of Ol’ Leathery, La Tingle, Mrs Magoo, Jabba and Bungjourno claiming each Gillard f***up as the turning point against an unelectable Opposition Leader in Tony Abbott.

    And perhaps it can all be housed in the Climate Change Authority building until the lease runs out.

  8. Fred Lenin

    I agree with Mike ,defund them ,confiscate the authorities bank accounts and close down their offices etc.,the way toDestroy marxist fascist authoritarian power is Total Defunding,these people have Never done Anything for nothing,no money ,NO POWER! Cut the country section from the alpbc privatise foreign broadcasting,and close the rest with no funding for payouts for the leftist scum ,and total Reform of the law trade ,that will cut out the whingers and major bludgers,apart from giliard when did you last here of some crim being thrown out of the law trade? When was the last time a crooked judge was sacked and jailed?How many judges are. Alp aparatchiks?would any of them stand Close Scrutiny? Corrut from thetop down,even if some are not guilty of wrongdoing ,they are ALL guilty of protecting the Guilty which is wrongdoing in itself!

  9. entropy

    And perhaps it can all be housed in the Climate Change Authority building until the lease runs out.

    No doubt a long time then.

  10. H B Bear

    Slow Bern and the rest of this crew look increasingly like a laughable bunch of Japanese WWII fighters still stuck in the PNG jungle, desperately listening to the ALPBC on their short wave radio waiting for a signal it is safe to come out again.

  11. manalive

    Doesn’t Fraser have a conflict of interest as a director of Members Equity Bank and other superannuation funds heavily invested in wind farms?

  12. philip j. fry

    I’m all for funding a small group of people whose sole purpose is to track down all the affiliated mobs who get government funding to lobby government on behalf of government sponsors, who then lie to us they are under pressure from “the people” to do this or that, using the lobby groups as evidence, and have them exterminated.

    Any group getting government funding, should cease to do so unless they can prove it is apolitical.

  13. Boambee John

    “I am not sure what motivated the Labor government to set up a statutory authority to give advice on climate change policies (the CCA can’t actually decide anything or enforce its recommendations).”

    The intent at the time (iirc it was stated explicitly) was to prevent a future Coalition government from abolishing the carbon (dioxide) tax, or at least make any changes difficult.

    If I also recall correctly, there are provisions in the relevant Act that have the effect of automatically implementing an ever increasing rate of the tax if the recommendations of the Authority are not accepted.

  14. Bruce of Newcastle

    One reason why ALP MP’s never cross the floor (whereas LNP people do) is the patronage system. If they stick to the ALP pantheon they can expect juicy jobs whenever the ALP is in government. The CCA is an example, as are the other various quangos the ALP government created out of thin air.

    And any public servant who says something critical of the ALP knows they will not get one of these valuable sinecures. That alone is a corrupting influence on the public service.

    The only way this can be controlled is to get rid of them utterly – CCA, ACARA, HRC the whole alphabet soup, so that the ALP cannot just resume normal service and recolonise them upon recapturing the government. The fringe benefit is it would also help the budget bottom line rather a lot.

  15. Peter OBrien

    You make a very cogent point, Judith, on the imperative for Fraser and co to resign. Their failure to do so suggests that they see themselves as an alternative government. If they wish to oppose government policy, let them do it on their own time or seek pre-selection for the Greens or ALP.

  16. Boambee John

    “Doesn’t Fraser have a conflict of interest”

    Conflicts of interest only matter if they involve non-ALP/Green personnel.

  17. Paul

    All 3 are shills for the ALP, pretending that they’re wearing their ‘economist’ hat. Just more pretenders.

  18. min

    If they are finding it a bit warm here they could move to the States where the have had the coldest winter for yanks.
    Abbott will start green army for all the unemployed ,should make it compulsory for youth not studying and spend millions cleaning up national parks,feral animals , clean up waterways plant trees etc.

  19. Cool Head

    Bernie gives people from Junee a bad name. We are not all hopeless lefties.

  20. Alfonso

    Bernie’s “called for a more mature and informed debate on climate change”
    Ok Bern, it’s a bright shining statist lie, an Alinsky special.
    (Luv your work with how catastrophic anthropogenic global warming became climate change trending to climate variability).

  21. johanna

    Poor old Bernie, bleating with Relevance Deprivation Syndrome.

    Once upon a time, if you were on the public payroll and disagreed with what you were being asked to do, you had two options – move to somewhere else, or resign (and then complain at the top of your voice).

    Now, it seems that we have a third option – keep taking the money, and complain at the top of your voice.

    Gutless, unethical behaviour, IMO.

  22. johanna

    I should add that if Bernie, or any of his minions, went public about their opposition to government policy when he was head of Treasury, they would either have been sacked or resigned.

  23. Walter Plinge

    platitudes such as “we must not put profits before people”

    Actually we must. Without profits people don’t have a job. Unless you’re a Marxist.

  24. Squirrel

    “Boambee John

    #1224613, posted on March 14, 2014 at 4:11 pm

    “I am not sure what motivated the Labor government to set up a statutory authority to give advice on climate change policies (the CCA can’t actually decide anything or enforce its recommendations).”

    The intent at the time (iirc it was stated explicitly) was to prevent a future Coalition government from abolishing the carbon (dioxide) tax, or at least make any changes difficult.

    If I also recall correctly, there are provisions in the relevant Act that have the effect of automatically implementing an ever increasing rate of the tax if the recommendations of the Authority are not accepted.”

    The final sentence suggests a fairly artful poison pill – which goes well beyond the symbolism (and risk of unhelpful press) arising from abolishing, or trying to, something called the “Climate Change Authority” in the eyes of members of the public who think “something should be done” but don’t care too much about the fine details.

    But for that hook (bit like a time bomb), the Authority could, as suggested above, be de-funded and the staff could be transferred into the Environment Department, where they would come under proper, democractically accountable, Ministerial supervision.

  25. Richard Bender

    Maybe I’m a bit dim this evening, but I’m confused by the following statement:

    He also predicted that elements of the business sector would see opportunities from a transition to a lower carbon economy and press the government for action in contrast to interests associated with fossil fuels.

    Is Bernie saying that the government should create an environment – through tax, regulation or whatever – that favours investors in those companies? Wouldn’t that be standing up for business interests over the community, i.e. the investors in BHP, Rio, Anglo and all the other coal miners who risk their own money with no handouts?

    Oh, and Cool Head, Laurie Daley, Adam Perry and Adam Gilchrist more than tilt the scales in Junee’s favour.

  26. Stephen of Glasshouse

    Let’s have a more mature and informed debate about climate change? Really? As opposed to be being bent over and taking it up the wazoo for gaia, as we’ve being doing for the last 15 years?

  27. Alfonso

    “predicted that elements of the business sector would see opportunities from a transition to a lower carbon economy.”
    Bern means that Goldman Sachs et al can’t wait for CO2 as history’s next greatest derivative bonanza.
    Market making CO2 , it’s God’s work.
    The mega Institutions are Al Gore’s greatest supporters

  28. MT Isa Miner

    (Many years ago, I held a statutory position and the government of the day (Labor) asked me to resign. I did.

    Yeah, well. Judith. Here’s a burning question. Why hasn’t the government of the day asked them?

    In whatever language Abbott likes to use- nice or Don Vito Corleone.

  29. ar

    Why resign when your snout is ear-deep in the trough and you can produce reports pushing your favourite ideology. Oh yeah, and save the world and shit…

  30. Doug Scott

    Judith, I love your style.

  31. Boambee John

    “I should add that if Bernie, or any of his minions, went public about their opposition to government policy when he was head of Treasury, they would either have been sacked or resigned.”

    See my comment on the Tony Abbott … who do you believe thread. Ken H did go public, in early 2007, and was not sacked – one of JWH’s graver errors.

  32. johanna

    John, to save us a lot of searching, what are you referring to?

  33. Andrew

    Ok, let’s have that debate about climate change.

    The climate is getting colder. Today’s school kids should learn about “global warming” from sci-fi and history classes as the atmosphere has been cooling this century. In fact, RSS data confirmed in Feb that the downtrend is now statistically significant to a P-value of 4.4%. We should be hearing this shouted from the rooftops.

  34. Tel

    … we must not put profits before people …

    Is that how the industry super funds have been operating?

    Which people exactly are getting their dibs in ahead of the profit calculation?

  35. Garry B

    Opportunity knocks.
    Step 1. Immediately after Cosgrove assumes office of G.G., he signs authority dismissing all CCA directors on grounds of the government not having confidence in said directors.
    Step 2. Within minutes Federal Police secure premises, and new CCA directors (Prof Plimer, Judith Sloan, et al) are appointed. Existing staff never re-enter premises.
    Step 3. Completely new staff appointed and expensive advertising campaigns commence with aim of re educating population to the follies that have been foisted on them by the lefties-after all how many people realise what % of the so-called “greenhouse” gases are actually emissions from the earth?

  36. Boambee John

    “John, to save us a lot of searching, what are you referring to?”

    Johanna:

    In early 2007, Ken H gave a talk to Treasury staff critical of the Howard government’s policies. This was at best edgy, however, he then had the talk published on Treasury’s public website, for the media to find (if they weren’t actually tipped off about it). This was beyond the pale in my opinion.

  37. johanna

    Thanks John – I remember that incident.

    It’s an absolute mystery why he wasn’t shown the door. Utterly unprofessional and unethical behaviour by someone who knew better.

  38. Aldrydd

    I watched his speech the other day & was amazed at how he stumbled & basically read the whole thing – almost like a semi-literate teenager, there was very little conviction in the entire speech. Other than that, how can you take anyone who sounds like The Sandman from the old Good News Week (when it was on the ABC) seriously?

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