They should have known

John Hewson repeats a silly talking point in his AFR column of last Friday (subscription required).

The other weakness of Rudd’s proposals was the excessive compensation to the big polluters.
Most of these have known this was coming for at least 20 to 25 years, and have been preparing for it, despite what they may claim publicly.

This is silly for, at least, two reasons. First in Lenore Taylor and David Uren’s Shitstorm (pg. 181) we read

[Penny Wong] said that in the previous months she had reached the conclusion the business executives filing through her office were not making ambit claims but were genuinely worried about the potential impact of the plan.

Second, as recently as seven months ago the government was telling us that proposals to tax carbon were not on the cards and allegations to the contrary were hysterical.

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19 Responses to They should have known

  1. Myrddin Seren says:

    25 years ?

    Before Hansen even made his Doomsday speech to Congress ??

    Up till now Hewson has been famous for a series of epic fails in his business, political and personal lives ( I feel for his kids ).

    He genuinely seems to be suffering some disconnect with reality. I feel even sorrier for his kids – the Charlie Sheen of Australian politics.

  2. dover_beach says:

    That’s harsh, Myrddin.

  3. Quentin George says:

    Hewson reckons Business were anticipating a carbon tax during the downfall of the Whitlam government?

    wtf?

  4. Infidel Tiger says:

    No, second Term of Hawke. Time flies!

  5. Pickles says:

    Back in those days governments taxing the very air we breathe was a derisive joke. Now it’s high and noble policy.

  6. C.L. says:

    Unions now say they want a return to the 1970s as the price for supporting Gillard’s gas tax:

    Unions demand jobs plan in return for supporting carbon price proposals.

    THE union movement is demanding Julia Gillard develop a comprehensive industry plan to sustain jobs and refocus production under her proposed carbon price.

    ACTU president Ged Kearney told The Australian Online that a detailed plan, similar to the Button Plan of the 1980s, was the price of union support for Labor’s climate change response.

    These people have decided to completely scorch the earth.

  7. C.L. says:

    Brown now demands the creation of a Carbon Court.

  8. pedro says:

    Hewson is even more silly because the problems caused by the carbon tax, increased costs relative to competitors, can’t be “prepared for”. Any successful business has already got costs pretty much as low as they can go.
    I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised because hewson has spent a good 20 years trashing his own reputation as a bright guy.

  9. C.L. says:

    According to Paul Sheehan, Hewson’s business reputation speaks for itself:

    After leaving for the corporate world, he created a resume littered with disputation. Last week there was more bad news about the collapse of Elderslie Finance Corporation, where Hewson was chairman before matters slid out of control, leaving 4000 investors behind.

    Before that, Hewson departed from the board of Pulse Health Group in a shake-up. Before that, he quit as chairman of Natural Fuel amid a boardroom battle. Before that, he lost a bitter boardroom struggle for control of Sports & Entertainment Limited. Before that, he departed Belle Property amid a dispute. Before that, he resigned as chairman of Network Entertainment prior to the company’s collapse. Before that, as dean of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management, he had a spectacular falling out with the university. Before that, he helped lead a Macquarie venture in Singapore, which collapsed. Before that, CBD Online, where Hewson had been chairman, failed.

    When it comes to authority in the worlds of business and politics, Hewson is a dead man talking. Only one field would treat this resume as a qualification for authority – the media – and so it was that Hewson provided the most lurid example, thus far, of the self-generated, self-feeding media speculation around Costello for the past month.

  10. Samuel J says:

    If you don’t want to pay compensation:
    – have a carbon tax based on consumption not production
    – reduce or eliminate an inefficient tax like stamp duty. CO2 emissions would be a de facto increase to the GST (a slightly different base).

    Better to increase the GST and eliminate all the inefficient taxes.

  11. Samuel J says:

    Hewson of course wants an ETS so he can make personal profits. We should demand that all public advocates of carbon schemes sign a pledge to not personally profit from trading schemes.

  12. JC says:

    And he never bought a round of drinks when it was his turn. It’s the one thing I always recall about him.

  13. Andrew Reynolds says:

    Samuel,
    I would have thought that another possibility would be to remove all taxes on the main CO2 producing products (coal, oil, petrol etc.), remove all subsidies on these items and then put in a single, revenue neutral replacement.
    Apart from anything else I think the price of fuel would drop a fair bit.

  14. Entropy says:

    JC
    15 mins ago
    And he never bought a round of drinks when it was his turn. It’s the one thing I always recall about him.

    You were a drinking buddy of Hewson?

    /straightman

  15. JC says:

    No, not his buddy. He used to go out drinking with his buddies that were also my buddies from the old trading days in Sydney.

    As i said, he never bought a drink.

  16. . says:

    Carbon Tribunal?

    We lost the Cold War.

  17. Adrien says:

    25 years ? Before Hansen even made his Doomsday speech to Congress ??

    Margaret Thatcher made a speech in the United States in the late 80s which, in part addressed the dangers of global warming.

  18. Adrien says:

    This is silly for, at least, two reasons.

    These reasons don’t make any demonstration of silliness.

    The second is that the government denied it would introduce a carbon tax. How does the govt’s lie demonstrate what was and wasn’t known in the corporate boardrooms of resource concerns? The first assumes truth telling, Hewson contradicts this. It doesn’t make him silly.

  19. Bill says:

    The only reason Hewson has been on all those Boards is because he looks impressive in a suit, much like an ageing male model. Saying a carbon tax has been foreshadowed for 25 years is just ridiculous, try 10 years.
    Remember his comic inability to explain how his GST would effect the price of a cake? No surprise that most companies he has chaired have failed, you might even prefer to have Kennet on your Board

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