Blame Kevin Rudd.
Paul Kelly has a very good and important piece in the Australian talking about climate change policy in Australia.
Turnbull made clear his game plan: he wanted to vote for Rudd’s scheme, neutralise climate change via bipartisanship and run against Labor on economic policy at the 2010 election. Julie Bishop and Joe Hockey agreed. Turnbull needed to win concessions from Rudd on the scheme to appease his own side and Labor did offer hefty concessions.
But Rudd never treated Turnbull as his legislative partner. He did the opposite: he attacked Turnbull, depicted the Coalition as sceptics “holding the world to ransom”, accused Turnbull of “political cowardice” and branded him a risk to “our jobs, our houses, our farms, our reef, our economy and our future”.
Rudd declined to negotiate directly with Turnbull. He was greedy. He wanted Turnbull’s support for his policy but he wanted to destroy the Turnbull Coalition as immoral and weak on climate change. These were contradictory goals. For passing Labor’s policy, Rudd offered Turnbull nothing but truckloads of humiliation.
This is a story that needs to be told and retold. Over the last couple of weeks the ALP has been blaming the Greens and the Liberal Party for not passing Kevin Rudd’s emission trading scheme. But the fact of the matter is that the Liberals were going to vote for the scheme right up until Rudd decided to play politics.
At that point the game was revealed. This had nothing to do with global warming – it was snowing in Victoria this week – and everything to do with politics.
There lies the problem. As Paul Kelly explains:
Labor’s past three leaders — Rudd, Julia Gillard and Bill Shorten — have been destroyed with climate change policy critical in the demise of each. The paradox of Labor’s position is its entrenched belief that the people want decisive climate change action, yet its repeated failure to translate this belief into a policy endorsed at the ballot box.
This has been a failure of strategy and tactics. The Labor mantra, displayed again this week, is to blame the Greens, then the Tony Abbott-led Coalition, then the Scott Morrison-led Coalition, for defeating what is Labor’s non-negotiable commitment to climate change action. This raises the question: if the public is so enthusiastic, why does Labor keep losing?
Yep: you can crap on until the cows come home about “the science”. In the absence of a clear, coherent, and common sense story the electorate don’t want to know about your plan to increase prices without there being any benefit to them.