Actually not a bad description of where Australia’s political Left finds itself having imposed punitive energy taxation on voters – basically a political corpse.
It’s hard to know what to take from reports this morning that Labor and the Greens are seriously considering altering the terms of the carbon floor price that will operate when Clean Energy Future legislation switches from the sale of non-tradeable carbon permits, to a tradeable permit scheme in 2015.
At face value, reports in News Ltd and Fairfax papers suggest that Labor and the Greens have finally realised that voter dissatisfaction with the carbon tax leaves them, to use the most polite term possible, buggered.
For Labor the equation is simple – Tony Abbott’s relentless attack on the carbon tax has, month after month, reduced the number of seats the ALP can win at the next election. This week has seen a number of Labor candidates put on notice that they will face rank-and-file preselection ballots to help ‘democratise’ the party, with ‘democratise’ here meaning ‘give the party at least a cat’s chance in hell of retaining the seat’.
For the Greens, the motivation to return to negotiation is two-fold. First, by helping to disperse some of the carbon stink that has followed Labor these past months, the Greens can help preserve something like a decent opposition when Tony Abbott sweeps to power. Secondly, they will be all too aware that disenchanted Labor voters will only remain ‘Greens’ while some progress is being made on environmental issues.
A scheme with a too-high starting price ($23/tonne), and a too-high floor price from 2015 ($15/tonne) will leave both Labor and Greens stranded on a tiny atoll of electoral support, at risk of disappearing under a rising sea of conservative votes.