Australia is providing a case study in the self-destructive politics of green ideology, when believers of the religion of global warming gain political leverage.
Between 1996 and 2007, John Howard became Australia’s second-longest-serving prime minister, with his center-right administration being regarded as the epitome of responsible economic management, overseeing the “good years for Australia.” In 2007, Kevin Rudd’s left-wing Labor Party gained office, and by 2009, a six-year run of budget surpluses gave way to the largest deficits in modern politics. A slew of ideologically charged policies followed, including a nationally subsidised home insulation scheme which was unregulated, resulting in millions of wasted funds and even a death due to unqualified installation, and a public education “revolution” to renovate school buildings where the government happily paid exorbitant over-inflated tenders for unnecessary and, in some cases, unwanted refurbishments, blowing over $1 billion. This “revolution” was overseen by Rudd’s deputy, Julia Gillard.
With plummeting polls leading into the 2010 election, having been bestowed with the mantle of the worst prime minister in Australia’s history, Rudd’s leadership was successfully challenged by Gillard. However, Gillard was no shoe-in for prime m,inister, and to counter an effective campaign by the conservatives who warned that another Labor government would mean an unpopular carbon emissions tax, Gillard declared that “there will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.”
The election was even tighter than predicted and resulted in the first hung parliament since 1940. To secure power, Gillard chose to cut a deal with three independents and a lone Greens member of parliament. Despite her declaration to the contrary, Gillard was now over a (green) barrel and was forced to renege on her commitment not to introduce a carbon tax in order to honor her agreement with the Greens, whose agenda not surprisingly included a carbon tax.
It’s taken Gillard two years to implement the controversial tax, during which time she has been irreverently referred to as “Ju-liar.” Thoughts of staying in power have no doubt helped her withstand such criticism, along with the support of a sympathetic Obama. During his visit here in November last year, he expressed his support for the tax, saying, “I think that’s good for the world … I actually think, over the long term, it’s good for our economies, as well, because it’s my strong belief that industries, utilities, individual consumers — we’re all going to have to adapt how we use energy and how we think about carbon.”