Monday 25 July 2011

Tony Abbott says cabinet paper reveals Julia Gillard once backed Coalition's climate policy

JULIA Gillard faces new pressure over her climate change convictions as Tony Abbott seized on a report that she previously pushed for a bipartisan approach that didn't involve a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme.

Mr Abbott today questioned what Ms Gillard stood for, saying her post-election carbon tax plan had been dictated by the Greens.

“What that shows is that the Prime Minister's attacks on our policy aren't genuine,” Mr Abbott told ABC radio today.

“It demonstrates that the policy that the government is currently adopting is Bob Brown's policy. Not Julia Gillard's policy.”

The Australian Financial Review reported that Ms Gillard, as deputy prime minister, had encouraged the Rudd government's “kitchen cabinet” to shelve plans for a carbon price in favour of other alternatives.

The report was potentially extremely damaging for Ms Gillard, who with Treasurer Wayne Swan urged Kevin Rudd to dump his emissions trading scheme.

“I'll make it very clear that those matters reported today have no veracity of truthfulness to them,” she told reporters in Canberra.

“I have never believed that this nation could reach its minus five per cent emissions reduction target other than by putting a price on carbon.”

However Mr Abbott said it appeared Ms Gillard had backed the Coalition's direct action policy.

“No-one can take her seriously,” he said.

“The nearest we get to `real Julia' when it comes to climate change policy is the note that she gave to the inner cabinet just before she became prime minister herself where she said what the government should do is embrace the kind of policy the Coalition's got.”

The fallback position advocated in Ms Gillard's paper was rejected by the Rudd inner-sanctum.

Opting instead to defer any further attempt to legislate an emissions trading scheme until after the next election, Mr Rudd and his ministers thought Ms Gillard's proposal would hand Mr Abbott a political advantage.

In a paper titled “The bipartisan solution” , Ms Gillard reportedly urged senior colleagues to set aside contentious aspects of the government's climate change policy for so long as Mr Abbott remained opposition leader.

She reportedly lobbied for a new policy to achieve Australia's five per cent emissions reduction target by 2020 without pricing carbon, submitting the proposal for consideration to the Strategic Priorities and Budget Committee of Cabinet.

Author | Source | Joe Kelly | The Australia | July 25, 2011

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