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Conservation Foundation, ClimateInstitute and orldwide ildlieFund supporting abor’s decisionto make the polluter-riendlytrading scheme dependent onthe outcome o the Copenhagensummit?Beore the doors had closedon Copenhagen, this strategy wasin tatters, and udd’s credibility.im Flannery was a lone voice asCopenhagen concluded in thinkingthat ‘our prime minister has playedan outstanding role ... e’s beenworking very hard or the lastew months... and he’s just beenantastic all the way, he just shinesat it... he’s been really importantthrough these meetings’. [By ay2010, Flannery elt a ‘’prooundbetrayal o trust’’ and said he wasunlikely to vote or abor again.]But rather than going to adouble dissolution in early 2010beore the penny had droppedthat the CS was ounderingon Copenhagen’s consequences,udd procrastinated as bbottraged. he path rom abor’sbackip to udd’s loss o the primeministership was then but a shortwalk; rom a condemned prisoner’scell to the political gallows.abor’s complete humiliationand collapse onto the oppositionbenches was prevented onlybecause three o the independentsand he Greens’ dam Bandtin the new parliament’s lowerhouse are more committed onclimate that abor, and couldn’tabide the idea o denier bbottas prime minister. ll said gettingsome action on climate wasimportant in deciding to backabor.he question is whether thesceptics as abor trashed itsel.abor decided to marginalise heGreens and reused to negotiatewith them or two years, doomingthe CS emissions-tradinglegislation to deeat in the Senate.he consequences o this brilliantstrategy were a rise in he Greens’electoral standing, and a hung parliament in which abor had toelevate he Greens to the centre o the climate policy-making in orderto maintain power.It is difcult to think o a fnerexample o political blowback.abor’s sales job was hamperedby enny ong, who appearedtactically inept and emotionallyunengaged with ‘the great moralchallenge o our time’ she wascharged to answer. Shiting herrom climate suggests at leastone lesson has been learned.ogether, udd and ongcompletely misread the trajectoryo international negotiations. heytied the success o abor’s climate policy to a process that wasobviously ailing long beore it diedat the December 2009 Copenhagenclimate conerence, in whatSweden’s nvironment inister, ndreas Carlgren, called a ‘’greatailure’’.hile much o the worldrecognised that commitmentsunder Kyoto were a disaster, in ustralia Kyoto was used in 2006and 2007 as a stick with whichto beat the oward Government.hat suited abor and the bigenvironment Gs, but thisstrategy reinorced a public viewthat the international processon which Kyoto was built couldsave us. ow else to explaingroups such as the ustralian
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vote lost by abor at the ugust ederal election ellto he Greens, more because o climate than any other reason.‘I will not backip on climate’,declared billboards around the seato elbourne or the successulGreens’ candidate, dam Bandt.abor had no answer.Climate policy — and itsabsence — was
political storyin 2010. he two major parties,lacking credibility, wanted to takeclimate o the election agenda,and both lost. ow dependent onhe Greens and three climate-savvy independents, the second-term ederal abor governmentcannot aord to ail again onclimate action. But has it learnedthe lessons, how genuine is itsnew-ound commitment, and areabor and he Greens even in thesame ballpark?
o of 2010
Climate had already laid wasteto the opposition leaderships o Brendan elson and alcolmurnbull when Kevin uddmade his atal decision in ay2010. It was to accede to the views o deputy leader Gillard,treasurer Swan and the climate-sceptical S ight action anddump abor’s emissions-tradinglegislation. It created, in ossGarnaut’s terms, a ‘policy vacuum’,but udd can only blame himsel.udd’s strategy was to useclimate as a wedge to split thecoalition, but succeeded only inuniting the opposition around thedenier bbott, whose rise gavecomort to a chorus o proessional