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Taxing the voter to keep the candles – a thoroughly mesmerising government

The government’s new approach to climate change is simply mesmerising. Thankfully you’re no longer paying attention.

悦博体育赌场Gaze intently upon this swinging spoon.

悦博体育赌场Wish…woosh…wish…woosh. “Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

You’re in a deep sleep now. You hear an energy minister talking faintly about a new way to deal with climate change. An ingenious plan that apparently nobody had the intellect to conceive over the previous 30 years.


悦博体育赌场Your critical thinking faculties are suppressed as you feel a calming happiness flow through your entire body first from your ears through to your toes. You want this whole ‘climate wars’ thing to be over. The minister says he’s found a better way, you want it to be true.

“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

You ignore the fact that the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is funded by taxpayer revenue to the tune of $2.55 billion, making it a significant burden on struggling households. The minister is good looking. His collars are always crisp.

“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

And as you slowly begin to disconnect from your listless body (and brain), you disregard recent  of an additional $2 billion taxpayer dollars to extend the ERF’s life into this decade, cementing its place as a taxpayer burden for years to come.

“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

悦博体育赌场You love the ERF’s re-branding as the ‘Climate Solutions Fund’. You feel that the Coalition has finally found a ‘solution’ to climate change and an even deeper sense of false calm pervades your faculties, triggering positive energy points that you never knew existed.

“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

But your subconscious mind starts to stir, invaded by troubling thoughts that disturb your inner peace. You ask “why can’t polluting corporations fund the ERF directly instead of taxpayers shouldering the cost burden?”. You supress these thoughts. People want to move on; the minister has found a new way that doesn’t involve taxes. You regain your calm as you feel all the muscles in your body relaxing again.

“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

悦博体育赌场But your inner mind stirs again. This time you are enlightened by a vision of impatient corporations moving forward with fast-paced net-zero emission transitions to create shareholder value. And through the profusion of your sweat you make out the silhouette of a marginalised energy minister scrambling to maintain relevance to the accelerating transition.

悦博体育赌场“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

Yet another vision convulses you, and this time you see that without strong emission targets the government’s ‘technology investment roadmap’ risks shielding old technologies from market forces fast making them redundant. In this light you agree with the Minister’s statement that “we didn’t tax candles to get electric lights” but fear that government might instead “tax voters to keep the candles”.

悦博体育赌场“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

A final revelation hits you like lightning; emerging out of the climate policy vacuum is a business world now in charge of Australia’s decarbonisation agenda. Your surprise is palpable as you witness a business world working with other levels of government to dictate what our national targets and policies should be.

You see an energy minister responding with “thank you, let’s go with that” then fluttering off to global climate conferences with CEOs on speed-dial. And as a deep and cooling mist envelopes your upper body you feel electrified and eternally grateful that finally, yes finally after so many years, you can disengage a little from Canberra’s primary school politics.

“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

The visions fade, leaving you in but a shallow slumber. The transition over this coming decade might be disorderly but brutally swift it will be. A soothing energy charges through your faculties. You commit to focus on what’s happening in the real world, the world of business, and promise to skip the occasional QandA episode, especially if the panel is stacked with federal politicians.

“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

悦博体育赌场A faint final image of a slighted energy minster running down a pier waving reports and crying slogans makes you smile; you can see clearly now. The ship has sailed, there is no going back. A feeble chuckle permeates your lips as your body starts to twitch; a government afflicted by Relevance Deficit Syndrome?! What a strange sight indeed!

“Technology not taxes”, “technology not taxes”. Wish…woosh…wish…woosh.

Suddenly you rise from your slumber, turning away abruptly from the swinging spoon.

And as you walk away into the future, you pause to ask your enlightened self: “If a spoon keeps swinging but nobody is there to look at it, is it really swinging at all?”

Evan Stamatiou is director of Carbon Risk Management


One Response to “Taxing the voter to keep the candles – a thoroughly mesmerising government”

  • Paul says:

    悦博体育赌场It’s a pity Mr Rudd & his colleagues didn’t defend these policies more robustly at the time and since then.

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