Carbon Tax Debate Gets Paradoxical

In recent weeks, in the light of the stock market’s schizoid behaviour, a new argument has been added to the arsenal of opponents of the carbon tax. With stock markets around the world in chaos, some - including Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu - have argued the carbon tax will only add to stock market uncertainty. It’s an argument that doesn’t wash with Paul Burke, a research fellow at the Australian National University. On The Conversation, Burke argues, “If governments reacted to every piece of negative news by neglecting their long-term reform agenda, the quality of our overall governance would be substantially weakened.”

Meanwhile the Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett is pouring cold water over a proposal forwarded by the conference of his own party on the weekend calling for a royal commission into climate change. “"A royal commission into that?” he was quoted asking, “It’s not sensible. I support more science, more research, not a royal commission.”

Finally, after months of agitating grimly against the carbon tax, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott today called for a calmer approach to the debate. Addressing his party room before making an appearance at an anti-carbon tax rally attended by about 2,000 protesters (one wielding a sign that read, ‘Ditch the Witch’), Abbott said that members of parliament had a responsibility to be a “calming influence”.

The Wheeler Centre is hosting an Intelligence Squared debate on the carbon tax at the Melbourne Town Hall on Thursday, 156 September. Speakers include Tim Flannery and Adam Bandt.

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