Bernie Fraser has decided to speak out. The organisation he heads, the Climate Change Authority, is set to be abolished when the new Senate sits. It was set up to provide independent expert advice to the government on climate change mitigation initiatives, but this is something the government has decided it no longer requires.
Employing language that Tony Abbott is sure to recognise, Fraser, a former governor of the reserve bank and former secretary of the federal treasury, said the 'good guys' have lost the climate change argument in Australia, because the 'bad guys' have been allowed to peddle untruths and misinformation without proper challenge.
The bad guys are "the present government and some of its biggest supporters, big companies and industry associations", as well as their right-wing supporters; the good guys, according to Fraser, are the scientific mainstream.
Fraser also places Labor in the camp of ineffectual "good guys", pointing out that it has long since ceased to make a strong and consistent case for action on climate change.
"There is no one out there really presenting a coherent, informed, mature case," Fraser told the Guardian.
Corporate leaders remain silent on the killing of carbon pricing in Australia. Abbott has appointed climate change deniers to review the Renewable Energy Target and to head his business advisory council. His Direct Action policy only makes sense as a means to hide its avoidance of long-term emissions reductions.
His government is effectively anti-science, especially in relation to the environment, and there's no denying it. But there's also no pressure on him to defend it.
"One of the country’s most experienced policy thinkers draws a brutal conclusion about Australia’s climate change debate: the “good guys” have lost the argument because they failed to contest untruths peddled by “bad guys”, including the federal government."
"The former Treasury secretary and head of the last major review of the taxation system, Ken Henry, has warned the Abbott government urgently needs a tax and welfare package to head off an imminent budget crisis. He said the changes would have to encompass all welfare payments, which includes disability support pensions, family tax payments, and employment benefits, because the entire system needed to be fixed."
"The Abbott government has quietly reopened a visa loophole that will allow employers to hire an unlimited number of foreign workers under a temporary working visa, in a move that unions say will bring back widespread rorting of the system. In the Coalition's bid to remove all ''red tape'' from the 457 skilled migrant visa, employers will not be penalised or scrutinised if they hire more foreign staff than they applied for."
"In Tasmanian politics, there is an obsession that the Liberal and Labor parties share: if only the Greens would go away. It’s like some pesky virus from another planet, and not even the most drastic medicine can effect a cure. In 1998 the ALP and the Liberal Party went so far as to collude in altering the state’s constitution in an attempted shut-out of minor parties."
"There is, in my opinion, no moral equivalence between the camps of right and left. The opponents of the asylum seekers have displayed a frightening and escalating level of indifference to suffering; their supporters have displayed genuine empathy and concern for affliction throughout. Some people I know have, to their honour, devoted their lives to wonderful work on behalf of asylum seekers. Unfortunately, however, in politics compassion is frequently not enough."