Almost a week ago now the government announced their plan for a carbon tax, to be put into action next year. I was rather excited by it all. The last time I sat down and took time to listen to the news was two or three weeks ago, driving from Lismore to Uki for a friend’s wedding and getting hopelessly lost on the way. I spent about two hours listening to news radio. The biggest story of the day was Kevin Rudd calling PM Julia Gillard’s house “Boganville.”
That pretty much sums up Australian politics. A lot of glaring and jibes, meaningless slogans and dancing around issues with trivialities. It doesn’t help that the government barely has a majority and thus, everything that’s proposed is rejected out of hand, because of course the opposition’s plan would always do better.
So the carbon tax announcement was the first actual thing to happen in a long time. And it looks like it’s going to go through, which I think is a good thing. For one, the government finally seems to have realised that solar rebates (culled as quickly as they’re rolled out) and energy-saving lightbulbs in households isn’t going to cut it anymore. While those measures are certainly helpful, they’re not the real issue. Finally, the onus is on the people who actually do most of the polluting to stop doing so. Coal-fired power stations, big production corporations… I started a conversation with someone on the bus the other day who worked in mining research who described to me how extraordinarily inefficient mining practises really are! Finally there’s an incentive for them to invest in proper research.
I’m surprised at how solid the whole plan really seems. It really looks like it’s been worked through carefully. No one can deny that there are going to be rises in the cost of groceries and electricity, but those prices are set to rise steadily in the next years regardless of carbon tax. And I won’t complain about the government’s compensation system, it seems fair to me, especially the tripling of the tax-free income threshold.
And to that family above the income threshold for compensation that the ABC interviewed? The ones who said that they wouldn’t be happy paying more for electricity as they’re barely managing on $100,000 a year? Well. Maybe sell that whopping great plasma TV you have mounted to your living room wall.
The plan seems solid to me, not that I’m an expert in political affairs. But it must seem so to Tony Abbot as well, otherwise he wouldn’t be going on such a scare campaign to discredit “Julia,” as he calls her.  The only thing he seems to be interested in asking the PM is if she’s so sure the tax is the right thing to do, why won’t she fight an election over it? And why does politics still make such a fuss about how the public is going to react? The pollies still don’t seem to realise that the vast majority of Australians not only believe climate change is real, but want action to be taken, and soon. They’re still arguing over us not being ready, when it’s us who are way ahead of them!
That’s all on the politics side for now. But while we’re on the Australian theme, I might as well point out that I passed my citizenship test with 100% on Monday. And was surprised at how little I felt the urge to rant afterwards. The questions were actually relevant, based largely on the mechanics of the government and judicial system. I still don’t agree with the need to sit a test to become an Australian citizen after living here all my life and being a good deal more informed than your average young adult about the workings of politics. I’m not sure the rest of my former high school cohort would have passed. But then, they were born here, and don’t have to go through expensive and painful processes to have the same rights as everyone else. Including not having to pay for their university education UP FRONT every semester.
Also, I received a letter (or email) of commendation for my results in my archaeology course from the head of Social Sciences. And that was the only one I only got a distinction in rather than a high distinction. I’m rather happy now.
 The way Abbot calls Gillard “Julia” really pisses me off. He refuses to address her by her title, which shows that he has no respect for her or her position. He wouldn’t dream of doing that to a male PM. It just shows what a misogynist he really is. He also thinks abortion has become a national epidemic based purely on convenience, is “threatened” by homosexuality, believes women will never achieve equal representation for physiological reasons, and that Jesus knew everyone had a place, but that place was not necessarily in Australia (in response to the “boat people” issue).
(Sourced at The Dawn Chorus, here: http://thedawnchorus.wordpress.com/2010/08/05/reasons-to-not-vote-for-tony/)