MALCOLM Turnbull has sought to regain the initiative in the political tussle over emissions trading, presenting the Rudd government with a "log of claims" for immediate negotiations on the controversial Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.Nobody trusts a green conservative and it shows how 'wet' Turnbull is that he would seek to either gain political mileage or minimise damage by embracing an economy wrecking ETS.
After a week of damaging internal dissent on whether and when the Coalition would negotiate with the government over the scheme setting up a market in carbon emissions, Mr Turnbull held a telephone hook-up of his front bench yesterday and secured agreement to nine conditions.
If accepted by the government, the conditions would offer extra compensation to coalminers, electricity generators and possibly other heavy industries such as steel, aluminium and cement. And farmers would pay nothing but possibly make money from their emission reduction efforts.
But Climate Change Minister Penny Wong dismissed the Opposition Leader's "shopping list" last night and said he should get back to her with detailed amendments that were supported by his deeply divided partyroom.
The Coalition demands include agreement that: "An Australian emissions trading scheme should offer no less protection for jobs, small business and industry than an American ETS."
"To that end there must be an effective mechanism, such as a regular review by the Productivity Commission or a similar expert independent body, to ensure that the Australian ETS does not materially disadvantage Australian industries and workers relative to American industries and workers," the Coalition statement says.
Mr Turnbull said he was "putting the ball back into Kevin Rudd's court".
"We will negotiate with him at any time, but if he presents the bill in its current form we will vote against it," Mr Turnbull told The Weekend Australian.
"This is our log of claims, to put it in trade union language. The question now is whether Kevin Rudd wants to engage with us or whether he wants to play politics."
Mr Turnbull -- who has long sought to persuade his party that a negotiated emissions trading settlement was in its policy and political interests -- said if the government accepted the "principles" he would seek, and was "confident of obtaining", the support of his partyroom for the bill. Several of the "principles" support the stance of industries such as coal and power generation in crucial negotiations over the scheme, which remain unresolved despite the fact that it is due to be voted on in the Senate on August 13.
The Business Council of Australia welcomed the Opposition Leader's statement as the "basis for a bipartisan approach" and the Minerals Council of Australia said it "provided a solid basis for negotiations".
But Senator Wong said: "Mr Turnbull must now turn his shopping list into real amendments to the government's climate change legislation -- amendments that are backed by his partyroom."
The science is eventually going to catch up with public opinion as the claims of AGW proponents fall by the wayside and are replaced with much stronger scientific hypotheses, which will leave the Coalition on the wrong side of history along with Labor, the Greens and environmental groups. Senator Steve Fielding has worked out the correct strategy - get the government to explain why CO2 is not driving temperatures up as predicted by the 20+ climate models relied upon by the IPCC.
The Coalition cannot win this game.
The public understands that the Coalition is simply putting forward conditions that the government will never agree to in a pathetic attempt to build its green credentials.
The emissions trading scheme is anti-jobs.
It is anti-standard of living.
It is anti-science. I doubt anyone in parliament other than Dennis Jensen, who the Liberals have disracefully replaced as Member for Tangey, have even read the full IPCC Fourth Assessment Report or the Summary for Policymakers let alone have the wit to understand how far from scientific reality its predictions really are.
It is anti-reason. In the one in a billion scenario where the science turns out to be correct the policy response is still way over the top.
It is pro-big government.
It is anti-Australia.
It is antithetical to everything the Coalition purports to stand for.
And there is not one vote in it for them.
We currently have the least competent, biggest spending government since the disaster presided over by Gough Whitlam.
When the Coalition can't even manage to be seen as a credible opposition given that fact then it really does seem to be a race to the bottom.
I will never, ever vote for the Coalition while Malcolm Turnbull, or any of his supporters, lead the party or if they continue to endorse an emissions trading scheme.
I suggest you withdraw your support for the party, as well, while they take such an unprincipled position on Australia's future wellbeing.