In a Business Spectator video, Shadow Finance Minister Andrew Robb has committed the ultimate political sin. He has vowed that if the Coalition win the next election and does not grasp the opportunity to implement a particular policy then he will not stand at the next (2016) election.
He went even further.
Robb also committed his leader Tony Abbott to end his political career.
I am, of course, talking about removing the carbon tax either directly or via emissions trading. Readers are able to listen to Robb’s exact words.
Until this statement at the ADC Hayman Leadership Retreat, many who favour a carbon tax were very confident that Tony Abbott will not abandon the carbon/emissions trading tax – ‘politicians always lie’.
If Abbott and Robb break the undertaking in this video then it will be played over and over again in the 2016 election campaign just as the Gillard carbon “lie” will be a centrepiece of the 2013 election.
Andrew Robb and Shadow Environment Minister Greg Hunt gathered a group of business people at the ADC Hayman Retreat to explain what a Coalition government would look like. It was the first time two senior shadow ministers had at least partially unveiled the curtain that has surrounded so much of the proposed Coalition policy.
Assuming the Coalition won the election on carbon, Hunt was 80% confident that the Labor party would back the new legislation because the 2013 election would have been an effective referendum on the carbon tax just as the previous election was a referendum on Work Choices. The opposition did not stand in the way of Fair Work Australia because of that referendum.
But assuming that Hunt was wrong and Labor blocked the carbon tax removal, the Coalition would immediately go to a double dissolution and theoretically it would be possible for Australia to be rid of the carbon tax eight months after the first election. However, the Coalition was assuming it would take 10 to 12 months from the next election.
The Coalition’s carbon reduction programs would concentrate on incentives not on taxation.
Andrew Robb warned his audience that in 1993, when he was directing the Liberal election campaign, he made a fatal mistake of being pressured into announcing an 800 page Fight Back plan which Paul Keating had over a year to adopt or decimate. It caused the Liberals to lose the “unloseable election”.
Robb is adamant the Coalition will not make that mistake again and as a result will not release the details of its policies well in advance of the election. He did reveal that an incredible amount of work has now been undertaken to prepare a set of policies that might even rival Fight Back in detail and comprehensiveness.
Nevertheless, we are now starting to get a clearer idea of where the Coalition is headed.
Prior to Hayman, Coalition leaders had told business people that the Fair Work act would not be decimated but there would be amendments which would be announced very clearly prior to the election. The Liberals believe there is potential to use the current Fair Work act much more effectively (Coalition shows sign of softening Fair Work stance, August 14).
Shadow Small Business Minister Bruce Billson (Business End of the election, August 3) has flagged that the Rudd-Gillard governments have introduced 18,000 new small business regulations, which would be substantially reduced under a Liberal government. Small business will be a major target for the Coalition. Underpinning the Coalition policies would be a drive to increase growth rather than what the Coalition believes is a Government policy of redistributing wealth.