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Turnbull to Back Labor's ETS

published  First Published: 08/02/2010
Article written by: News Editor: Nigel Brookson
Mr Turnbull, who lost the Liberal leadership to Tony Abbott late last year following a mutiny against his decision to support the ETS, is not the only former Liberal Party leader to support Labor, as Dr. Hewson spoke out.
Former leader Dr. Hewson took aim at current Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's climate change policy, accusing him of using fear to win over voters.
"To be clear, Abbott's response is mostly political."
"While there is merit in soil carbon, tree planting, solar, etc, if they were to be well developed policies , as part of a more broad-based overall response, his strategy is the belief that you can frighten and fool most of the people, all of the time."
In selling his policy to the public Mr Abbott has used the line Mr Keating employed in his campaign against the GST in which he told voters: "if you don't understand it don't vote for it".
Dr Hewson says Mr Rudd has failed to counter Mr Abbott's "scare campaign" with an adequate explanation of how the emissions trading scheme will work.
Mr Turnbull urged his liberal colleagues to think beyond the next election and legislate for the long term good, reminding them that until December last year there was bipartisan agreement to adopt an ETS.
Mr Turnbull says the ETS is the only credible way to meet the Government's commitment to reduce emissions by 5 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020.
"These bills are as much the work of John Howard as of Kevin Rudd," he said.
"I will be voting in favour of this bill."
"All of us here are accountable not just to our constituency, but the generations that will come after them and after us," Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Turnbull said that climate change was a global problem and if Australia expected countries like China and India to act it must lead the way with an ETS.
And he criticised Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's alternative plan to tackle climate change as being more expensive and vulnerable to having abatement projects selected on the basis of political appeal.
"Having the Government pick projects for subsidy is a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale," he said.
"A subsidy scheme which terminates in 2020 will achieve very little."
Mr Turnbull's time in the chamber to prosecute his argument was happily extended by the Government, allowing him to speak for 10 more minutes.
The ETS, including the amendments Mr Turnbull negotiated with the Government last year, is now before the Parliament for a third time after it was rejected twice last year.
At the time he argued that the Opposition would be wiped out at the next election if it did not to act on climate change.
Last week Mr Abbott unveiled the Coalition's new climate change policy which will cost $10 billion over the next 10 years.
The plan uses incentives to encourage industry and farmers to use direct action measures to lower emissions.
Mr Abbott would not answer as to whether he spoke to Mr Turnbull before he fronted Parliament today but said he respected his right to cross the floor.
He defended the Coalition's policy but did not say whether it was a long-term policy after 2020.
"If the whole world changes we'll change with them but the world ain't going to change any time fast," he said.
"This is the plan for the foreseeable future."


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