I’M not up to date on what it is a grateful Australian woman gives to a man who’s doing the right thing by her these days, but whatever it is I hope Julia Gillard has bought a dozen to give to Malcolm Turnbull.
If you’re not aware of the week’s doings, let me fill you in.
On Thursday Mr Turnbull gave the inaugural address to the Virginia Chadwick Foundation, a speech which was passionate and effective in its defence of climate change science and a gentle, if barely disguised swipe at Tony Abbott, the man who knocked him out of the Liberal leadership.
Mr Abbott famously once described climate change science as ‘crap’, and he struggles at times to keep his true feelings buried under his party’s more moderate position.
”If Margaret Thatcher took climate change seriously and believed we should take action to reduce global greenhouse emissions, then taking action and supporting and accepting the science can hardly be the mark of insipient Bolshevism,” said Mr Turnbull this week.
”Normally, in our consideration of scientific issues we rely on expert advice. Agencies like the CSIRO or the Australian Academy of Science are listened to with respect.
”Yet on this issue there appears to be a licence to reject our best scientists, both here and abroad, and rely instead on much less reliable views. Some of those less reliable views are from scientists although most are not.
”Those of us who do not believe the CSIRO is part of an international Green conspiracy to undermine Western civilisation or do not believe that leading scientists like Will Steffen are subversives should not be afraid to speak out, and loudly, on behalf of our scientists and our science. We must not allow ourselves to be deluded on this issue,” he said.
”Australia generates most of its electricity from burning coal much of it very emissions intensive brown coal in Victoria or South Australia.
”That is why our carbon dioxide emissions are among the highest in the world on a per capita basis — a reason why the Chinese (whose emissions are about one-fifth of ours) and the Indians (whose are less than one-tenth of ours) find our regular references to their emissions — and why should we do anything until the Chinese or Indians do something — why they find those references incredibly galling.
”Those of us … who have represented Australia at international conferences on this, know how incredibly embarrassing statements like that are when you actually confront the representatives of those countries.”
Mr Turnbull continues to be opposed to the Gillard Government’s proposed carbon tax, but with every reasoned word he speaks on the subject, he makes Mr Abbott look like an unsophisticated rube and an extremist.
PM Gillard is struggling to sell the carbon tax to the people and in the short term Mr Turnbull’s backhanded clips to the back of Mr Abbott’s (and his sycophantic supporters’) head is akin to a kiss on the cheek for her.
Part of Mr Abbott’s sledgehammer response to the carbon tax is to promise instant repeal the second he becomes PM.
Well, here’s a bold prediction.
Tony Abbott’s never going to be Prime Minister of this country. The Liberals will have Malcolm Turnbull back in charge before the next Federal Election.
And I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts Mr Turnbull’s response to the carbon tax will be a lot more nuanced and supportable than ‘instant repeal’.
Bring on a reasoned debate. Anything’s better than the ‘crap’ we’ve been served up so far.
You can read the full transcript of Malcolm Turnbull’s speech here.