Will Julia Gillard succeed as Prime Minister in dealing with the issues facing Australia?
Kevin Rudd lost the trust of the Australian people - and his Prime Ministership - because he failed to take action on the climate crisis. Julia Gillard faces the same test.
Many people in the Melbourne electorate have told me they want real and immediate action on climate change and carbon emissions.
Here's some things she could do:
- Pick up the phone and negotiate with the Greens for a proper solution to the climate crisis.
- Join with the Greens (and at least two Coalition Senators) to pass a carbon tax - this would apply across all industries, not just mining, with the funds directed towards transitioning to a low carbon economy.
- Remove perverse taxes that encourage fossil fuel use - such as car leases that require minimum kilometres to be driven, the diesel fuel rebate, and sundry others.
- Allow tax deductions and/or salary packaging for people who cycle to work.
- Ditch the $2 billion+ corporate welfare funding for "Clean Coal" geo-sequestration pipe dreams that defy the basic laws of physics, and direct this towards a 100% clean energy program based on concentrated solar with salt storage and wind power.
- Commence planning for a very fast train project to link Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.
- Introduce national building standards for 6 Star Rated buildings and retrofit of existing building stock (remembering that proper management of these schemes is basic).
- Protect native forests from logging to keep their carbon where it is, (and to secure our water supplies and to provide habitat for endangered species).
- Outlaw the burning of native forest woodchips as a "renewable energy source" - it clearly is not renewable and our forests are worth much more than woodchips.
- Commence an initiative to transition Australia to net zero emissions by 2020 - as outlined, for example, in the Zero Carbon Australia 2020 Stationary Energy Plan produced by Beyond Zero Emissions
Over to you, Julia. You can do it, and you will be praised by history - and our grandchildren - if you do.