Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce is not a disciple of Al Gore. Climate change is, according to Joyce, basically bullshit, and the emission trading system is a scam to introduce a crippling new tax, on everyone (he's not far wrong there). But don't go thinking that these beliefs put Joyce at odds with Liberals leader Malcolm Turnbull in any way at all, or that a clash of their beliefs will cause yet more chaos for the coalition.
Hell, no :
Cue Malcolm Turnbull with plenty of buckets of cold water for all the other Nationals and Liberals who think Joyce is spot on :
Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull has played down suggestions of a rift in the Coalition over climate change.
Joyce voiced strong opposition to the Government's proposed emissions trading scheme, labelling it as nothing more than a "new tax" and adding: "I think that is a load of rubbish to think that Australia is going to change the climate."
"The Coalition's position on this issue is very well known - it's the same that we had in government," he said.
"We're very committed to action on climate change that is economically responsible and environmentally effective."
"[Does] one has to sort of fall into a lock step, goose step, and parade around the office ranting and raving that we're all as one?"
Yes, according to Turnbull, one does :
Mr Turnbull says the Coalition will be responding with "one voice" when the Government releases its legislation for the scheme in the coming months.
Joyce is convinced that there are plenty of votes out there for politicians who will stand up to The Green Terror (of Andrew Bolt and Tim Blair fantasies), and that the overwhelming number of Australians who backed Rudd on climate change policies are now dwindling away as the economic sleeper hold begins to take effect.
Joyce may be right about climate change true believers peeling away, but there's not a lot of poll proof to back it up. Yet. Regardless, a very public and extended clash between Turnbull (poncy inner city Lefty-friendly, Green religionist, disguised as a Liberal Party leader) and Joyce (Bloody Rational Nationals, mate!) certainly seems to be on the cards.
Rudd will let them brawl out their climate change differences in public, while intricately analysing the public response, and will presumably change his climate change policy accordingly. That is, enough to ensure a second term in office if Joyce's A Great Climate Change Swindle manages to become a bigger issue of concern for most than, say, not having a house, or a job, or reliable sources of food.
If there is a great, unrecognised mass of Australian voters who believe carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, and thinks trying to stop climate change is more of a risk than letting it happen, Joyce will no doubt find them.
But if they're there, Rudd will no doubt find a way to reach them, and win them over, once Joyce has pulled them from the shadows.
But for Rudd, 2008 was a warm-up. In 2009, the RuddBot will joined by Ruddzilla. Well, hopefully, if covering politics in even a distracted and half-hearted way is going to be any kind of intriguing entertainment. I've seen circling flies fall asleep, mid-flight, when Rudd speeches are were droning out of the television last year.
Barnaby Joyce already believes he would make a damn fine prime minister, and that most Australians harbour an affection for him and his straight-talking ways (probably true enough), and perhaps Joyce smells the blood in the water over Turnbull's abysmal polling in the past few months. Turnbull didn't exactly have Rudd, or Julia Gillard, on the ropes in the second half of 2008, did he?
Unless, of course, they all come to their sense and bring back Brendan "We've Lost Your Son's Body" Nelson.