Voters prefer Labor to deal with climate change
Labor will enter the federal election campaign with better credentials than the Coalition when it comes to tackling climate change, the latest The Australian Financial Review-Ipsos poll shows.
With both sides having now released their policies, the poll shows 42 per cent of voters prefer Labor’s approach compared with 25 per cent for the Coalition.
Just over one-third of voters, or 34 per cent, don’t know which policy approach they prefer, reflecting the complexity and confusion around the policy that has been a hallmark of federal politics over the past decade.
The poll of 1200 voters was taken late last week after Labor released its policy, which it says will cut emissions by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030. The Coalition’s target is 26 per cent to 28 per cent.
Consistent with the internal research of the major parties, Labor’s approach is more popular in capital cities, higher income households and among those with tertiary education.
The Coalition’s policy proposes spending $2 billion over the next decade on “direct action” to buy back emissions. It is also expanding the Snowy-Hydro power station. Labor’s policy proposes subsiding household batteries, setting a 50 per cent renewable energy target and underwriting clean-energy baseload generation.
In addition, it proposed a baseline and credit scheme for the nation’s 250 heaviest industrial emitters, with the details to be finalised after the election, and an aspirational target that 50 per cent of all new cars sold in 2030 are electric.
Labor's electric cars will kill weekends: PM
The Coalition is trying to tear down Labor’s policy by commissioning departmental modelling on the baseload and credit scheme and it has attacked the electric vehicle proposal as fanciful, despite having a similar policy itself.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison claimed Labor leader Bill Shorten “wants to end the weekend” because electric cars currently lack range and the capacity to tow boats, trailers or caravans, and they take too long to charge.
But the government is already subsidising charging stations that can charge a car in 15 minutes and former energy minister Josh Frydenberg outlined an electric vehicle vision last year almost identical to Labor’s.
Labor leader Bill Shorten said the government was resorting to another scare campaign because it was “simply broken”.
“What Labor has said is that by 2030, we would like to encourage … that half of the new car sales are electric vehicles. That doesn’t mean that the government is going to go around in 2030 and confiscate someone’s ute,” he said.
Government scrapped excise review
Mr Morrison said Labor should also explain how it would replace the lost excise from fuel excise that a transition to electric vehicles would cause. Excise is worth about $11 billion a year.
When Mr Morrison took over the leadership from Malcolm Turnbull last year, the government junked plans to investigate the introduction of a road user charge that experts say must be phased in for electric cars as petrol and diesel is phased out.
The Turnbull government, under then-minister Paul Fletcher promised a review led by “an eminent Australian”. Nothing ever eventuated.
Shadow transport and infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese said the idea was to develop better technology and make electric cars more affordable.
“In 2007, when we were elected to government, there were about 7000 or 8000 solar panels on homes here in Australia. Today the figure is 2 million, a revolution taking place,” he said.
“What is happening around the world is there is not an automotive manufacturer that is looking at how do we build a new internal combustion engine for a passenger motor vehicle.”