Australia – Takin' It To The Streets

729-march-620x349Over the weekend 30,000 protestors took to the streets of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane to protest not being taxed.

Protests commenced Sunday when newly elected Prime Minister Tony Abbott started to make good on his promises “to prune government expenditures and cut taxes.”  Abbott, who won in a landslide victory over Australia’s Labor Party this past September, is pushing forth legislation along with his Coalition partners to repeal the carbon tax by July 1, 2014.

What started out as a protest over the repeal of the carbon tax soon dispersed into an anarchist brouhaha.  Protestors called for everything from securing the rights of incarcerated asylum seekers to the dismantling the democratic system of government.  Losing a singular focus, crowds soon dissipated and splintered into two different groups.  In Melbourne, those with “Kill Abbott” placards went their way to listen to impassioned environmental speeches.  The “Abort Abbott” crowd, the more rowdy of the two, took the opportunity to dance in the streets.  When asked about the vitriolic signage, one unabashed protester quipped, ”It’s a lively way of expressing extreme anger.”

Abbott, no climate change denier, has resigned himself to the belief that “climate change was real and that humans were having an impact on it, but rejected carbon pricing as a means to address the issue.”  Abbott, against any measure that impoverishes the country through dramatic emission trading schemes, has proposed to match the Labor government’s 5% emissions reduction target through financial incentives.

Rather than tax businesses and families into climate change compliance, Abbott has proposed a Direct Action Fund – an incentive-based plan that encourages businesses and families to voluntarily reduce carbon emissions.  Abbott seeks to use “direct action” incentives as a means to meet the country’s mandatory renewable energy targets in a way that doesn’t damage the country’s economy.

Abbott has already come through on his promise to scrap Australia’s Climate Change Authority – the country’s bureaucratic mitigation arm that polices the output of the invisible, weightless and odorless offender of the environment.  Furthermore, Abbott suggests that repealing the carbon tax will lower the cost of living by $550 across all Australian households and reduce compliance costs by $90 billion per year.

Protesters vehemently oppose any “direct action” plan that doesn’t punish polluters.  “Unlike Labor’s carbon tax policy, the Coalition government does not penalize companies that fail to comply with emissions targets.”

Even though Abbott’s government is “convinced climate change is mostly caused by humans and believed in the need to take action,” Abbott is nonetheless still accused by his opposition of “listening to people who are part of the tinfoil hat brigade.”

Consequently it isn’t about finding alternative ways to reduce carbon emissions, rather it is about punitive action against environmental violators; crippling capitalism and familial self-determination.

It’s not good enough to recycle, renew and reuse; perpetrators must be punished for existing; not dissimilar to a Dhimmi tax for simply being allowed to breathe.

These latest protests further nullify any pretense of objective altruism.  In the meantime Australian commentators are debating whether Prime Minister Abbott is a visionary or villain.

For someone who in his short political career has abolished a punitive policing arm, repealed a burdensome tax and has set renewable energy targets six years into the future without penalizing the private sector, I’d say he’s showing 2020 vision.

Leslie Deinhammer

Illinois PolitiChick Leslie Anne Deinhammer, writer, chaplain and proud wife of a Marine Corps veteran, writes on topics of politics, human rights and faith. Follow her at @lesliedhammer on Twitter.

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