All political leaders must deal with the world as they find it. They can shift some things, and change some views here and there. But over all, they have to take the world as they find it. Climate change is, in my view, an absolute hoax and I can say that whenever I like and to whom I please. But if I were the leader of a political party hoping to find a majority within the Parliament, I might, just perhaps, keep these views to myself.
Scott Morrison has not confided in me what he actually believes about climate change. But let me tell you, his approach to dealing with the politics of the moment could not, in my view, be better than it is. Here is the speech from The Herald-Sun he gave the other day, ‘Can-Do’ Capitalism is Our Way, which is a cut-down version of what he actually presented: Address – Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Let me pick out a few bits that appear in both versions so that you can see what I mean. He begins with boilerplate but then moves into policy. It is the policy I sincerely admire along with the boilerplate.
Taking action on climate change is extremely important for the health of our planet….
Australia has already reduced our emissions by more than 20 per cent. Now, I’m not sure a lot of Australians know that. Our emissions are going down, not up. They’re down by more than 20 per cent. You may say to yourself, or others listening in, ‘Oh yeah, other countries, they’re doing so much better than that’. Not true, as Angus Taylor and I had the opportunity to share directly with them, whether it was in Rome at the G20 or at COP26, because a 20 per cent fall is broadly in line with what’s being achieved across the EU. But, it’s better than the United States, it’s better than Japan, it’s better than our Kiwi cousins across the ditch in New Zealand, in Canada and South Korea….
Just as the animal spirits of enterprise have worked together with scientists and technologists to change the world in the past – and we’ve seen that here in this very city – through advances in medical science and digital technology, I am more than convinced they also hold the answer to solving the challenge of a decarbonised economy….
In many respects, Glasgow has marked the passing of the baton … to private enterprise and the millions of dispersed decisions, choices and flashes of inspiration that make up consumer-led technological progress….
We believe climate change will ultimately be solved by ‘can do’ capitalism; not ‘don’t do’ Governments seeking to control people’s lives and tell them what to do, with interventionist regulation and taxes that just force up your cost of living and force businesses to close….
I think Australians, after almost two years of governments telling them what to do through this pandemic, they’ve had just about enough of that approach….
What you can take from that is we’ll reset, back to letting our economy do the work and let those who drive it be able to do that work as quickly as we possibly can.
You cannot imagine any other political leader of the moment – not Joe Biden, not Boris Johnson, not Justin Trudeau, not Jacinda Adearn – putting in a good word for capitalism and the market economy at any time, never mind while discussing climate change. Uniquely brave, and what’s more, uniquely accurate in what must be done since something must apparently be done to appease the climate-change gods.
No political leader is ever perfect, and I realise how unfashionable it is to say something positive about our PM, but still, he really is unique.