Maybe I am a curmudgeon, but I voted ‘disagree’ for “Is the government’s carbon tax plan good policy” and ‘strongly disagree’ with “Is the opposition’s direct action plan good policy”. Put simply, I think they are both bad policy.
Direct action is an expensive way to reduce carbon emissions. The Productivity Commission’s report provides a good background on this. So there goes the opposition’s policy. But the government’s carbon tax includes $10b in ‘picking winners’ direct action. This may have been a buy-off to the Greens, but it is bad policy.
However, the big problem with the carbon tax is that I still do not know the objective. No – I am not denying climate change. I trust the vast majority of experts in the field know what they are talking about. But it is clear that our unilateral carbon tax will have little real effect on global climate change. So this is not simply a case of correcting a price distortion associated with a negative externality. The policy must have another objective, because as a policy to reduce global warming it doesn’t work.
Maybe the government knows the true objective and simply isn’t telling us. Or maybe it is simply playing politics in a hung parliament. But without knowing the objective, I can only say that I think it is bad policy. Tell me the objective and I might change my mind.