Handling the climate change issue: lesson two.

I must say that Bill Shorten seems to be getting the idea. Attacking Tony Abbott as the most unscientific prime Minister ever, is brilliant.

There is probably a general perception in the electorate that Abbott takes a fairly unscientific approach to everything. This is fairly reasonably founded on his refusal to accept climate science. And this “Unscientific” tag can be trotted out to discredit anything he may say in the future.

The Electricity Bill campaign is based on the idea that you shouldn’t vote for Shorten because he’ll put electricity prices up. The unscientific prime minister campaign is based on the idea that you shouldn’t vote for Tony Abbot because he’s dumb. Clever!

So here is lesson number two: Always start with the big picture, then go for the detail.

So this is what you say, Bill

“I want to talk to you about electricity prices. Tony Abbott argues that electricity prices will go up under Labor and that ordinary Australians cannot afford for electricity prices to go up, but this is only part of the picture. The question that the Australian community must ask is whether we can continue to wear all the other costs of climate change: the increased food prices during the floods in Queensland, the higher insurance premiums as result of Australia bushfires, the cost of coastal erosion in our seaboard cities or the cost of replacing everything in your home when it has been destroyed by flood or bushfire.


A series of floods hit Queensland, Australia, beginning in December 2010. The floods forced the evacuation of thousands of people from towns and cities.  At least 90 towns and over 900,000 people were affected. Damage initially was estimated at around A$1 billion before it was raised to $2.38 billion. The estimated reduction in Australia’s GDP is about A$40 billion.

Electricity prices are only one part of the wider debate about how we deal with climate change. The focus on electricity prices ignores the huge costs that we will carry if we do nothing about climate change.

You start with this big picture, then you have a number of lines of argument you could follow: Increased food prices etc etc. Such an approach gives you more room to manoeuvre. Once the debate starts to narrow, it becomes very difficult not to be bogged down on the details and the specifics.

I have to admit that I’m sceptical about Bill Shorten’s leadership abilities and think that if Labor wins the next election it will be despite, rather than because of, the current leader. But since his appearance at the Royal Commission, he is gone from strength to strength.

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