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Anti-politics and Global Climate Inaction: The Case of the Australian Carbon Tax

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Abstract

Action on climate change has enjoyed popular support in most Western countries. Despite this, successive governments have struggled to implement policy to tackle this issue. Using the case of opposition to the Clean Energy Act, passed in Australia to establish an emissions trading scheme, this paper argues that a growing and broad sentiment of distrust in political elites, described as ‘anti-politics’, can explain some of this contradiction. Particular forms of climate policy, in particular emissions trading schemes, have been successfully framed as policies that appeal to the interests of a new class of liberal elites while hurting ordinary working people. This frame was used successfully in Australia by conservative forces to oppose the Clean Energy Act. While used cynically by political leaders in this case, the paper argues that anti-political sentiment reflects genuine concerns about the detachment between the state and voting population. This detachment is reflected in neoliberal climate policies. Through briefly examining the cases of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement and the Gilets Jaunes protest movement, the paper argues that while formulating climate policy we must consider anti-political sentiment, developing responses to the climate crisis from a bottom-up rather than top-down approach.

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... The influence of business and industry is highlighted in practically all of the studies. It has contributed to both preventing policy implementation (e.g. in France [15,23]), the USA [24], Canada [2,15], Australia [25] and South Africa [26] and affecting design to the extent that it reduces the costs for industry and other businesses. According to the overview by Haites [3], exemptions for businesses have occurred in all cases in which carbon pricing has been introduced (see further 4.2). ...
... Still public opposition has arguably helped stop carbon policies from being implemented in Australia [25], Canada [2] and France [15,23]. However, public opposition was not the only, or even the main, reason for abandoning the policy and often business resistance or political struggles played a more significant role. ...
... However, public opposition was not the only, or even the main, reason for abandoning the policy and often business resistance or political struggles played a more significant role. In a study of the failed Australian carbon tax, Copland [25] argues that there were generally strong anti-politics sentiments among the population. These sentiments were exploited by political elites to the right of the political spectrum in order to mobilise public opposition to the carbon pricing policy championed by left wing political elites. ...
Article
Carbon pricing has now been implemented as a key policy instrument for climate change mitigation in many countries globally. However, existing systems differ significantly in design with regard to stringency, coverage and the use of the revenues collected through the system. In this literature study, we synthesise existing knowledge of how key factors affect the adoption, implementation, and design of carbon pricing systems. We find that the characteristics of actual political systems, the degree and nature of business influence and public opposition, as well as international influences, have impacted implementation. Obstacles to implementation have been overcome by adapting the design of the systems to meet different societal interests. Preferential treatment and tax exemptions are thus common, which makes the incentives for emission mitigation less coherent across sectors. The results are of practical relevance for policy makers when designing and implementing carbon policies and indicate that carbon pricing needs to be part of a policy package in order to secure both rapid mitigation and a long-term decarbonisation. Further research is needed on the nature of obstacles to carbon pricing policies in various contexts and on how to combine carbon pricing with other types of policies.
... Australia has a history of political polarisation and conflict over national climate policy and the dubious distinction of being the only country to dismantle a national emissions trading scheme (ETS) (Chubb, 2014;Copland, 2020;Crowley, 2017). It also has a reputation as a climate laggard. ...
... The carbon pricing schemes proposed by the Rudd and Gillard Governments were strenuously opposed not only in the Parliament, but also by the fossil fuel mining industry (Copland, 2020;McKnight & Hobbs, 2017;Pearse, 2017;Wilkinson 2020). The first transitional step towards a floating carbon price under the ETS was misnamed a carbon tax by Gillard. ...
Article
Australia is a well-known climate laggard with a history of political conflict over climate policy and the dubious distinction of being the only country to repeal a national emissions trading scheme (ETS). This article examines the puzzle of why four subnational governments in Australia’s federation succeeded in enacting durable framework climate legislation based on a model that came to be widely regarded as ‘best-practice’. We show that in 2007 South Australia was the first jurisdiction in the world to enact framework climate legislation with a 2050 emissions reduction target and an independent expert advisory committee to provide guidance on the implementation of interim targets. We show that this local legislative innovation set off a process of political learning, policy transfer and a virtuous political competition among like-minded Labour and Labour-Green governments at the subnational level. We call this ‘convergent evolution’ insofar as the legislative innovation and diffusion over the period 2007–2015 was similar to, but occurred independently of, the UK Climate Change Act 2008 and the diffusion of this model elsewhere in Europe. Common to all cases was a strong commitment by the premier and/or the relevant minister to pursue a decarbonisation strategy via targets, and reliance on sources of advice for legislative reform that were professionally and/or politically committed to climate action rather than from vested industry groups. More generally, we argue that framework climate legislation carries lower political risks than an ETS because it does not draw attention to the upfront costs of action. The diffusion of subnational climate change legislation, accompanied by renewable energy promotion, has helped to limit the impacts of Australian national climate policy failure while also providing a springboard for renewed climate legislative momentum at the national level. Key Policy Insights • Similar innovations in climate policy and legislation can occur independently in different regions in response to similar global pressures. • Framework climate legislation based on long-term and progressive interim targets carries lower political risks than an ETS because it does not draw as much attention to the upfront costs of action. • Innovation in subnational framework climate legislation in a federation can generate a virtuous competition in target setting and renewable energy promotion in states that are not heavily dependent on fossil fuels or close to retiring fossil fuel assets.
... To run concurrently with this ETS, the carbon farming initiative (CFI) was adopted to provide offsets that could be used within, and promote emissions reduction within, the agricultural sector [72,73,75]. The CFI was supported by the Australian Carbon Pricing Scheme and issued carbon credit units for each tonne of CO 2 e abated or sequestered [73,[76][77][78][79]. The CFI was the first nationwide example of carbon credit creation and trade by the agriculture and forestry sectors to a wider market [77,80]. ...
... However, in late 2014, the CPM (that underpinned offset ETS trading of CFI credits) was repealed [73,80,81]. The repeal and subsequent withdrawal of the CPM was politically motivated by a change in government that negatively framed the CPM as a 'carbon tax' to secure votes [79,87]. Following the withdrawal, Australia's GHG emissions rebounded to exceed 2014 emissions levels (and have done so subsequently each year) [84,88]. ...
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Current carbon pricing and trading mechanisms, despite their efficacy in reducing GHG emissions from industry, will not be sufficient to achieve Net Zero targets. Current mechanisms that redress emissions are largely economic disincentives , in effect financial penalties for emitters. In order to attain Net Zero futures, financial incentives for activities that sequester carbon from the atmosphere are needed. Herein, we present the environmental and economic co-benefits of soil re-carbonization and justify support for soil carbon remuneration. With increasing momentum to develop green economies, and projected increases in carbon price, growth in the global carbon market is inevitable. The establishment of a soil-based carbon economy, within this emerging financial space, has the potential to deliver a paradigm shift that will accelerate climate change mitigation, and concurrently realize net gains for soil health and the delivery of soil ecosystem services. Pivotal to the emergence of a global soil carbon economy will be a consensus on certification instruments used for long-term soil carbon storage, and the development of robust institutional agreements and processes to facilitate soil carbon trading.
... Drawing on contemporary works on populism [228][229][230], 'energy populism can be defined as a political discourse that pits the supposed interests of "the people" against "the elites", often combined with resource nationalism, suboptimal but popular economic solutions such as subsidies, and promises of an easy life' [231]. Despite the existing scholarly focus on populist political parties and movements, we suggest a more productive approach would be to explore the ways in which populist and anti-elitist logics manifest themselves in energy policy conflicts [97]. This involves an understanding of energy as a sector where 'elites' play an important role [52,75], as well as being characterized by an 'epistemic asymmetry' between citizens and experts [232]. ...
... This may indeed be the case, but as the examples above show, and as Burke and Stephens recognize [80], democracy has important limitations linked to the political ambiguities of the renewable energy transition and competing agendas. Authors following a non-liberal approach to populism inspired by Ernesto Laclau are inclined to perceive it as a necessary corrective of technocratic politics and elite-driven representative democracy, flowing from legitimate grievances [45,97]. Similarly, adopting a political ecology perspective, Bridge and colleagues emphasize that communities resisting particular energy infrastructures often face police violence and accusations of NIMBY-ism, while their demands should be taken seriously as these grassroots movements often display 'capacity for envisioning new transition pathways that promote environmental sustainability and social justice' [235], or show 'what it means to live a just and good life within energy transition processes' [39]. ...
Article
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Energy democracy' has evolved from a slogan used by activists demanding a greater say in energy-related decision-making to a term used in policy documents and scholarly literature on energy governance and energy transitions. This article reviews the academic literature using a combination of three methodological elements: (1) keyword searches of major bibliographical databases for quantification purposes; (2) an innovative method referred to as 'circulation tracing' to assess impact; and (3) in-depth discussion of the theoretical underpinnings, implications and interconnections of different parts of the literature. A conceptual framework is developed around three divergent understandings of the term 'energy democracy': (1) a process driven forwards by a popular movement; (2) an outcome of decarbonisation; and (3) a goal or ideal to which stakeholders aspire. The review also highlights some weaknesses of the literature: fragmentation between its European and American branches, which barely relate to each other; implicit or absent linkages between 'energy democracy' and broader theories of democracy; a tendency to idealise societal grassroots; confusion about the roles of the state, private capital and communities; and lack of attention to the threat posed by energy populism. Proponents should not assume that more energy democracy will inherently mean faster decarbonisation, improved energy access or social wellbeing. Finally, more emphasis should be placed on the role of research in providing evidence to ground energy democracy-related analyses and discussions.
... Drawing on contemporary works on populism [228][229][230], 'energy populism can be defined as a political discourse that pits the supposed interests of "the people" against "the elites", often combined with resource nationalism, suboptimal but popular economic solutions such as subsidies, and promises of an easy life' [231]. Despite the existing scholarly focus on populist political parties and movements, we suggest a more productive approach would be to explore the ways in which populist and anti-elitist logics manifest themselves in energy policy conflicts [97]. This involves an understanding of energy as a sector where 'elites' play an important role [52,75], as well as being characterized by an 'epistemic asymmetry' between citizens and experts [232]. ...
... This may indeed be the case, but as the examples above show, and as Burke and Stephens recognize [80], democracy has important limitations linked to the political ambiguities of the renewable energy transition and competing agendas. Authors following a non-liberal approach to populism inspired by Ernesto Laclau are inclined to perceive it as a necessary corrective of technocratic politics and elite-driven representative democracy, flowing from legitimate grievances [45,97]. Similarly, adopting a political ecology perspective, Bridge and colleagues emphasize that communities resisting particular energy infrastructures often face police violence and accusations of NIMBY-ism, while their demands should be taken seriously as these grassroots movements often display 'capacity for envisioning new transition pathways that promote environmental sustainability and social justice' [235], or show 'what it means to live a just and good life within energy transition processes' [39]. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Energy democracy' has evolved from a slogan used by activists demanding a greater say in energy-related decision-making to a term used in policy documents and scholarly literature on energy governance and energy transitions. This article reviews the academic literature using a combination of three methodological elements: (1) keyword searches of major bibliographical databases for quantification purposes; (2) an innovative method referred to as 'circulation tracing' to assess impact; and (3) in-depth discussion of the theoretical underpinnings, implications and interconnections of different parts of the literature. A conceptual framework is developed around three divergent understandings of the term 'energy democracy': (1) a process driven forwards by a popular movement; (2) an outcome of decarbonisation; and (3) a goal or ideal to which stakeholders aspire. The review also highlights some weaknesses of the literature: fragmentation between its European and American branches, which barely relate to each other; implicit or absent linkages between 'energy democracy' and broader theories of democracy; a tendency to idealise societal grassroots; confusion about the roles of the state, private capital and communities; and lack of attention to the threat posed by energy populism. Proponents should not assume that more energy democracy will inherently equate to faster decarbonisation, improved energy access or social wellbeing. Finally, more emphasis should be placed on the role of research in providing evidence to ground energy democracy-related analyses and discussions.
... However, they should be provided considerable support at the grassroot level to deal with climate change as an everyday problem among other challenges [9]. Some controversial consumer research claims that Australians still believe climate change is a political debate as opposed to an everyday problem [10,11]. Therefore, climate change may not be an issue they think about on an everyday basis. ...
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Purpose—The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between climate change beliefs, personal environmental norms and environmentally conscious behaviour. This study also investigates how the relationship between climate change beliefs and environmentally conscious behaviour is mediated by environmental identity. Design/methodology/approach—A survey conducted online involving 564 Australians informs the findings. Data analysis is performed using AMOS, a structural equation modelling package. Findings—This study finds strong positive relationships between climate change beliefs, personal environmental norms and environmentally conscious behaviour. The relationship between climate change beliefs and environmentally conscious behaviour is partially mediated by environmental identity. In addition, this study also finds that the relationships between personnel environmental norms, and environmental identity and environmentally conscious behaviour are partially mediated by climate change beliefs. Further, both personal environmental norms and climate change beliefs play stronger roles than environmental identity in environmentally conscious behaviour. Originality—This study engages in a scholarly conversation which claims the predictability of personal environmental norms in environmentally conscious behaviour. It adds value by establishing boundary conditions to some conversations in the field of study that claim environmental identity can be a better predictor of environmentally conscious behaviour. Research implications and limitations—This study postulates an integrated framework of value, beliefs and norms and the norm activation model to investigate environmentally conscious behaviour. This study findings are limited to a survey which involved an Australian sample. Practical implications—This study provides valuable implications for environmentally conscious businesses and policy makers. This study stresses the importance of highlighting climate change beliefs to enhance increased environmentally conscious behaviour engagement. It is, however, strongly recommended to focus on personal environmental norms as well because they play a stronger role in environmentally conscious behaviour engagement than climate change beliefs and strengthen climate change beliefs. This is important especially when conversations on the adverse effects of climate change and strategies to combat them are clouded by some political debates.
... Second, antipathy to politics is a related but distinct sensibility. New Zealand farmers' anti-politics is part of society-wide dislike of politicians' veniality and perceived selfserving or corporate-serving behaviour (Copland, 2020). The fusion of antienvironmentalism and anti-politics is dissolving, however, as traditional care of land is reasserted. ...
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Regenerative agriculture has become a social movement in farming. It embraces the environmental basis of farming. Land, water and nutrients are viewed as an ecological whole. This includes bacteria and mycorrhiza as essential to soil health and plant diversity, and mob stocking and no-till farming above ground. Regen ag, as regenerative agriculture is often called, is a paradigm shift for farmers, who are often perceived as resistant. There is a mismatch between academic and policy interest focusing on the scientific need for and value of regenerative agriculture, and the social and human motivating benefits of regenerative agriculture. This crucial willingness, not simply the turn away from denialism, is the signal significance of this new form of farming. In New Zealand and globally, climate change and environmental degradation can be addressed much more quickly, more thoroughly and less contentiously if regenerative agriculture is supported and extended, even as science documentation is achieved over time.
... • Chemical pollution of the earth system, including the atmosphere and oceans; Among these threats, "national and global failure to understand and act preventatively on these risks" is the most important. This is the incapability of the governments [55] and the public [56] to understand and take actions against threats that are most likely to, or definitely, lead to a catastrophe. This issue is the root cause of the failure of AI solutions-even if they target sustainability [57]-as they are mainly used to improve business efficiency and economic productivity in our cities [58] rather than actually tackling the aforementioned global threats that are mostly anthropogenic in origin [59]. ...
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Smart cities and artificial intelligence (AI) are among the most popular discourses in urban policy circles. Most attempts at using AI to improve efficiencies in cities have nevertheless either struggled or failed to accomplish the smart city transformation. This is mainly due to short-sighted, technologically determined and reductionist AI approaches being applied to complex urbanization problems. Besides this, as smart cities are underpinned by our ability to engage with our environments, analyze them, and make efficient, sustainable and equitable decisions, the need for a green AI approach is intensified. This perspective paper, reflecting authors’ opinions and interpretations, concentrates on the “green AI” concept as an enabler of the smart city transformation, as it offers the opportunity to move away from purely technocentric efficiency solutions towards efficient, sustainable and equitable solutions capable of realizing the desired urban futures. The aim of this perspective paper is two-fold: first, to highlight the fundamental shortfalls in mainstream AI system conceptualization and practice, and second, to advocate the need for a consolidated AI approach—i.e., green AI—to further support smart city transformation. The methodological approach includes a thorough appraisal of the current AI and smart city literatures, practices, developments, trends and applications. The paper informs authorities and planners on the importance of the adoption and deployment of AI systems that address efficiency, sustainability and equity issues in cities.
... This has resulted in decreasing voter participation, a drop in partisan loyalty, growing electoral volatility, and a decline in membership and engagement both with political parties and other civil society actors such as unions. While deeply linked, the notion of anti-politics differs from similar concepts, in particular 'populism' (Copland 2019). While studies of populism do incorporate both elements, the literature primarily examines the phenomenon utilsing a top-down approach (Barr 2009), while antipolitics is more bottom-up (Schedler 1997). ...
... Within this framework, environmental problems are "caused by a failure to 'value' the environment and a lack of properly defined property rights"; that is, "a failure of the market to attach a price to environmental goods and services" (Beder 2001: 132). However, this ideological dimension often remains obscured under the aegis of "market neutrality," which effectively brackets normative concerns that deviate from market-based principles and, in turn, functions to depoliticize environmental politics (Beder, 2001;Copland, 2019;Flynn and Hacking, 2019). ...
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The aim of neoliberal environmentalism was to unleash the market to protect the environment; but as it turns out, things are getting worse on our way to catastrophe. Despite persistent failures, neoliberal environmentalism remains prevalent—and apparently without alternative. This paper directs focus on an often-overlooked dimension of this apparent stasis: the nexus of self and society in advanced capitalism, as shown in the linkage between neoliberal environmentalism and the autonomous ecoconsumer. Marcuse’s concept of repressive desublimation is engaged to better understand how environmentalist desire is currently being thwarted in ways that inhibit movement toward socioecological emancipation. The paper provides an illustrative example of desublimated environmentalist desire in the current recycling crisis.
... Australia is also the only developed country to rescind carbon tax due to the lack of bipartisan support for the policy [13]. According to Copland [14], formulation of climate policies in Australia must include antipolitical sentiments and should be a bottom up approach. These factors make Australia very suitable for our study, which tries to discover additional economic benefits of a carbon pricing mechanism under GTR that can offer greater public and political acceptance. ...
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... These demonstrations not only spilled over to other European countries; they can also be seen as symbolic of protests against other policy decisions and expert-based knowledge claims, which are considered to be elitist, by at least some of the protestors. This may bring to mind notions such as climate skepticism (Copland, 2019), as well as antivaccination activism (Chiou & Tucker, 2018). Added to that are many conspiracy theories that are spread over the internet contesting dominant accounts of events. ...
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In the mid-2000s it seemed that the global carbon market would take off and spark the worldwide transition to a profitable low carbon economy. A decade on, the experiment in carbon trading is failing. Carbon market schemes have been plagued by problems and resistance to carbon pricing has come from the political Left and Right. In the Australian case, a national emissions trading scheme (ETS) was dismantled after a long, bitter public debate. The replacement 'Direct Action Plan' is also in disrepute. Pricing Carbon in Australia examines the rise and fall of the ETS in Australia between 2007 and 2015, exploring the underlying contradictions of marketised climate policy in detail. Through this and other international examples, the book offers a critique of the political economy of marketised climate policy, exploring why the hopes for global carbon trading have been dashed. The Australian case is interpreted in light of a broader legitimation crisis as state strategies for (temporarily) displacing the climate crisis continue to fail. Importantly, in the wake of carbon market failure, alternative agendas for state action are emerging as campaigns for the retrenchment of fossil fuel assets and for just renewable energy transition continue transforming climate politics and policy as we know it. This book is a valuable resource for practitioners and academics in the fields of environmental policy and politics and social movement studies.
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Applying qualitative and quantitative methods, this article explains the driving forces behind U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, assesses the impacts of this withdrawal on the compliance prospects of the agreement, and proposes how China should respond. The withdrawal undercuts the foundation of global climate governance and upsets the process of climate cooperation, and the impacts are manifold. The withdrawal undermines the universality of the Paris Agreement and impairs states' confidence in climate cooperation; it aggravates the leadership deficit in addressing global climate issues and sets a bad precedent for international climate cooperation. The withdrawal reduces other countries' emission space and raises their emission costs, and refusal to contribute to climate aid makes it more difficult for developing countries to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Cutting climate research funding will compromise the quality of future IPCC reports and ultimately undermine the scientific authority of future climate negotiations. China faces mounting pressure from the international community to assume global climate leadership after the U.S. withdraws, and this article proposes that China should reach the high ends of its domestic climate targets under the current Nationally Determined Contributions; internationally, China should facilitate the rebuilding of shared climate leadership, replacing the G2 with C5. Meanwhile, China needs to keep the U.S. engaged in climate cooperation. © 2017 National Climate Center (China Meteorological Administration).
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Chapter
We live in antipolitical times. Many symptoms point in this direction: the reemergence of right-wing populism in western Europe, the antistate rhetoric of the new Republican Right in the United States, the recurrent success of antipolitical establishment candidates in Latin America, the ethnic recoding of politics in the former Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, the widespread evidence of popular disenchantment with politics in old as well as new democracies, the tangible presence of antipolitical motives in media discourse, and the emigration of sovereignty out of politics and into societal systems of global scale. This multitude of dispersed indicators naturally falls together into a colourful mosaic of generalized antipolitics. ‘We live in antipolitical times’. Indeed this phrase is marvellous — the ideal opening of any book on antipolitics. It formulates a bold hypothesis, proclaims a new era, irradiates the air of grand theory and suggests an extraordinary capacity on the part of the author to capture the signs of our time. Let us therefore read it cautiously, with reservation. Or better, let us reformulate it.
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Reporting on the origins and directions of social movement strategy on climate and energy issues in the last decade, the shifts in ‘climate movement’ practice are discussed using a neo-Polanyian account of the political economy of climate change combined with sociological analysis of the strategic decisions campaigners reported making. Since the mid-2000s, Australia’s climate movement has been engaged in three concurrent arenas of political contestation. The longest-standing arena of movement activity has been negotiations over climate policy. More recently, activists and communities are engaged in a struggle over the expansion of fossil fuels. A third contest has been waged over the present and future position of renewable energy technologies in Australia’s electricity market. In the wake of climate policy failure, energy campaigns have been deepened, and it seems that a broader energy justice agenda is being forged. New strategic dilemmas are visible in the field.
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There are many kinds of politics, but if politics describes those institutions by which plural societies achieve collective and binding decisions (Crick 1962), then anti-politics describes negative feeling towards those institutions – including politicians, parties, councils, parliaments, and governments. This negativity is targeted towards politicians and parties in general, as opposed to particular politicians or parties (which, of course, would not be quite such a generalised concern). It is targeted towards the institutions of representative democracy and the way they currently work, as opposed to the idea of democracy itself (for which there remains widespread support). Given that most theories of democracy assume a certain amount of scepticism among citizens regarding politicians and the organisations through which they operate (Held 2006), anti-politics describes a level of negativity beyond such a healthy scepticism: an unhealthy cynicism. It also describes a rather active negativity, often deeply felt, as opposed to the passive indifference often discussed under the heading of ‘apathy’.
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In April 2010, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced the deferral of his flagship climate-change policy, the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, after it twice failed to gain the support of the Australian Senate. The decision contributed to the curtailment of Rudd's premiership and confirmed climate change as one of the most toxic issues in Australian politics. Although deficits in policy design and structural obstacles caused by Australia's carbon-intensive economy were major obstacles for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, it could have passed into legislation had more effective political strategies been used to counter political opposition. A policy network framework is used to explore these political obstacles and how alternative political strategies may help to counter political obstacles to and public concern about new climate policies. In conclusion, the wider merits of policy network and political strategy approaches for the analysis of national climate politics are considered.
Book
Winner of the 2008 W J M Mackenzie Book Prize Politics was once a term with an array of broadly positive connotations, associated with public scrutiny, deliberation and accountability. Yet today it is an increasingly dirty word, typically synonymous with duplicity, corruption, inefficiency and undue interference in matters both public and private. How has this come to pass? Why do we hate politics and politicians so much? How pervasive is the contemporary condition of political disaffection? And what is politics anyway? In this lively and original work, Colin Hay provides a series of innovative and provocative answers to these questions. He begins by tracing the origins and development of the current climate of political disenchantment across a broad range of established democracies. Far from revealing a rising tide of apathy, however, he shows that a significant proportion of those who have withdrawn from formal politics are engaged in other modes of political activity. He goes on to develop and defend a broad and inclusive conception of politics and the political that is far less formal, less state–centric and less narrowly governmental than in most conventional accounts. By demonstrating how our expectations of politics and the political realities we witness are shaped decisively by the assumptions about human nature that we project onto political actors, Hay provides a powerful and highly distinctive account of contemporary political disenchantment. Why We Hate Politics will be essential reading for all those troubled by the contemporary political condition of the established democracies.
Article
This essay reconstructs Marx's relationship to democracy and liberalism through an examination of his early work which was directly concerned with the issues of understanding democracy as a kind of society. Only with an analysis of the dynamics of civil society—a political economic, sociological, and historical understanding—could the true nature of citizenship be discerned. In contradistinction to liberal political theory, he would argue that political theory could not stand on its own if it analyzed only the state. Marx came to understand the contradiction between the liberal state and civil society as what he called a sophistry because it undermined the possibility of the democratic agency of workers. This was a sophistry, not because he opposed political democracy, but because the development of capitalism undermined the possibility of democratic agency. Citizenship could be nothing but a “lion's skin” of politics concealing the nature of civil society beneath it. This contradiction would drive Marx's thought forward as he moved from liberalism to democratic socialism with his developing understanding of the structure and dynamics of capitalism from 1843 until the end of his life. The essay illustrates two closely related claims about Marx's thought regarding liberalism and democracy. First, I argue that Marx engaged in a democratic critique of liberalism; second, and as a response to his democratic critique of liberalism, Marx developed a more sociological understanding of democracy, and hence believed that political democracy was a necessary condition of freedom, though not a sufficient condition.
Article
In this article, I attempt to clarify the relationships among three contemporary concepts that are often used interchangeably or conflated in the literature: anti-establishment politics, political outsiders and populism. In order to make sense of these manifestations of public discontent, I argue that one must examine the nature of political appeals, political actors' locations vis-a-vis the party system and the linkages between citizens and government. Doing so, furthermore, helps clarify the meaning of populism, one of the most elusive concepts in political science. The definition of populism I offer allows us to synthesize much of the literature on the subject while weeding out unnecessary and secondary characteristics. Importantly, too, this definition allows us to separate competing claims of 'direct democracy' and thus populists from non-populists.
Article
The word antipolitica (‘anti-politics’) is widely used in contemporary Italian political debate. The concept of ‘anti-politics’ is also frequently used by social scientists in explaining the Italian political transition that took place during the 1990s and analysing the current political situation. In spite of this wide use, sociopolitical literature does not provide a consensual definition of the term. As result, the semantic field of the concept as yet appears poorly defined. This article provides a detailed look at the use of the term ‘anti-politics’ in the sociopolitical literature. Structuring the analysis around some basic conceptual distinctions, the article proposes a taxonomy of the meanings related to the term ‘anti-politics’, highlighting four different meanings of the concept. Referring in particular to the Italian political system, the article provides examples of the meanings of the concept of ‘anti-politics’ using phenomena occurring in the peninsula during the 1990s – phenomena which were central to the increasing use of the term in Italy during that decade.
Article
Public policy over the last 25 years has been dominated by neoliberal ideology which has driven solutions to emerging social, political and economic problems. Given this, it is not surprising that emissions trading schemes founded on the core tenets of neoliberalism have emerged as the prevailing response to climate change by developed countries. There have been mounting challenges to the marketization of climate policy and we join this to argue that carbon taxes are alternate policy instruments that are more likely to orient social and economic activity towards carbon pollution mitigation. A carbon tax does not require radical social or political transformation of the economy. However, it does place the state at the centre of regulating and governing solutions to climate change. This presents a challenge to the free market orientation of current neoliberal solutions to climate change.
Article
A specter is haunting contemporary party politics: the specter of anti-political-establishment parties. In old as well as in new democracies, fears run high and the literature is booming. Specters are evasive, however. Political scientists have tried to get hold of this one under labels like protest, populist or extremist parties. Yet the `anti-political' ideology which is central for many of these outsider parties has not received the systematic attention it deserves. The present piece of discourse analysis pretends to fill this gap. It argues that anti-political-establishment parties construct two specific cleavages. They contrapose the political elite against citizens, on the one hand, and against themselves, on the other. In its main part, the article analyzes the symbolic strategies anti-political-establishment parties employ in constructing this double conflict. It proceeds to describe their dilemmatic position in between normal and anti-democratic opposition, sketches the possible career paths of anti-political-establishment parties, and concludes with some notes on available counter-strategies.
The culture wars down under
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Lowy Institute Poll shows Australians’ support for climate action at its highest level in a decade
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Joyce’s $100 roast prediction rubbished
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Coal production subsidies cost Australians $1.8bn a year
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