Political Vulnerability of Australian Emission Reduction Policies

By David Bruce Lundberg.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The effects of issue framing in Australian federal politics on the implementation and durability of Australia’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) are examined. Australian carbon pricing legislation established an ETS, with a fixed price from July 2012 until market pricing starts in 2015. Australia’s ETS is to be linked to the EU’s ETS between 2015 and 2018. Despite majority public acceptance that climate change is important, major negative shifts in public opinion followed policy and personnel changes in the Government and Opposition, and strong populist campaigning by the current Opposition Leader Mr Abbott, with media reinforcement. Mr Abbott’s populist issue framing made carbon pricing and the Prime Minister very unpopular. Mr Abbott’s issue framing and weighty business opposition contributed to recently elected conservative state governments closing climate change agencies and ending alternative energy programs. Mr Abbott is committed to abolishing carbon pricing if his conservative coalition is elected to government. However, the previously high probability of massive electoral defeat of the federal government by the conservative coalition is changing to a more open contest, as Mr Abbott’s issue framing has become less credible. The durability of Australia’s ETS may be a major issue in, and possibly beyond, the next federal election.

Keywords: Issue Framing, Carbon Pricing, Climate Change

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.133-146. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 358.775KB).

Dr. David Bruce Lundberg

Senior Lecturer, School of Communication,International Studies and Languages, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia

Dr. David Lundberg’s tertiary qualifications are a BA (honours) from the University of Adelaide, (1970), a Bachelor of Divinity, from Melbourne College of Divinity (1993), a Graduate Diploma in Social Science from the University of Stockholm (1975) and a Ph.D. from Flinders University (1978). David was a Parliamentary Political Science Fellow, a Ministerial Adviser, an intelligence analyst, a federal government policy analyst and an educational researcher. He has taught politics and international relations at 4 Australian universities. David has been Program Director of several International Studies programs. He has been a Senior Lecturer at the University of South Australia since 1995. David has published 3 books, 9 monographs or reports, and 21 book chapters or conference papers. He is researching Asian regional integration, and US global primacy. David has successfully supervised several Ph.D, Honours and Masters graduates.


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