Australia is one of the largest coal exporting nations in the world and its economy is underpinned by the availability of cheap fossil fuels. It is well documented that it has failed to act on climate change, and that the conservative Howard government was particularly hostile to international action. It is also well documented that 2007 was an agenda-setting period when climate change was elevated to national prominence. This paper details and interrogates the ultimately successful Labor national governments' efforts to establish an Australian carbon pricing mechanism. It considers whether irresistible normative forces for climate policy change overcame the previously immovable object of economic and political self-interest, and the power of the carbon lobby. In explaining complex climate policy dynamics, temporal scales and politics, it finds great utility in John Kingdon's pragmatic “policy window”1 as an explanation for Australia's climate policy change.
Where problems, policies and politics come together at critical times and facilitate fundamental policy innovation and change. See John W. Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies (Boston, 2011).
“The ‘Super-Politics’ of Climate Change: Whatever is to be Done?”, Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 48, 4 (2013), forthcoming; Commonwealth of Australia, Securing a Clean Energy Future: The Australian Government's Climate Change Plan (Canberra, 2011).,
Clive Hamilton, Scorcher: The Dirty Politics of Climate Change (Melbourne, 2007); idem, Running from the Storm: The Development of Climate Change Policy in Australia (Sydney, 2001).
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Hamilton, Scorcher. See also Tranter, this issue, and “The Failed Securitization of Climate Change in Australia”, Australian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 47, 4 (2012), p. 586.,
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See Christoff, this issue.
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Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies, p.195.
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See – New South Wales scheme <http://www.greenhousegas.nsw.gov.au/overview/scheme_overview/overview.asp>, and Australian Capital Territory scheme <http://www.greenhousegas.nsw.gov.au/act_scheme.asp>.
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See Rudd's 2007 address <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqZvpRjGtGM> accessed 2 October 2012).
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Burgmann and Baer, Climate Politics and Crowley, Climate Policy Failure; Ross Garnaut, “Oiling the Squeaks”, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 December 2008; and Peter Van Onselen, “Politics Trumps a Moral Challenge”, Australian, 29 April 2010.
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Garnaut, The Garnaut Climate Change Review, pp.314–318.
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Ibid., pp.v, vii, xii and 21.
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David Bowman, “Christine Milne: The Economy Must Serve People and Nature, not Vice-Versa”, 23 August 2012, available at <http://theconversation.edu.au/christine-milne-the-economy-must-serve-people-and-nature-not-vice-versa-8854>.
Kingdon, Agendas, Alternatives and Public Policies, p.172.
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