Over the last couple of days I’ve been involved in a pretty frustrating argument over carbon pricing. In particular: the merits of the previous Labor Government’s “carbon tax”.
The debate’s been carried out in the comment section of a facebook status, which in itself was probably a good sign I shouldn’t have got involved. But I did. And then I got hooked. Infuriating comments like this kept me coming back for more:
I won’t go into the spat that comment sparked, or really into the argument for carbon pricing at all. I’m not an expert and if I wasn’t up against equally uninformed punters on facebook I probably would have quickly lost my footing in a debate on the subject.
But what this did make me really stop and think about was our values as a nation.
The core of the opposition to carbon pricing seems to be “this is going to cost us money. What’s it going to do for me right now?” This seems to be the foremost thinking around any policy decision at a state or federal level in recent years (maybe it’s been that way forever and I’m only noticing it now) – What’s this going to do for me?
Like I said, I’m not particularly well informed on the economic impact of the carbon tax. But even if there was an increase in my electricity bill as a result of the policy isn’t that a fair price to pay for action which moves us toward sustainability?
The way I see it, the carbon tax isn’t about making us better off in the short time. It’s about being responsible world citizens. It’s about encouraging ecologically sustainable industry. It wasn’t meant to be a magic bullet, but it was a start.
The same self-interest and short term thinking is evident in our response to the issue of asylum seekers. What ever happened to making decisions, as a nation, because they’re compassionate and just, not because they offer us short-term financial gain?
I don’t know about everyone else, but I’d be happy to pay a little more on my electricity bill if it meant I could go to bed at night knowing I was living in a country I could be proud of.