IN THE NEWS | Australia “Under New Management”

The 2013 election result is set to transform the nation. Tony Abbott, leader of the Liberal Party won by landslide as Australia’s 28th Prime Minister and swept into office on Sunday, unseating Labor which had been in power since 2007.

Many outside observers speculate how Australia will change under the Abbott government. As discussed by Business Spectator, the new conservative government plans big changes – likely to become one of the most dramatic turns the country has seen for decades that will take place in the wake of a Coalition victory.


Open for Business

On the first day of his administration, Abbott told a crowd of triumphant supporters Saturday that “Australia is under new management and is open for business.”

Abbott will dump a tax on mining company profits which he claims undermines investor confidence in Australia as an investment destination and as a secure resources supplier. By scrapping the tax, the coalition aims to restore confidence for the industry allowing it to “thrive, create jobs and contribute to the prosperity of all Australians.”

Great Leap Backwards

The first item on Abbott’s to-do list is to abolish the country’s emissions trading plan.

The Coalition government will be disastrous for the environment if it carries out its campaign promises, says Ian Lowe, Emeritus Professor, School of Science at Griffith University.

Lowe said no credible observer believes Coalition’s direct action will achieve even an inadequate 5% reduction of greenhouse gas production. During the campaign, Abbott specifically ruled out providing the funds that would be needed to get near that target.

Queensland and New South Wales are proposing outrageous expansion of the export coal trade and coal seam gas. Australia will be expecting more pollution, in turn reducing the slim chance of international action to avoid dangerous climate change.

Fundamentally, Abbott proposes to turn the clock back 30 years on environmental protection. Governments since the blocking of proposed Franklin Dam have all curbed the worst excesses of growth-oriented states prepared to approve irresponsible developments. The Abbott government breaks the succession by tossing environmental issues in the back burner; even Australia’s National Parks are no longer safe.

Conservation groups are already worrying about the future of environmental protection and sustainability as one of the world’s biggest per capita polluters. If the Abbott government abandons its responsibility to protect the environment we will be seeing more litigation on the issue when local people decide to take on the task themselves.

Abbott will still face significant obstacles despite a lower house majority of about 30 seats. His capacity to legislate will be limited until next July by the current Senate, but then the balance will probably be held by minority groups further to the right such as the Palmer personality cult.

Read expert responses on the 2013 election results and what they mean for the future on The Conversation Australia.