IT was Mark Dreyfus QC, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change, who let the cat out of the bag.2GB Media Player - Professor Henry Ergas on the carbon tax
Once the carbon change legislation is in place, he said, repeal would amount to an acquisition of property by the commonwealth, as holders of emissions permits would be deprived of a valuable asset. As a result, the commonwealth would be liable, under s.51(xxxi) of the Australian Constitution, to pay compensation, potentially in the billions of dollars. A future government would therefore find repeal prohibitively costly.
That consequence is anything but unintended. The clean energy legislation, released this week, specifically provides that “a carbon unit (its generic term for a right to emit) is personal property”.
This, the government says, is needed to give certainty to long-term trades. But that claim makes little sense, for even without such protections there are flourishing markets for fishing quotas and other tradeable entitlements.
If I was an Australian, I'd be very afraid.
H/T to Jo Nova