Election whiplash . . .
Cynicism shrouds the May 2019 Australian election. The country’s level of democratic satisfaction has hit an all-time low – in 2018, fewer than 41% of Australian citizens reported satisfaction with their political leaders and processes, down from 86% in 2007. This is unsurprising given the rapid rate of leadership turnover in recent years: current prime minister Scott Morrison is the country’s sixth in eight years. No prime minister has served a full term since 2007.
The ‘climate change’ election . . .
Keeping a pulse on Australian elections for the past decade has been akin to watching a high-contact sport. Tomorrow’s election is being dubbed the 'climate change election' for Australia, with surveys showing that citizens are concerned by the degradation of the Great Barrier Reef, the unprecedented number of bush fires, droughts, and extreme temperatures. This is in stark contrast to the last election in 2013, which was characterized by heavy anti-carbon tax sentiment (“axe the tax”).
Carbon and the Commonwealth . . .
Some Canadians are also advocating to 'scrap the tax' on carbon. Canada’s 'backstop” federal carbon tax regime recently came into effect sparking popular protest and a legal backlash in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and New Brunswick. In close step with our fellow Commonwealth member, climate change policy and carbon tax debates will very likely set the Canadian election season on fire this fall.