Political power, like nature, abhors a vacuum. The second the Commonwealth Government began to vacate the policy stage the state and territory governments began to pour in. It’s a good thing too. The first shot in this new battle between the states and the Commonwealth came from John Brumby. And what a shot it was. In the middle of a federal election campaign in which his former chief of staff, and now Prime Minister, Julia Gillard was struggling to look serious on climate change the Victorian Premier offered to pay for half the cost of phasing out Hazelwood power station. And last week the ACT Government moved ahead with its plan to set a 40 per cent emission reduction target for the nation’s capital. While the Federal Government and the Opposition have continued to claim it would be ‘economically irresponsible’ to pursue targets of more than 5 per cent the representatives of the residents of Canberra have opted for much greater ambition.