Greenwashing and Taxing Gas in the Crosshairs | Between the Lines

Welcome to the first edition of our newsletter, Between the Lines. Thanks to support from people like you, our work and impact has grown. It can be hard to keep up with everything we’re up to, so we’re going to distil it for you, sending our best and latest research and analysis, opinion pieces, videos and news straight to your inbox every fortnight-ish. Subscribe to get it sent to you.

The Wrap with Richard Denniss

After years of effort, the Australia Institute’s research priorities and the Australian public debate are finally in sync, with the Albanese Government under pressure to scrap the Stage 3 tax cuts, tax the gas and coal industry more fairly and rein in the expansion of coal and gas. And as world leaders meet in Egypt, the UN Secretary-General has echoed our concerns with the use of dodgy carbon credits to greenwash the expansion of the fossil fuel industry, stating that ‘We must have zero tolerance for net-zero greenwashing.’

It’s a message the Australian Government would do well to take to heart. Earlier this month, our senior researcher Polly Hemming’s piece in the Saturday Paper highlighted how, unlike almost any other country, Australia’s corporate greenwashing is being facilitated and encouraged by government.

We’ll be watching the issue closely – and hope you will watch along with us. This newsletter will give you a behind-the-scenes look at what we’re up to and where we’re going. Thanks for your support, and we hope you like Between the Lines as much as we enjoy bringing it to you.

– Richard Denniss, Executive Director of the Australia Institute.

The Big Stories 📰

Australia needs a windfall profits tax – but our government seems to fear the gas lobby

“The gas industry would have us believe we owe it a debt of gratitude for paying us a pittance while they rake in record profits,” writes Richard Denniss in the Guardian.

State-sponsored greenwashing

“Fossil fuel companies everywhere promote themselves as climate leaders. The difference here is that in Australia the government is not only in on this game, but it is also running it,” writes Polly Hemming in the Saturday Paper.

Watch Polly debunk ‘carbon neutral’ petrol on Australia Institute TV.
Listen to Polly on the 7am Podcast.

Labor sticks with Stage 3 tax cuts for the rich

The Labor Government neglected to make any changes to the Morrison Government Stage 3 tax cuts that would cost the budget $254 billion, the vast majority of the benefits going only to high income earners.

Defenders of the Stage 3 tax cuts wrote in the Australian that ‘middle income’ earners would suffer if Stage 3 is scrapped. The article goes on to say that middle income earners are those earning over $120,000. That’s not middle, that’s high income. Richard explains where the middle really is, and who actually benefits from Stage 3.

The Quote 📣

This is not a shortage of supply problem; this is a glut of greed problem that has to be basically short circuited and common sense prevail.

— Ed Husic condemns the Australian gas industry’s pursuit of higher prices, ABC Radio, 3 November. Story in the Guardian.

Richard was recently on the Drum talking about what we can do to fix it.

The Win 🏆

Rejected! Glencore’s planned coal mine expansion in NSW’s Hunter Valley was rejected following community pressure with support from Australia Institute research. Polly Hemming explains how we debunked dodgy economic modelling and helped swing the decision in this video.

Changemaker of the Year! Chanel Contos, Director of our Centre for Sex & Gender Equality, has been awarded Changemaker of the Year at the Marie Claire Women of the Year awards. Chanel’s work was pivotal in the reforms to consent education this year. Congratulations Chanel!

The Bin 🗑️

It is true that educated young women have become a powerful voting bloc. Nick Cater seems to prefer to restrict young women’s access to education than acknowledge that parties of the right no longer serve a large portion of Australia’s population.

From ‘Single young females the biggest threat to parties on the right’ by Nick Cater in the Australian.

The Stat 📊

Our Climate of the Nation report shows that the economic value of coal mining is 9 times smaller than people think!

Get Involved ✍️

Scrap Stage 3 Tax Cuts: By cutting taxes for high-income earners, these reckless Stage 3 tax cuts will permanently undermine Australia’s progressive tax system. Add your name to our petition calling on the Parliament to scrap them.

Make fossil fuel producers pay climate disaster levy: In a year of devastating floods and extreme weather fuelled by climate change, fossil fuel companies are raking in record profits. That’s why we’re calling for fossil fuel producers to pay a climate disaster levy. Add your name.

To regularly get involved and keep up to date with all of our latest research and content, follow us on social media: TwitterFacebookYouTubeInstagram, and Tiktok.

What’s On 📅

Webinar: Offsetting Us Up to Fail: The myths of ‘nature markets’ explained
Richard Denniss and Polly Hemming debunk offset and environmental market myths.
Wednesday, November 23, at 11:00 am AEDT. Free, registration essential.

Tasmanian Ocean Summit: The Australia Institute hosts a gathering of community and experts for a deep dive into the culture, science, policy and integrated management of Tasmania’s magnificent marine ecosystems.
Friday, November 25, Spring Bay Mill, Triabunna. Info and tickets.

Webinar: Nordic Talks: A plus or F minus? Educational Equity in Finland and Australia
How can Australia move closer to Finland’s world-leading education system? By putting equality at the heart, explain Pasi Sahlberg and Correna Haythorpe.
Thursday, December 1 at 1:30 pm AEDT. Free, registration essential.

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