Originally published in The Australian Financial Review on June 3, 2014

There is a disparity between politicians’ love of symbolism and shareholders’ love of results. Unfortunately for Prime Minister Tony Abbott, that disparity seems set to distance his government even further from the agenda of the mainstream business community in Australia.

As if proposing to introduce a new levy on corporate profits and increasing the top marginal tax rate wasn’t enough, now some in the Abbott government are determined to reduce investor certainty in the energy sector and drive up wholesale electricity prices just to send a message to the greenies.

Despite the fact that the renewable energy target (RET) was originally created by the Howard government back in 2001, the most conservative faction of the Liberals seems determined to scrap it. The problem for the business community, and indeed for the government itself, is that this determination has got nothing to do with lowering costs for business and everything to do with symbolism.

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