Climate Sceptics Win Australian By-Elections

  • Date: 05/12/09

Sydney Morning Herald: Tony Abbott is defying those who think he could be a hard sell with voters after the Liberals comfortably retained the two federal seats of Bradfield and Higgins on Saturday. Just days after Mr Abbott won the Liberal leadership from Malcolm Turnbull, the party coasted to victory in the Melbourne seat of Higgins, vacated by former treasurer Peter Costello, and the north Sydney electorate of Bradfield, formerly held by Brendan Nelson.

The solid performance surprised many who thought the Liberals might suffer a backlash due to Mr Abbott’s decision to overhaul the party’s climate changing policy, withdrawing support for the introduction of an emissions trading scheme (ETS), which is favoured by Labor.

Mr Abbott believes the results prove the public is uneasy about Labor’s ETS.

“These results reflect what we have been hearing – people are deeply concerned about the cost of an emissions trading scheme on their family budget and (Kevin) Rudd needs to explain to them how this great big new tax would impact on them, he said in a statement on Saturday night.

Kelly O’Dwyer, a former Costello staffer, declared her win in Higgins was a victory for Mr Abbott.

“I think this is a very good win for Tony and his leadership,” she said.

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