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2020: A Glimpse Of Australia In Turnbull’s Kingdom…

The trouble with politicians is that they think like footballers. The premiership is the goal. Occasionally, it’s absurd to think that you’ll succeed in a given year but, whether realistic or not, at the start of every season the dream is to win. And, of course, when it comes down to that final day, players throw everything at it with no thought of next week, because there is no next week. There is, of course, a next season but it’s worth risking injury or suspension because the whole aim is to win no that day.

And so it is with politicians: The aim is to win the election. Don’t worry if you have to – like Tony Abbott did – promise to abolish taxes, not cut spending AND eliminate the deficit. Once you’re elected, you can just do your victory lap and make a few apologies and/or blame everything on someone else. By the time the next contest comes around, you can use the same tactic and rely on the fact that most people will be more concerned about the future so that your total inability to deliver even half the things you promised won’t matter.

“The elimination of the carbon tax will reduce your power bills by $500.”
“The elimination of support for renewable energy will reduce your power bill by $100.”

Wow, awesome, putting the two together and looking at my bills from 2013, that’d mean that the power companies would be paying me money!

Anyway, today Malcolm Turnbull has broken with standard practice for his government and actually made a decision. We’re not going to have a Clean Energy Target. Instead we’re going to get a National Energy Guarantee. I haven’t been able to discover what’s being guaranteed yet. Nor have I been able to ascertain what happens if what’s being guaranteed doesn’t actually happen the way we were promised. I mean, if the toaster is faulty, you either get your money back or a new toaster. If the National Energy Guarantee doesn’t work, do we get our money back or just a new guarantee?

Whatever, I feel that the Liberals are doing all this not with regard to the long term, but because they feel that they need to do something or they’ll lose the next premiership… Sorry, election. And they don’t need to worry about next week. Or next season.

However, politics isn’t exactly like football. There’s a real difference. I know that may be a surprise to some in Canberra, but, while football teams get their names in the record books and don’t have to worry about anything except trying to win again next year, the winner of an election actually has to govern. Which means that people will hold you responsible for telling everyone that you were the better team and that you were the one who’d keep on kicking goals. In other words, they’ll expect you to be capable of actually running the country.

So, while Malcolm and the Muddlers are intending to use the demon of high energy prices to position themselves to win the next election, I wonder if they’ve actually thought beyond that glorious night when they hold the cup aloft and make speeches about what a great team they are.

Let’s fast forward to 2020 and imagine the unthinkable. Malcolm actually wins the next election and he’s still in power. (Actually I know that this is pretty far-fetched because everyone knows that they’ll hold out for as long as they can, then dump him for Peter Dutton. Or Scott Morrison, if Peter actually says something so offensive that even his cheer squad in the media have to abandon him. Come to think of it, he’s already done that. Anyway…) Malcolm appears on ABC where Andrew Bolt, the new presenter of the 7:30 Report – which is screened at 11:30 – interviews him.

Bolt: Good evening, Mr Prime Minister.
Turnbull: Good evening, Andrew.
Bolt: Now, in 2017 you promised to get rid of all those pesky renewables that were pushing prices up, yet we still haven’t seen any reduction in price.
Turnbull: I’m glad you asked that, Andrew…
Bolt: I didn’t ask anything, it was a statement.
Turnbull: Anyway, power bills are certainly a lot lower than if we’d done nothing. And certainly, we now have an efficient, reliable energy supply that works pretty much most days of the week. The guarantees that we’ve given mean that – when the new coal-fired power stations come into effect in 2023 – we’ll hardly have any blackouts.
Bolt: But what about now? I mean, shouldn’t we have been building new power stations years ago.
Turnbull: Well, of course, Labor had plenty of opportunity to do just that when they were in power, but they were too concerned with ideological ideas like “saving the planet” and as you well know, there’s only one planet worth saving and that’s planet Economy because without planet Economy we can’t have an environment to save.
Bolt: Yes, but there are still all those activists trying to shut down free speech by advocating for renewable energy. Can’t you implement Tony Abbott’s plan and use ASIO’s detention powers to arrest them.
Turnbull: Now, in a democracy everyone is entitled to an opinion.
Bolt: Yes, but should they be allowed to express it, if it’s going to risk our security like that?
Turnbull: I do understand where you’re coming from, but we don’t plan to make any change to our free speech policy until Mr Abbott makes a speech in London telling us to.
Bolt: Ok, what are you planning to do about all those people who still have solar panels on their roof? Is there any plan to compel them to turn them into coal fired power?
Turnbull: Not at this stage, but all options are on the table.
Bolt: And just finally, those illegal immigrants still on Nauru, when are you going to stop the dreadful waste of money? After all, we’ve been paying for their food and accommodation for over seven years now. If they’re going to stay there, can’t they be compelled to do something useful. I mean, your government is examining a “Work for the Age Pension” plan for Australians. Shouldn’t foreigners have to do something similar?
Turnbull: I was on the phone to President Trump just the other day and he assures me that many of these people will be resettled in the USA just as soon as vetting has been completed. We can’t rush these things, you know.
Bolt: Thank you, Mr Turnbull.
Turnbull: A pleasure, Andrew.

Ok, it may not happen quite like that…

However, when you read it these days, my piece on what it’d be like with Donald Trump becoming POTUS does seem more like an accurate portrayal than satire, so you never know.

I just wonder why the Liberals can’t see that most of their policies are just kicking the can down the road. If they’d voted on marriage equality, instead of using the idea of a plebiscite to delay it, their pain would be over. Instead, Malcolm’s going to have to contend with all the subterfuge when (if?) the Yes vote gets up. I can hear it now: “Ah, but if you look at the numbers who didn’t vote, then only a minority voted “Yes” so we shouldn’t make a drastic change without overwhelming support” and “Yes, we need to have a Parliamentary vote, but not until we’ve put in place laws to protect religious freedoms while ensuring that those relgious freedoms don’t extend to religions that we don’t like!”

Similarly, the whole energy situation needs to something that takes everything and all stakeholders into consideration, and not just used as a political football. We’re treated to the spectacle of Liberal politicians expressing horror about rising power prices, yet rising education or health costs are things we’re expected to just accept.

I wonder why that is…


16 comments

  1. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    energy is guarateed not cheap energy. only things turnbull has been sucessful at are insider trading and tax evasion.

  2. Max Gross

    Disrupt, degrade and destroy: pure LNP!

  3. Keith

    With the LNP, the trust you can place in them is to create stuff ups.
    The NBN is a prime example, in many areas not working as well as the ADSL system it replaced, in prime time it slows down.
    The promise of $550 in reduction of energy prices was never delivered to workers.
    The Direct Action policy has been horrendously expensive and delivered higher emissions.
    Anything to be regulated by a conservative government is liking to be so bound up that it won’t do as promised.

    You need to be very naive to believe promises made by the LNP.

  4. Möbius Ecko

    Malcolm Turnbull has broken with standard practice for his government and actually made a decision…

    Correction. Abbott and the right wing back bench made a decision, Turnbull just blindly carried it out. Notice how he’s gone missing in action and we have the Foreign Minister spinning this energy policy. Strange isn’t it, that when asked awkward questions outside their portfolios, politicians always point out the fact it’s not their responsibility. Yet here we have Bishop spruiking policy way outside her portfolio whilst the PM and responsible minister have mostly gone missing in action.

  5. jimhaz

    I think they made sure the so called Energy plan savings of $115 were modelled to be is such a low amount that people will completely forget it – unlike the missing $550. ie If not just a made up figure, the modellers were told to produce something that gave an answer between 100-150 dollars.

    I note that Turnbull’s sycophantman for the modelling is John Pierce. Chairman of the Australian Energy Market Commission. He was Secretary of the NSW Treasury from 97 to 08 and my personal view is that the Treasury had reached the peak of immorality by the time he left. Pierce was a key architect of the Iemma government’s plan to privatise the state’s electricity industry.

    As per normal one must note that Abbott’s definition of progress is to cut something.

    Abbott-twit: “Progress at today’s party room. The Clean Energy Target has been definitively dropped”

  6. Möbius Ecko

    John Pierce, during Turnbull’s and Frydenberg’s energy policy announcement, yes they finally showed up, did every known cluster of hand to face gestures that indicate you are lying in body language.

    He was the stooge to the snake oil salesmen on his right, and knew he was attempting to spruik a silk purse out of sows ear.

  7. jimhaz

    Mr Pezzullo, the new head of the Dutton’s mega-department said the following:

    “But he revealed the super-ministry, modelled chiefly on Britain’s Home Office, would go even further and assume responsibility for critical infrastructure, community cohesion and the protection of democratic institutions from foreign interference.

    Part of that job would involve shielding Australians from “the fracturing of public discourse and phenomenon of fake news”, which was a threat to Australian sovereignty, Mr Pezzullo told the audience.

    “Sovereignty is being compromised by fake news and global campaigns of information subversion and psychological warfare designed to undermine our democratic institutions and public discourse,” he said.

    “The state has to increasingly embed itself – not majestically sitting at the apex of society, dispensing justice – the state has to embed itself invisibly into global networks and supply chains and the virtual realm, in a seamless and largely invisible fashion.”

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/home-is-not-what-it-used-to-be-michael-pezzullo-justifies-new-security-superministry-in-colourful-speech-20171016-gz29hx.html

    Not 2020, but 1984 here we come. I wonder who will be judging what is fake news? I am concerned they will use it to ban, not fake news that suits conservatives, but complaints from the left, which the right tends to view as fake news. I am aware we need to implement something to handle fake news, but I just cannot take this for granted – where is the bipartisan independence going to come into play? I mean conservatives see every word about climate change as being fake and anything the SJW’s put out as being fake (not that I support much of the over the top stuff the young SJWs, thought police and man haters carry on about).

  8. Andrew J Smith

    Current ‘debate’ on energy policy is conducted very strategically through PR methods i.e. creating the perception that Oz electricity is really expensive without good comparison internationally, need to maintain base loads which apparently renewable energy cannot, leaving only coal or gas power options? Nudge nudge….

    This plays into the need of the coal industry to try increase and maintain income streams into the future while presenting as the ‘solution’ while gas is apparently precluded because local/global fossil subsidiaries tied up gas exploration and export contracts some years ago, accordingly MSM avoids too much mention of the latter.

    Some of the same US fossil fuels or oil/gas oligarchs have traditionally played a long game, positioning themselves as essential infrastructure and/or monopoly integrated with the state via ‘global networks’, while influencing universities, think tanks, unions, media and politicians e.g. wedge tactics, dog whistling, astro turfing, white nativism and conservative environmentalism (blame immigrants and population growth not cars or fossil fuels) etc..

    This leads onto how white nativism has been ‘weaponised’ for the top oligarchs to scare and consolidate their ageing constituencies via US movement’s strategy including Homeland Security, obsessive focus upon refugees and/or ‘immigrants’ (using inflated data), border and other security, SSM and other cultural wedge issues etc.

    It seems more about creating white conservative (non mainstream) Christian* fascist Anglosphere, disturbingly similar to illiberal democracies aka Russia, Turkey, Hungary etc. (who have all employed GOP related campaign advisors and pollsters); while complaining that white people (whoever they are?) are being outnumbered or outbred by brown ‘immigrants’ leading to a need for permanent conservatism or white nativism in a managed economy? It used to be called national socialism?

    The Christianity now promoted by nativists and/or conservatives is neither inclusive nor mainstream e.g. targetting evangelicals and Mormons while ageing US Catholics remain attracted to conservative think tanks (AEI/Heritage who in turn inform IPA), but generally Catholic Hispanics or Latinos or Blacks don’t count, what’s that all about? It’s about maintaining an obedient constituency e.g. those of the Jewish faith are now welcome like Catholics into WASP culture of the ‘top people’ (vs post WWII), and no doubt sometime in future the gates have to be opened wider as their constituency declines; assuming they continue on a democratic path.

  9. Vixstar

    NEG NEG NEG NEGATIVE malfunction Malcom Turnbull and his Liberal National party num nums for f#cks sake they must be the worst politician’s in the world, what a joke so in 2020 we get a saving of $25 whoppee dodah day. Where is the $550 they promised last time round.

  10. Rossleigh

    From what I can work out this is supposed to give us, the. Consumer, a reduction in power prices. In 2020! Conveniently afte the next élection.

  11. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    between 50 cents and $2.20 per week by 2030. many australians now currently living will be dead by then so under Turdballs plan many australians will not see a real decrease in their energy bills within their lifetime. turdballs plan guarantees no real reduction in energy bills for at least 13 years. laughable!

  12. Andrew J. Smith

    Oppose the Major Parties: Exactly, playing up on the lack of financial literacy and ignorance by media, society and many MPs who do not understand the time value of money; as observed often regarding ‘analysis’ of the property market (it always goes up).

    How they are going to sell this under increasing scrutiny and possible election is beyond me apart from MSM avoiding any mention (versus deflecting via cultural issues of SSM and citizenship); then again electorates get the politicians and democracy they deserve (and deserve it good and hard O’Rourke citing Mencken).

  13. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    Andrew J. Smith. ‘How they are going to sell this?’ Great point Andrew. Surely it is an embarrassment to put this ‘policy’ before voters who are being completely ripped off by electricity generators. Also consider this. I consider this to be the fatal flaw of the NEG and it relates to the NEG going against the grain of market economics. How can a policy that makes it compulsory for electricity generators to purchase a minimum amount of a product, in this case fuel types used in the production of dispatchable power or amounts of dispatchable power itself, to provide cheaper electricity? Without regulation of the price of the dispatchable power or of the fuel used to produce it or competition, surely the producers of the fuel required to produce the dispatchable power will be able charge what they want for that power or fuel that the purchaser is compelled to purchase . This means that, in the absence of price regulation and/or in the absence of competition, the producers of the dispatchable power, or of the fuel required to produce dispatchable power, will be able to charge what they want and the purchaser will be compelled to purchase it. Hence Turdball’s refusal to guarantee lower prices. Compelling the purchase of minimum amounts of dispatchable power will lead to electricity price increases because those compelled to purchase dispatchables will be compelled to pay what the producer wants. In sum, Turdball’s guarantee is only a guarantee of profits for coal miners whose product will be compulsorily purchased and have a guaranteed market under the plan and who will then donate some of that profit back to the LNP. That is all it is. An absurd corrupt nonsense.

  14. Peregrine McCauley

    Never before , has so many coal nuggets , been thrown down the gobs , of the masses of so many , by so few .

  15. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    Turnbull’ s promise. “I guarantee the Australian people will not see a real reduction in their electricity costs in their lifetime or for at least 13 years”.

  16. nurses1968

    In Australia where the dead have better Internet access than the living……

    Hansard, 16 October 2017:

    Ms McBRIDE (Dobell) (14:53): My question is to the Prime Minister. We are now in the fifth year of this Prime Minister’s mismanagement of the NBN. Is the Prime Minister aware that students at the Central Coast Rudolf Steiner School in Fountaindale can’t connect to the NBN, even though Fountaindale has supposedly had the NBN since September last year? What sort of incompetence means that the cemetery behind the school has an NBN connection but the school doesn’t?

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