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Day to Day Politics: Our most gutless PM. Ever.

Thursday 8 December 2016

Never in the history of this nation have we elected a leader who takes his orders from lessor minions and a junior coalition partner.

On Wednesday I wrote this in respect of Josh Freydenberg’s decision to consider an emissions intensity trading scheme and how the Prime Minister should counter the nutters within the Coalition:

“As is predictable the right-wing members of his party are screaming and shouting over something that makes perfect sense to most people but a monumental crime of ideology to them. Those in the energy sector and the business community generally pleaded with both parties to stop the nonsense and come up with a bi-partisan plan to cut emissions over coming decades, including some sort of carbon price. Will Turnbull take the bull by the horns and confront the denialists. If he does he will get public support if he doesn’t it will just confirm his weakness. He has to do it sometime so why not now.”

It has to be said that if Tony Abbott was the worst Prime Minister we have ever had then Malcolm Turnbull has to be the most gutless. What kind of leader would allow some right-wing ultra-fanatics to ride rough shod over his every decision? Decisions that, when as opposition leader, he felt strongly about.

The same can be said of one of the Government’s better word twisters, Freydenberg. Twenty-four hours after unequivocally saying that the Government would consider an emissions intensity trading scheme for the electricity sector, to trying to have us believe the words never escaped his mouth. Frankly it’s called lying.

“The Turnbull government is not contemplating such a scheme, we’re not advocating for such a scheme.”

“What we are focused on is driving down electricity prices and … energy security.” Just words twisting spin known better as bullshit.

It seems that Abbott must have gathered the troops rather quickly. Given his statements the public is entitled to ask just who is running the country. One day political historians will write books on how much damage the Abbott’s of this world have done to this country..

“We’re against anything that’s a carbon tax or an ETS by stealth.”

“We’re against a carbon tax. We’re against an emissions trading scheme. We’re against anything that’s a carbon tax or an ETS by stealth.”

“We are the party of lower power prices and should let Labor be the party that artificially increases [electricity] prices under Greens pressure.”

If they are not going to treat Climate Change seriously then they should just come out and say so. There is no way we are going to meet the Paris Agreement figures we agreed too. Just be honest about it.

It is astonishing to me and no doubt many readers that so few ultra-right denialists without any background in science can have so much clout.

It is even more remarkable that our Prime Minister is hostage to such sordid individuals.

But how pathetically weak he is not to stand up to them? Is he in service to us or just self-service? The latter would seem to be the truth of it.

Whitlam often used the crash through or crash method and won every time. He confronted people and stood his ground. This PM is gutless.

We need a Prime Minister with the strength of character to confront those who cannot comprehend a future without coal. A person with the guts to see that our economy makes an orderly transition to the carbon-constrained world that we put our name too when we signed the Paris climate agreement.

As the year draws to a close we have a Government hopelessly divided on many issues. Hardly a day goes by without some controversy. In Turnbull it has a leader without authority. It is obvious that the real power is with the group led by Abbott who is hungry to get his old job back.

Katharine Murphy described it this way in the Guardian:

“This is, after all, the group of people who elevated something as inoffensive as a market-based mechanism to the status of mass moral panic and a national thought crime.”

And while all these silly super educated, but stupid men and women continue to play their super puerile politically inane games, we look on and wonder why we were so manifestly thoughtless in electing them in the first place.

My thought for the day

“Current experience would suggest that the Australian people need to take more care when electing its leaders”.



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  1. brickbob

    What can i say to add to your prognosis on Turnbull,an obvious clear case of missing intestinal fortitude on a major scale.

  2. Ella

    “will Turnbull take the bull by the horn….?”

    I think the matadors in right wing of the LNP have taken the bull by the tail and are swinging him round and round…hopefully when he flies off into oblivion he takes them with him…..what a dream !

  3. Andreas Bimba

    Bernie Sanders is hardly a great speech maker or a charismatic leader, his campaign had no big donors and the mass media was against him yet in a fair contest he would have been the next U.S. President.

    The ALP could have easily won the last federal election if they offered half the policy platform or integrity of Sanders but they remain stuck to the neoliberal path – but with a better approach to social and environmental policy. With a promise of balanced federal budgets and the whole neoliberal economic agenda the ALP will never be able to offer the solutions Australia desperately needs.

  4. Peter F

    Yes, it is interesting that the Coalition, who are screaming ‘free market’ at every opportunity would rather their government PAY polluters to reduce pollution that set a target and let the market decide how to achieve it.

    IT is a battle of ideologies, and the RWNJ’s are winning, with Turnbull more interested in retaining his position rather than his principles, which have long since disappeared.

  5. Harquebus

    If Turnbull does stand up to others in the coalition, he will be accused of not listening and dictating his own agenda. It is Turnbull’s growth ideology that is the problem and I don’t see him abandoning that anytime soon.

    We don’t elect our leaders, we elect candidate leaders and none can be called truly representative which, is what they are elected to be.

  6. Graeme Henchel

    There is much wisdom in what you say. When the coalition says constantly ‘It’s labor’s fault” there is some element of truth there. It was Hawke and Keating (with Howard’s full backing) that took us down the Neo liberal path. The difference between Liberal and Labor paths is that labor tries to moderate the worst excesses of globalisation, deregulation etc with social income. The accord, Medicare, Gonski, superannuation, family payments, welfare support etc. whereas the liberals simply don’t give a toss about those falling behind.
    When labor get into power they are shit scared of offending “the markets” or the ratings agencies or big business and so simply tinker around the edges trying to swing the inequality pendulum back the other way.
    A major rethink is required and a new narrative.

  7. Zathras

    I wonder how long it will be before Malcolm’s massive ego kicks in and he makes a stand within his Party?

    He’s achieved his personal goal of becoming PM but has found himself totally powerless and forced to become an apologist for policies he probably privately disagrees with.

    Then again, perhaps that’s the sort of person he really was all along.

    His “brilliant career” is at a standstill and sliding backwards – like the country.

  8. eefteeuu

    A classic case of the inmates running the Institution.

  9. Ill fares the land

    It goes without saying that Turnbull’s ensnarement in the grip of the loopy-right (perhaps the Australian equivalent of the Tea Party faction) is appalling – for a guy with his intellect to become so trapped is a sad indictment of his need for power and prestige and how that drove him to do some pretty dirty deals to become PM – to his own detriment as it turns out.

    What I find really interesting is that the adulation the loopy right and in fact conservatives in general, hold for a “free market” borders on irrational, since there is no actual evidence that a “free market” mechanism actually works for the good of all, or even works at all in accordance with the theory. Strange then that when it comes to applying a “market” mechanism to emissions, they all wet their collective pants and invest huge amounts in trying to rationalise, discredit, diminish or just plain ignore the science behind climate change.

  10. Freethinker

    How bad is Bill Shorten popularity to be behind of Malcolm in the polls?
    IMO the ALP is waiting for the Liberals to do the first move and remove Malcolm and then the ALP will do the same with Bill.
    A win win for the Greens (if they keep their leader) and for the small parties.
    People are sick of both parties

  11. Wayne Turner

    Turnbull certainly the most GUTLESS PM and the most pointless PM too.

  12. Kaye Lee

    “We are the party of lower power prices and should let Labor be the party that artificially increases [electricity] prices under Greens pressure.”

    Ummmm….you put the price of EVERYTHING up by 10% when you introduced the GST. Why does no interviewer ever point that out? And what’s more…..

    “As Australia becomes a leader in solar and battery power, our electricity bills will continue to skyrocket thanks to a massive over-investment in the network that we didn’t ask for and will never need,

    less than a decade ago, Australia paid some of the world’s cheapest electricity bills. In the past few years, however, household power bills have doubled, and now we’re duking it out with Germany and Denmark for the title of world’s most expensive.

    This remarkable increase had little to do with the carbon tax – that only ever made up 9 per cent of your bill. It has almost nothing to do with the renewable energy target, either – that adds about 4 to 5 per cent. It’s not even the actual energy you use – that only makes up 20 per cent of your bill, and the price of the actual electrons you use has actually come down, following an energy glut produced by new wind and solar.

    There’s one decisive factor that’s driven our prices sky high, and created the perfect conditions for solar and storage: the gold-plating of Australia’s poles and wires, or “network”. Thanks to this massive over-investment, network charges now account for 51 per cent of the average household bill

    “It’s as if, at the beginning of the internet age, Australia invested about $45 billion in fax technology,” one former federal government advisor observed.

    the networks had a strong incentive to ignore the naysayers, because the more they built, the more they got paid. Not only could they charge every dollar of that $45 billion back to consumers through their bills; they could also add on another 10 per cent – their “regulated rate of return” – and charge that back to consumers as well.

    This incentive was supercharged in 2006 by state governments: they wrote the rules for the regulator to enforce, thanks to a deal with former prime minister John Howard, who gave them rulemaking authority in exchange for their blessing to replace state-based regulators with one new federal body.

    in 2008 – prior to their multi-billion dollar spending spree – the profit they earned on every electricity connection (every house or business connected to the grid) was $180. Today, it’s $500.


  13. guest

    Turnbull’s backflips rather diminish the notion of Turnbull’s intelligence – at least in the political sphere. This is the second time around that he has proven himself to be something of a political dumkopf. Look at the wonderful achievement of the Double Dissolution in the formation of the Senate, the pitiful ABCC and stalled policy implementation.

    Now we have Turnbull’s wonderful take on the idea of a price on carbon – which he once supported. It will increase the cost of electricity, he says. Sounds like a copy of Abbott.

    Never mind about the cost of cooking the planet. Has he given any thought to that recently? How can he stand in public and pronounce such idiocy? All he is doing is proving the notion that lawyers are able to argue both sides of the case with equal ease.

    Then we have the Adani spokesman claiming that the Adani mine will have positive net results for dealing with climate change. And something about lifting billions out of poverty. How deluded does he think Oz citizens are? And how deluded is he to believe that his attempts at justifying the massive investment in a declining industry will lead anywhere but to disaster? A loss of profits for him and a ruined environment for Oz, more carbon dioxide for the planet.

    Meanwhile Turnbull sails bravely on in his barbed wire canoe (Bernardi rowing stroke) with no price on carbon, no Green Army and a deluded idea that they will reach their Paris targets.

    Can Oz afford Turnbull and his motley crew?

  14. wam

    Climate change is real to trunbull but not to the Australian public where the naysayer now equal to deeply concerned with a pile of unsures. I erred in publishing a theory that hanson got a free trip to advertise a reef resort and wow my daughter slapped me down for the unthinking idiot I am.. The owner should be saying this part is not bleached but if the government doesn’t follow the world on climate change the whole reef will soon be dead.
    Have the loonies apologised for their xmas present to the rabbott in 2009?
    “Current experience would suggest that the Australian people need to take more care when electing its leaders”. Do you think we should have elected the lemon and idiot smarmy sleazy twits like fitzgibbon? perhaps scared of losing like the panic attack hsusics in 2013?
    The rabbott said gillard was selected not elected and this applies to all party pollies so join the party and select then get them elected, I think all the work done by a pollie should be on a website for all to see.
    Yes the trunbull is gutless but so was gillard in only having one attack on the amoral rabbott. What about shorten’s silent support for gillard?? Few outside the the elite of the party were aware of his support. Few outside of the caucus are aware of his worth?

    ps the SBS slipped into the burqa debate
    Why is it so difficult for an organisation like SBS to understand cultural practices are subject to law religious practice are, to my knowledge, not. Therefore female genital mutilation is unlawful because it is cultural but male genital mutilation is lawful because it is religious. When the religion accepts a cultural practice it will be above the law. The way forward is to ban male mutilation till 18.

  15. Andreas Bimba

    Kaye, on electricity prices my understanding is that most goes to the billing companies who in turn spend most they receive on marketing, administration and profit. We went from monopoly semi government electricity suppliers that provided reliable and cheap electricity that did almost zero marketing to a price gouging privatised system with the illusion of competition that is skewed to benefit the private investors.

    The electricity networks will almost certainly remain important with renewable electricity generation to help cope with inevitable regional generation variability. In addition large solar thermal plants that have the heat storage advantage of using phase change salts need to be grid connected. Some industrial users will still be big users of electricity in a sustainable economy such as aluminium production and will also need to be grid connected. The grid if it was managed correctly should provide the opportunity for consumers with excess generating capacity to sell profitably to other consumers.

    Hydrogen may become an important primary energy source in a sustainable economy for example for transport and possibly to partially replace natural gas, and could be produced using excess renewably sourced electricity by electrolysis of water using the grid so avoiding the waste of the inevitable electricity generation peaks.

    Beyond Zero’s ‘Zero Carbon Australia Stationary Energy Plan’ includes details on a much expanded electricity network for a 100% renewable energy future within 10 years.


  16. James Cook

    Just how apoplectic would the MSM be if this was a Labor government? There would be screaming headlines, insulting mock-up pics and daily shrieks for their dismissal. But the LNP…..nada, nothing, ziltch, zero. How on earth do we get the media laws changed so that there is as little bias as possible? Is it true that Canada has done so? Bloody frustrating!!!

  17. Kaye Lee

    James, yes, Canada has a law prohibiting broadcasting false or misleading news.

    “With little fanfare, the CRTC last month [2011] scrapped a proposal to revoke or relax a rule on “prohibited programming content” that includes “broadcasting false or misleading news.” The CRTC withdrew the plan when a legislative committee determined that the rule does not run afoul of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which like the U.S. Constitution, guarantees press freedoms.

    The Canadian media speculated that the withdrawal may have been provoked in no small part by the large sector of the public that voiced its displeasure at the idea of Sun TV coarsening the public discourse and deliberately muddying the political waters, akin to what they see in American media.”


  18. Kim Southwood

    Thankyou John. I am reassured that someone else felt as abjectly disappointed by the defensive ranting of the PM and his government against any form of ETS or Carbon Tax just after they had offered us a glimmer of hope through their environment minister. It all happened so quickly. As with the summary execution of an innocent, the sense of loss was traumatic. The ignorance of the executioners is tragic in epic proportions. With the other major party supporting Adani, where do we look for leadership???!!! Only one green bottle left hanging on the wall.

  19. Donna Vermeulen

    Australia is becoming a country of no future. My 20 year old realises the future is not bright job wise, real estate wise thanks to the government and big business constantly in everyone’s pocket & making terrible decisions. Australia is becoming a shithole of a country and the politicians are to blame.

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