Thursday 15 June 2017
If you didn’t catch what I wrote yesterday about the Finkel Report and the history of a climate and energy policy then here it is again:
”With 10 years now elapsed no party in the history of Australian politics has been so pathetically incompetent with its policy failure on climate change than the Liberal, National parties. Policy failure of this magnitude in some other countries would invoke street protests.
The lay-back attitude of our citizens is equally pathetic. To think that after 10 years we still don’t have an energy policy is an indictment of all politicians and it highlights the failure of our system. Even when we have an opportunity to reach a bi-partisan agreement, as imperfect as it may be, the party who has so frustrated all moves to put the future of the planet first, continues with its defense of coal.
The former failed Prime Minister Tony Abbott leads the charge of Government backbenchers that would forego this opportunity in the interests of the coal producers.
One has to wonder what special knowledge they think the have that would make it superior to the best science available and the dictates of the capitalistic market they so adhere to.
For one or indeed both sides not to take up this chance of a bipartisan solution would be a disgrace for our politicians, tragic for the planet, and an indictment for our people in so much as we stood by inaudibly, allowing it to happen.”
As I perused a wide range of commentary about the Coalition’s meetings on this subject a lot of things were revealed to me. Tony Abbott, for example, the one making all the noise in the party room hadn’t bothered to read the report. That’s not unusual. Christopher Pyne when Education Minister never found time to read The Gonski Report.
The Prime Minister didn’t take part in the debate and left it to Freydenberg to answer all the tough questions.
I asked myself ”where is the leadership of our country?”. John Howard would have said ”this is what we are doing, like it or lump it”. The same goes for Whitlam, Hawke and Keating.
During the extended meeting it was widely reported that 32 MPs spoke, and around a third were unhappy having serious reservations. Of these some were openly hostile. Most were concerned about the future of Australia’s coal industry. Another third – after a decade of debate – wanted further information. Can you believe it?
The remaining third went along with Finkel’s recommendations.
I paused and wondered how it had all come to this. That after 10 years we might still not be there. That the maniacal right-wing wankers of the Coalition might yet still win. Unlike the rest of the world, they don’t recognise that coal doesn’t have any future. Then, when asked about the possibility of getting the support needed Freydenberg answered:
”Too early to say’.’
”Many colleagues want to understand what is the true impact on price of the clean energy target.”
”And the Cabinet itself hasn’t made any decisions.”
A decade and these fools want more information. I wonder how advanced we would be had Labor’s ‘carbon tax’ been allowed to settle. We would have had an Emissions Trading Scheme settled-in and working.
One thing I have learnt in life is that if you do nothing, nothing will happen.
”Certainly, people are concerned about the future of coal, rightly so too.”
”They understand that coal is a critical source of caseload power”
So is gas, Mr Frydenberg, I’m thinking.
Then I read that George Christensen is so upset that he wants the Government to fund new coal plants. I kid you not. And with our taxes.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce, a chief architect of Abbott’s axing the carbon tax propaganda on Tuesday said that coal ”would not have the advantage that other forms [of electricity] would, but it wouldn’t have any sort of persecutory penalty placed against it”.
When he was asked about Tony Abbott’s view that a CET would be a tax on coal, he answered that there was ”no penalty placed on coal”.
But Abbott is doing what comes naturally to him: lying. He has labelled Finkel’s recommended clean energy target as a “tax on coal” and, on Radio National, Kelly said coal power is still “our lowest cost of electricity generation”. Both are untrue.
Joyce reckons that Labor would oppose the CET if the Coalition adopted it, and said by contrast the government was ”moving to try to make sure we land this”
”We’re moving … We’re all doing our bit. And the Labor party should do their bit.”
The hypocrisy, after 10 years is remarkable. Even breathtaking.
However, the Government is keen to say that this isn’t a decision-making process. They needed more time. Some as yet unnamed Government MPs are suggesting that Turnbull is in danger of losing his job over this and I wonder what ever happened to the good old crash through or crash theory of Gough Whitlam.
Oh well, leaders had balls in those days.
One Liberal MP told Guardian Australia the bulk of the concern expressed related to the risk that the clean energy target would increase power prices. ”We will wear that for the next decade – if prices go up,” the MP said.
Why is everything about self-interest? Or indeed about appeasing Tony Abbott.
One National Party member, Andrew Broad in a moment of pure truthful enlightenment said the general consensus of the meeting was that status quo was not acceptable because it was stifling investment.
”The general consensus was that the old days of opposing everything and a big tax on everything are gone.”
”Those views weren’t really reflected, the concerns were more about whether this policy is going to work or whether it is a Band-Aid over an electricity grid system with structural flaws.”
How refreshing it was to hear someone speak plainly and truthfully when he said that while he was hopeful of his party room landing some energy policy, he had yet to see an opposition go along with a policy in the national interest – including the then Coalition opposition.
”Even if we do land on a sensible, sound position, I haven’t seen in any point of my career, where oppositions say for the sake of national interest, we will go along it – I just see how partisan it has become on both sides.”
After taking in all the comments on the issue I conclude that Broad is correct. Without a bipartisan agreement the proposal is unlikely to go ahead. The other impediment is that division in Coalition ranks threatens to derail the government’s ambition to end the impasse and lets not forget that Abbott is determined to sink Turnbull.
Fair dinkum, these people are seriously well-educated. And they still think it’s about them.
My thought for the day.
”We all incur a cost for the upkeep of our health. Why then should we not be liable for the cost of a healthy planet.”
PS: And in yesterdays Essential Poll the Coalition was only four points behind Labor.