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Day to Day Politics: I think Turnbull has taken them for a ride. He conned them.

Saturday 21 October 2017

1 There are times in political life when an argument becomes exhausted. When all that can be said, has been. Because of political expediency the common good is overlooked: replaced by self-interest.

It is a time when the opposition needs to take stock and consider the public interest. It is now time for Labor to do a deal on an Energy Policy. Yes, there are disadvantages but if they negotiate with forethought there are many positives.

What the Coalition has presented is a policy based on the opinions of three heads of energy departments. The nuts and bolts we have yet to see, so Labor is entitled to criticise as much as it wants. That’s what oppositions are for.

Its fair game at the moment but Shorten needs to decide if he wants to continue with the energy/climate wars or does Labor want to present itself as the appeaser? Continuing with this trench warfare could do more harm than good. By speaking the truth they would receive enough kudos.

Some will want to fight with the hope that Turnbull is crushed by his own internal in fighting, but in my view this is a forlorn hope. Better to do a deal and go forward by making it patently clear that if they are elected there will be changes. They can always increase the emissions target and ramp up renewables at a later date.

The renewables industry will read between the lines of what that means and they can invest with certainty either way. According to the Essential survey support for renewables and an emissions target was around 68%. So the public gets it.

In any case the thrust of Labor’s argument can be made over time and evolve into an election policy.

Shorten should wait until everything, every detail is disclosed then interrogate Turnbull with the view to pointing out the weaknesses , if any, and then negotiate. Don’t allow it to look like a policy success. If it can easily be shown as dud then he can walk away from it in good faith. If it is sound then the national interest should take precedence.

Although the Coalition is dismissing Labor’s accusation that their policy is in effect a carbon price by another name. Which is true. And the chief of the Australian Energy Council, Matthew Warren, yesterday said it was and Hugh Grossman of RepuTex was of the same view.

Sean Kelly in The Monthly Today warned that:

“This is where Labor needs to tread carefully. There is a constructive reason for Labor to raise this, as well as a destructive reason.

Let’s start with the destructive one, which is obvious: to stir up trouble in the Coalition party room by convincing pro-coal and anti-renewable MPs that they’ve been masterfully conned by the not-a-real-conservative Malcolm Turnbull into supporting a carbon price.

Some of Labor’s attacks today headed in that direction, by explicitly referring to Liberal divisions, or by making it a focus of attack in Question Time.

If the Opposition has decided it has no interest in agreeing to the PM’s climate policy, then fine. There are advantages to delivering certainty, but then there are also significant weaknesses in this policy, so if the Opposition has decided its approach is to create maximum havoc, then I can’t really find a moral reason to tell it not to.

But – and this is a massive but – if Bill Shorten and his team have decided, or might be in the process of deciding, that they want a deal, then now is the time to back the hell away.”

Turnbull – when being interviewed yesterday morning – went out of his way to say that this wasn’t a carbon price policy but when the dunderheads on the back bench finally open their eyes to the fact that he has conned them, all hell might break loose.

And if they do a deal Labor will be able to say that the Coalition has gone the full cycle and arrived back at a carbon price.

Nobody believes the fanciful figures that power bills will be cut between $100 and $115 a year between 2020 and 2030.

They made a mistake by plucking that figure out of a hat. No one can guarantee anything that far ahead. Why do governments continue to treat us like fools when we aren’t.

2 Whilst Australia’s employment rate of 5.5% in September hit a four-year low the big concern is that full-time jobs seem to be almost a thing of the past. Sure, creating 19,800 jobs might seem fantastic but the reality is that only 6,100 were full-time. It seems that the structure of Australian jobs is rapidly changing. As good as the figures look the fact remains that for every job there are 17 people wanting it. Entry level jobs for young people we have five applicants for every job.Not to forget the number wanting more work.

3 Peter Dutton’s “Immigration Bill”, or citizenship crackdown, died an instant death in the Senate when they realised they didn’t have the numbers. And so it should have. Anything this minister handles has the stench of his filthy hands on it and this negative bill was just another attempt to demoralise people: to make them feel inferior. It’s the Dutton trademark.

My thought for the day

“Turnbull’s elevation to Prime Minister brought with it some expectation of civility of discourse. I had hoped that it might also bring an element of truth but it seems my hope has been shattered. Nothing has changed.”

PS: Last week I suggested that the PM would release his Energy Policy the same day the High Court released its findings on the status of 7 politicians eligibility to sit in parliament.

I confess I was wrong.



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  1. Keith

    John, your thought for the day says it all, Turnbull and and LNP cannot be trusted. Before Labor agrees to anything, full detail needs to be provided with iron clad guarantees that proper regulation will happen to safe guard any policy that might arise. Often toothless tiger Regulatory Agencies are set up to placate critics; in this situation it is imperative that any Regulatory Agency acts promptly.

    Your quote from Sean Kelly suggested that the LNP have a climate policy; if that is the case what is it? Despite the Direct Action “Policy”, emissions have been going up; the starting year was surreptitiously changed to make it look otherwise, to try to fool Australians that emissions are going down.

    If there are no subsidies for renewables ;then, the same needs to apply for fossil fuel powered stations.
    Turnbull has been asked to provide modelling for his scheme; he seems to get a bit aggro when asked. After all, Turnbull has pushed the worlds best NBN onto us; it’s poorer than what it replaced for some people.

  2. Keith

    Just after sending my last post, my email brought up … the contention that what Turnbull has produced is nothing more than a political solution for the here and now, not a solution for the future.

    First sentence:

    “The most important thing to understand about the federal government’s new National Energy Guarantee is that it is designed not to produce a sustainable and reliable electricity supply system for the future, but to meet purely political objectives for the current term of parliament.”

  3. Wm

    At last an admission that truth has elements and science makes that a compound. Truth is what we see hear touch taste and smell compounded in our brain. But we know what you mean, Lord. We all would like Trumble to be as honest as Bill.
    The rabbott’s $550 worked pretty well for them but $110 after a couple of years of price rises is pretty laughable?
    ps – a couple of truths for you, Lord.

    Poor old julie so arrogant that she slagged NZ Labour because she never thought of a Labour PM.
    It is possible peterson took this into account to embarrass Australia by selecting Labour. What an enjoyable thought?

    The latest story concerning the rabbott, the hair and the orange.

    Each claims their superiority in intelligent commentary.
    The task of ranking these gentlemen is formidable.
    Climate change is like sacrificing a goat to appease the volcano gods!
    Our cause is just and the might of Korea united by the truth is infinite!
    It is disgusting that the newspapers can write what they want!
    The first: inane, the second: meaningless propaganda and the third: dangerous.

  4. Terry2

    Already we are hearing Liberal party voices badgering Labor to get on board with this so called new energy policy but as you correctly point out, John, there is nothing to grasp at this stage as there is no modelling and no detail. So, Labor must make their position absolutely clear that they will sit down with Turnbull and negotiate once there is some substance on which to negotiate.

    At this stage the thrust of this energy policy seems to be designed around wedging Labor and putting Labor on the back foot as being negative and obstructive.

    It is important to note that Turnbull has said that full details of the NEG scheme will be advised to state premiers before the next COAG meeting . If you look at the COAG website you will see that it says :


    So there isn’t even a meeting scheduled : Shorten needs to tread carefully as he is dealing with a deceptive and slippery Prime Minister.

  5. stephentardrew

    John shifting deck chairs is not going to work. I do agree that under current circumstances compromise may be the only viable choice though it is no solution. Compromise between two deeply entrenched neoliberal, neoclassical political parties will not, and cannot, avoid disaster. After all the media is owned by the bankers and financiers and by and large the media own both political parties and the sleeping citizens.

    Modern Monetary Theory explains clearly, rationally and empirically what is going on here and it is a giant Ponzy scheme for the elites, wealthy and influential left and right. Most politicians are bought and sold by the elites and willingly fall in line.

    The problem is they will not countenance criticism of the very financial architecture they support based upon myths, lies and fake mathematical modelling. None of the econometric models other than MMT predicted the GFC which clearly demonstrates their models are full of deceptions and lies. The people who did predict the GFC were ignored when in science such strong correlations would immediately lead to empirical investigation and rationally evaluation. We have a bunch of over educated emotionally immature conceptual ideologues enamoured with their neoclassical religion of greed.

    The pseudo scientists on both sides of politics chose to ignore the facts for heir own profit and destruction while impoverishment billions on the planet purely for greed power and wealth. Religion has much to do with this lack of critical thinking and intellectual rigour. As they say It is the economy stupid while our politicians are looking more and more stupid every day. The Greens too have become a clone of deceitful neoliberalism.

    The neoliberal Labor right are going to save us? Yeah right when they refuse to explore the very foundation of our demise as a democracy. We are now a corporate oligarchy ruled by the few, a plutocracy ruled by wealth and a corptocracy a society ruled and governed by corporations. We have all three.

    “When plunder becomes a way of life for a group of men in society, over the course of time, they create for themselves a legal system that authorises it and a moral code that glorifies it.” Frederic Bastiat

  6. stephengb2014

    John, I hope you are right, I hope also that Bill Shorten will see this opportunity to show how this LNP plan is more of a carbon tax than that which the LNP clearly won the 2013 election on!

    Steven Tardrew, I share your thoughts, and yes follow the MMT truth, I share your pessimism to a degree as I am assured by my local MP (Labor) that Bill Shorten is well aware of MMT, although being aware does not necessarily translate to being able to transition this awareness to good economic policies!

  7. helvityni

    Yes, Terry2, I sincerely hope and pray that Bill will not cave in to Mal’s bullying…..stay strong Shorten!

  8. Glenn Barry

    I live in hope that the media may actually take up the challenge and really interrogate the government over the NEG.
    It was liberating to watch/hear Sabra Lane hit Turnbull with some challenging question on RN – he was visibly surprised, I was delighted.

    For far too long he has stood in front of reporters/journalists and been given a free pass.
    Turnbull instead behaves more like an infomercial presenter peddling $9.99 cheap plastic trinkets to miraculously enhance modern living whenever the lenses point in his direction.

    Also equally telling was the Turnbull press conference whilst visiting a manufacturing business yesterday – when the business owner took the microphone, he stated that his power has increased threefold in the last two years – the look on Turnbull’s face was priceless.
    I am unable to locate a video of that interview anywhere unfortunately

  9. guest

    I just wish that the MMT supporters would explain clearly in simple terms how MMT “truth” applies to deny or confirm this “neoliberal energy guarantee”.

  10. James Cook

    Guest, I too would like to find an explanation for MMT and especially how it relates to Australia. And it would have to be along the lines of “MMT for idiots” for me to understand. If anyone could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.
    John, thanks for your analysis. I just hope Shorten or his team read the articles on this site and take ideas from them. I’m not sure his advisors can think beyond being in opposition when what we want is some sort of “vision” for ALL Australians.

  11. Rossleigh

    There was one suggestion about the English requirement in Dutton’s citizenship test that I liked: All parliamentarians would be given the test and those who failed should obviously have their citizenship revoked and be tossed out of parliament under Section 44.
    It would have removed One Nation and most of the Nationals in one fell swoop!

  12. Jaquix

    On the evidence so far, the 8 pager put forward by the energy companies, as I understand it, this is just another Liberal party policy failure. They couldnt agree among themselves, so they threw up their hands and gave it to the energy companies to solve. Looks like a FIZZA so far. Labor must pick as many holes in it as they can, when they get the details, modelling etc. (should any be done) before they come to a position. Doesnt matter if they let it through (after the requisite criticisms) because they have already said they can easily get to a 50% target by 2030 (I think) and when polls show 70% of Australian people (including LIBS for heavens sake) want renewable energy, they are onto a winner anyway.

  13. jim

    Opine,I might be wrong but Bill’s getting a little better at presenting his views on air (well snippets on air), although I think the Media tries to portray Bill as a crappy orator/ talker or worse, Bill’s kept his integrity as far as I’ve seen.
    Oh if only we had more camera angles at these speeches / events, instead all we get is a pin hole view.
    We should drain the swamp of our rotten MSMedia?.
    MT = rain forest clearing = palm oil = investor.

  14. Möbius Ecko

    Point 3.

    I believe the reason Dutton’s further grab for power failed so miserably was not the onerous almost impossible conditions he thought to impose on new arrivals, conditions that would see long time residents never gain citizenship whilst they had family here that were citizens, but on the section of the policy that gave himself overarching powers to accept or reject without recourse to an explanation or to scrutiny, any expert rulings on an immigrant.

    His policy was torpedoed because a majority in the Senate thought Dutton as jury, judge and executioner was unpalatable, and they are correct.

  15. lawrencewinder

    Labor is in a win-win because of Rabid-the-Hun’s stalling and being policy bereft… and this offering by Truffles is a farce!

  16. Terry2

    Möbius Ecko

    In this Bill Dutton includes a discretion for him to overrule the Administrative Affairs Tribunal (AAT) where he doesn’t like their decisions and a provision that the AAT cannot override a decision he has made.

    This is really crazy stuff as it virtually neuters the AAT and hands all the power to Il Duce Dutton !!

  17. Shutterbug


    Il Duce Dutton.

    Truer words have never been written.

  18. James Cook

    Harry, thanks a lot. I’ll start my reading tonight.

  19. Stuart Errol Anderson

    John, Katherine Murphy made the same plea for Labor to adopt this as bipartisan policy in the Guardian. In response the readers have left 980 comments (and counting). The overwhelming consensus of those commenting is that Labor should do no such thing. The reasons given are intelligent, articulate and thorough. I urge you to have a read.

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