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Day to Day Politics: Turnbull advocates ‘lower price increases’

Monday 12 December 2016

Has there ever been a politician more condemned by his own words?

In an interview with Tony Jones on Lateline in May 2011 Malcolm Turnbull said:

“Now I think those are arguments that some of the supporters of the scheme take, but it obviously – if you want to have a long-term solution to abating carbon emissions and to achieve – if you want to have a long-term technique of cutting carbon emissions, you know, in a very substantial way to the levels that the scientists are telling us we need to do by mid-century to avoid dangerous climate change, then a direct action policy where the Government – where industry was able to freely pollute, if you like, and the Government was just spending more and more taxpayers’ money to offset it, that would become a very expensive charge on the budget in the years ahead.”

Earlier, in 2009 after losing the leadership to climate change denialist Tony Abbott he had this to say:

First, let’s get this straight. You cannot cut emissions without a cost. To replace dirty coal-fired power stations with cleaner gas-fired ones or renewables like wind, let alone nuclear power or even coal-fired power with carbon capture and storage, is all going to cost money … So any suggestion that you can dramatically cut emissions without any cost is, to use a favourite term of Mr Abbott, ‘bullshit’. Moreover, he knows it.”

The whole argument for an emissions trading scheme, as opposed to cutting emissions via a carbon tax or simply by regulation, is that it is cheaper – in other words electricity prices will rise by less to achieve the same level of emission reductions.”

And he added that:

Any policy that is announced will simply be a con, an environmental figleaf to cover a determination to do nothing.”

He was right, and that is what has happened. He further noted that:

The fact is that Tony [Abbott] and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human-caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion, ‘climate change is crap’.”

And that folks is the truth of it. You would expect that a man who held such strong convictions would under the umbrella of his authority as leader now, stand up for them. But no.

When the Chief scientist Alan Finkel tells him that under the current Direct Action plan we are unlikely to meet our Paris commitments and that a low-cost form of emissions trading would be the best option both for consumers and government he refused to even consider it.

It would be cheaper according to the Australian Energy Market Commission and the Australian Energy Market Operator and the electricity transmission sector. It would also be cheaper– based on modelling done by CSIRO – and the independent Climate Change Authority.

We all ask the question “why?” Why, given his personal insight and the overwhelming evidence of the science does he choose to ignore it?

For the answer to that I have to repeat this:

The fact is that Tony [Abbott] and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human-caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion, ‘climate change is crap’.”

An observation.

“I’m sorry to have to inform you that you have a rare form of lung decease. We need to get some clean oxygen into you. Unfortunately it’s not part of the hospitals policy to use it.


Oh I’m just a specialist in the area. I can’t answer that but I think it has to do with politics.

But my life

Yes I know. It’s sad.”

If you use the CSIRO’s assertion that by adopting an emissions intensity scheme for electricity and that it would be the least costly way of reducing emissions. That it could actually save customers $200 a year by 2030 and that Malcolm Turnbull refuses to implement such a scheme then you must assume that he agrees with a price rise.

Meanwhile the scare tactics of price rises is being use as they did with the carbon tax. Remember the, every families bill had risen by $550 when in fact only a small portion of the tax was attributable to it.

Now they are turning the debate to power security and trying to perpetuate another lie by seeking to blame the South Australian crisis on renewables, where as it was the fault of the towers.

So how on earth are we going to meet our obligations under the Paris international climate agreement, which require us to reduce our emissions by between 26% and 28% on 2005 levels by 2030?

Mathew Warren is the Chief Executive is the Australian Energy Council and represents 21 electricity and gas businesses.

“Doing nothing is not an option anymore” he said. “We are seeing in realistic terms the warning signs about the degrading state of the electricity grid and that says everything about why we have to have this review process to deliver substantial and meaningful outcomes, because if we don’t the system starts to disintegrate.”

“Old assets are reaching the end of their lives and there is nothing coming in to replace them. South Australia is already facing that now and it’ll happen across Australia if we don’t do something.”

“We’re seeing the effects of do-nothing for a long time. It doesn’t make sense to limit the scope before it has begun. We need to use this opportunity to reset.”

I remember when the expert adviser to the former government, Professor Ross Garnaut was asked about the progress of Australia’s attempts to tackle Climate Change. He answered:

“Exactly where it was before the US-China announcement – up shit creek.”

And that’s where it’s still at.

But these are the words that condemn Turnbull for the hypocrite he is:

Politics is about conviction and a commitment to carry out those convictions. Many Liberals are rightly dismayed that on this vital issue of climate change we are not simply without a policy, without any prospect of having a credible policy, but we are now without integrity. We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable evidence that we cannot be trusted.”

And these are his words of truth that will be remembered. They were right when Abbott took his job and they describe Turnbull today.

Any policy that is announced will simply be a con, an environmental figleaf to cover a determination to do nothing.”

Ain’t that the truth of it?

2 The Tax Office has revealed that more than a third of large public and private companies paid no tax in 2014-15. This is a slight improvement on the prior 2013-14 financial year, where it was nearly 38 per cent.

The ATO points out that there are any number of reasons why this should happen and it doesn’t mean they are avoiding tax. Now you can look figures in any number of ways. What seems strange to me is that if you look at these figures as an average it means that around 30% of Australian companies run at a loss in any given year. That’s astonishing. Where is Donald?

My thought for the day.

“If we’re not raising new generations to be better stewards of the environment, what’s the point?”



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  1. Clean livin

    John, perhaps an Audio to accompany your blog. “Send in the Clowns” comes to mind.

  2. Möbius Ecko

    OK on most of what is stated in this piece, except for Mathew Warren’s statement.

    Isn’t a big part of the problem with consumer power costs that the power distributors gold plated the poles and wires to milk as much government subsidies as possible?

    If that is the case, which is often given as a reason for high electricity charges, then what is Warren going on about crumbling assets with nothing to replace them? Sounds to me like he’s attempting to milk more tax payer money to put more layers of gold on the poles and wires to skim off greater profits for the energy companys.

  3. lawrencewinder

    What tawdry small minded mongrels this ruling rabble is…. in their IPA led ideological straight-jacket they prefer to destroy the country than countenance their policy ineptitude!

  4. Terry2

    First Gillian Triggs now Alan Finkel : who needs these specialists when we have Barnaby Joyce, Cori Bernardi.

    Remember folks, Tony Abbott fervently believes in a second coming …………of Tony

  5. Terry2

    Ooooh ! Seventeen hours Perth to London in the gentle embrace of Jetstar……….can you imagine anything worse ?

  6. John Brame

    Malcolm is walking on thin ice.

  7. helvityni

    When I see this well-groomed man, a man dressed in a good shirt and an expensive suit, all I can say: Is this ALL there is…?

    Why can’t we do what the South Koreans did, and get rid of this hopeless leader…this man who only LOOKs like one…

  8. Klaus


    You still give the man too much credit. He wants nothing but power. He is in daily fear, of being replaced as the Prime Minister of Australia. This fear of potentially using your job, is greater than seriously damaging Australians in terms of sustainability (Weather is already swinging to extremes, endangering Australia’s ability to sustain itself, let alone export for future sustainability), digging more coal, destroying 60000 Jobs in QLD for the sake of the Fossil Fuel Industry, Clamping down on welfare to get 2 billion extra, ignoring the 150 Billion in foregone mining Royalties.

    I ask you John Lord. Has the man principles? Why do you continue giving this weakest of characters any benefit. Yes, you criticize him, but in the same sentence you hope for the real Malcolm.

    For god’s sake, you witness the real Malcolm daily. Power Hungry, character/spineless, criminal as far as asylum seekers are concerned…….

  9. helvityni

    Spot on Klaus, it’s about ME, MY job, and a little bit about MY missus as well….

  10. wam

    great read today, Lord.
    Just watched hinch and pauline on climate change and dole abusers
    What a tragic gigglegroup.
    No word about companies using the system to wrought the tax avoidance rules for billions.
    the AIMN: In the 2014/15 financial year, Turnbull & Morrison helped 679 public and private entities with combined revenues of $462,143,275,019 pay 0 per cent tax. We’ve have helped over a third of Australia’s largest companies pay no tax for the last two financial years. At 10 cents in the dollar that is 40 billion????

    As for climate change I am a simple bloke.
    The hottest planet in the solar system is Venus not mercury because of the glasshouse effect. When nature stored carbon over billions of years and we are releasing it as fast as we can to power the rich lifestyle of about a billion people. The balance is upset.
    When the other 6 billion people deserve to be rich a finite energy source is not an option. So we, the rich, can either leave them poor by keeping the coal, oil and gas or find other sources of power.

    ps The throw away line from hinch.
    The PM prays every morning in parliament. That should be stopped till empirical evidence for god is produced.

  11. kerri

    “Now they are turning the debate to power security and trying to perpetuate another lie by seeking to blame the South Australian crisis on renewables, where as it was the fault of the towers.”

    I would beg to differ!
    The fault was not so much in the towers as I am sure at the time of construction they met the requirements.
    The fault lies in the extraordinary and destructive winds our country is now regularly battered by.
    And guess why those winds are now more destructive??
    Yep! Climate change!

  12. crypt0

    “if you want to have a long-term technique of cutting carbon emissions” … so sayeth truffles turnbull …
    But no … that’ll never happen ….. so what is the LieNP long-term solution to abating carbon emissions ???
    Direct action? Nope, that ain’t it.
    Green Army? Nope that’s about to be defunded and disbanded.
    Emissions intensity scheme? Nope, bernardi put a swift stop to that thought bubble.
    So … what’s left?
    truffles tells us that Oz will beat our emissions target by a country mile …
    Without a long-term approach, just how is this ever going to happen ???

  13. Ted

    Agree wam, we have one planet and we are trashing it.
    Our wasteful Western lifestyle needs to be modified.
    Australia has CO2 output per capita x2 times that of China.

    Re Hinch – after all he has been through, he still seems to think life is random?
    Materialism – a one dimensional landscape limited by time.

  14. Jack Straw

    Hinch; is a one trick pony outside his core angst he has very little knowledge or insight into most topics.

  15. Kyran

    “Has there ever been a politician more condemned by his own words?”
    It’s funny (not haha funny) that the ‘greatest opposition leader ever’, tiny, was celebrated because of his opposition to everything, rather than ever being a ‘leader’ of an ‘opposing thought’. He opposed everything the government of the time suggested, without ever being required to explain why he opposed it, beyond a meaningless, self serving mantra, a slogan, a jingoism. He never had to articulate an alternative. It could hardly be a surprise he failed to transition to government.
    We have now had more than three years of non-government. Policy paralysis. Not because they cannot define their policies, but because their policies are so vile, so untenable (in any sense), so obscene, they would be otherwise unworthy of mention. A government defined by what it cannot do, rather than be defined by what it can do.
    It seems only appropriate that tiny is still the leader of the opposition. That poor, little, sycophantic bollock’s, with delusions of grandeur and adequacy, is still acclaimed by MSM as the leader of the opposition. Neither he, or the current pretender, seem to understand they are on the government benches.
    The ‘other’ leader of the opposition, Shorten, talks all sort of crap. He defines policies, listens to responses and then refines the policies. WTF?
    “Doing nothing is not an option anymore.”
    Thank you, Mr Lord, and commenters. Take care

  16. Kim Southwood

    Thankyou, it is helpful to revisit Mal word for word from the time when he won so much popular support. People from every other party thought that if we had to have a Liberal landslide after Rudd/Gillard/Rudd, this guy would be a worthy leader.

    I didn’t, but every Labor, Green, Hansonite etc, I knew as well as his own party supporters, reckoned this guy was much less an embarrassment to the country than Abbott. I preferred the less popular leader believing it was more likely to ‘shorten’ the LNP’s stranglehold on govt. I saw Turnbull as far more dangerous, but never dreamt he would so successfully sabotage his own popularity once he wrestled the top job from Abbott.

    No joy in observing the roughshod damage he is doing by trampling his own words.

    I just hope those reports from authentic sources demanding serious, urgent climate action proliferate and keep our focus on the issue which should be foremost in everyone’s mind. They truly help to inform and educate the electorate. Economic policy and environment must be on the same page.

    Perhaps Labor will even reach a hand out to The Greens for some meaningful collaboration.

  17. jimhaz

    You’d think a bloke worth 200 million would have 10 times as much courage. All he has to fear is loosing his job, where the job income is meaningless to him, due to a ratbag element. You think he’d want to be viewed by the people of Aust as a more courageous person, rather than a wimpy puppets of loud-bullshit-mouthed bullies. If he is compromising due to being a “team player” – he’d help the team by bringing them back more to the centre.

    Maybe he really has changed his mind. Maybe he “loves the one he is with”, and he has been with them for so long now that he has adopted the views of his peers (not just politicians btw, but the upper wealth class many of whom are corrupt and most lack any real empathy).

  18. MichaelW

    Try 23 hours from Sydney to the UK. with a 45 minute refueling stop in Singapore with Qantas, caterer’s on strike, sandwiches the whole trip.
    Overweight ignorant piece of garbage seated in front of me not content with trying to recline his seat into my face actually started slamming himself against it, maybe he wanted to recline into my lap. Seats raised for our sandwiches when finished tried the same again, no way, allowed him to recline about an inch or what I thought was a fair amount then stuck my knees into the back of the seat, spent most of the flight in this position.

  19. jimhaz

    “Now they are turning the debate to power security and trying to perpetuate another lie by seeking to blame the South Australian crisis on renewables, where as it was the fault of the towers.”

    Outside of an Acts of God, or Acts of the temporarily God-given upon that which creates and sustains us, a major cause for SA’s high price spikes is the non-protection of adequate domestic supply due to greed on the part of our gas companies. ie total free market crap and failure to govern for the people. SA is more dependent on gas than other states due to not having much coal and have historically paid more for electricity. Having renewables means they pay less overall than otherwise would have been the case. They are subject to far fewer price pikes as a result.

    “In the Australian CSG industry it is an open secret that some exporters agreed punitive clauses in contracts should they fail to fill their LNG trains. Despite strong opposition from former industry champions such as John Ellice-Flint, exporters such as Santos stretched themselves on production by committing to two LNG trains. Now gas is being diverted from domestic markets to avoid industry collapse. The consequence is that Australian gas consumers are increasingly subject to scarcity pricing when domestic prices can rise to many times that which international buyers have contracted for the same gas.”

    Australian electricity prices soar versus world

    Steve Price, on The Project tonight, annoyed me with some contextual falsehood and “stop reflecting” mesmerisation to his followers so I went looking for the truth.

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