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Day to Day Politics: I was wrong about Turnbull

1 In the absurdly reported news of South Australia’s power blackout where Coalition MPs, including the Prime Minister, fell backwards over each other to can renewable energy, I found it reprehensible having to watch our senior politicians and commentators flogging their anti-renewables message on the back of a once in 50 year storm that knocked out the electricity grid.

I wonder if it occurred to anyone that the towers themselves might not have been constructed to withstand the power of once in 50 year cyclones. Just a thought.

And of course when doing so they were actually dismissing the very answer to the problem. The once pro-climate change Prime Minister who believed in renewable energy has now completed a full-on conversion to Neo-Liberalism. He has fooled those, and the likes of me, who thought he might bring dignity, transparency and reason to the Australian body politic.

Whereas once I thought he was simply a captive of the right of the Liberal Party, and had some sympathy for his position, I have belatedly reached the conclusion that I was wrong; he is actually part of it.

The promise of a Liberal respectable face was just an illusion. He seemed to be suggesting that a once in 50 year’s storm event was all Labor’s fault.

An observation

“We are given the gift of foresight however, we choose to be reactive rather than proactive. Why is it so?”

In the middle of what was a genuine crisis the Prime Minister chose to politicise the matter and turn it into an avalanche of spin against Renewable Energy. At a time when Germany is approaching baseline power Turnbull wants to reduce our renewable targets.

Barnaby Joyce, as a committed climate denier, was spewing his usual amount of bullshit. In three separate interviews, without acknowledging the actual cause, he blamed everything and everybody to do with wind power. As is usual he made a complete fool of himself.

Josh Frydenberg was casually trying to take a punt each way, while looking like he wanted to go to sleep.

Not to be left out Nick Xenophon blatantly played the SA political card with an emotional “power guarantee” play.

All in all it was a bad look for the Government at a time when the polls show the pendulum has swung back to urgent action on climate change. Every one shouts reliability and cost as though they think there shouldn’t be a cost in ensuring the future of the planet. And there was Turnbull on Friday doing door stops saying; “Do we want to reduce emissions? Yes we do”. “Do we want renewables? Yes we do”.

All the time knowing that there is not an environmental scientist or an economist who thinks we have a hope in hell of reducing our emissions to 23% by 2020.

Assoc Prof Saddler said:

“The only real way to avoid it is to build more transmission lines, but that comes down to the economics and how much governments are prepared to pay for security against an event like this which is rare”.

An observation.

“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”.

Perhaps Victoria Rollison summed it up perfectly in her post on The AIMN on Thursday when she wrote:

Shame on these so-called journalists. Shame on them for playing the game and turning everything into a contest, when the audience deserves better. Shame on them for failing in their responsibility to uphold the values of truth and objectivity in news reporting. Shame on them for undermining their profession and neglecting to do their job. Shame, shame, shame”.

2 Talking about polls, you may have noticed that the Coalition has taken a dip and Labor now leads 52/48 in both Newspoll and Essential. They also show that the Coalition primary vote is on a slow downward trend. It is now lower than when Tony Abbott was PM. Of course at this stage of the cycle the Government shouldn’t be concerned.

3 What they do show however, is that the results can be as a result of single order policy decisions, or even the lack of them.

In this case it is marriage equality. The latest Newspoll suggests voters want Parliament to legislate for same-sex marriage if they can’t get their favoured option of a plebiscite. Yes, public opinion has turned around on this one. They have seen it for the hoax that it is and are asking why the politicians are asking us to do the job that we elected them to do.

That’s what is effecting the polls and this nonsensical tirade about ‘renewables’ might also ensure a similar public outcry.

The longer Bill Shorten stretches this out the more silly the Government will look. This week we have had George Christenson and Cori Bernardi making ridiculous claims about photographers and wedding cake bakers. Both of them want these professions to be able to do something they already can. I kid you not. The right to refuse service.

4 What a fiasco the ‘backpackers tax’ turned out to be. After having created mass uncertainty for farmers, agriculture and tourism sectors at the end of what was just bad policy, the Treasurer was describing it as a compromise when in actual fact it was a backflip. One that took this highly educated bunch over a year to make a decision.

5 An $800 million lemon. That’s what the NBN’s purchase of Optus HFC Network turned out to be. All the time Malcolm Turnbull has been travelling the country lecturing about the benefits of his multi-technologies NBN and we now learn the Optus Network was a dud and will now connect 700,000 customers to FTTdp.

Remember it was less than a year ago that Turnbull was hosing down reports that the network was unusable.It might end up the way we are going that our NBN might end up the worst in the world.

You would think after spending $800 million on a dud that the Government might come under some criticism for such a bad decision. But all is quiet, yet the evidence would suggest that Malcolm Turnbull has been perpetuating a major deception on the Australian people.

An observation

“There is no point building a National Broadband Network for today when what we desperately need is one that can cope with the technologies of tomorrow”.

My thought for today.

“The young are so busy discovering themselves, the world they live in and their place in it that they are apt to neglect the fact that it is they who are the custodians of tomorrow.”


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  1. Jaquix

    No screaming headline of “Kick this Mob Out!” Like the Daily Telegraph during the Labor years. Yet that is exactly the sort of headline we should be seeing.

  2. Terry2


    Interesting point about the transmission towers : it seems, from appearances at least, that there is a significant difference in the structural integrity between what we are seeing in SA and what we have here in Far North Queensland where, inevitably, cyclones are an expected annual event.

  3. Möbius Ecko

    My jaw dropped this morning when I saw a rusted on very right wing friend had posted a string of attacks on Turnbull on social media. This is a person who would not normally dis a Liberal no matter how wanting or inept they are. Indeed he normally goes out of his way to defend and excuse them, normally by blaming Labor or pointing out Labor failures in comparison.

    I raise this because if this person, and I’ve seen others of a similar ilk, is attacking Turnbull then Turnbull really is stuffed. It also reinforces a point I’ve raised before in that no matter how much he attempts to appease the far right of his party it will not help his leadership. He’s much better of going back to pretending to be a moderate conservative, or any one of his other populist personas, rather than a hard right wing nut job.

  4. stephentardrew

    I had no doubts about Turnbul’s Machiavelli instincts they have been obvious to me for decades. I think the point is that the dominant theme of a political party reflects the power base of the collective and it is easy to be misled by an apparently non-conformist individual when core party ideals are demonstrably irrational. I think the psychology is clear when a political party continually follows a neo-conservative come neo-liberal model they obviously believe in greed and self-interest however some are simply self-serving devious cynical liars who are willing to con the public to gain their dystopian rewards given the will to buy power through wealth and privilege so to turn the media into a weapon of irrationality and lies.

    The media in this country are so corrupt they will support endless cruelty to low income and marginalised families; lies about global warming; participation in unjust wars; torture of adults and children in refugee prison camps, with little regard for the future of their children or grandchildren while living in absurd opulence. Inequality is their default social Darwinist point of view while ignoring the communitarian and cooperative side of evolution. Magic mythology and religious ideology are peddled over rational facts and proofs. Labor has similarly embraced neo-liberalism while we old lefties are treated like a bread of irrelevant do gooders. Money and privilege speak loudly to the doyens of power and elitism. My Labor party died decades ago leaving a vacuum for the rabid right to fill at their behest.They are all on the gravy train damn the ethics.

    The fact is for decades neoliberal and neo-conservative economics have led, not to growth, but to increasing inequality and exploitation of our impoverished neighbours and private debt servitude. It is the ethics damn it all and while we allow these doyens of greed and lies to have such influence politically people will suffer intolerably for no other reason that to make the wealthy wealthier. Turnbull is a classic example. offshore your wealth to avoid taxes, greedily accumulating interest, while industry and manufacturing falls into a pit of disrepair and society becomes more and more unequal. Decades of channelling wealth up to the elites while the rest get the crumbs are then unnecessarily taxed because federal taxes pay for nothing.

    We are living in a giant bubble of lies and deceptions perpetrated by both political parties with little relief in sight. Who, after all, is going to directly challenge this dastardly model of unbridled greed?

  5. wam

    Uhlmann summed up the situation completing the journalistic basic need of controvesy? I have missed the autocue journalists blaming the renewables they seem certain that it was storm damage but anything else is too difficult for the audience the libs will need to simplify it for them??
    crikey ‘uhlmann’s anti-wind energy rant’/uhlmann joins barnaby in blaming wind energy well it was the energy of the wind that blew down the powerlines
    Well. mobius, a friend of bolt??? Sorry I am told every vets golf day about the anti turnball pro the rabbott rantings of bolt
    It is interesting that anyone, since the ides of march, could feel politics is not like the iceberg? Floating on an unseen 7/8s of the mass with little bit dropping off as the mistakes mount up.
    Who is turnball’s turnball???
    The son of a small car has flat tyres. The pynenut is cringeworthy,and with bishop as a token woman, does that leave frydenberg as the next howard?

  6. helvityni

    “It’s a sorry story of retreat. We have seen the same pattern on climate change, same-sex marriage and refugees.”
    John Menadue on Turnbull

    Mea culpa, silly me, I thought he would be a better PM than Abbott; I was wrong.

  7. Roscoe

    it was bad enough LNP politicians making fools of themselves, showing just how stupid they are by blaming renewables, but then we have an ex LNP parliamentarian making a fool of himself going on an Abbott boy’s own adventure trip to Iraq and wondering why he got shot at. Didn’t he know ‘shit happens’?

  8. Graeme Henchel

    In 2010 The Beyond Zero Emissions organisation launched its first paper outlining a blueprint to turn Australia into a zero emissions economy by 2020. Several politicians from the greens, labor and the coalition spoke enthusiastically at the launch.

    The coalition spokesman was one Malcolm Bligh Turnbull

    Turnbull address to Beyond Zero Emissions launch 2010

    In the six years since that launch. The impact of global warming is becoming more evident on a daily basis. The costs of renewable energy has decreased faster than was foreshadowed. The costs of energy storage has decreased faster than was foreshadowed. The world community through the Paris agreement has started to take the challenge seriously.

    In Australia we have had a coalition government that removed an effective carbon tax and has done everything possible to stymie the take up of renewable energy.

    Now we have the prime minister using a natural disaster to try and further throw doubt into the move towards a sustainable energy future.

    Turnbull now has zero credibility in regards to effective climate change action and has revealed himself to be a cynical, duplicitous hypocrite of the highest order.

  9. Luke

    We are governed by gutless ideological imbeciles whos strings are pulled by lobbyists employed by the big end of town. Turnbull like Judas sold out to the right when he signed the 30 conditions to get the top job and hence his moral integrity. We have a crawling snivelling pack of reporters and shock jocks whos only place in life is to do their masters commands. we are becoming ourselves gutless because we let them get away with it. Well may we say, God help Australia because nothing will save us, except US.

  10. Harquebus

    If there are any survivors, I doubt very much if history will be any more than just oral legends.

    I am anti-renewable because, they are energy sinks rather than energy sources. The arguments put forward by M.T. and others are not necessary. They prove how little an understanding of physics our politicians have and gives illogical support to renewable advocates.


  11. Klaus Petrat


    I love your writing but called you out on Turnbull from the beginning. The guy is not genuine. If he was genuine, he could do something about “Energy Security” Instead of wasting 50+ Billion on Subs and a further 600 Million on (in many Western countries) rejected, American fire fighters, he could do the following;

    Energy Security and this is how it’s done. Germany is putting all trans-national transmission cables underground (in 2 parallel but far apart Energy Autobahns for redundancy), to prevent weather events such as that in SA to have no impact on energy delivery. This creates jobs, is innovative, distributes renewable Energy across the country without impacting anything. A gigantic infrastructure project taking a decade to implement. It also enables Germany to exit nuclear power, shut down coal fired plants and live up to its leading reputation. That’s how its done Mal. Gosh what a sick PM and crew the Aussies have voted for. Shameful.

    Australians must have a morbid sense of living in tolerating and voting this corrupt, greedy, lying mob into power.

  12. keerti

    Re the backflip with double pike and twist of the backpacker’s taxlevel…People take more stock in rumours than reality, so it is very possible that there will be a downturn in backpacker numbers. The result would be less labour to do the poorly paid work of fruit and vege picking, less backpacker tourists…

  13. shazlac

    So what happens when we run out of fossil fuels, what then? I guess it wont matter because global warming will have destroyed everything.

  14. kerri

    And, John, you didn’t even touch on how the government will willingly slap Wyatt Roy on the wrisr as a “silly, naughty boy” without enforcing their own legislation and charging him for attending a war zone!

  15. Leep

    It’s better late than never john Lord when push comes to shove turn bull is a conservative liberal thru and thru, look at how he’s defending the banks for one and giving the business community 50b in tax cuts, at the same time reducing income of pensioners, the people on the dole, and the out of normal hours workers, the people as far as he’s concerned who need the money get less, the people who don’t need the money get more. This trickle down economy seems unjustly inequitable. And turn bull is an advocate.

  16. Secular Spirit

    Roy did not attend a war zone. No-one is legally bound to accept or follow DFAT travel advice, which is why it’s called ‘advice’.

  17. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Come on people, it is well known that coal generated electricity is much stronger than renewable generated electricity! If those transmission towers were transmitting proper coal electricity then none of this would have happened…

    And of course Riot Woy didn’t go to a war zone – he’s white! If he was brown of course, he’d be on a watchlist, if not in jail the moment he got back to Australia.

  18. Evan Evans

    Harquebus, I can understand where you are coming from with your comment and reference but the fact is that modern society relies on energy to function and that energy must be generated by some means. If you for instance carried out the same analysis on building a new coal fired power station you would come up with a similar scenario and also a continuing emission of CO2 for the life of the power station. Also have you ever considered what would be involved in the building of a nuclear power station and its consequences into the future.

    My preference leans toward small scale distributed renewable systems which would reduce on the sort of infrastructure such as distribution, transmission and control required by larger more concentrated systems. I guess rooftop solar with battery storage comes into this category too and remote cattle stations with similar systems. Factories with roofs covered in solar panels also.

    Under our current political climate however there is little chance of that, where how much profit can be made is the major criteria used to judge whether an idea is any good, although there are moves in that direction in Queensland for servicing remote communities. See


  19. Gangey1959

    If Riotboy was not white he’d be on his way to lockup on Manus

  20. Harquebus

    Even Evans

    Solar energy is diffuse. It takes a long time or a large area to collect relatively small amounts of energy.
    Coal on the other hand is millions of years worth of stored solar energy which, can be released very quickly.
    I am not a coal advocate nor an AGW denier. We are wasting time and precious resources on the renewable concept that has no chance of success.

    I have read many reports advocating solar and wind. Some are written by those with vested interests and all fail to expand the scope/boundary of the analysis to include all of the energy invested.
    EROEI. A calculation that is mostly ignored by advocates of these inefficient devices.

  21. Terry2

    Ahhh but, Wyatt Roy grew a beard, why was that ?

    Perhaps because he could …..finally…….. or is their a wider conspiracy at play here, off to Manus with him.

  22. Martin Bryce

    He had a lot of us fooled, John. I’m a labour voter, but I was prepared to give Turnbull a chance. I guess the the moment of realisation came for me with the Cayman Islands thing. I loathe and despise Abbott, but I think I now dislike Turnbull even more, if that’s possible, because of his cold calculating deception. Abbott is just an ignorant buffoon, a dangerous one yes, but Turnbull takes it to another level with his undercover treachery.

  23. Evan Evans

    Harquebus, In the end fossil fuels are a finite resource, what do we do when they are all gone?

    At the same time coal and oil are valuable for other uses, it seems wasteful to use valuable finite assets such as this for purposes where we have alternatives.

  24. Max Gross

    Who woulda thunk it? Turnbull is just another clueless, incompetent LNP grifter!

  25. Harquebus

    Evan Evans

    Fossil fuels will never be gone. They will become uneconomical energy wise to extract. EROEI. Oil is a once only gift that can not be replaced.
    In the end, most will starve. Think idle agricultural machinery and trucks, unavailable pesticides and fertilizers, out of reach markets.
    What alternatives?

  26. silkworm

    So, Riot Woy was not in a war zone even though he was visiting Aussie soldiers. Ha ha ha! This news has really got the Libs panicking, as evidenced by the peculiarly named Secular Spirit.

  27. Evan Evans


    You are starting to get the idea, why should we be burning resources such as coal and oil for energy when they are such a precious resource for things other than energy such as pharmaceuticals, plastics, pesticides etc. etc. when the greatest source of energy readily available to us is the sun.

    At the moment our means of harvesting solar energy be it directly by photo-voltaic means or indirectly by wind or wave power may be in its crude infancy but it will be the ultimate savior of human kind.

    What we are talking about is the ultimate survival of homo sapiens and going back to your first post we need to get a lot smarter about how we (the whole of the species) make use of what irreplaceable resources we have because we will not get a second shot.

  28. Wayne Turner

    Turdbull is a dud.A no point PM.A liar,and do nothing good bore.

    Stop the waste.

    Turdbull says so much,yet says so little (ie: no substance).

    Abbott was terrible,so is Turdbull and their parties.

  29. Wayne Turner

    “Australians must have a morbid sense of living in tolerating and voting this corrupt, greedy, lying mob into power.” = The ignorant and gullible voted them back in.

  30. Secular Spirit

    ‘So, Riot Woy was not in a war zone even though he was visiting Aussie soldiers. Ha ha ha! This news has really got the Libs panicking, as evidenced by the peculiarly named Secular Spirit.’

    I don’t see how my username is anymore ‘peculiar’ than yours, ‘silkworm’. I am citing facts. That, apparently, troubles you. Roy was not in a war zone or a ‘declared’ zone. Are you contesting that fact? I do not contest his, or anyone’s right to be where he was. Neither does the law. Ethnic Iraqis – and sundry ‘brown’ people – can and do travel to undeclared parts of Iraq (90% of it) as we speak.

    Roy’s trip there was embarrassing for the Government because he chose to defy DFAT travel advice. He was, like all of us, free to do that.

  31. Kim Southwood

    stephentardrewOctober 1, 2016 at 7:56 am: Stephen, you’ve expressed the situation so well. With the relocation of our industry to third world countries we have been dumbed-down or ‘placated’ by a flood of cheap (often poor quality, dangerous and highly unnecessary) goods from our exploited neighbours, who are run by elitist government officials and first world Corporations who have deserted their home labour markets in order to increase their profit margins. Ethically driven “Natural Capitalism” is an option and society could do with more advocacy on its behalf. We need a credible antidote to the current malaise in our politico/economic system.

  32. Mikey

    Secular Spirit we had five Muslim men arrested a while back and they only got as far as North Qld. Are they at home laughing about their jolly little jape, or in prison? Roy the boy got a hell of a lot closer and of course Mal just laughed it off as just Roy being a silly duffer.

  33. Steve Laing - makeourvoiceheard.com

    Silkworm – isn’t it interesting who suddenly pops up on the forums, rarely to be seen again. It’s almost as if we are being watched… Unlike Tory Boy, apparently…

  34. Lee GH

    Sigh. I was telling people this about Turnbull right from the start. Anyone who watched all his performance during the Republic debate would be unimpressed with him. He was a snake in the grass that sabotaged our chance of that happening back then. Once he became part of Abbott’s cabinet it became blatantly obvious he was no moderate. He knew what people wanted to hear & made sure he made all the right sounds to gain support, but no moderate could have been a part of Abbott’s team. All you had to do was sign up for his newsletter & the carefully created façade soon crumbled,

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