On Facebook this morning, a “promoted” site popped up asking me to sign a petition to stop the closure of the Hazelwood power station. Now, being a helpful sort of a chap, I thought I’d like to point out to the creators of the site that Hazelwood is being closed by its French operators, not the Labor State Government. Private operators don’t tend to take much notice of petitions about how badly this will affect workers; they’re more concerned with their bottom line.
However, on visiting the site energyinaustralia.org, I couldn’t find any “Contact Us”. In fact, I couldn’t even find who was behind it. No names, no organisations, nothing. Just a site telling me all about how dangerous and insignificant renewables are. So I decided to search to see where it’s Domain Name was registered. Strangely, Energy In Australia had something which said: “IP Location France France Roubaix Ovh Sas”.
Ok, well there’s nothing wrong with that. I mean, I don’t know how these things work. Maybe it was just cheaper to register the site in France for some reason. And who really cares who’s behind a site, eh? If a group of Frenchies want to educate us on the dangers of renewables, then we shouldn’t be xenophobic about it. Not when the site consists of such wonderful stories and information. Yes, when we ask them to please explain they can tell us that we have the “14th Highest Power Bills in the World”.
Which means, of course, that there are thirteen countries where power bills are higher, and given that some of the countries who have lower power bills would be third world countries where people don’t have very high power bills because they don’t have power supplies in the first place, 14th is hardly something that we should be shrieking about. Surely we should be saying thank heavens that we’re not in one of those unlucky thirteen. I can’t tell you who they are because there were no links or information about where they were getting their figures from. With a bit of googling, I found this, but this has Australia a lot lower the fourteenth.
It also had a few nice little stories on energy under the title of “Recent News”. These weren’t attributed to anyone, so one assumes that they were written by the creators of website. Recent News included the following:
Storm Clouds Gather Over SA Businesses
February 15, 2017
Oh, Canada… Learning From A Nation’s Mistakes
January 31, 2017
Hazelwood Closes, Electricity Prices Rise
January 31, 2017
3 Reasons Adani’s New Mine Matters
January 24, 2017
Renewables Push To Hit Poorest Customers Hardest
I particularly liked the 3 Reasons Adani’s New Mine Matters. The three reasons were 1. North Queensland Needs It, 2. 10,000 jobs on offer and 3. More Much Needed Schools & Hospitals. Each reason was accompanied by a paragraph which – like the assertion that our power prices are the 14th highest in the world – had very little evidence to back it up. But not just a paragraph. Each also had a little video, though I can’t for the life of me see what the final one had to do with anything. To save you the trouble of looking it up, here it is:
The Hazelwood Closes story conveniently ignored the fact that it wasn’t a government decision to shut it down, but rather a commercial decision based on the fact that it was reaching the end of its lifespan and would cost too much to upgrade the plant.
Anyway, I had two minds about drawing attention to these anonymous people who don’t even have any comments on their website yet, but I thought it’s only a matter of time before someone in the current Coalition quotes them in justifying their decision to subsidise a new coal-fired power plant. For those of you who haven’t been following lately, the Federal Government position goes something like this: “Labor spent a lot of money and got us into debt and we all need to live within our means and now we’ve taken over, we’re going to try really hard to make things better by clawing as much money out of those who can least afford it, which is only reasonable because if they had a job they would be contributing and not forcing those pour workers on 457 visas to support them, and when it comes to energy prices we’re not going to tell people that if they’re energy prices are too high, then maybe they should cut back on something else and live within their means because that’d cause a backlash, so instead we’re going to suggest that it’s all because of renewables, even though NSW has some of the highest bills in the world and they’re not even part of those Labor states with unrealistic targets. No, renewables are ideologically wrong and they cost too much and need to be subsidised, and we can’t afford to subsidise them because we’re too busy trying to find ways to subsidise the fossil fuel industry to make energy cheaper because that the way the free market works!”
Of course, anybody who’s paying attention may notice one or two little inconsistencies in their whole approach: Like the fact that Prime Minister seems to believe that he’ll lose more votes by failing to keep Pauline Hanson happy than by actually pointing out that most of her candidates think that the jury is still out on the flat earth, and have so much certainty about things they know nothing about that it’d be more appropriate if they named themselves the Dunning Kruger party. (One day in the future, I expect to see Dunning Kruger change its name to “Donald Trump syndrome”!) Or the fact that if the Liberals had managed to get their spending cuts through then we would have had two quarters of negative growth and been in the first recession since Paul Keating gave us the one “we had to have”.
Anyway, the Liberals are expected to lose in WA next week in spite of their decision to screw the Nationals and preference One Nation ahead of them. I guess the question is whether someone is waiting till after that to challenge Malcolm on the grounds that they don’t want to be blamed for the loss. The risk, of course, is if the Liberals limp back then Trumbull may be safe.
Interesting times, if you like that sort of leadership musical chairs. Otherwise, you’re probably just wondering why the Federal Government shows less movement than a constipated sloth!