Great headline, eh? And, of course, it’s only a matter of time before the Murdoch Muckraker prints one something like that, but I got in first and I’ve got them covered for alliteration, even if I’m lacking one of those very witty sub-editor puns such as “Otter Devastation” or “All You Need Is Gloves”!
But before we look at the whole issue of fracking, let’s look at the “crisis”. (Due to a typo, autocorrect changed that to “circus” – was tempted to think that autocorrect may be onto something!)
Let’s just take a random headline from 2002: “Gas boom as China signs $25bn deal”
Oooh, what’s that about? Let’s read, shall we?
An Australian-based consortium has won a contract to supply China with liquefied natural gas worth up to $25 billion in what will be the nation’s biggest single export deal.
The contract gives Australia a foothold into what promises to become a highly lucrative market.
The gas, from the North-West Shelf off Western Australia, will be worth between $700 million and $1 billion a year for 25 years.
China’s offshore oil company will invest in the project, which promises $1.5 billion of capital works and new jobs in remote Western Australia.
The Prime Minister, John Howard, who announced the deal, said the contract to supply China’s first liquefied natural gas power station in the rapidly growing Guangdong province would benefit Australia for years.
“This is a gold medal performance,” he said, hailing the deal as the fruits of a close but realistic engagement with China.
Awesome, this deal is going to benefit Australia for many years. Wow. God, that Howard was a forward planner. Not, that it’s possible to be a backward planner. Anyway, good ole Johnny went so far as to put out a White Paper on Energy in 2004. In the foreword, Howard tells us:“Three themes—prosperity, security, and sustainability—underpin the government’s approach to energy policy. The Australian Government has undertaken a comprehensive review of its energy policies and approaches, and has developed a long-term framework to ensure our energy advantage is utilised for the benefit of all Australians.”
Wow, they have a framework to ensure prosperity, security and sustainability. Sounds familiar?
Anyway, the White Paper goes on to tell us:
“Australia’s gas reserves are sufficient for more than 100 years at current production levels, or more than 200 years of current domestic consumption. Furthermore, prospects for finding and proving up more gas are good, subject to finding markets.”
Mm, we need to find markets. Apparently, we’ve got gas coming out of our ears. Or wherever. We’ve got plenty as long as we can find markets.
Ok, I could pick various bits out which indicate a willingness to allow a market mechanism to decide who will get our gas and the circumstances in which they get it, but, as the people have Bennelong concluded in 2007, I think we need to move on.
Along comes fracking. Or rather, the suggestion of fracking. Fracking or hydraulic fracturing involves the “process of creating fractures in rocks and rock formations by injecting specialized fluid into cracks to force them to open further”. (Definition: Investopedia). Now let’s not get into all the pros and cons of fracking here, but sufficient to say that like colonic irrigation. some people think it’s a great idea while most people don’t think that it should be done in their backyard. Consequently, we have farmers saying things like “Lock The Gate” which is understandable because they don’t want their livestock wandering on the road.
Given that farmers are traditionally strong supporters of the Coalition, this presented a wee problem for the Liberals. Do they point out that the Nationals have always been Charlie Brown to their Lucy promising to hold the football, only to pull away at the last second, or do they simply say, “Ha ha, what are you going to do? Vote Greens?” While every now and then, someone on the Coalition points out that there’s been absolutely no problem with fracking, particularly in areas where it hasn’t been done and any evidence to the contrary is being put forward by people who are against fracking because they’re putting forward concerns about it so we can just ignore them. Really it’s like climate change: The only opponents are those – like the Bureau of Meteorology and NASA – who are falsifying evidence.
Whatever, fracking has been too much of a political hot potato for the Coalition to push too hard on.
Let’s forget fracking for a moment because we have something much more important to worry about. Energy security.
Lately the government has been pushing the idea that we need affordable and reliable energy. Now, not many people will argue that we don’t, so they’re on a winner there. The only trouble is that many people were putting solar panels on their roof and failing to see that wind farms are a bigger eyesore than coal mines.
Of course, the power blackout in South Australia presented them with a big opportunity. Never mind that the main cause was connections being blown over. No, it was because they were so reliant on wind energy. And no, we didn’t see the same argument when NSW had blackouts because the Liddell coal-fired power station is always reliable even when it breaks down.
Suddenly climate change isn’t even part of the discussion. Our energy policy is all about RELIABILITY. Oh, and AFFORDABILITY. Your power bills are too high, aren’t they? That’s because of renewables. We need more coal. And GAS. We don’t have enough gas. No, it’s not because we’re sending it overseas. It’s all the fault of NSW and Victoria not opening up their states as one big gas reserve and farmers wanting to continue to farm instead of allowing exploration, and this country relies on exploration. What if Burke and Wills hadn’t been explorers, eh?
No, the State governments lack the courage to do something, whereas we just got the gas producers to promise to provide us with enough gas to avert the crisis that we told you was three times worse than what we said just a few weeks ago. Lucky we’re in power because we know what’s going on. And we’re courageous. We’ll stand up to any of those farmers who are worried that fracking might upset their water supply. Farmers only have a right to protest against wind turbines, not our friends in the mining sector.
So let’s see how long it is before the MSM steals my headline. Let’s see how long it is before we’re told that we have no other choice but to override the state governments, the farmers, the tree-huggers, Blackout Bill, the scientists, the academics, the Safe Schools supporters, the Senate and anyone else and send the army in because we need that gas to defeat North Korea.
But I guess AGL’s CEO, Andrew Vesey should have the last word on this. Yesterday he tweeted the following:
I think that’s his way of “frack off” to the PM.
P.S. On another matter, does anyone else see a certain irony in the following headline from “The Australian”? (And yes, it was the actual headline online. I haven’t seen the paper version)
Same-sex marriage: Yes vote will endorse Safe Schools, Lyle Shelton says.