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Foolish Farmers Fight Fracking!

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.


30 comments

  1. helvityni

    ” Farmers only have a right to protest against wind turbines, not our friends in the mining sector.”

    My mum says that’s right coz them windmills, sorry, them T-U-R-B-I-N-E-S give her a headache, but them mining peoples like Twiggy and Gina are good coz they is rich, and they are our role models, she says and she too wants to be rich and effluent…I’m fixing it, mum… affluent…

  2. Jack Straw

    What can you say about John Howard ? The greatest waste of space in Australia short history. He sold our Gold for a song and Gas for threepence.He help kill tens of Thousand of Iraq’s.He built zero forward thinking infrastructure for his country.He single handedly created the greatest divide between the haves and have nots. He created the 20 year housing boom by halving Capital Gains Tax and continuing Negative Gearing.He decimated manufacturing. And he would be one of the most unattractive men your ever likely to come across.

  3. jimhaz

    I am pondering why the price increase for transportation? Surely the existing price covers the transportation cost. I think Turnbull has agreed to pass on differences in export cost to domestic costs via this method, when really a supply guarantee should actually be the policy.

    Then there is this

    “The petroleum resource rent tax has failed to collect billions of dollars in revenue and the Turnbull government should reintroduce royalties for natural gas projects off north-west Australia, a resource tax expert has said.

    “r Diane Kraal from Monash University has warned flaws in the PRRT regime mean Chevron’s giant Gorgon gas project off WA will not pay the tax until “at least 2030”, despite decades of operation”

    Not that they were paying company tax in any case.

    “The tax office has reached what is believed to be a $1 billion-plus settlement with oil giant Chevron over its treatment of inter-company loans, in a move Federal Revenue and Financial Services Minister Kelly O’Dwyer claims will bring in $10bn of extra tax revenue from multinational companies over the next decade”.

  4. rossleighbrisbane

    Mm, Andrew Bolt was telling how safe fracking is in today’s “Random Thoughts of a University Dropout”. I wrote my piece before I’d read him.

  5. Rossleigh

    Roswell, I don’t want to be too pedantic, but do you have any evidence that Abbott ever actually had a plot to lose?

  6. OPPOSE THE MAJOUR PARTIES

    turdbulls negotiated deal is hot air and no substance. the time limit for pulling the trigger for imposing a domestic reserve expires on 1 nov 2017. that date will now pass without turdball pulling the trigger but relying only upon his non binding negotiated understanding between the gas producers and as soon as the date passes the gov will be powerless to do anything real at all and prices will continue to rise and domestic supply fall as is happening now. the lnp will then blame it all on state govs in order to manufacture public support for fracking to overcome shortages. this is yet another lnp con job and will be the final nail in the coffin for turdboy and his gov as the public will see straight thru his vacuous posturing and rhetoric. all this will become obvious in about 6 mths time.

  7. Roswell

    Rossleigh, he was given a sandpit for his third birthday, but lost it.

    Does a sandpit qualify as a plot?

  8. Kaye Lee

    State Member for Gippsland East, Tim Bull,

    “When we came to government in 2010, Labor had approved 23 fracking licences and 73 exploration licences. It was the Nationals in Coalition who stopped this in its tracks by making the initial tough call and implementing the moratorium after concerns were raised by our farming and rural communities.”

    http://www.timbull.com.au/newsroom/media/646-fracking-ban-follows-coalition-lead

  9. John

    “Beginning in 2009, the frequency of earthquakes in the U.S. State of Oklahoma rapidly increased from an average of fewer than two 3.0+ magnitude earthquakes per year since 1978 to hundreds per year in 2014, 2015, and 2016. Thousands of earthquakes have occurred in Oklahoma and surrounding areas in southern Kansas and North Texas since 2009. Scientific studies attribute the rise in earthquakes to the disposal of wastewater produced during oil extraction that has been injected more deeply into the ground.”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009%E2%80%9317_Oklahoma_earthquake_swarms

  10. wam

    Peter Lusted ABC in march
    ‘A decision to make Victoria the first state in Australia with a ban on fracking will ensure the agriculture sector has a prosperous future, farmers say.’
    Foolish Farmers or Prudent Peasants?

    ps dumb mums Helvityni???

  11. Greener

    Roswell – “send in the army”. Just like 1998 when the LNP thought it’d be a good idea to employ former SAS and commandoes as wharfies and strike-breakers at Patricks Wharfs as part of their Workplace Agreement agenda. Nothings changed. The government is living in the past, relics of feudalism, neurotic to the point of perfect consistency, they need therapy now.
    I feel sorry for them, imagine being that out of touch with life.
    John, re earthquakes and fracking –
    http://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/U.S.-Government-Confirms-Link-Between-Earthquakes-And-Hydraulic-Fracturing.html

  12. helvityni

    wam, I was telling one dumb mum how sculptural the first wind turbines looked on a lonely windy hill in Crookwell (NSW), she started shouting at me ,and said: those effing UGLY things give me a headache…there were no farmhouses nearby…funny that…

    Plenty dumb mums out there… 🙂

    Jack Straw, I don’t know what Howard looks like these days, those eyebrows are taking over and obscuring the features…

  13. Frank Smith

    helvityni,
    He looks likely the aging lying rodent he always did.

    Kaye Lee,
    That ranting, raving beetroot faced chappie from New Zealand was telling Fran Kelly on RN earlier this week that the Victorian Nationals were definitely “all for” on shore gas extraction. And he was going to make these farmers rich by ensuring they got proper compensation for enabling gas extraction on their farms. Perhaps in his crazed mind he has convinced himself that East Gippsland has drifted into Bass Strait. Fran couldn’t seem to convince him otherwise.

  14. Frank Smith

    Rossleigh – great article! I don’t think Andy Vesey is likely to be invited to Malcolm’s Christmas “drinks” – he seems to be making some very timely counter-points that intrude upon Malcolm’s latest “look over there” stunts. Yes that tweet is definitely a “frack off Malcolm”.

  15. Möbius Ecko

    Jack Straw. “He created the 20 year housing boom by halving Capital Gains Tax and continuing Negative Gearing.”

    That was only part of it. In one hit he injected $50 billion of public money into a first home buyers scheme, despite being warned of the consequences of doing that. It was just one of his generous short term middle class welfare handouts that kept him in power far longer than he should have been, as he kept throwing away the massive revenue from a time of prosperity. The high house prices today have in part that first home buyers scheme as their genesis.

    I despise and loathe Howard more than any of the other Liberal leaders. If you read up on his history, not the Right wing crap, you can see why. Most of the disadvantage and negativity we see in society and the economy today can be traced to Howard’s time in office.

  16. Zathras

    It took a few flushes but we finally got Howard around the S-Bend of history where he belonged.

    Unfortunately some of his socially divisive and economically disastrous legacy lives on, we’re still involved in overseas conflicts and our childrens’ legacy has been sold off to his mates.

    Now some are beginning to realise what privatisation has left us – rapacious banks, ineffective telecommunications and now failing energy supplies.

    I guess the free market doesn’t provide all the answers after all.

  17. Jack Straw

    Mobius Ecko
    Howards arrogance made him loose his last term in a massive landslide where he lost his own seat.Though you’ll never hear a mea culpa from little Johnnies mouth about anything he got wrong.The only way to define John’s legacy is in Plato’s quote that

    An unexamined life is not worth living”,

  18. Jack Straw

    Mobius I also agree with you on The rip off first home owners grant. It should be banned forever. Nor did I like the Rudd Keynesian style stimulus package.Wasted money.

  19. Roswell

    Jack/Mobius, I seem to recall – after he lost his seat – that Howard promised to stay out of politics.

    He hasn’t shut up since.

    Another lie.

  20. Roswell

    Greener, that episode with the wharfies was below despicable.

    But then again, that’s Howard to a tee.

  21. wam

    certainly Helvityni I took 3 abbottians to a wind farm at the heel of yorke peninsula. The boys were impressed and the wife silent.

    I am not game to pursue renewables till after the count and result. The yes will clear the homophobe air and allow a move to climate change, j’espere???

  22. Sir Scotchmistery

    The Romans had a weapon called the javelin. Graceful and lovely to see used but seriously inefficient. You could only kill one man with it and it was hard to carry a bunch.

    So someone made it smaller and that was called an arrow. Could still only kill one man, but you could carry 20 arrows.

    Now we have a new javelin. It has a range of 1,500 metres. It only takes one man to use it, and if you choose your target thoughtfully, you can kill about 80, since it has a blast radius of around 35 metres.

    The average LNP branch meeting has from 25 to 80 people attending. (Depends on the guest speaker). Imagine if Tony Abbott was the speaker. Unlikely I know since he doesn’t get invited out much.

    One javelin could still kill the entire branch.

    Nationals meetings are the same. You’d lose the farmers but they’ll eventually kill themselves anyway and their wives are usually better at farming than they are.

    So. We need maybe 7 javelins to do a mess of damage to the coalition.

    I love mathematics.

  23. helvityni

    Sir Scotch, was the Boomerang used only for bird hunting, or could it do some damage to bigger creatures ? It’s certainly light to carry around and it returns to the thrower owner….?

  24. Allan Kelly

    There all missing the point and ignoring the facts. https://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/solar-energy-produces-methane-from-co2-with-new-catalyst-em091/ we simply do not need Fracking and we can undercut any mining endeavours to produce gas any cheaper.
    If anything the political idiots should be pursuing the pilot program to demonstrate how a Carbon neutral coal fired electricity generator plant can be made using the New Catalyst.
    I have written too the Greens party and they are even sticking their heads in the sand. What BS they are saying in relation to it not being ready. The amount of BS they produce could power Australia’s energy needs. Yet convert the Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere and produce the worlds cheapest Methane gas while at the same time save the world from global warming due to too much man made Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere.

  25. Roswell

    Jack, from what I’ve seen he tried his hardest to promote a persona that simply wasn’t himself. He just wasn’t coming across as ‘natural’.

    I think most people by now know the sort of man he is, and putting on a false facade just made him look stupid. Sorry, more stupid. ?

  26. Zoltan Balint

    Frack. (As they say I think in Battle star galactica). Howard did not ‘inject’ public money he gave it away. Good example of dumb mum (housewife) she does as she’s told. The LNP believes in the trickle down effect because it works. If they give public money or property to their friends their friends will give them things.

  27. Harquebus

    As global energy per capita continues to decline, the squabbling will continue to increase. Eventually, the most ruthless and vicious will prevail and our political and business leaders have those attributes in spades.

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