Let’s jump in the Delorean and take a little trip back to 2013…
We’re heading for an election and Tony Abbott is making his big pitch. Let’s just have a quick look at what he saw as the big issues:
Early on in his speech he told us, “This election is about making a great country even better; and that starts with changing the worst government in our history.”
Well, I think we’d all have to agree that whoever was the worst government in our history at the time he made that statement, it’s certainly moved into second place… Or fourth, if you want to count the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison revolving door as three separate governments.
He then went on with a series of promises:
- “We’ll abolish the carbon tax so power prices and gas prices will go down.” Mm that worked well. Still, Mr Morrison is now working on a new plan so that gas prices will go down some time in the future. After his government – or someone else – builds a gas-fired power plant which he announced his intention to come up with a plan if nobody else did.
- “We’ll cut the company tax rate because, as the former Treasury Chief has said, the main beneficiaries will be workers.” Yeah, lucky workers!
- “We’ll move the workplace relations pendulum back to the sensible centre, restore a strong cop-on-the-beat in the construction industry, and hit dodgy union officials with the same penalties as corporate crooks.” So he intended to let dodgy union officials off with a stern talking to.
- “I want us to be a better country, not just a richer one, but you don’t build a better society by issuing a press release.” Scott Morrison knows this too, and if building a better society was his intention then we’d get more than the odd announcement. Actually, lately we’ve been getting announcements about the coming announcements.
- “The Clean Energy Finance Corporation will cease making non-commercial loans with taxpayers’ money.” Yes, loans need to be paid back and we don’t want our friends being burdened with a debt when they oould just as easily give the Liberal party a donation.
- “The NBN will have a new business plan to ensure that every household gains five times current broadband speeds – within three years and without digging up almost every street in Australia – for $60 billion less than Labor.” Do I need to say anything here?
- “By the end of a Coalition government’s first term, the budget will be on-track to a believable surplus.” Excellent, so when does that first term end again. Or did he mean the second term when the surplus was believable because there were all those coffee mugs saying “Back in Black”. Of course, they were referring to the mug itself, but you’ve always got to check the fine print.
- “We’ll delay the superannuation guarantee levy increase because it’s another cost that small business can’t afford right now.” Or when Howard was first elected. Remember, he changed the legislation too. So we had it delayed until this term when – surprise, surprise, surprise – we can’t afford it because it would be better for workers to get a pay rise. Let’s remember that when the government makes its submission to the next minimum wage hearing.
- “We’ll have a more functional federation where the states are sovereign in their own sphere.” But not if they shut their borders!
- “Starting next year, I will work to recognise indigenous people in the constitution – something that should have been done a century ago that would complete our constitution rather than change it.” That went well.
- “As long as I am in public life, I will continue to spend a week a year in a remote indigenous community as I’ve done over the past decade.” He seems to have left “public life” before he left Parliament!
- “We will be a no surprises, no excuses government, because you are sick of nasty surprises and lame excuses from people that you have trusted with your future.” No excuses, but it was Labor’s fault you know, so don’t blame us for anything ever!
- “In 2007, Labor told you to trust Kevin Rudd, and you know what happened to him then. In 2010, Labor told you to trust Julia Gillard and you know what happened to her. Now Labor is telling you to trust Kevin Rudd again – but the one thing you know is that you can’t trust what Labor tells you.” And Labor told us not to trust Tony Abbott and look how that turned out…
- “The current government has turned a $20 billion surplus into deficits stretching out as far as the eye can see.” Given the eye can’t see into the future, that was shouldn’t have been very far at all, but…
Yes, it’s a speech that stood the test of time… If by time you mean until ten minutes after Abbott was elected. However, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say who knows what would have happened if they’d left Tony there until the next election. He may have succeeded in such things as knighting Donald Trump…
But it was the energy prices that got me checking the speech. I seemed to remember that a large chunk of the 2013 election was taken up with talk about how the carbon “tax” was sending energy prices through the roof and if we could just abolish it, everything would be hunky dory.
Of course we later moved on to Turnbull’s National Energy Guarantee which wanted power generating companies to have both a reliability and an emissions reduction component. However, the Liberal Party decided that they’d prefer a Turnbull reduction and promptly replaced him as PM. Scott Morrison hoped that the whole thing would go away and he tried to ignore it, before eventually deciding that he didn’t want a better society because he did something that Abbott told us wouldn’t lead to one: he issued a press release on 23rd October 2018, which told us:
“Other measures announced today by the Morrison Government that will bring prices down and increase reliability are:
- Stopping price gouging by the big energy companies. This includes banning sneaky late payment penalties and making energy retailers pass on savings in wholesale prices to customers. It will increase regulator’s power to crack down on dodgy, anti-competitive practices – through fines, penalties, enforceable undertakings, structural separation and divestiture. We have already seen prices come down in Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales on 1 July 2018, and we have directed the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to monitor electricity prices until 2025 to ensure prices are fairer for consumers.
- Backing investment in new power generators to improve competition. Underwriting new electricity generation will attract investment in the electricity market, increasing supply and reducing wholesale electricity prices. The Government will consult on the Underwriting New Generation Investments program, with submissions open until 9 November 2018. Based on feedback from the consultation, the Government will release initial program guidelines and invite proponents to nominate projects through an expression of interest process open from December 2018 to January 2019.
- Supporting reliable power by requiring energy companies to sign contracts guaranteeing enough energy to meet demand. We will work with state and territory governments through the COAG Energy Council to ensure these contracts are signed.”
So, as you can see, Morrison recent announcement doesn’t come out of the blue. They’ve had processes to back investment in new power generation all the way back to when Scott Morrison first took over as PM. I wonder why they aren’t just going back and having a look at who “nominated projects through an expression of interest process’ which shut on 2019…
Anyway, this latest proposal should go a long way towards helping get us out of the current recession. There’s nothing like a power plant that hasn’t been built for bringing down energy prices. I can’t work out why some people are being cynical about it!
Ok, back into the Delorean. I’d make a little trip into the future to see when the plant is actually built, but there may not be enough fuel in the universe to get there and back!
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