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“Strong leaders” don’t blame others when their plan doesn’t work

During the 2013 election campaign, Joe Hockey was asked “Should you win the election, at what stage will you own the economy and at what stage will it no longer be Labor’s fault?”

He responded “We will own the economy from day one, whether it’s Labor’s fault or not… I’m not afraid to accept responsibility and I’m not afraid to be accountable. We will own it from day one. We will be responsible for the Australian economy.”

Apparently that doesn’t include responsibility for electricity prices and security which, well into their second term, the Turnbull government are still blaming on Labor.

As Barnaby Joyce turned purple during a vitriolic rant in Question Time yesterday that it was all Labor’s fault that prices are so high, Turnbull tried lamely to convince us that being told our contract was ending was some sort of “strong leader” win to drive prices down.

In an astonishing display of short term memory loss, hypocrisy, and downright gall, Turnbull taunted Labor that they had no plan on energy.

Ummm….they had an emissions trading scheme in place and working well until you trashed it Malcolm.

We had bipartisan support for a renewable energy target, until you trashed it.

They had provided certainty to the renewable energy industry that attracted investment, until you trashed it.

They had subsidised home insulation and solar roofs, until you trashed it.

Energy demand and emissions were going down, until you trashed it.

Under Labor’s implemented (rather than talked about) plan, polluters paid billions to the government and so were incentivised to move towards sustainable practice.  Until you trashed it with your stupid Direct Action Plan which sees us paying billions instead for no result.

You commissioned the Finkel Review and then refused to adopt its centrepiece, the Clean Energy Target.

The newly appointed head of the Australian Energy Market Commission has said an emissions intensity scheme is the most effective policy for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.  You have ruled it out.

You said you would subsidise one million solar roofs.  Then chose not to.

You said you would plant 20 million trees.  Then relaxed laws which resulted in land clearing at “globally significant levels”.

You put Barnaby Joyce in charge of water.  Then he let people steal and resell it.  Hard to plan hydro storage when rivers are drying up.

By using creative accounting, you are simultaneously claiming we will meet our 2020 reduction targets whilst conceding that emissions will be more than 5% higher than those in 2000.

The Queensland Renewable Energy Expert Panel found that a 50% renewable energy target could drive $6.7 billion of new investment in their state, and deliver a net increase in employment of 6400 – 6700 full-time equivalent positions on average per year between 2020 and 2030.  You mock them.

You want to spend government money on building a railway line for a coal mine that no-one will finance.

You want to spend money on carbon capture and storage which has proven commercially unviable.

You want to take years to build very expensive new coal fired power stations when ultra-super-critical produces twice the emissions of gas-fired technology.

The CEO of CS Energy, who produces a third of Queensland’s power and runs two of the most advanced coal-fired plants in the country, said “CS Energy certainly has no intention of building any coal-fired power plants, ultra-centre super-critical or not.  And it would surprise me greatly if there was any more coal-fired technology built in Australia.  I think when you look at the risk of the investment, you’re talking about $2 billion-plus investment up-front. These assets have a plant life of roughly 40 years, and so it’s a very, very big long-term bet.  So given the current uncertainty, I think it would be a very courageous board that would invest in coal-fired technology in Australia.”

Matthew Warren from the Australian Energy Council, the body that represents all the major power generators, offered the same critique of the Turnbull doctrine.

“Plans for expansion to coal-fired power stations has been basically shelved over the last decade.  We’re now looking at gas and renewables as the mainstay of the investment for us, at least for the next 10-20 years.”

Oliver Yates from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation said “It’s not really a technology which, ah, would be one that is likely to have a long-term path, and therefore would, again, be very risky for the taxpayer to invest in.”

Turnbull likes to pretend he is backing renewable energy but mainly he just makes announcements, shuffles existing money around and commissions, and then ignores, reviews.  What will he do when he finds out his nation-building energy saviour from the 50s, the Snowy-Hydro, fails a cost-benefit analysis?

Before the election, the Australian Solar Council chief John Grimes spoke of the Coalition’s track record of “contempt” for renewable energy.

“The Turnbull government is again showing utter hypocrisy by raiding the Clean Energy Finance Corporation for its latest election stunt,” Grimes said.  “This government has twice tried to axe the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. It’s tried to axe the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), it’s taken the axe to the Renewable Energy Target and now it plans to slash $1.3 billion from ARENA.  Today’s announcement [the Sustainable Cities Investment Fund] is not new money. It is simply using the Clean Energy Finance Corporation as its slush fund.”

The Australian Youth Climate Coalition was also critical of what they called “rebranding,” used to cover up a lack of ambition on global warming.

“This is the third time the Prime Minister has re-announced clean energy money that has existed since 2013 and the Coalition spent most of their time in government trying to cut,” said AYCC national director, Kirsty Albion.

Malcolm, despite your trail of destruction on environmental issues, with privatisation and the free market operating apace, power prices have soared while you have been in office.

You are four years into your term in government and you are still blaming your predecessors and continually asking the Opposition what their plan is. That’s not what governing is about.  You were put there to fix things and you haven’t.

Every industry player (other than the Minerals Council) has told you that your plan stinks.

Stop pointing at others.  That’s not what “strong leaders” do.


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  1. Florence nee Fedup

    Strong leaders don’t blame others when they have no plans of their own. Continue to do nothing.

  2. Terry2

    Kaye, this government just cannot take a trick can they ?

    Just hearing on the news that the Australian Federal Police have arrested more illegal drug importers whose activities were facilitated by corrupt Australian Border Force personnel.

    Isn’t that a strong argument in favour of not merging these agencies under one Minister ?

  3. Vicki Cox

    In 23 hours Australians have raised 45k for fighting the postal vote on GO FUND ME sponsored by Wilkie, perhaps we can use this vechicle to crowdfund for the sole purpose of getting rid of this spineless PM Trumbles!
    This liberal government would be the worst in history, highest amount of debt in Australia’s history, destroying ABC,NDIS GONSKI,ATO , CENTRELINK etc all credibility out the window in 4 year’s, what a disgusting bunch of born to rule treacherous parasites.

  4. Michael Taylor

    I almost choked on my coffee when Turnbull said he is a strong leader (or words to that effect). Surely, surely he doesn’t believe it. Or maybe he does. Maybe he’s so damn up himself that no amount of hopelessness can budge him into reality.

  5. king1394

    Strong leaders don’t need to keep telling people how strong they are. Only weak leaders need to try to convince the people that they are strong when they are not.

    And one of the greatest weaknesses of the Lib/Nat Coalition and the people who support them, is that they cannot believe that the future will be much the same as now. They have not, and cannot understand that we are facing tremendous changes in the next 30 or so years.

    Therefore they want the same energy system, the same fossil fuel base, the same transport systems, the same concepts about the world of work and how people can study and get a good job. All these things are dying in front of us. In 30 years we will not be living in the same way, using resources in the same profligate and wasteful style, still zooming about in individual privately owned cars, and still employed under the same system. The current government are not going to manage change, but they think to maintain things as they are forever.

    Leadership? What leadership?

  6. Freetasman

    And the reality and sad fact it is that Malcolm still doing better than Bill on the polls.
    We have as a leader what the majority of people like and the previous leader during the election that he won have the behavior that people like.

  7. Michael Taylor

    That gobsmacks me, Freetasman, that he is still the preferred prime minister. People obviously prefer a person who is a known liar and a dismal failure in the job, than a person who sits back quietly doing his job and developing policies that would better the lives of the people who don’t prefer him.

    What the hell do they want?

  8. helvityni

    Freetasman, Michael, some people feel that they belong to a better, higher class if they support a millionaire, one day they too might get lucky….

    They are aspirational… 🙂

    Strong leaders don’t need to promote themselves as strong…five year old boys do that, they will also tell their friends that their dad is bigger and stronger that anyone else’s…

  9. bobrafto

    I will venture to say that Abbott is running a defacto govt.

    Yes, Truffles is good at doing something when he is doing nothing.

  10. Max Gross

    The LNP do not take office to govern Australia. They are there to entrench and expand the power and privilege of their financial backers and cronies. Nothing. Else. Matters.

  11. stephengb2014

    The last week in politics has to tell you who the real pm is!

  12. guest

    It is time Turnbull crawled away to cuddle his cash in the Caymans.

  13. Miriam English

    We don’t have any strong leaders in Australia. We have deluded clowns, befuddled nobodies, nasty lunatics, and others.

  14. paul walter

    Terrible when an idea scares you to the extent that you are in denial; a childs night terrors approach that refuses to even acknowledge an issue let alone allow discourse as to it.

    Not the courage of their convictions, when they rush to censor.


  15. Kaye Lee

    FFS they tell ABC employees they MUST call it same sex marriage rather than marriage equality? I will make absolutely certain to always point out this is very much a matter of equality before the law and has NOTHING to do with freedom of speech or religion. How dare Abbott reduce people’s relationships to political correctness. How dare he trivialise this in that way. Let’s start calling religion same faith delusion.

  16. jamesss

    Michael, Freetasman, believing a published preferred prime minister numbers, Is something I would question. These gangsters are only treading water, waiting, they know something is going to change. Its too obvious, that’s why no serious policy investment is underway. They continue to play around the edges, with their bull shit announcements. Why no whistle blowers? No one is that dumb. Its a total distraction campaign.

  17. DisablednDesperate

    Great article as always Kaye. 100% spot on
    On every article I see I remind everyone that it is not about children, it is not about religion, it is about equal rights. ABC having to use the term SSM irritates me no end.

  18. Terry2

    Katharine Murphy in the Guardian sums it up nicely :

    By vacating the field, by refusing to exercise their most basic of responsibilities, passing legislation in the public interest, parliamentarians were transferring their own agency to the people outside.

    Politicians themselves have elected to create a vacuum. They’ve transformed a simple question of human rights into a public popularity contest, a gladiatorial battle where everyone will fight, and turn up the volume, and thunder and hector, and be outrageous, because that is the way of things.

  19. Kaye Lee

    “While it is clear that democracy must guarantee the expression of the popular will through majority rule, it is equally clear that it must guarantee that the majority will not abuse its power to violate the basic and inalienable rights of the minority.”

    Someone should remind this rabble that democracy is a system of majority rule with respect to minority rights – at least that’s what it is supposed to be. Minority rights are rights that are guaranteed to everyone, even if they are not a part of the majority. These rights cannot be eliminated by a majority vote. Which is why this whole debacle is so ridiculous. Equal rights for all.

  20. stephentardrew

    Killer article Kaye. Short sharp and sweet. Love it.

  21. Matters Not

    Conceptually, there’s leaders and then there’s leadership. While the two may overlap (and often do) there’s no guarantee of that and perhaps there’s no need and certainly no imperative. Shorten, for example, is the designated Leader of the Labor Party but when it comes to economic policy, the leadership seems to come from Bowen. Shorten becomes the ‘face’ but not the Architect. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Indeed it would be unusual if it were otherwise.

    Dig a little deeper and find that, while Bowen might be the apparent leader, much of the economic leadership flows from Andrew Leigh, Jim Chalmers and Wayne Swan and perhaps others in varying proportions. To conflate leadership and leaders is far too simplistic. And misleading. Historically, Whitlam is credited with significant educational reform but the real leadership came from Peter Karmel.

    For me, the roles and responsibilities of designated Leaders are overstated. Of greater importance is leadership which comes from within a group of like minded people and can move about as the need arises.

    In my view, the greater need is Leadership rather than Leaders. (Some may notice that Trump is the designated Leader of the USA. As for Leadership …)

  22. paul walter

    Terry 2

    Kaye Lee, you will forgive me for a slight divergence, I hope.

    When they have to censor people discussing an issue in non work hours, about some thing that could impact on everyone if gay rights are not endorsed, it affects everyone directly or eventually indirectly, thus to me it IS (also) about freedom and democracy. Silence discourse and no free flow of ideas and feelings to be considered will occur; no prejudices dissolved and less folk will understand why gays require the same legal protections, down to the writing out of wills and disbursement of estate property,as anyone else.

    Can I be free if they are not?

    First they got the refugees. Then the Aborigines and Unemployed via Centrlink. Now gays in the denia of rights to actions others take for granted..
    This through denial of information that explains a simple issue with simple solutions so far obscured by Tony Abbot types. Having set the precedent for a dishonest process, who will they come for next and what excuse to deny, say, bloggers, the capacity to publish articles questioning how things are run.

    And if no one knows what’s going on, what is there to protect ANYONE?

  23. Vicki Cox

    63k and rising for the GO FUND ME postal challenge, Bill Shorten’s speech was one of a great leader and orator something Turdball will never achieve, Penny’s speech was heartbreaking a great team player. The comments from the gay community makes you feel proud to be Australian the comments from the liberals make you cringe with embarrassment that people actually voted for these parasites.

  24. Ceridwen66

    The wistful notion of a fair, egalitarian Australian democracy is long dead. In stark reality, not only is it truly dead, it is a stinking, rancid and decomposing mess. It is as dead and bloated as a roo carcass on a Territory highway in mid February, with the Canberra version of fat wriggling parasites feasting on the remains.

    Australia is now a Corporatocracy, and the LNP are the very public and toxic face of it. This ‘political party’ are financed not to construct and implement policy which promotes the valid interests of the general Australian population, but to protect, conserve, shield, enhance, and create profit opportunities for their corporate backers and financers.

    And they keep doing it.

  25. johnyperth.

    Strong leaders stand by their own convictons.
    Strong leaders don’t get told what to do by their sever right wing faction back benches.
    Only weak leaders do what they are told to do.
    Australia needed to have the Labor party to win last years federal election to get rid of this sever right wing faction.
    We ned to have another federal election now.
    We can’t go with another 2 years with this Turnbull government.

  26. John Lord

    Exceptionally succinct and to the point. Thanks.

  27. Kronomex

    The “strong” leader must be just about crapping his Italian trousers at the moment. I also notice that the mutant tomato isn’t stepping down like other politicians have done. Ggoosshh, I wonder why? If the letter Truffles wrote to Shorten is not a fabrication then it goes to show that our PM is absolutely desperate to see the end of the dual citizen debacle that could see him removed. Again: Ggoosshh, I wonder why?

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