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They built a disastrous NBN and now they think they can build a power station. Wow.

While the evidence for climate change continues to be reconfirmed by science annually and catastrophic events become the norm, I am reminded of the words of Malcolm Turnbull when he was defeated by Tony Abbott:

“Many Liberals are rightly dismayed that on this vital issue of climate change we are not simply without a policy, without any prospect of having a credible policy but we are now without integrity. We have given our opponents the irrefutable, undeniable evidence that we cannot be trusted.

As we are being blunt, the fact is that Tony and the people who put him in his job do not want to do anything about climate change. They do not believe in human caused global warming. As Tony observed on one occasion “climate change is crap” or if you consider his mentor, Senator Minchin, the world is not warming, it’s cooling and the climate change issue is part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to deindustrialise the world.”

There exists in the Coalition Party Room at least 50% of its members who are fervent climate deniers. They will have nothing to do with the science.”

Now well into their third term nothing has changed. When the world has acknowledged that renewable energy is the most cost-effective means of acquiring power the now conservative Liberal Party are wanting to build a gas-powered power station to:

“… replace the ageing Liddell Power Station by the summer of 2023–24, or else the federal government will have the Commonwealth-owned Snowy Hydro company build a new gas-fired power plant itself.”

Well it’s a threat really, by a government renowned for its almost obligatory stuff ups. Remember the NBN that the experts advised against?

Build it once and do it right, the experts said, but the government, pigheadedly went ahead with technologies now obsolete. The same experts now say they will have to write down the value of the National Broadband Network because it is under threat from 5G mobile technology that will eventually supersede its hybrid technology.

Will it end up as a stranded asset?

You will have read these quotes of mine many times before:

“In terms of the environment I wonder what price the people of tomorrow will pay for the stupidity of today.”

“On the NBN, the problem with designing a network to meet the needs of today is that it denies you the ability to meet the needs of tomorrow.”

So back to Gas. After this re-announcement concerning a gas-powered station it is easy to fathom how all the advice goes against renewables.

Firstly, the threat to bring down the government by the nutter brigade by those renegade back bench MPs is still alive and kicking like a tiger snake in a hessian bag.

Secondly, when all your advisers come from the anti-renewable Murdoch media, the coal industry itself or pro-mining lobbyists with connections to all and every word other than renewable, what would you expect your advice to be?

To open your mind as to who these men are, go here. There are so many mining people in government advisory positions that you could call it a one-sided argument. Note: good leaders listen to all points of view.

So, after almost three terms of governance the Coalition is no closer to an energy (this pithy announcement I believe is about the 19th try) policy or indeed an environmental one.

We’ve had an injudicious and truly madcap debate about whether the government should or shouldn’t buy a clapped out 50-year-old coal fired power plant and a threat that if the industry won’t build a new gas fired one the government will. Now that’s called socialism. Yes, it gets sillier by the day.

Matt Canavan tweeted his disappointment.


I’m told he was almost gassed with nearly 700 replies.

Labor’s Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler, didn’t mince his words telling RN Breakfast that the plan was more spin than substance:

“There is a plan for new basins that would be years and years away. Basins that are nowhere near connected to the gas network. There is a review of prices. We have been calling for drastic action since 2015, but there is a review of prices to manufacturers.

They talk about establishing an Australian gas hub at Wallumbilla – Wallumbilla is already a gas hub which the energy regulator only said in recent weeks is becoming more and more liquid every month … And in a development that I’m sure has the big gas industry executives shaking in their boots, the announcement also talks about a “voluntary industry-led code of conduct” to give gas customers a fair shake.

Principally, we are talking about our big manufacturers there who have seen gas prices triple over the past five years. I think we’ve learnt over recent years that reliance on the goodwill of the gas companies will not deliver any price relief.”

During the announcement the Prime Minister clearly said; “I don’t care what source the dispatchables come from.”

That got Atlassian Corp co-founder Mike Cannon-Brookes a little excited:


What the Prime Minister effectively said is that renewables are so cheap that they don’t need subsidies, but fossil fuels do. Can anyone explain the logic in those words?

Writing in The Guardian last Tuesday Katherine Murphy said:

“So to pull all these threads together, we now manage to find ourselves in this position: the Coalition repealed the carbon price, and hasn’t managed to settle a policy framework to replace it that anyone takes even remotely seriously, which has led to investment uncertainty for many years.”

Wednesday morning I received an email from The Climate Council of Australia. In part it said:

Hi John,

“This morning the Federal Government announced a gas ‘plan’ that really stinks.

What’s been announced?

The Federal Government has just announced it wants to waste millions of taxpayer dollars propping up the dangerous and polluting gas industry, rather than choosing to invest in a plan that will actually rebuild our economy and protect Australians from long-term threats.

The Federal Government’s ‘Gas Plan’ (1) includes the construction of a new gas power station in the NSW Hunter Valley, if the electricity sector does not replace the Liddell coal-fired power station. It would also waste $28.3 million unlocking gas basins, including the Beetaloo Basin in the NT and the North Bowen and Galilee Basins in Queensland.

Why is this gas announcement bad?

Essentially, this would:

  • Ramp up fossil fuels. Gas is a polluting fossil fuel, which means this plan could worsen climate change, and lock Australia into dangerous climate impacts, like longer more dangerous bushfire seasons, longer, more frequent and more severe heatwaves and increased coastal flooding.
  • Deliver no jobs in the short-term – when they are needed most – pushing up power bills and increasing uncertainty in the energy market.
  • Waste taxpayers’ money propping up an uneconomic industry during a recession, instead of using stimulus money to solve the long-term problems facing Australia.”

My view is that this hopeless, climate-denying government has no intention of building a gas-powered fire station. They are trying to bluff the energy companies into doing something unnecessary for their own political purposes.

Phil Corey, writing in the Roy Morgan daily email newsletter said:

“Large energy users have welcomed the federal government’s proposal to build a gas-fired power station in the Hunter Valley if energy companies fail to outline how they will replace the Liddell power station’s output by April 2021.

The policy is aimed at encouraging the sector to invest in new dispatchable energy capacity, but Australian Energy Council CEO Sarah McNamara warns that it may deter energy companies from doing so.

Tony Wood of the Grattan Institute says the government’s proposal is “unnecessary intervention and overkill”, while National Party senator Matt Canavan argues that the government should build a coal-fired power station.”

Like the NBN, they, when it comes to looking the future in the face, the government is unable to accept a changing world.

If there is just one positive to come from the event called COVID-19 it is that vital decisions are now needed that go beyond defeating the virus.

It gives us the opportunity to change many past and present wrongs. The way we use energy and its source, the way we treat the environment, the way we treat our elderly folk, the way we educate our children, the way we conduct our politics and our diplomacy, the way money relates to society, the list goes on and on.

Our decision-makers need to tell us how all these decisions fit into a comprehensive narrative for our future otherwise a very unique opportunity will be lost.

If the government really believes that gas can be a part of our future then it needs to explain just how it fits into their comprehensive long-term energy plan. The problem is: that they haven’t got one.

My thought for the day

If one day in the future our children wake to find our prosperity gravely ill. It will be because Australia’s conservative politicians during the years 2013 to 202? Didn’t believe the science of a changing climate and left you with the consequences.

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  1. New England Cocky

    Yawn!! … another day another empty Liarbral announcement ….. Scummo has too many press agents paid piece work rates to write this rubbish. The Liarbrals are intent upon giving their corporate mates the finance and profits of turning Australia into the best authentic original18th century theme park of a third world export economy where all natural resources are gifted to foreign owned multinational corporations to process and manufacture into saleable products by employing overseas workers while payiong no taxation in Australia. Then all the world will be able to marvel at the stupidity of post Dismissal COALition governments that Donald Horne warned against some 50 years ago.

  2. andy56

    I think the last line says it all really, ” they havent got one”. This is all about politics and nothing about the future, after all when was the last time these neanderthals had a real policy idea.
    Add the tax cuts coming, china retaliation and the future sure doesnt look good.

  3. Terence Mills

    Carbon capture and storage is being touted by the government as being a successful and reliable technology and that all the problems have been solved apart from the cost which in a classic Catch 22 makes fossil fuels not economically viable for power generation into the future.

    Have I got that right ?

  4. wam

    Good giggle today, lxxd, very warming after the pool.
    Labor’s mark butler is a good opposition minister but canavan’s mate monkey is albo’s climate mill stone

    The neglect of climate change(thanks boobby) is forced by deniers but the way this scummo has developed a taste for waste gives our prosperity it’s status as an endangered species. (thanks chrissie)

    beauty NEC even on the same day announcements are???
    Feb 25, 2019 – Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a $2 billion extension of Tony Abbott’s Direct Action fund, as the centrepiece of his climate change …SBS/SMH
    Feb 25, 2019 – … announced a $3.5 billion Climate Solutions Package. Prime Minister, the Hon Scott Morrison MP, said Australians recognise climate change …PM aph
    the guardian put scummo’s announcement nicely,

    Albo should be able to capitalise on scummo’s announcement then inaction after announcement after announcement with an advertising campaign that may destroy a belief of my friends and family rabbottians,
    They honestly and truly believe whitlam and gillard did nothing but take us into debt, hawke was alright and the lying rodent was the best since ming.

  5. Dave G.

    Does anyone know how long it takes to build a major thermal power station?I’m only guessing but from planning to operation surely 5 years would be conservative.These clowns are going to leave us all in the dark.

  6. Robba

    Dave G, lucky I live in Cairns, the nights are nice and short.
    Plus plenty of solar when the idiots are not chem-trialing that is.

  7. DrakeN

    Robba, I believe that it gets a bit windy up your way and tidal flows are quite large too.

  8. Ross

    In some ways the NBN proves the point of the neoliberals. When a pack of these grossly overpaid utterly clueless fourth rate coalition politicians try to build anything it never turns out well. Hence our shiny new NBN gives us last century broadband in a modern twenty first century world, at twice the price.
    But I agree with you John. This government will never build a power plant or any other plant for that matter. It’s just another big expensive announcement in a long list of big expensive announcements that fade away into memory and are quickly forgotten.

  9. guest

    Many thanks to John Lord, who regularly informs us of the latest in political matters, including aspects of climate change. He sometimes draws on previous posts which remind us how on the ball he is and has been.

    He draws our attention here to people involved in mining and rejection of climate science. For those looking for further confirmation of John’s work in a single volume, go to Marian Wilkinson, “The Carbon Club. How a network of influential climate sceptics, politicians and business leaders fought to control Australia’s climate policy.” (A and U, 2020)

  10. TuffGuy

    In addition to the above I was only reading yesterday that the energy industry “experts” (of which nobody in the LNP is) are saying that there is no immediate need for additional capacity and that in the long term only 154 mw is required and not the 1,000mw scrotemo is jibbering on about.
    And why would he want to build a gas power plant in the coal city of Newcastle where he has to ship in all of the gas???
    As for scrotemo’s assertion that this is going to bring prices down will that price cut include the $200 or so that scabbott promised (and never delivered)???
    Little was said about where all this extra gas is coming from but we also know scrotemo is trying to blackmail the states into fracking the shit out of the countryside and destroy our major artesianal water supplies.

  11. wam

    Darwin harbour has many inlets and big tides, vertical sun and plenty of wind we are close to overseas markets, have heaps of land for industry and a train. We have a chinese port that could be utilised with the train and renewable power. What potential but who thinks scummo has such decentralisation in mind???.

  12. Andrew Smith

    Agree with Ross, it’s a cynical exercise in muddying the waters and delaying tactics putting off the inevitable. For now, the government is doing the bidding of the fossil fuels and related sectors by slowing down or excluding competitive threats e.g. renewable sources, to maintain legacy investments, future income streams and value.

  13. guest

    Andrew Smith,

    some governments have been “doing the bidding of the fossil fuels and related sectors” from the beginning.

    In March of 2000 a bunch of mining people here in Oz formed The Lavoisier Group, named after Antoine Lavoisier (1743 – 1794), regarded as “the father modern chemistry”.

    Wikipedia tells us more:

    “Lavoisier was a powerful member of number of aristocratic councils and an administrator of the Ferme generale. The Ferme generale was one of the most hated components of the Ancien Regime because of the profits it took at the expense of the state, the secrecy of the terms of its contracts, and the violence of its armed agents. All of these political and economic activities enabled him to fund his scientific research. At the height of the French Revolution, he was charged with tax fraud and selling adulterated tobacco, and was guillotined.”

  14. Andrew Smith

    guest: We both know of ‘wheels within wheels’, not just fossil fuel groups, and long term influence of various front groups, think tanks etc. e.g. the Mont Pelerin Society, Club of Rome, ZPG, Bohemian Grove, Bilderberg etc. promoting mostly right wing libertarian corporate and economic ideology (nowadays back grounded by Koch influenced ALEC founded by Heritage Foundation’s Paul Weyrich with aim of littering the world with right wing thinks tanks, lobby groups and astro turfers).

    I’d suggest that there are actually no new ideas out there, just the same old tropes dressed up and/or astro turfed to get past gate keepers, or supported by those, in media i.e. researchers, editors, journalists etc. (politics too i.e. with MPs, advisors, committees, party members etc. targeted) then to be accepted by voters…. as a fait accompli.

    It’s a ‘production line’ to achieve the right outcomes; was the NBN ever expected and/or allowed to be workable in the eyes of the LNP?

    Even Abbott can land a UK gig promoting the same tired old rubbish that fits the narrative for libertarian Brexit proponents needing fewer regulations, taxes, standards and constraints on business…..

  15. corvusboreus

    That anti-human propagandist and alleged Rothschild financed eugenicist David Attenborough recently put out a documentary suggesting that human activities were causing a pandemic of animal extinctions.
    He was probably just looking for an excuse to sterilise brown people.

    Ps, credible biological surveys estimate that of the total combined biomass of terrestrial mammals, over 96% are humans (36%) and their domesticates (60%).
    The remaining <4% of ‘wild’ land mammals includes human associated ‘vermin’ (eg Rattus sp) and human vectored ‘ferals`(eg cats, dogs, foxes and ‘heritage brumbies’).

  16. Andrew Smith

    corvusboreus: Not Rothschild but in fact Rockefeller Bros., Ford and Carnegie Foundations seeded ZPG early ’70s and later same in Oz (to become Sustainable Population Australia), along with Population Matters UK of which Attenborough is a patron.

    However, the key people have been Americans, Paul ‘Population Bomb’ Ehrlich (also a patron with Attenborough) and in the background was white nationalist and anti-semite, the now deceased John ‘passive eugenics’ Tanton; both he and Ehrlich have visited Australia, with Tanton voicing support for the white Oz policy….

    Recently Monbiot wrote how ‘Population panic lets rich people off the hook for the climate crisis they are fuelling’ while one would add it is also a libertarian trap, i.e. allows fossil fuel sector to avoid any legislative or regulatory constraints; well thought out long game.

  17. wam

    Ouch CV what terrifying and edifying stats
    When we add crows et al make up 25% of birds and poultry take the 75% and consider the current cockroach breeding program to help the chinese with waste, management, there is a massive scope for inbreeding and gene manipulation
    But at least there will be plenty of protein???
    Andrew the rabbott has long been involved with the poms:
    Oct 5, 2010 – Mr Abbott says he chose not to go to Afghanistan because he did not want to be jetlagged for his visit to the Tory party conference in England, …

  18. corvusboreus

    Thanks for reading those facts and caring enough about the lives of non-human animals to make response.
    I have posted such facts a few times before and mostly provoked some cud chewing and the occasional blink.
    Certainly Mr Smith did not bat an eyelid, but ignored credible environmental info and repeated a well rehearsed spiel.
    Perhaps folks think that I am fabricating such claim from out of my own cloaca.
    A simple google search would dispel such notions.

    Some fun sums,
    If the collective weight of just under 8 billion homo sapiens ( let’s use an average bodyweight of 50Kg for simplicity’s sake and call it 40 million tonnes of human) comprises 36% of terrestrial mammalian biomass, and median population projections of future population based on current trends (plummeting birthrates included) estimates 10 billion people by around 2060, which would make a gross weight of around 50 million tonnes.
    If we retain current ratios of domesticates, their numbers and mass will correspondently rise.
    Methinks that might just further marginalise the wilder members of the less than 4%, and possibly cause a few types to disappear entirely.

    Obviously other factors like individual resource consumption and greenhouse emissions must be factored into equations and mitigation planning against the unfolding catastrophe in our biospheric environment, but, given daily scientific revelations of how quickly things are degrading, I simply cannot see adding another couple of billion human feet on the ground as being a feasible option, especially since scientists reckon that much of the planet’s alluvial territory (ie preferred human habitat) is about to become seabed.

    Just a thought.

  19. wam

    ” scientists reckon that much of the planet’s alluvial territory (ie preferred human habitat) is about to become seabed.”
    Scary but our song says we have boundless plains (to share is a bit loose) and our cities are built on most productive land so I’m alright jack is alive enough to not give a rat’s arse about koalas much less bangladeshies and tuvaluans.

    I used to hope that there may be some thought if the kiwi glaciers were melting but even road closures and melts cause nary a ripple and most aussies don’t know about permafrost or the difference between sea ice melting versus greenland and antarctica. To top it off we have POTUS telling us science ‘doesn’t know’
    ps Ginsberg will be replaced by someone to the right of craig kelly look out roe vs wade

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