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Tony Abbott’s great, big backward slow bicycle race to nowhere.

Monster man-baby, “stable genius”, Donald Trump stacks another tantrum this week, wiping billions off the New York Stock Exchange and rattling world financial markets by upping the ante in his futile trade war with China.

Baby Donald is spooked by the imminent release of James Comey’s tome, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, an exposé of “never-before-told experiences from some of the highest-stakes situations of his career”.

Even a man-child fake president can sense a lose-lose situation. Former FBI Director Comey’s book’s topped Amazon’s bestseller list weeks before its 17 April publication. It’s very title is a shot at The Donald.

On another unwinnable front, Trump cracks down on border control, dispatching

National Guardsmen to the US-Mexico border. It never worked for Barack Obama or George W Bush.

But many down under will cheer – especially Tony Abbott who has even travelled to London to preach John Howard’s Pacific Solution and the militarisation of compassion to world leaders. He tells them to wake up to themselves and punish illegals in offshore gulags if they are to deter the demon people-smuggler, stop drownings at sea, deter jihadists, soldiers of the caliphate intent on mayhem or face extinction as a nation by invasion.

Delighted also will also be Il Duce Dutton who is in The Guardian in a couple of sugar-puff pieces this week where he puts himself forward as a man of principle who dismisses as “token” the efforts of countries to re-settle the current numbers of displaced persons. The UN Refugee Convention 1951 ought to be revised, he reckons, to see more refugee camps set up. Not only does Dutto deal well with dissent, he doesn’t muck around with practicality.

Nor humanity. Nor is there a hint of awareness we helped cause the refugee problem with our eager participation, for example, in the illegal invasion of Iraq where half a million were killed and 4.4 million internally displaced. 265,000 were forced to seek refuge abroad. It’s part of Dutto’s run-up to be the nation’s next Prime Minister.

Naturally, like ScoMo, or Dutto, or Turnbull or any other Coalition MPs up on their hind legs braying abuse in Question Time, Trump bags his political opponents, The Democrats, for being soft on border protection.

And on China. China will retaliate over Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports? He’ll see that bid- and raise it. He adds another $100 billion. The Chinese reply with a list of mainly agricultural commodities hurting “places where Trump supporters are to be found” with a focus on key U.S. industries, two of which — soybeans and cars — are concentrated in states Trump won.

The Washington Post reports the conservative Brookings Institute economist Mark Muro and analyst Jacob Whiton’s calculations that, if China goes ahead with its threat, jobs and industries in 2,783 U.S. counties would be directly impacted. 82 percent of voters in these place cast their ballot for Trump.

Whilst Trump chortles that “trade wars are easy to win”, expert consensus is that his war can only hurt US  businesses, farmers and workers whose profits and livelihoods depend in part on commerce with China.

The war’s going well so far. The New York Times notes wryly, that’s probably why the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index falls more than 2 percent on Friday. The DOW closes down 572 points wiping off all the gains of the week.

Aides take to Fox News, the attention-deficient Trump’s sole source of information, in a last-ditch bid to brief him.

As a Minister indulged by John Howard, Tony Abbott never read his briefs either. Junkyard dogs don’t need to be great readers. Tony’s tops on slogans and boats and coal or as chief white-ant of his terminally unpopular PM.

A self-professed liar, now he’s into epic re-invention. He convenes a Coalition “ginger-group”, as their Field Marshall Peta Credlin calls her fatuous former boss and his vacuous band of Turnbull-haters, namely Deputy PM, Barnababy Joyce, Kevin Andrews, Eric Abetz, Craig Kelly plus 20-30 dodgy ring-ins who sign a piece of paper with a pic of John Monash on it – a veritable toolkit of short-attention spanners- who are out to wreak havoc.

Credlin has the perfect metaphor for the Turnbull government, etymologically. To ginger up comes from an old practice of inserting ginger into the anus of a broken-down nag to make it look lively, a horse dealer’s trick recorded from the late 18th Century.

Bugger the ginger. If the broken down Turnbull government were a horse, you’d take it out the back and shoot it.

More recently, however, “ginger group” has come to mean a party or faction which presses for stronger action on some issue. There, alas, the metaphor breaks down. Abbott’s unhappy band may be a whinge of collective resentment and self-pity but they want no change at all. Or even less than none.

Like most conservatives and all climate change deniers, theirs is a slow bicycle ride to nowhere; an inevitable, irrevocable riding for a fall. No-one can tell a reactionary that pedalling backwards is no solution at all – although Going Nowhere Slowly Backwards or Backpedal with Mal could be ripper slogans next election for them.

Led (astray) by Oz-politics’ own enfant terrible, Tony Abbott, The Monash Forum, as they grandly style themselves, hop on their bikes to sell coal to the Latrobe Valley. The Lycra lads’ leader takes his annual Pollie Pedal charity ride through the Latrobe Valley where he’ll raise money for charities supporting cancer victims while promoting noxious, highly carcinogenic coal-burning power stations and an industry with an appalling safety record.

Abbott’s bike is worth far more than he is and could conceivably do a better job as a prime ministerial aspirant. In 2013, he was featured getting fitted out for a personalised Cannondale, a snip at $6000. That’s about six months’ Newstart payments for the many jobless in the Latrobe Valley but it’s guaranteed to be a talking point and just another way in which the former Riverview boy will have a chance to bond with the community.

Or he could talk about his need to upgrade his act: Monday, he’s pictured holding up a Baum Corretto priced at $11,425 AUD, full package, a bicycle with a titanium frame.

They’ll be just passing through, but 900,000 Australians in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria live dangerously close to coal-fired power stations that cause asthma and respiratory illnesses and increase the likelihood of stroke and heart attack, Environmental Justice Australia reported in Toxic and terminal: How the regulation of coal-fired power stations fails Australian communities August last year. (1)

Coal-fired power stations emit more than 30 toxic substances and are Australia’s biggest source of fine particles (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).

“Fine particle pollution exposure (alone) is responsible for 1,590 premature deaths each year in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth,” says EJA lawyer and co-author Nicola Rivers.

But there’s more. The push bike-putsch to topple Turnbull threatens also to renege on The NEG, the Coalition’s National Energy Guarantee, which is neither national nor a guarantee but a ploy to keep coal “in the mix” – even though it’s supposed to be all signed and sealed. Policy-free Energy and Environment Minister, Josh, The Hopelessly Conflicted, Frydenberg lamely attempts to con ABC Insiders, Sunday, that it has party room approval.

The NEG’s a cynical appeal to a coal industry-backed party of reality deniers who take refuge in industry spin that burning coal is a cheaper, more reliable means of electricity generation than wind or solar. Another Liberal Party statutory buck-passing busybody, NEG’s an emperor with no clothes; a powerless power authority.

The NEG does nothing for emissions, less for investment in renewables, and, Giles Parkinson argues, “creates a scheme of such complexity it would likely push up prices and reinforce the power of incumbent utilities”.

Now Abbott wants us all to know that “party room assent” for The Neg is just more Turnbull-dust – but that’s not his main game. His stunt is to snipe at Turnbull, who is a dead, buried and cremated man walking.

“Life is not fair” Abbott whinges, in a doleful drop to the Sunday Telegraph, in which he demands his colleagues explain why he was dropped as Prime Minister, after only 30 consecutive News Poll failures. It’s a mystery. Appearing on TV a lot apparently will help solve it. Above all, it’s somebody else’s fault, Abbott wails:

“As for that particular metric, that was not my metric and it is for others to explain the rhyme or the reason in it. “

Tony, The Incredible Sulk, is rivalled in the annals of infantilism in our nation’s political pathology only by Burka warrior Pauline Hanson’s considered opinion that the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games is “disgusting” by featuring a twenty-minute segment of indigenous performers. Alan Jones says so, too.

“Our country is not based on the Aboriginals. Our country is what it is because of the migrants that have become here,” Senator Hanson says. She may well have her family and Tony Abbott or Eric Abetz in mind.

Despite its lycra disguise, Abbott’s rat-pack wants to topple Turnbull by rebelling as the News Poll is in the field, on the eve of his thirtieth successive News Poll failure. When added to Abbott’s own desperate lack of appeal, this tots up to a stunning sixty in a row – despite Tony’s masterful, casuist’s quibble that it’s only fifty-nine.

Instead of Mal’s Rats, the Bicycle Push cunningly dubs themselves The Monash Forum and circulate a piece of paper with little else than a big photograph of the great general and Latrobe Valley electrifier. That way it’s easy to con their colleagues into signing up to their cause.

It’s such a cunning wheeze, yet in man-baby fashion they’ve been thinking only of themselves. No-one’s run the stunt past the Monash family. It’s outraged by the scoundrels. And justifiably so.

Great grandson, Mark Durre, takes to ABC Radio, on behalf of seven descendants, to decry the appropriation of the Monash name for what he generously calls the “anti-science and anti-intellectual” approach of the so-called Monash Forum and their promotion of technologies from the “horse and buggy era”.

Arguing convincingly his great grandpa would have been all for solar and wind today, Durre upbraids Abbott.

“At the very least it was discourteous to use it without informing us,” his family statement says.

“More than that, we disassociate ourselves specifically from the forum’s use of the Monash name to give their anti-science and anti-intellectual argument an air of authority and we ask that they withdraw the name.”

Abbott has made it known that the name will stay and so, too, will his greater insult to the Australian nation, the proposal that the government fund a coal-fired power station, a proposal so antithetical to the party of free enterprise and so ignorant of market, let alone environmental realities, that even Scott Morrison, the clown who brought a lump of coal into parliament, a prop, granted, more eloquent than he could ever be, slaps Abbott down.

Abbott’s Monash Forum is hermetically sealed against science or economics. Their coal-worship creed includes the myth that electricity generated by you-beaut, state of the art, modern coal-fired power stations is cheaper than wind farms and large-scale solar. New coal power stations abound all around the world, they lie.

There’s hundreds being built?

No. At most, it may be 150. And they are not cheap. Morrison, the old coal warrior, pulls Abbott up on this,

“It is false to think that a new coal-fired power station will generate electricity at the same price as old coal-fired power stations,” Morrison says. “… it would likely be double the price of existing coal generation.”

No. Not even close, ScoMo. A new coal-fired generator would be twice your estimates of $70-80/MWh. Bloomberg New Energy Finance puts it at $130/MW, at the very least. And no-one’s factoring environmental costs and health risks to those who are forced to live within a 100km radius of the power station smokestack. The underlying reality is that the new HELE – high efficiency, low emission coal plants are only marginally less toxic than the old.

HELE plants use steam at a higher pressure which gives them a small boost in thermal efficiency. Simon Holmes a Court has compiled a table in which he compares our four HELE stations with the fourteen old clunkers such as Liddell which, bizarrely, the government wants to force the AGL, the owner, to sell to a Chinese-owned company, ALINTA.

It’s a flip-flop but then, as Richard Ackland says, Turnbull is the type of man who often meets himself going around corners.

Australian power stations fitted with ‘Clean Coal’ technology, Holmes a Court concludes, emit 9.95% less pollution than stations burning the same fuel with regular sub-critical technology.

Tony’s pushing it uphill if he thinks he can take us all for a ride on coal even with the backing of the industry itself, finally because – largely due to his generosity to the largely foreign-owned power companies – the price of electricity has risen so high so fast that all his carbon tax removal reductions and his claims of cheaper power destroy any vestige of credibility he may once have had with the ignorant and uninformed.

Australian residential electricity consumers now pay the highest prices in the world.  We pay two to three times more than US households. When the Eastern states’ National Electricity Market was set up in the late 1990s, Australia had the lowest retail prices in the world along with the United States and Canada.

It’s another good talking point on your tour through Moe, Morwell and Churchill, Tony. Most of the locals would just love to hear how you helped make an essential utility and basic household necessity into a luxury item.

Onya bike Abbott. Beneath your embrace of coal lies a contempt not only for science but for your fellow citizens, their health and their environment. You don’t care enough about anyone else to bother with any science. You’re the antithesis of Monash who made looking after his men a priority. Little wonder the family is horrified.

Fine if you want to lead (or mislead) your fellow reality deniers on a slow bicycle race to nowhere or you’re busting to backstab Malcolm but don’t waste our time spreading your coal lobby propaganda and your dangerous lies.

================================

Footnote (1)

  1. Coal-fired power stations emit more than 30 toxic substances and are Australia’s biggest source of fine particles (PM2.5), sulphur dioxide (SO2) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx).
  2. These substances cause and contribute to asthma, lung cancer, heart attacks, stroke, respiratory disease, headaches and nausea in nearby communities.
  3. In most cases emissions limits in Australia are much more lax than those in the US, EU and China.
  4. Mercury limits for some NSW power stations are 666 times higher than the US limits.
  5. Pollution reduction technologies that have been available for many years and are used overseas could significantly reduce power station emissions but are not in use in Australia.
  6. New coal-fired power stations, even those described as ‘ultra-super critical’ or ‘HELE’ (high efficiency, low emission) only marginally reduce toxic emissions
  7. A representative of Yallourn power station admitted that at times of excessive pollution it ‘simplified’ its reporting by stating it was emitting at levels that correspond with its licence.
  8. Despite much evidence of failure to comply with pollution licence conditions, no power station in Victoria, NSW or Queensland has been prosecuted for any offence in the past ten years (instead they have been issued with inadequate penalty notices).

From (EJA) Environmental Justice Australia’s August 2017 report:


22 comments

  1. David Bruce

    Australian politics and politicians have become a laughing stock to the developing countries in our region. While they are happy to take our aid money, they don’t want anything to do with our policy “guidelines”, pigeon-drop ministerial visits and our uncle Tom attitudes!

  2. LOVO

    Great article David, what a wonderful week we have ahead of us, 🚵 Tony no snipe has said he won’t run, party loyalty and all that 😆 . ..seeing as he has a history of saying one thing and doing the exact opposite, one wonders what tomorrow might bring…one, also, wonders if Malconnect is still having fun…anyhoo, must run, I’ve got a batch of popcorn on..😉

  3. Cool Pete

    Fantastic article. Mind you, if der Fuhrer Wannabe Dutton does have a go at being leader, we are screwed! What we’d like Chief Dickhead Botty to do is Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo Oscar Foxtrot Foxtrot and when he gets there, Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo Oscar Foxtrot Foxtrot, once more. And we’d like der Fuhrer Wannabe Dutton to take Poo Lean with him and do the same.

  4. ace Jones

    The ‘Ginger Group’ is all about arseholes

  5. Kaye Lee

    Latest facebook post by Craig Kelly

    “COINCIDENCE ?

    We bash away on energy for a few days (making it the main political issue of the week), trying to explain;

    how subsidising ‘renewables’ and closing coal-fired power stations makes electricity prices more expensive,
    that we need new latest technology coal-fired power stations to replace those that have closed (and are planning to close in the years to come),
    that around the world there are hundreds of new coal-fired plants under construction that want to use Australian coal to deliver low cost energy to their people,
    that coal-fired power is many times cheaper than solar/wind backed up with batteries/gas/pumped hydro,
    that green rent-seekers bullies are misleading and deceiving the public to line their own pockets,
    that we are fighting to keep Liddell open, while Labor/Greens are happy to see it close,
    that Bill Shorten’s policy is to copy the failed South Australian experiment of 50% Renewable Energy Target, a policy that delivered the highest electricity prices in the world,

    And we get a 2% BOUNCE IN OUR PRIMARY VOTE – AND WE ARE BACK TO 50/50 when those polled asked how they would allocate their preferences.

    Just imagine what would happen if we all fought for lower electric prices in Australia, by taking on the noisy green rent-seeking bullies and exposing their lies – and we did that everyday for the next 12 months ?”

    https://www.facebook.com/CraigKellyMP/

  6. Shutterbug

    An utterly brilliantly observant article David, up to and including The Graun’s puff pieces on Spud Duddy Dutton which, incidentally, have removed The Graun from any semblance of rationality.
    Regarding Chimp Ears Abbott’s anti-science dummy spits, all I can add is that with friends like him, who needs enemas?

  7. johno

    Not quite sure what green rent seeking bullies are, but then there is plenty I am not sure about with politics and economics.

  8. David Tyler

    Thanks Kaye Lee. Worst thing I’ve read all week. 🙂 You are to be admired for braving Kelly’s Facebook page.
    All the lies the coal lobby pays for Kelly to reproduce plus his own inane nonsense that there’s any bounce in the primary vote or anything caused by voters’ joy at having a 100 year old energy policy as Liberals try to revert to the horse and buggy era.
    Craig Kelly ought to be the subject of legal action for false and misleading advertising in his impossibly false promise of lower power prices plus dereliction of duty in his role as backbench bumpkin- stooge in his “chairing: his government’s energy and environment committee. In part by regularly publishing potentially harmful disinformation.
    And the person or firm he pays to do his Facebook for him.

  9. Barry Thompson.

    “The incredible sulk”. Love it!

  10. Kaye Lee

    David,

    Every now and then I pop over to remind Craig about his maiden speech in parliament….

    “I consider myself an environmentalist. As our cities and roads become more and more congested, I am concerned about the health effects from fine particulate matter in diesel exhaust, as studies in California show that diesel exhaust leads to 9,000 premature deaths annually. That is why I oppose Labor’s intermodal freight terminal at Moorebank.”

    He’s worried about fine particulate matter…..but only in his own electorate

  11. Kaye Lee

    Kelly is such a fool.

    His previous post was “NEW AIRPORT RUNWAY FOR DROWNING MALDIVES” where he links to an article by John Delingpole (an absolute nutter) and adds the following comment….

    “As Delingpole notes, since the ‘science is settled’, the expansion of the airport must be a public-spirited gesture by donor nations so the Maldives’ population of 400,000 can be evacuated as quickly as possible with their luggage by air before the islands are finally inundated by climate change induced rising sea levels.”

    Apart from the juvenile nature of Kelly’s observation, he neglects to mention the massive land reclamation works being undertaken where they are building a 3m high wall around the island. He also fails to mention the deleterious effect of all that dredging combined with ocean warming and acidification on their coral reefs. Or the problem of groundwater tables and changing monsoonal rainfall. They are already reliant on desalination plants and bottled water to supplement rainfall.

  12. diannaart

    Would love to be a fly on the wall when the “Incredible Sulk” provides relevant advice on Australia’s Border Protection program,

    “First surround your country with oceans of water …”

    …….

    Another poll with Labor winning, except why is Turnbull STILL preferred PM? Anyone explain that to me?

    …….

    Next time some neo-con craps on about Libs so-called superior economic management, reply by pointing out Libs cannot nation build a tent let alone govern for Australia,

    Sooooo sick of Labor described as poor economic managers, Labor actually tries to do something, which may not be a lot but is light-years from what the Libs don”t get around to doing.

    …….

    Craig Kelly is …

    … Time for a cuppa …

  13. guest

    Reading this brilliant indictment of the Turnbull government by David Tyler, I realise how unjustly Whitlam was sacked for less.

  14. John O'Callaghan

    Exellent piece of writing David,it’s almost like reading Alice In Wonderland except it’sTony In Blunderland!

  15. Terry2

    As noted on Insiders yesterday the gingering from which Ginger Group may a have drawn its name is an old horse-handlers trick (recorded from the late 18th century). To make a broken-down animal look lively, by applying an irritant, such as raw ginger, to its anus also … “to ginger up.”

    Probably what the Monash Muppets had in mind for Tony when they formed their group 🙂

  16. Kaye Lee

    David,

    As I mentioned to John Lord, the Coalition did win a few Newspolls after Turnbull took over so it wasn’t 60 losses in a row.

  17. David Tyler

    They did. I was not trying to mislead. Adding the two sets of consecutive failures would have been a clumsier but technically more accurate way of expressing the astonishing unpopularity of the two Liberal Prime Ministers. Yet few if any in the party seem to heed the message. It’s not about picking a more attractive captain, it’s about your whole team. The party remains rooted in an atavistic view of Australia, heavily over promoted by John Howard that today’s nation is essentially conservative. I see no evidence of that.
    In Crikey today, for example, Guy Rundle argues convincingly that since 2007 the Australian electorate has shifted Centre-left. The Liberals have failed utterly to acknowledge any change. As with climate change. Or education. Or energy. Or just about any policy area, really.

    Here’s a brief quotation.

    The Turnbull hypothesis (it’s the leader’s fault) is the story being relentlessly spruiked by the right to cover up a greater truth: since 2007, a working majority of the population has been centre-left shifted, believing in a moderately proactive state, a notion of social “fairness”, and is sceptical of free-market and neoliberal approaches to social change.
    https://www.crikey.com.au/2018/04/09/turnbull-isnt-the-problem/

    Or if Dutton is their answer, they are asking the wrong question (s).

  18. Rossleigh

    As I keep pointing out, talking about an opinion poll bounce is meaningless when you only use one or two polls as the basis. Based on a margin of error of two percent, a single poll could show a one percent improvement to one party and it could actually have gone backwards by one percent if the whole population were surveyed. Newspoll claims that it has a two and half percent margin of error.
    All polls show is a trend, and it’s pretty clear that the trend for Malcolm is not pretty.

  19. David Tyler

    Agree, Rossleigh and being fixated on a single poll such as Newspoll as MSM insists ignores the wisdom of wider sampling and the inherent limitation of pollsters such as Newspoll who only use landlines. How many young people have those? If we are to pick and choose we could note, as Greg Jericho does, the Liberal party has now lost 77 consecutive Essential Media polls – since July 2016.
    The trend is that Turnbull is toast – and the Liberals are working hard at making themselves increasingly less credible, more remote and more repugnant to an electorate that is not entirely composed of businessmen and corporations with their hands out for a tax cut.
    In fact, despite Morrison’s denial, “Coalition” policy has dramatically accelerated economic inequality and helped reshape the world of work for most Australians into something that is increasingly a part-time, poorly paid, insecure treadmill of underemployment.
    Add in the war on the poor, especially the cruel and unjust Robo-debt which Christian Porter has insisted is working perfectly. Bribing the middle class with income tax cuts isn’t going to fool the electorate into believing that the government even remotely has their best interests at heart.

  20. Harry

    HELE: High Emissions Low Efficiency.

    To be more fair- slightly lower emissions and slightly higher efficiency.

  21. Max Gross

    “The Incredible Sulk”! Mr Taylor, sir! You are a legend!

  22. Andrew Smith

    Newscorp/Murdoch employee Judith Sloan did article on conservative Catallaxy blog informing readers that Monash and/or descendents deserve no sympathy because he had mistresses and/or affairs hence justifying the use of Monash’s name; the below the line comments take it further…..

    http://catallaxyfiles.com/2018/04/07/john-monash-oo-la-la/#comments

    Don’t ever let anyone tell you that many Australians can only view the world through a WASP lens of 1930s Europe and USA…

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