Election off to bad start, but Sex Party supports clean energy

Election off to bad start, but Sex Party supports clean energy

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Turnbull and the Coalition duck and dodge on climate and clean energy at start of election campaign. So which voting result will be the best outcome for renewables, and what chances are there for the return of the progressive Turnbull last seen in a leather jacket on the Q&A program?

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The 2016 election campaign got off to a bad start, even before it was officially declared.

In its budget presentation last Tuesday, the Coalition government gave no mention of climate change or clean energy, despite banking on its theme of “innovation”, a nimble and agile Australia and a “new economy”.

When the campaign was finally launched, Turnbull – the man who said he would never lead a party that didn’t take climate change seriously – saw no reason to correct the record.

By Monday, the first day of the campaign, the man voted in at least partly because he could speak in whole sentences, was reduced to one and two-word exclamations: “More jobs ….. growth …. Australia,” I heard him say on ABC radio.

Things actually did get worse. The budget contained no additional funding for the government’s emissions buy-back program, just confirmation that it intends to strip $1.3 billion from the legislated budget of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.

Later that week, it emerged that the Climate Change Authority – the pesky institution that the Coalition had tried to abolish, but which has now been stacked with Coalition appointees – had decided to censor itself and delay two key reports until after the poll.

There is good reason for this. On Friday, environment minister Greg Hunt hailed a government-commissioned report from Energetics that purported to say Australia could reach its 2030 emission reduction targets by 2030.

Actually, it said that those targets could be reached only if the current Direct Action policies were scaled up significantly.

This would have been a point made by the CCA, whose leaked report suggested that the government would need a carbon price – at least in the form of a baseline and credit scheme evolving from the yet to be instigated “safeguards mechanism” within Direct Action.


foyster direct action

There should be no surprise in this. The policy was designed by Danny Price, the head of frontier Economics, now CCA board member, and architect of the Coalition’s Direct Action.

The only problem for the Coalition is that this is pretty much the policy adopted by Labor, and which Hunt and Turnbull have ridiculed as nothing more than another great big “electricity tax”.

Hunt cartoonAnd just for good measure, it also emerged that Hunt had approved the Carmichael coal mine because there was no evidence it would add to global emissions or global warming. Must be somebody’s else’s coal mine.

Labor fared a little better, but not much. At least Bill Shorten mentioned climate changes (twice) and solar and battery storage (once each) in his budget reply.

And then Labor confirmed that it, too, would scrap most of the funding from ARENA – the country’s most successful clean energy mechanism of the past decade – on the basis of what it deemed to be sub-standard media releases from the NGO community. Fortunately, it re-opened the door for ARENA after deciding that putting renewable energy advocates offside at the start of an election campaign may not be such a bright idea.

These budget speeches are important, because in the absence of other fora, and in the context of the upcoming poll, they are the nearest Australian politicians have to a State of the Union address in the US.

And for real leadership on climate change and clean energy, you only have to read the transcript of Barack Obama’s SOTUs (the Americans love acronyms) of the last two years.

“Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power,” Obama said.

“On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal — in jobs that pay better than average.”

And then: “We’ve got to accelerate the transition away from old, dirtier energy sources. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels.

“We do them no favor when we don’t show them where the trends are going. That’s why I’m going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet.”

The only politicians in Australia prepared to go as far as Obama, and for that matter leaders of many other economies, are the Greens, both past leaders and present. But in Australia, their policies are considered by the political and media elite to be extreme.

When Turnbull was forced to talk about climate and clean energy on Monday, at a news conference, he borrowed the same arguments from the Abbott era: Labor’s renewable energy target is “extraordinarily high”; Australia should not lead the world  in emissions reduction (no danger in that); Labor’s measures would impose a “huge cost” on Australians.

The Climate Institute issued a quick “face check” putting some of Turnbull’s assertions about the mechanisms and goals of the Paris climate agreement in a more truthful context.

So what are the potential outcomes of the election and the implications for climate and clean energy policy?

The polls are split, and so are the pundits. There seems little alternative, at this stage, to a narrow win for either party. But what would that mean?

A narrow win for Turnbull?

This is probably, marginally, the most likely outcome, given that there are nearly 20 seats to be lost; and it is a fearful one for the climate and clean energy sector. Turnbull has shown no interest in ditching the Abbott policies he once derided. With a small majority, Turnbull will remain beholden to the far right, whose numbers will be boosted by a host of new additions, with ex-Institute of Public Affairs policy advisors Tim Wilson and James Patterson, to name just two.

A narrow win for Labor?

This appears to be the best chance of a good outcome for climate and clean energy policies, particularly if Labor are forced to rely on the Greens for passage of policy. The Greens can help Labor stick to their rhetoric with actual policy, as they did for the Gillard government.

A landslide for Turnbull?

The election result that was predicted when Turnbull first became PM might also have been good for climate and clean energy. Under this scenario – featuring the progressive Malcolm Turnbull whose last confirmed sighting was in a leather jacket on the panel of ABC TV’s Q&A program – the far right would be relegated to a bit player without voting leverage, and Turnbull would have a mandate to do what he always said he would do: get serious about climate change.

Now, he seems more beholden than ever to the right wing, who have made it clear that they are quite prepared to create their own party if they don’t get their way. The leather jacket may still exist, but circumstances mean that progressive Malcolm has become an anachronism.

There is, though, another option. The Australian Sex Party also supports clean energy.

Find more Greg Foyster cartoons here: 

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  1. suthnsun 4 years ago

    The Abbott Crazies forming their own party plus Greens putting in a strong showing, sounds like the best option if we can get that manipulated..electoral annihilation for the Libs and a Labour Green coalition.

  2. Chris Fraser 4 years ago

    So the three word slogans have now devolved into two word slogans …. save us. We look forward to voting for puppets based on hidden meanings in their monosyllables, gestures and grunts.

    • solarguy 4 years ago

      Well Chris that’s how LIBERALS communicate. Coal ummmmm goooodddd.

      • Chris Fraser 4 years ago

        If they could just get those knuckles off the ground …

        • solarguy 4 years ago

          Yes, we don’t want them to grab any more low hanging cash.

  3. Colin Nicholson 4 years ago

    If the sex party just renamed themselves the “labor of love party” they’d be a shoein

    • JohnRD 4 years ago

      Love it Collin.

  4. Cooma Doug 4 years ago

    So Mal has Tony sacked with his fancy words about the exciting times. It made me think of Mr Squiggle. Such an elegant voice creating pictures that we can only guess, all the while controlled by a hand we just cant see.

    This is indeed the feeling we will have poised over the voting paper, no idea what picture he has install for us. This is not a vote winner. Im sure if I had to wait 55 days
    before squiggles become clear, I would watch Snoopy instead.

  5. solarguy 4 years ago

    Ah yes, the old withhold the Climate Report trick , until after the election, hey Greg. Shit, you wouldn’t like the punters out there in voter land to know, that you will have bring in an ETS because our direct action plan, that is sucking money out of voters for even more pollution and by killing our solar industry by a thousand cuts isn’t working.
    The choice is clearer than ever boys and girls. Get rid of the COALalition.

  6. howardpatr 4 years ago

    Seems little chance of Cayman Turnbull giving up on the Mad Monk Abbott policies in this area – unless he becomes desperate and thinks he has to change course so he and Lucy can retain “power”.

  7. john 4 years ago

    I hardly think the Sex Party is going to have any clout period.
    Yes Malcolm has not exactly been able to do anything having been elected as the leader of the Liberal Party in its present make up.
    If his party gets elected, i fully expect that a change in direction will be made.
    If he does not succeed I fully expect the Liberals to go into the shelter of total dismal deriding of any forward movement toward being a liberal party but a backward emulation of a party denied its rightful place as leaders of society.
    The IPA policy will as it has been be even more inforced as the savior of the country because; well we lost the election because we did not implement these policies.
    When a political party has policies that are not palatable they go into denial just like citizens and think it is because we did not do more, because we believe these policies are the best.

    As to the election my personal thoughts are these perhaps the Liberals will scrape in, but not have a majority in the Senate.

    It has nothing to do with policies it has to do with projection and to most Malcolm does project well.

  8. MaxG 4 years ago

    Crime against the environment and humanity… these LNP clowns should be lined up and shot!

    • john 4 years ago

      Max old mate bit harsh

      • solarguy 4 years ago

        John, “shot with shit until their dead and dirty” that’s what should have said. LOL

      • MaxG 4 years ago

        Imagine this little slide show that went spontaneously through my head:
        The Nuremberg trials (pause)
        The tobacco company directors line up in court sworn claiming that tobacco does not cause cancer. (pause)
        Exxon files showing that they knew since the mid 60’s burning of fossil fuels causes climate change. (pause)
        A news paper clip from 100 years ago, stating that ‘burning coal causes climate change’. (pause)
        97% of scientists agree on ‘climate change’ is happening. (pause)
        … then look at the fools in Canberra, in positions, where you would expect wise men wanting to lead and advance their nation, and all you see are under-educated, self-righteous, thick as a brick bastard, running the nation down, dismantling assets and achievement of the public, filling their own pockets.
        I am with solarguy, because even bullets would be an expense I would not waste on them.

  9. Alan S 4 years ago

    Following the closure of Port Augusta’s Northern coal fired power station, Danny Price was on Adelaide radio today with dire predictions of escalating retail costs for electricity due to renewables. He wasn’t fazed when it was pointed out to him by the presenter that the bulk of cost increases have been due to infrastructure spending.

    • solarguy 4 years ago

      Just watched Q&A the Libs were saying SA power prices were up because of RE and were also Australia wide for the same reason. No mention of course, that the last coal fired plant had shut because RE has done them all out of business.
      I wanted to jump through the screen and choke Kelly O’Dwyer and that other toffy nosed twat. And they have the gall to call Julia a fibber.

      • Alan S 4 years ago

        You’re not alone. Did they also point out that the Sun doesn’t shine at night or that turbines don’t generate when the wind doesn’t blow? Childish stuff.

        These mindless mantras need to be ridiculed at every opportunity by restating the facts. These should include the downward trend in wholesale prices and their proportion of retail price. This is well explained on the website http://www.aemc.gov.au.

  10. JeffJL 4 years ago

    So, I just took the time to look at the platform and policies of the Australian Sex Party. In current terms they are very close to the Greens. Worth a look.

  11. Brian Tehan 4 years ago

    The current NEM graph is interesting. It shows that, currently, SA is generating most of their power requirements from wind and Tasmania very little. Imagine if Tasmania, the windiest state in Australia, had half of the wind that SA has – they would be generating all of their power from renewables and conserving some of their hydro, at this point in time. If Basslink was running, they could be earning income by exporting to Victoria – and they would be creating employment in a state with high unemployment.
    We’re missing out on great opportunities with such short sighted governments.

  12. onesecond 4 years ago

    Vote Green. Their government really helped to kickstart the German economy by creating future industries, when they were in power. Now we have the conservatives again, and although they are saying that they support renewables, they roll their deployment back, support legacy coal plants and let Volkswagen and other diesel car makers cheat, slowly eroding our thriving economy the Greens helped create.

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