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August 15th 2018 print

Peter O'Brien

No, Tony, Real Lemmings are Smarter

The PM has won a party room victory and must now run his NEG through the grinding mill of Bill Shorten's opposition and the premiers, most of them fearful of offending greenists and apt to act accordingly. Liberals who backed him won't find too many volunteers to hand out their how-to-votes

PM and hubby IIIf there was ever any doubt the parliamentary Liberal Party is populated with, as Tony Abbott described them, suicidal “lemmings”, Malcolm Turnbull’s success in winning support for his NEG madness has dispelled it once and for all.  Forget about that quaint notion of “principle”, which hasn’t been in evidence for quite some time, and notice instead a party so brain dead its elected members can’t even recognise self-interest as a mainspring of rational action.

What they have done, to put it in the most simple terms, is back a policy that will now be filtered and modified by the demands of state premiers to whom Turnbull will be obliged to defer if he hopes ever to go before the cameras and claim with that patented supercilious grin that his NEG has carried the day. It won’t be his NEG by that stage. What sort of a “conservative” leader places his destiny in the hands of Laborites?

One of the green left’s faithful auxilliaries, the Climate Council and the renewables rent-seekers that body represents, has already charted Turnbull’s course for him.

“The National Energy Guarantee has been trimmed, pulled, poked and prodded to the point that we are now left with a weak and inadequate policy that fails across the board, especially when it comes to effectively tackling climate change,” says the Climate Council’s Greg Bourne.

“We will now have to double-down on cutting greenhouse gas pollution in sectors like transport and agriculture in order to protect Australians from worsening extreme weather events,” he said (emphasis added).

Now consider what this means in Victoria, to cite but one example, where the Labor government of Premier Dan Andrews is beside itself with fear the Greens will snatch its inner-city seats. This was one of the factors behind its decision to shutter the Hazelwood coal-fired plant and remove at a stroke 25% of the state’s generating capacity, a decision made even to the detriment of its Trades Hall allies and union members. It also inspired the billion-dollar cost of scrapping the East-West tunnel. Apparently Greens believe their kids do best when inhaling the exhaust fumes of cars crawling bumper-to-bumper through traffic-stalled streets. You don’t need many brains to be green; they take any ninny who applies.

Malcom Turnbull, master negotiator? In a pig’s eye.

The NEG comprises one piece of Federal legislation (to lock in a CO2 emissions reduction target of 26% for the electricity sector, as the Climate Council so quickly noted) and eight notional pieces of state/territory legislation.  The latter, presumably, will have to be exact images of each other.  Good luck maintaining that over time, particularly if Greens gain the balance of power situation in any of those legislatures.

What will Labor do? It might decide to block the legislation at the federal level and rely on Tony Abbott and a few others crossing the floor in order to inflict maximum embarrassment on Turnbull. This would accord with its first, go-for-the-throat instincts, but the more realistic expectation has to be that minds possessed of more political nous than the prime minister, who has demonstrated he has none whatsoever, will play a longer game. Such a move would inevitably mean the demise of Turnbull as leader. Why would Labor wish to see the ouster of its greatest electoral asset, the empty suit (empty leather jacket when appearing on Q&A) who is at 38 negative Newspolls and counting?

What Labor would prefer is that the emissions reduction target be subject to regulation rather than legislation, meaning they can easily ramp it up to 50% after they win the next election.  But the really hard work would have already been done for them by the states. If Abbott and others do cross the floor, Turnbull will have to negotiate with Shorten, which will inevitably result in legislation much more amenable to Labor and its demands.

Will those conservative Liberals who “have reserved their position” really cross the floor?  I’m confident Abbott will do so if push comes to shove, and I’d like to think Abetz and Andrews will join him.  What have they got to lose?  Hastie is the interesting one.  On Tuesday’s Bolt Report he was unequivocal: he could not, and would not, support what he termed the “loss of sovereignty” involved in legislating what was supposed to be a voluntary target.

Let’s examine the two most likely scenarios:

1/ Labor decides to oppose the NEG. Abbott & Co. cross the floor and kill the NEG, taking down Turnbull at the same time. The Coalition would need a new leader. They might not choose Abbott (although, in my view, they’d be crazy not to) and quite probably wouldn’t. How would, say, Corangamite’s Sarah Henderson square the part she played in the Turnbull coup with backing Lord Treachery’s resurrected victim?

The Coalition would also need a new approach to climate change in general, the electricity sector in particular. That approach must necessarily include withdrawal from the Paris Agreement and general repudiation of the CAGW myth. Whether that move would foil the impending Labor victory is moot, but it would mean the Coalition fighting the election on a platform they can live with in the longer term — a position that would not be Labor Lite.

2/ Labor decides to accept Turnbull’s generous offer to shape the NEG’s terms as the price of getting it through. There is no spill, Abbott & Co., remain on the outer — and with them whatever chance the Liberals had of shifting the political centre back to where the traditional base feels comfortable. By the way, Labor still wins the next election.

Meanwhile, I wonder when the commentariat will look beyond the NEG to see what lies ahead.  Do they really understand what is going on?  Here in today’s Australian, the editorial describes the NEG as (emphasis added)

…a scheme to mandate and manage reductions in carbon emissions in our electricity sector to meet the nation’s Paris target.

That’s just not true, as the Climate Council has already confirmed.  Our Paris commitments don’t stop at the electricity sector; indeed, that is only where they begin.  Electricity accounts for just 30% of Australian emissions. So even after the NEG has destroyed our competitiveness and condemned us to ever costlier and more unreliable power, there will still be plenty more for the green ideologues to wreck.

Cull the national herd to eliminate farting cows and bring agriculture into line with Gaia’s alleged needs? Count on it. Punitive taxes and fees on trucking and private vehicles to dissuade their use? We should all be eating locally grown food anyway, say the greenists. Absurd as they may seem, they are no more ridiculous than a nation blessed with the natural advantage of immense reserves of coal and gas having so stupidly saddled itself with some of the world’s very highest energy prices.

I’d bet most Australians don’t recognise the electricity sector is but the low-hanging fruit, the first grab in what will be an ongoing and escalating assault on Australia’s potential, prospects and prosperity. And here is where I scratch my head: polls consistently show a significant number of voters in favour of higher prices if it allows us to meet our Paris target. It’s a puzzlement, alright — until, that is, you remember that mainstream media consistently demonstrates it is a good deal more dim, and far more ideologically committed to the green cause, than the voters it consistently misinforms by omission and commission.

If we must legislate, according to Turnbullian logic, 26% reductions in our energy sector to make the Paris climateers happy, then there will be no stopping there. This is why the NEG must be defeated at all costs.  The suggestion that it’s the best option going forward ignores that it’s just the thin edge of a very large wedge.

As to those Liberals who voted for it and maintain their fealty to Turnbull, good luck finding party volunteers to hand out your how-to-votes.

Comments [19]

  1. ianl says:

    > ” … mainstream media consistently demonstrates it is a good deal more dim, and far more ideologically committed to the green cause, than the voters it consistently misinforms by omission and commission”

    Combine that with the scientific illiteracy and mathematical innumeracy of the electorate at large and we have a perfect storm.

    Simple example: Gupta’s proposed SA solar farm is described in the MSM as mooted to supply 96,000 homes. This is not a measurement of anything except outright propaganda yet most people will not ask “how many megawatts is that ?” Purportedly, 280 MW – ie. 2.9 KW/household for the 3 middle day hours of full light. The average electric jug is rated at about 2KW.

    Why bother ?

  2. Eeyore says:

    And to Echo Mr Bolt. For what difference….nothing at all.

  3. ArthurB says:

    It’s a truism that a nation gets the politicians it deserves. After reading endless articles on Quadrant and Catallaxy about the total stupidity of the energy policy of our politicians, I contend that the converse also applies: politicians eventually get the nation they deserve. I am amazed that, on current opinion polls, Victoria will re-elect a Labor party that has been imposing a far-left agenda, and that in the next Federal election, we are virtually certain to have a union puppet installed as Prime Minister. If this is how the electorate behaves, we deserve our fate of becoming the Venezuela of the South Pacific.

    • en passant says:

      Correction! YOU deserve your fate of becoming the Venezuela of the South Pacific.

      I moved overseas to somewhere more rational.

      • ArthurB says:

        en passant: can you recommend somewhere for me to go? For cultural reasons I would prefer somewhere in the Anglosphere, but Britain will fall to the Muslims within what is left of my lifetime, Canada is (at present) under a complete sh1thead, the USA will fall if Trump is not re-elected in 2020, and Un Zudd doesn’t attract me. Most of Europe will be under Islam within the next decade or so, apart from a few countries such as Poland and Hungary. Perhaps India is the best bet, at least most of them speak English, I like the food, and have an interest in its society and history.

        On a recent visit to Penang, I was surprised to see how many Europeans, Britons and Australians live there more or less permanently, some said it was the food, the climate and the low cost of living, a few that I spoke to said their pensions or savings were not sufficient in their home country, but in Penang enabled them to live in comfort.

      • Bwana Neusi says:

        I will be with you there.
        When the Coalition deprived me of my pension after forty five years of contribution, there is little to keep me here except the beautiful country side and some really great people.
        Now they really want whats left of my super nest egg and the home that we have paid for.

      • en passant says:

        I am reluctant to say where I live as there has been an influx of 300+ Australians (who want to change the culture to that of Oz – sounds like the invaders of the Anglo sphere in reverse ….). Anyway, a lot of people already know as I confessed in a previous commentary.

        I live in Vietnam in a beachfront condo with fabulous views. I want for nothing, but can live well on <$36K/year (which includes the maid and up-country trips to places of interest).

        Too hot? I run the three air conditioners constantly and light the place up at night for ships to navigate by. My monthly electricity bill is <$200 for an all electric very spacious 3-bedroom condo as there is the world's 11th largest coal-fired power station just 30km away. We have had two outages to upgrade the sub-station to meet demand (customers DEMAND and they SUPPLY).

        Seafood daily from the wharf, a huge range of fresh fruit and vegetables available, wonderful restaurants and coffee shops and lots of social BBQ's, dinners and get-togethers.

        A better than the NBN internet for $15/month. The expat TV package with Netflix, STAN, History Channel + 20 English news stations and 64 other channels for $49/month. Oh, and the local CGV luxury English movie theatre costs $3.50 – if only I could find the time …

        Crime is non-existent, terrorism (and the threat thereof) is unknown. English is widely spoken (in the cities) and has never been a problem. My Vietnamese doctor was trained in Oz …

        I can also recommend Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and selected parts of India. Richer tan Bill Shorten? Try Singapore or Malaysia, though I thought of both and rejected them on cost.

  4. hwka says:

    I have quoted Mark Steyn many times but every day it becomes more relevant:
    “Sometimes a society becomes too stupid to survive”

  5. Charles says:

    If Turnbull does go with Labor to get the NEG through, I am wondering how that might look to the average MP who sees their leader effectively negotiating away his or her seat in parliament to the opposition. It could change the direction of the charge of the lemmings.

    On the other hand, being unable to think for themselves and relying solely on public servants for advice, it probably won’t make that much difference to them.

    • Peter OBrien says:

      By all reports, Turnbull is planning on introducing the legislation next week. Let’s hope he does. If anything is going to trigger a general revolt, that sort of arrogant disrespect to his troops should do it. Nothing guaranteed, though, with this bunch of gutless, unprincipled bastards.

  6. Alice Thermopolis says:

    “Cull the national herd to eliminate farting cows and bring agriculture into line with Gaia’s alleged needs?”

    A propos the “farting cows”, the problem – if there is one – is at the other end of the animal.

    Eructation, n., 1. The process of belching in a ruminant to expel fermentation gases, esp. methane; sometimes confused with flatulence. See cow.

    During the middle ages, eructation in a person was an audible expression of appreciation of the host’s culinary accomplishments. In ruminants, it is a quiet, almost inaudible, well-developed reflex mechanism. Because of the large quantities of fermentation gas formed in the first two compartments of the four-compartment ruminant stomach, a well-developed eructation reflex is necessary for the health and even the life of domesticated ruminants. (R Dougherty, Gastrointestinal Gas, February, 1968)

    Some may have thought it was flatulent-happy cows that were contributing to Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions problem. In fact, it is the methane gas emitted from cows during burps and breathing as they chew the cud that accounts for the single largest source of greenhouse gas in the Irish agricultural sector. (L Hogan, Independent.ie, 6 December, 2010)

    Reference: Devil’s Dictionary of Climate Change – wicked words to amuse your friends and upset your enemies(2018)

    https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/06/21/friday-funny-the-devils-dictionary-of-climate-change/

    • Biggles says:

      Methane is about 25 times more effective as a ‘greenhouse’ gas than is carbon dioxide, Fortunately, it soon oxidises to water and carbon dioxide so there is nothing to worry about. Oh hell; what am I saying; more carbon dioxide? Quick; shoot the cows!

      • ianl says:

        > ” … more carbon dioxide ?”

        More water vapour !!

        Dehydrate the carcases after shooting.

        • whitelaughter says:

          given roos don’t create all this methane, you’d think that anyone who actually cared about greenhouse gases would be focusing on ways to adapt cows appropriately. Heck, it might only require a poo transplant.