Peter O’Brien: Abbott and CAGW

The obsession with Tony Abbott that seems to dominate the ‘journalism’ of Peter Van Onselen and Nikki Savva has reached ludicrous proportions.  No review of theirs that critiques the Government’ s standing or performance can be essayed without  a reference to the destructive antics of Tony Abbott.

A common theme of PvO is Abbott’s inconsistency.  Here he is in the Weekend Oz:

His strongly held convictions have long been a movable feast, especially on climate change,…

As far as The Australian’s resident Turnbull cheer squad are concerned, it seems that inconsistency is a disease that afflicts only Abbott’s political persona.  Turnbull, Pyne, Shorten, Bowen etc  are apparently immune or, at least, their inconsistencies are benign or unremarkable because they remain part of the political establishment.  Because Abbott has wandered off the reservation and now no longer feels constrained to toe the party line he must be called out for every contradictory statement he has uttered or every policy U Turn he has ever executed over the full term of his parliamentary career.

But let’s just look at his inconsistency on climate change, which is the one area where he is really cutting through.  Along with John Howard he was reluctantly dragooned, admittedly courtesy of political imperative, to notionally embrace the idea of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming (to give it its correct name).   In 2009, he famously opined that ‘climate change is crap’.  No-one, particularly of the Left, ever believed that, in his heart of hearts he ever really resiled from this position.  So he adopted a pragmatic position that seemed to align with what the majority of voters believed.  Well, he’s no Robinson Crusoe in that respect.  Nonetheless, Abbott’s sceptical convictions were always on display in his opposition to the carbon tax, his abolition of the Climate Council, his attempt to abolish the Clean Energy Corporation and his adoption of ‘Direct Action’, which was designed to tick the CAGW box while minimizing the damage to the economy.

Post his London speech, two claims have emerged to supposedly trash Abbott’s views on CAGW.  The first is that the RET is Abbott’s RET and that, in 2015, he claimed that the RET would put downward pressure on prices and provide certainty for the industry.   This is specious nonsense.  Abbott negotiated a reduction of the RET he inherited from 41,000 GWhr to 33,500 GWhr.  He wanted more but couldn’t get it past the Senate.  And his claim regarding lower prices was not predicated on the RET being in place but on the reduction which he achieved.

The second claim we hear is that Abbott committed us to the Paris Agreement.  Again, this is self-evident nonsense.   Abbott was Prime Minister at the time we signed the Agreement in April 2015.  But at that time we had not ratified it.  Who knows what Abbott would have done had he still been Prime Minister at the time of ratification, knowing that the incoming US President had promised to pull out.  He may well have held off on the basis that if the US was going to be out, why should we be in?  It was Turnbull who committed us to Paris, not Abbott.

But perhaps the most deranged comment came from Paul Maley:

(A senior)  Liberal said to me, “Look, there are probably three views inside the Liberal Party on climate change. One, climate change is bullshit and we should do nothing about it. Two, climate change is bullshit but if the public believe it and want an ETS, be it on their own head. Three, climate change is real and we have to act.”

At one point or another I suspect Tony Abbott has held all of these views, possibly all at once. The former prime minister’s contortions on climate policy have left him with zero credibility on the subject. It is the main reason why his climate speech in London was so breezily dismissed as an exercise in political opportunism, which of course it was.

But if you could get past the look-at-me glibness of Abbott’s language, what was left over was a thoughtful speech that deserved to be taken seriously.

As I have argued above, Maley must be the only journalist who really believes Abbott ever accepted that CAGW is real and we have to act.  Maley is saying that Abbott doesn’t really believe what he is saying.  It’s just opportunistic  self-serving rhetoric but, just by chance, he might be onto something.  Really?  How can Abbott have zero credibility on the subject of CAGW yet his speech deserve to be taken seriously?

Or maybe it’s just that now he’s no longer PM and having to balance a whole heap of conflicting demands, he can come out, in the national interest, and say what he has always really believed.  So he can justly be criticized for not doing in government what he now advocates.  But he did do what he could to ameliorate the problem.   So perhaps, then, he could be criticized for not recognizing that the current government is beset by the same impediments.  The only problem here is that there is no-one in the current Cabinet who shares his convictions and can be relied upon to do even the bare minimum to put the brakes on the CAGW bandwagon.  If no-one in the current crop of ‘leaders’ is prepared to acknowledge the unarguable disaster of climate and energy policy so eloquently and comprehensively laid out by Bjorn Lomborg in the Weekend Australian, why should Abbott hold back?

PvO today also tells us that Abbott is now alienating his former supporters on the front bench.  So what?  Let’s give Abbott the benefit of the doubt – a big ask, I know, for the van Onselens and Savvas – and accept that he does genuinely believe what he is now saying.  Given that he is a voice that everyone hears – he has reach that not even Andrew Bolt has – then it is his duty to speak out, regardless of how hurt his former friends may feel.  Is his obligation to them greater than that to his country?

If Abbott were no longer an MP would he still attract the same opprobrium for ‘destabilising the government’ by speaking his mind?  You can bet your house on it.

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56 Responses to Peter O’Brien: Abbott and CAGW

  1. stackja

    TA ‘a lone voice in the wilderness’

  2. Roger

    Two, climate change is bullshit but if the public believe it and want an ETS, be it on their own head.

    Whatever happened to leadership and the political art of persuasion?

    Gutless Liberals!

  3. Snoopy

    Two, climate change is bullshit but if the public believe it and want an ETS, be it on their own head.

    Whatever happened to leadership and the political art of persuasion?

    It’s more likely Paul Maley just making shit up.

  4. stackja

    Roger
    #2525284, posted on October 17, 2017 at 9:10 am
    Two, climate change is bullshit but if the public believe it and want an ETS, be it on their own head.

    Whatever happened to leadership and the political art of persuasion?

    Gutless Liberals!

    ALP/MSM don’t like leadership and the political art of persuasion against ETS.

  5. iampeter

    Along with John Howard he was reluctantly dragooned, admittedly courtesy of political imperative, to notionally embrace the idea of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming

    I was always wonder about people pretending Howard or Abbott were “reluctantly dragooned” into something they themselves instigated.
    The creation of Australia’s environmentalist bureacracies began in the 90’s under the Howard government that first created the climate office, introduced the RET and build the bureaucracy with the purpose of implementing Australia’s first ETS, also first proposed by the Howard government.
    This was about a decade before climate alarmism even became a mainstream.
    No one “dragooned” them into this. They led the way.

    But he did do what he could to ameliorate the problem.

    The guy who helped create the environmentalist bureaucracy in this country, never opposed it as an MP, claimed to oppose it to become PM, then implemented Direct Action only to now claim to oppose it as an MP once again, is someone who you think “did do what he could to ameliorate the problem”?
    A more accurate statement would be that after Howard, Abbott is the second most environmentalist MP/PM Australia has ever had.

    And its not like this is the only issue he has done the exact same thing on, with 18C coming to mind.

    Why, it’s almost like he’s a milquetoast empty suit, with no political ideas of any kind and will say anything to anyone to advance his political career.

    Whatever happened to leadership and the political art of persuasion?

    Basically this.

  6. iain russell

    CAGW. Now that’s a term I haven’t seen bandied about in a few years. It seems to have been deposited in the Expired bin. The catch-all now is ‘Climate’, as in ‘he’s a climate denier’. Thanks for the trip back down Great Green Scam Lane.

  7. RobK

    Abbott’s latest speech was a good one. I’m glad he made it. It’s far better that he did, compared to had he not. It’s a pity he was unable to have more influence at other times, for whatever reasons or short commings, that is in the past. (same goes for 18C). Those of like mind to his latest speech need to embrace it and push forward with what’s available to advance the argument not get lost in the power play. It’s irrelevant (to some extent), who leads, it’s the argument that should win the day.
    I know; many would call me naive.

  8. Felix Kruell

    But he did do what he could to ameliorate the problem.

    Do you grant the same latitude to Turnbull when he does ‘what he can’ given the constraints of the senate etc?

    The simple fact is that whatever Abbot believes on climate change, he’s taken multiple contradictory policy views. If the current speech reflects his true views, why did he sign the Paris Agreement? So he could later not ratify it? Yeah right? As with 18c, Abbot had a (strangely selective) habit of not sticking up for his true views when faced with opposition. Let’s be honest about it. But let’s also recognise thats part of the job as PM, and is exactly when Turnbull is also doing on some issues.

  9. Just Interested

    Nah, Abbott has never been a weathervane on this issue:

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/abbotts-climate-change-policy-is-bullshit-20091206-kdmb.html

    As Alan Moran says, TA is the best Liberal Party leader there is when not leading.

    BTW: note the extract under the hyperlink comes from an article from President Trumbull when he was on the backbench. Just look at the views expressed! No wonder no-one believes anything the Libs put out on the environment.

  10. H B Bear

    Lieboral commitment to Conservative values is inversely proportional to their proximity to government and distance from Canberra. A backbencher in London is an absolute crusader.

  11. Diogenes

    A common theme of PvO is Abbott’s inconsistency. Here he is in the Weekend Oz:

    His strongly held convictions have long been a movable feast, especially on climate change,…

    When the facts change I change my mind. PvO must have a very closed mind oh…..

  12. Or maybe it’s just that now he’s no longer PM and having to balance a whole heap of conflicting demands, he can come out, in the national interest, and say what he has always really believed.

    So, let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Back when he was the PM, and in a position to actually DO something, he couldn’t speak in the national interest. But now that he’s a nobody back-bencher, unable to influence anything, it is well and good that he speak out in the national interest.

    Let me put that argument another way. Politicians can only be expected to speak out in the national interest, when they’ve personally got nothing to lose. In other words, their personal careers trump national interest every time.

    Assuming Abbott actually believes in anything at all – a long stretch I know – maybe if he had spoken truth to power when he was PM, just maybe he would have garnered so much personal support amongst ordinary Australians that the Libs couldn’t dare to oppose him, and he would still be PM now. After all, what’s the worst the Libs could have done to him – depose him as Leader?

  13. Andrew

    A more accurate statement would be that after Howard, Abbott is the second most environmentalist MP/PM Australia has ever had.

    A more accurate statement would be that you are a delusional psychotic

  14. Andrew

    A666ott never said AGW is total crap or anything like it

  15. mareeS

    “If Abbott were no longer an MP…”

    He will always have a portrait in Kings Hall as PM and with all that the position entails, unless Australia rewrites history.

    And he is a fine journalist. His detractors will never be rid of him.

    I smile every time, because none of the grubs will ever match him.

  16. RobK

    ….. maybe if he had spoken truth to power when he was PM, just maybe he would have garnered so much personal support amongst ordinary Australians that the Libs couldn’t dare to oppose him, and he would still be PM now.
    That would have been real leadership, as I would define it.

  17. min

    From my memory Abbott said the Science was crap. Remember this was all when Michael Manne’s Hockey stick graph was all the rage . Since then Manne has been debunked and a few weeks ago he concluded that the models were overegged .
    I reckon I must be one of the few who actually read all of Abbott’s speech and I would have no trouble giving peer reviewed evidence to support the statements he made. In fact to back up the. Goat sacrifices I would Auote answer to Senate Committee about how much difference Oz would make.

  18. That would have been real leadership, as I would define it.

    Precisely, Rob.

  19. A666ott never said AGW is total crap or anything like it

    The exact quote is:

    The argument [behind climate change] is absolute crap. However, the politics of this are tough for us. Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.

    As reported in The Australian, December, 2009.

  20. Senile Old Guy

    I am not in the “bring back Abbott” camp. He can speak out now because he is on the back bench but back in the top job, even if he wanted to do something (something I would have to see to believe), he would be saddled with the same useless left wing liberals currently running the show.

  21. David Archibald

    Abbott is so stupid he barely has the power of speech. He repealed the carbon tax but kept the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act of October 2007, which was Howard’s auditing basis for the carbon tax. Why would a sane person do that? When he put out the Northern Development white paper, first proposal was to spend $20 million on white lawyers for native title. That is not how you build a country. He has no grip on reality and no interest either. He clung to his super stupid paid parental leave scheme for years despite plenty of advice that it was idiotic. He destroyed the RAAF by signing up for 72 F-35s. Abbott wants to be loved rather than loathed and that means he won’t make decisions that upset the right people.

  22. Myrddin Seren

    The argument [behind climate change] is absolute crap. However, the politics of this are tough for us.

    The government can find millions of dollars to run cheer leader advertisements about what a great job they are doing on wondrous things like ‘Innovation’ and grocery packaging, and not a cent to run a cogent public argument on a key issue of public perception.

  23. Myrddin Seren

    Why would a sane person do that ?

    It is a rare thing to actually capture, but literally the moment the circuits blew. Whatever he was before, never the same since.

  24. Bruce of Newcastle

    So let’s summarise:

    2009: “climate change is crap” says Tony Abbott
    2017: ‘climate change is crap’ Tony Abbott tells the GWPF

    So this is what PvO regards as ‘inconsistency’? Oh.

    Btw there has still been no global warming since 2002 in the satellite data. Temperature last month is basically the same as it was in late 2001 and mid 2002 despite the residual effects of the recent el Nino.

  25. Andrew

    The argument [behind climate change] is absolute crap. However, the politics of this are tough for us. Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.

    As reported in The Australian, December, 2009.

    As reported by a journo who admitted being asleep and not hearing the question.

    My understanding of what happened was a woman asked a question beginning with “Julia says the science is settling” and he said “that’s total crap.” His reference was to significant uncertainty as to
    – rate of warming
    – attribution to CO2
    – consequences such as droughts, hurricanes etc that even the IPCC admits are “low confidence.”

    A666 like T666 are lukewarmers, and do not believe the cost of climate policy are less than the cost of accepting or mitigating climate impacts. I have never seen a reported claim that AGW is not happening, and I’m quite confident he never made one.

  26. Norman Church

    Mr Abbott’s real offence is heresy. CAGW is an article of faith.

  27. As reported by a journo who admitted being asleep and not hearing the question.

    Andrew, Abbott himself has personally owned the “crap” statement when he subsequently claimed, after being elected PM, that his views on such matters had changed.

    Stop trying to rewrite history. Abbott is a career politician who will say and do whatever is necessary, even to the extent of contradicting himself, as long as it preserves and/or enhances his own political prospects. If you haven’t come to terms with that by now, despite countless examples, you never will, and arguing with you about it is pointless.

  28. jjf

    At least he stands for something!

    The libs are just Labor lite – and they wonder why their poll numbers are so shit!

  29. Faye

    Thank God for President Trump. He and PM Tony Abbott would have been a good pair. Also if America is gradually getting out from under the CAGW hoax, imagine how clever Abbott could have lifted this burden off Australia completely. I believe the average punter out there is sick of the Greens, the renewables forced brainwashing and the extortionate energy prices. We have to thank Premier Weatherill for setting the example of a failed State when the great con artist, Elon Musk, is the only one who can save it.

  30. Myrddin Seren

    The obsession with Tony Abbott that seems to dominate the ‘journalism’ of Peter Van Onselen and Nikki Savva has reached ludicrous proportions.

    The opener of Peter O’Brien’s article is interesting.

    The bulk of Australian ‘journalists’ are on a spectrum from Labor Right through to ‘Hang the Bourgeoisie and Long live the Revolution, Comrades !’ And that is just the ones in mainstream media.

    None of them are going to pump TA’s tyres – they would all stand four square with Pyne, Brandis and Bishop in defenestrating TA.

    It says something about the attitudes inside the Turnbullian Bunker that they feel the need to rain ink-and-fire down on TA pretty much weekly.

  31. Faye

    I agree with Abbott’s detractors above – I wish he had been more true unto himself – live or die by your beliefs.
    However, is his replacement better?
    Is his replacement’s term in office so far, better?
    Is Australia better off since Abbott got replaced?
    Should a first term elected Prime Minister be taken out without he first fail at the next Federal election?
    Do Australians feel excited about where Australia is headed?
    Was the coup worth it?

  32. A Lurker

    Lieboral commitment to Conservative values is inversely proportional to their proximity to government and distance from Canberra. A backbencher in London is an absolute crusader.

    Yup

  33. Senile Old Guy

    However, is his replacement better?
    Is his replacement’s term in office so far, better?
    Is Australia better off since Abbott got replaced?
    Should a first term elected Prime Minister be taken out without he first fail at the next Federal election?
    Do Australians feel excited about where Australia is headed?
    Was the coup worth it?

    A number of commentators here correctly stated that Lord Waffle would be useless long before he ascended the throne*. All have been vindicated. Abbott, supposedly**, got done because of 30 bad polls: his Lord Waffleship is now up to, I think, 21. His Waffleship remains PM courtesy of the NSW National Party picking up a seat as the last election to give the LNP the barest majority.

    No-one thinks Lord Waffle can win the next election. Having done the dirty on Abbott, they are now stuck with the Lord of Wentworth, a man whose political instincts are invariably wrong. Abbott has cleverly upped the stakes by saying he would only come back if asked (Abbott is usually best when in the opposition and fighting; he struggles when he has won).

    * It wasn’t that hard, you just had to look at his performance as Leader of the Opposition and remember the Godwin Grech episode.

    ** The 30 polls was a pretext. Turncoat was destabilising the whole time and agitating for the top job from the start.

  34. Shine a Light

    PVO’ s and Savva’s atitude towards Abbott could be based on their respect for firefighters, lifesavers and long association with Aboriginal communities but I wouldnt put any money on it.

  35. Just Interested

    Lieboral commitment to Conservative values is inversely proportional to their proximity to government and distance from Canberra. A backbencher in London is an absolute crusader.

    Yep, plus another one

  36. stackja

    Liberty Quote
    Yep, it’s the small underfunded band of free market think tanks who are stifling the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the National Academy of Sciences and their numerous brethren overseas, the European Environment Agency, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, the EPA, NRDC, Greenpeace, etc. etc.

    — Marlo Lewis

  37. OldOzzie

    ROBERT GOTTLIEBSEN in The Australian

    Repairs needed to Australia’s power system

    sums it up

    We have greatly damaged our power system. Much repair work is required and the cost of that repair work will reduce the ability of the Turnbull-Frydenberg plan to reduce power prices.

    Yet there can be no energy security unless that repair work is carried out. And part of the energy repair work is to tap our abundant Victorian and NSW onshore gas reserves that do not require fracking. Incredibly, in Victoria, a $42 million committee has been set up to delay development. More of that later.

    In the debate that is raging there are four aspects of the energy crisis that will be buried in political correctness.

    The first is that you will be told that the over-investment in the network is a factor causing power prices to rise. That’s sort of right. The problem is that we are now paying for investment that was based on the traditional power generation and distribution pattern. It is inefficient when generation is decentralised into homes and places where windmill and solar panel farms are situated. More investment to change the nature of the grid is now required to maximise the productivity of the remote wind and solar plants and that will push power prices higher. The more we invest in decentralised renewable power the more investment that will be required and the higher energy costs will rise. We should invest in renewables but we must cost it properly.

    The second fallacy is to state that the way to cut power costs is to set a high clean energy target and flood the market with renewable generators.

    That’s what Victoria is doing and other states are looking at or have adopted the same policy.

    Total rubbish.

    The extra power you generate will not only require greater investment in the grid, as described above, but will destroy the economics of the existing generators because they will only be able to operate for part of the day. Australians wants energy security. Renewables without base load back up (including pumped hydro) and/or batteries destroy that security — hence in hot days power users in some states are being incentivised to reduce their usage.

    Anyone who tells you the clean energy target will lower power costs — ask them to first calculate the cost of storage and/or back up generation capacity and the additional grid investment.

    We need catch-up back-up investment to make our current renewable network work better and restore maintenance of existing plant

    For example, investment in maintaining coal power stations has been run down, so endangering their reliability. Funding that catch-up will require cash flow and/or new equity investment.

    My view is that to make the sums work so we have low carbon, low costs and energy security (the trifecta) is going to require better technology than is currently available. It will happen but it’s not there yet.

    Thirdly the politically correct view is we should stop exporting gas while we are short in Australia.

    Both NSW and Victoria ooze unused gas that does not require fracking. Yes, exports should be cut to cover the current crisis but if Victoria and NSW continue to refuse to develop their abundant gas then the citizens of those states need to suffer. That way they will vote out current administrations. A lot of responsibility for the NSW problem stems from the attitude of “the minster for gas energy” Alan Jones. The radio commentator sets the agenda, not the government.

    In Victoria it’s all about the green vote—prices and energy security are secondary.

    Fourthly beware of governments that set up expensive and long-running committees as a way of deferring decisions. The onshore gas-rich Victoria has agreed to spend $42.5 million in a committee to operate “the Victorian gas program” which will run from 2017 to 2020, and “will deliver a comprehensive program of geoscience and environmental research and related activities, including community engagement, resource planning and regulatory improvements for onshore conventional gas, offshore gas and underground gas storage”. There is a looming crisis that will cut in well before 2020 because output from Bass Strait is falling fast.

    Incredibly, the committee says that it will first concentrate on the west of the state. There may be gas there but as we all know there are huge deposits is in the east — near Esso’s distribution plant.

    Exxon has spent large sums researching the gas so why not fly to Houston and check the Exxon study and make a report in the next few weeks. That study included work which showed the water that goes with the gas is farm quality. Exxon was so excited it agreed to spend $200 million on a full development program but the politicians blocked it. Given Victoria has a huge onshore gas surplus in the east, not the west, the committee (which has sucked in good people) is an expensive political stunt to justify delaying the development of Victoria’s enormous onshore gas reserves that do not require fracking.

  38. stackja

    memoryvault
    #2525393, posted on October 17, 2017 at 11:26 am

    What real help did TA ever get from other careerists?
    Making TA the only careerist does not enhance any examples.

  39. John64

    Mr Abbott’s real offence is heresy. CAGW is an article of faith.

    Quite so.

  40. Muddy

    We need a name for this zombie fetish that has infected so many. I’m gobsmacked we are still talking about political recycling.

  41. Dr Faustus

    Politicians can only be expected to speak out in the national interest, when they’ve personally got nothing to lose. In other words, their personal careers trump national interest every time.

    In a nutshell.

  42. Tim Neilson

    We need a name for this zombie fetish that has infected so many. I’m gobsmacked we are still talking about political recycling.

    If it keeps Michael Trumble and his Election Winning Machine too distracted to come up with any more nation building brilliance, then it’s well worth spreading the virus.

  43. Lysander

    I’m going out on a limb here… given this is a conservative/libertarian blog but..

    Dear Sinc,
    when should we expect Turnbull’s moment of greatness? If their abc and fauxfacts treated Mao with the same discontent, stupid stories (like eating a fucking onion as a top story, suppository of wisdom, dead, buried cremated whatever…) that they did with Tones, Mao would’ve been personally attacked with physical knives in Cabinet.

    I’ve noticed they used to do the same with Bush and Reagan. They always made up stupid stories about the way they talked, stuttered, said a word incorrectly, winked etc.. never a serious policy argument. I encourage all Cats to go to youtube and search for Obama stutter. He was actually the worse speaking President of all time; but most people wouldn’t actually know that.

    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=obama+stutter+compilation

    My god, this man can’t talk at all!

  44. Mother Lode

    but if the public believe it and want an ETS

    But. They. Don’t.

    It was one of the wondrous things that got that lard-arsed Welsh fishwife out of office – her CO2 tax.

    (Perhaps they think people objected only to it being a tax, rather than another form of impost).

  45. zyconoclast

    I often hear the claim that Abbott couldn’t do anything as PM because of his cabinet.
    1. He chose the cabinet
    2. He made a ‘captains call’ (h/t Julia) to make Prince Phillip a knight.

    He could have done a ‘captains call’ on the global warming by sending out the talking notes to the cabinet 15 minutes before he made the announcement, the cabinet/party would have been locked into this policy.

  46. Lysander

    I often hear the claim that Abbott couldn’t do anything as PM because of his cabinet.
    1. He chose the cabinet
    2. He made a ‘captains call’ (h/t Julia) to make Prince Phillip a knight.

    Zyno, what choice do you have when you’ve got a “special” bus full of “special” people. I refrain from using the word “retards” because I know some disabled people who are much nicer and smarter than what Abbott had to choose from.

  47. Rabz

    Eighty per cent of people believe climate change is a real and present danger.

    No, the figure is 97%, Abbott.

    You bloody idiot.

  48. Terry

    The Liberal Party needs time the country does not have.

    Abbott has the right idea and expressed it in his speech.

    The current Liberal Federal Parliamentarians are infested with a massive oversupply of ‘wets’ (yeah, sure you’re “moderate”) which means there is NO WAY they would back Abbott, regardless of whether he is right and probably especially because he is right.

    * All this means, Abbott is right but has no path back to the leadership (with the current crop of talentless parasites in the way).
    * Turnbull is wrong, as if that has surprised anybody, and will be backed over the cliff with his train of retarded lemmings.
    * Shorten will “Bradbury” his way into the PM-ship (how low can Australia sink?), the resulting ballot-box carnage will force the LNP to consider its pre-selection process.
    * Jim Molan will commence the clean-out of the termite-ridden NSW operation (it’s this or death for the LNP).
    * The branches will, one by one, expel the “Liberals” holding Greens/Labor-Left sympathies and begin to install candidates that hold, can effectively articulate and that will fight for the principles of individual freedom, free markets, small government, reduced regulation and lower taxation.

    The intervening period will not be pretty and the country may never recover from the opportunity costs imposed on us over the last ten years of terrible government.

    The LNP might refuse to do this (what needs doing) in which case their failure will become their demise and their place taken by another party that will what is necessary. Simple.

  49. Irreversible

    If Abbott ever believed in anything at all, a big IF, it was PPL. It’s the only matter – aside from giongs for the royals – that he ever stuck his neck out for.

  50. Art Vandelay

    The creation of Australia’s environmentalist bureacracies began in the 90’s under the Howard government that first created the climate office, introduced the RET and build the bureaucracy with the purpose of implementing Australia’s first ETS, also first proposed by the Howard government.
    This was about a decade before climate alarmism even became a mainstream.
    No one “dragooned” them into this. They led the way.

    Spot on. I was there. Howard et al set up the Greenhouse Office. They were also banning lightbulbs and regulating the hell out of any sort of electrical appliance so that ‘stupid consumers’ who didn’t know what was good for them would buy products that were more energy efficient. It was futile gesture politics that added to the enormous red tape burden faced by business in this country.

    More damningly, if Abbott has always been a AGW sceptic, why did he do a deal with Greg Hunt to set up a secret ETS?

  51. TP

    Great article Peter. What hope did Abbott have dealing with the likes of Palmer & Turncoat , both friends of the ABC , Greg Hunt & Al Gore. The only way to get rid of the Carbon Tax was to agree to idiotic Clive.
    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/clive-palmer-puts-conditions-on-backing-repeal-of-the-carbon-tax/news-story/11edc414470a67f1c9c24ce740297f9d

  52. Arnost

    The only way to get rid of the Carbon Tax was to agree to idiotic Clive

    Indeed… And Fat Clive was in cahoots with Maolcom, Parkinson and Al Gore. [All sorts of personal agenda overlap there]

    Abbott’s biggest failure was that he trusted people. And always gave them the benefit of the doubt. And wanted to be liked. In pre-Trump politics – a recipe to have your back become a pincushion for all the knives…

  53. Myrddin Seren

    The more we invest in decentralised renewable power the more investment that will be required and the higher energy costs will rise. We should invest in renewables but we must cost it properly.

    He has moments of lucidity, but this is essentially more breathless Big Picture, Being on the Right Side of History from Whisperin’ Bob.

    We should invest in renewables

    We are not ‘investing’. We are blowing huge amounts of productive capital and lining the pockets of spivs and rent seekers. Come back to us when someone has made the investments and come up with viable technology.

    …but we must cost it ( running the grid all the way out to wherever these boondoggles are built ) properly.

    FMD – so everything is hunky dory as long as a decent cost accountant can clearly show the ridiculous costs incurred by blowing money on the boondoggles ?!

    Can we have a vote on this madness first.

    ( Disclaimer – I thought the election of 2013 was a clear vote on the subject. Seems from the lofty heights of the Turnbull in the High Tower and his Black Hand band of Merry Leakers, it was an indirect personal vote for President Trumbull. Who knew ? ).

  54. Yohan

    Its amazing how fast the winds have changed since 2015 and even Turnbull is now making desperate moves to back away from renewable energy.

    But I want to point out this only is because of recent wholesale price increases among business power users, who are seeing 3-4x increases on their new electricity contracts. This is what has caused them to act.

    When it was residential users seeing their power cost double between 2008-2015, the didn’t give a frack.

  55. Ralph

    By publicly taking a climate skeptic stance now, which is directly at odds with what he said and presided over when he was PM, he’s just showing himself to be a hypocrite. He may have always been a skeptic and never believed anything he said or did about climate policy. But if that’s the case, it just highlights how ineffective he was at PM. It’s one thing to say that he did what the senate allowed him to do, but he was the PM for goodness sake. He had a golden opportunity to remake the nation in his own image but he failed. He was the guy in charge and he wears the failures as well as the successes.

  56. Ralph

    If Abbott ever believed in anything at all, a big IF, it was PPL. It’s the only matter – aside from giongs for the royals – that he ever stuck his neck out for.

    Precisely. Add traditional marriage to that, too. If he really passionately believed in a coal-first, anti-renewable, anti-climate change world, he was in a fantastic position to do something about it as PM. Arguably none better. He tried half-heartedly and failed. Continued bleating as a humble back bencher just highlights how little he achieved as PM.

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