Turnbull’s new approach to electricity: smoke and mirrors

The idiocy of Turnbull’s handling of electricity policy now, once again, looks likely to cost him the leadership of his party.  Faced with termination, he is seeking to extricate himself while pretending to reform the policy that has revealed his incompetence.  His new proposals at modifying the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) are bromides that leave intact his destructive objectives for the electricity supply industry.

Turnbull’s automatic default position is to override the market and substitute his own perceived wisdom.  Ten years ago, on a joint ticket with the ALP to close down fossil fuel electricity production and replace it with wind, he lost the leadership to Tony Abbott.

He has long considered “modern” wind and solar to be superior to the geriatric coal power stations that gave Australia the cheapest electricity in the world.  Among his missions is to effect the replacement of those dinosaurs.  He will not be swayed by arguments that the alternatives are dearer and less reliable and will remain so.  And no amount of evidence will dissuade him that global emission reductions are either unnecessary or unachievable.

His ratification of Australia’s emission reduction commitments in the Paris Agreement the day after Trump’s election victory torpedoed that agreement was the act of a man determined to cement in a favoured cause irrespective of its impossibility.  This was a gesture similar to that of another ego-maniac, Kevin Rudd, in pursuing the Copenhagen conference’s express-train to decarbonisation even after fellow believer, Barrack Obama, had accepted that the policy had to be shelved for the time being.  Turnbull’s Paris ratification and subsequent moves to effect the policy reflects badly on those ministers who meekly went along with it and on the media that was mostly silent in its approval.

Turnbull doubled down on his coal replacement policy with the $10 billion Snowy2 proposal to paper over the cracks of renewable rich energy supply’s unreliability.  And he hand-picked the Energy Security Board (ESB) to give us the NEG.  The NEG is a “carbon intensity scheme” (a carbon tax with revenues going to renewable suppliers) that replaces the renewable energy subsidies (that are trending at some $5 billion a year) which, in undermining the economics of coal power stations, have given us a doubling of the wholesale electricity price.  The carbon tax was the very policy that the Coalition rejected in 2009 when they dismissed Turnbull from the leadership.

The NEG is patently unworkable and is built on a foundation of eggshells that will supposedly deliver certainty to allow more (wind and solar) investment, an outcome that is not even supported by the ESB’s own modelling that shows no investment other than rooftop solar taking place after 2021!

Turnbull is the architect of the present policy and has picked trustees to devise it and an amiable hard working minister to sell it.  Having bludgeoned and tricked the Liberal Party Room to accept the NEG, he now realises that this was a Pyrrhic Victory since, as soon as one or two say they will not vote for it, the NEG is shown to be what it is: a variation of the Green/ALP policy of completing the destruction of the low cost electricity industry that has been gradually brought about over the past 16 years.

To rescue the situation, Turnbull is pretending to focus on prices saying “If we need to use a big stick to lower prices, we will use a big stick to lower prices,”

He says he will place the policy changes within the regulations rather than the legislation itself, a measure that will further allow for the flexibility the NEG was supposed to counter.

And he is now requiring regulators and the ACCC to publish the price consequences of any higher emissions target.

This is utter fraud since, as we can see from countless previous modelling outcomes, the answers provided are what those paying for the model runs want, irrespective of how detached from reality these answers may be.  Thus for 2020

  • Jacobs 2016 in support of the Renewables Energy Target (RET) showed it would mean $30 per MWh prices but an “emissions intensity” scheme would bring prices at $74 per MWh;
  • Frontier 2017 showed a RET would mean $40 per MWh but prices with an “emissions intensity” scheme would be $45;
  • ACil for the ESB showed “emissions intensity” scheme would lower prices to $43 per MWh from $50 under present policies.

No modellers forecast that prices would double from their 2015 $40 per MWh to current prices of $80 – You get what you pay for!!

In turning to the ACCC, Turnbull is relying on an institution with a predilection for the sort of intervention he favours and led by a long-standing ALP careerist.

In its report on the electricity market the ACCC has some useful proposals:

  • Break up AGL and force it to sell the Liddell facility, which it wants to close so that high wholesale prices are ensured
  • Cease subsidising roof top generation (though only from 2021 and not immediately)
  • Re-establish low cost generation, the market provision of which subsidies to its competition have undermined, by tenders for a long term government contract; (though it wants all current significant operators to be ineligible)
  • Scrutiny of new transmission links (in contrast to the Australian Energy Market Regulator’s Integrated System Plan which foreshadows the building of 30 plus new linkages to new wind/solar regions).

But the ACCC’s market meddling is less productive in other measures, including those which foreshadow:

  • Forcing retailers to offer a “low priced default” tariffs, the oversight of which would mean price controls
  • Preventing retailer/generator linkages – these are simply a different way of contracting to defray risk and are therefore pro-consumer
  • Funding for qangos to provide customers price advice and for “efficiency audits”
  • Increased bureaucratic oversight over electricity contracts.

The fact is that Turnbull cannot be trusted to carry out the changes he is hinting at when they undermine his basic philosophy.  He will torture words and devise seemingly ameliorative policy platforms. But these will simply be superficial actions to dampen criticism while he continues towards his objectives.

post script. Boy from Tottenham asks why is there is no mention of the LRET and suggests this should be abolished.  I agree and the abolition should be immediate for new proposals with the maximum penalty price for retailers’ non inclusion of renewables reduced to zero; after all, the rent-seekers claim that renewables are now competitive and they obtained the subsidies by maintaining that they would only be needed for a short period as a bridge to the inevitable success if these new technologies.

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82 Responses to Turnbull’s new approach to electricity: smoke and mirrors

  1. H B Bear

    If the answer is the ACCC you are asking the wrong question.

  2. Baldrick

    So Malcolm’s idea to save the NEG is instead of legislating a carbon dioxide reduction target, to meet the Paris Climate Ponzi, is to have it regulated at the whim of the Energy Minister.

    Pure genius.

    Labor’s Mark Butler, our next Energy Minister, is already rubbing his hands.

  3. candy

    I think MT is just confused now, and confusing everyone else into the bargain.

  4. RobK

    Well said Alan. Thanks for the link to the power transmission lines for RE regions. I was unsuccessfully looking for that the other day.

  5. Euripides

    We all know Turnbull’s ‘Price Control’ is a worthless bogey, designed to appease the masses.

  6. Mark A

    Baldrick
    #2792354, posted on August 18, 2018 at 9:49 am

    So Malcolm’s idea to save the NEG is instead of legislating a carbon dioxide reduction target, to meet the Paris Climate Ponzi, is to have it regulated at the whim of the Energy Minister.

    Pure genius.

    Exactly, wouldn’t put it past him, that he engineered the whole thing from the outset.
    No legislation is needed to tinker with it at will now.

  7. RobK

    Integrated Systems Plan (ISP), another piece of the redesign of the grid, part of the hidden cost of RE.

  8. Euripides

    We all know Turnbull’s ‘Price Control’ is a worthless bogey, designed to appease the masses.
    Love every word in your last paragraph – “Turnbull cannot be trusted….” . Says it all so well.

  9. DaveR

    That a central plank of the NEG, that effectively doubling of renewable power from current levels would lead to lower power costs for consumers, has been allowed to continue into the draft legislation stage without it being totally condemned for the falsehood it is, shows how government and the institutions have been totally captured by the false science of the European internationalists.

    Mass deception. The Emperor has no clothes.

  10. DaveR

    Politically, the magnitude of Turnbull/Frydenberg’s NEG mistake at this time out from the next Federal election means the Liberal party must strike now to replace Turnbull and several ministers. Even if it is only one or two coalition members crossing the lower house floor.
    To pass up this opportunity will certainly hand Shorten and his socialist wreckers the Lodge.

  11. Tom

    Like all leftists, Turnbull is as cunning as a shithouse rat and lies in his sleep, while leaking 24/7 to white-ant his opponents and rewarding the dullards who fellate him. But he’s not actually very bright. The only thing keeping him in power is that the backbench rabbits are dumber than he is.

    Hilariously, the rabbits can no longer hear anything Turnbull tells them as all they can see coming is the bright white light of the apocalypse. The panic is most entertaining.

    Memo, backbench rabbits: you can’t save your soul when you’ve already sold it 10 times over.

  12. a happy little debunker

    The duplicity of Turnbull in handing Labor draft legislation (that he did not share with his own party-room) lays bare his intent.

    Will not somebody remove this foul stench?

  13. Entropy

    They can’t replace Turnbull now. They have a one seat majority.
    He would resign and the libs would lose Wentworth to the greens as Maocolm’s Last stiletto in the back to the party he has destroyed from within. They will have to either wait to depose him, or be prepared for an early general election.
    I guess we will still get to bury what is left regardless.

  14. JohnL

    The obvious question is: why will this deranged megalomaniac remain to be PM after Monday?!?!?!

  15. bollux

    That he presented info to the ALP before his own party should be enough to hang him. Doesn’t anyone recognise a traitor anymore? Turnbull and all those who support him are actively working against Australians. It’s not too late you sooks in the Liberal party. Put in a strong leader and fight on energy and immigration, and perhaps selling the ABC.You may surprise yourselves, you duplicitous wankers.

  16. Dr Faustus

    Turnbull is a splat on Australia’s windscreen. The real economic result of Shorten’s NEG will be that five-star hotel rooms in Sydney and Melbourne will sell at a premium.

    International rent-seekers are already converging on Australia like flies to a turd – rushing to feast on low-risk/high-return investment opportunities, unavailable elsewhere in the renewables universe.

    This is our future.

  17. A Lurker

    Abbott would have done far less damage to Australia if he had remained PM – but oh no, certain people thought he should be replaced, and now look where we are now.

    “A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear. The traitor is the plague.” – quote attributed to Cicero

  18. struth

    The obvious question is: why will this deranged megalomaniac remain to be PM after Monday?!?!?!

    Because we don’t actually live in a democracy.

    There’s international globalist puppeteers who carry much more weight.
    And they have bought their Australian Judas-es.
    The electorate can scream all it likes……………………………………….

  19. Boambee John

    Entropy
    #2792401, posted on August 18, 2018 at 11:05 am
    They can’t replace Turnbull now. They have a one seat majority.
    He would resign and the libs would lose Wentworth to the greens as Maocolm’s Last stiletto in the back to the party he has destroyed from within. They will have to either wait to depose him, or be prepared for an early general election.
    I guess we will still get to bury what is left regardless.

    Shorten would be PM for up to a year before an election must be held. Could he control his maniacs for that long, or would they over reach, making any alternative look better?

  20. They can’t replace Turnbull now. They have a one seat majority.

    They can and they must. This is exactly the time to replace him, it shows that there is a Liberal Party that is seriously looking after the welfare of all Australians. If it means a by-election, so be it and if Labor gets a one seat majority so be it.

    The Liberal Party must reassert itself or they will lose badly and Labor will be in a much more powerful position. The Turnbull experiment is over. Don’t throw good money after bad, it will do you no good whatsoever.

  21. Roger W

    Never mind what Malcolm thinks. What does PM Lucy think?

  22. Dr Fred Lenin

    Turnbull has led a life of failure ,failed lawyer because he was such an arrogant smartass,failed merchant banker because he got tangled up with that crook Adler ,carrying on his tradition , he’s now a failed minister, Party leader ,and now prime minister ,he is one of those unfortunates who couldn’t shit in the sea , ,he would miss it

  23. Fleeced

    I’ve often struggled to understand Turnbull’s position on this rubbish, and why he was so committed. At various times, I thought it was just politics, or part of his brand as a “modern progressive business” type, or maybe that he thought it would generate some benefits for his merchant banker mates… but it seems increasingly the case that the simplest explanation is the best: he’s a true believer.

    He actually believes all this shit, and “saving the planet” happens to fit nicely with his ego.

    This plan to fix is bad. It’s the executive authority approach. Kick this bum out. Now.

  24. BoyfromTottenham

    Enough about Turnbull. Back to the NEG: Why is no one proposing what really needs to be done to fix this mess – get rid of the LRET? Why is this option not mentioned in Alan’s article? This $billions a year subsidy for ‘renewables’ is simultaneously forcing higher retail electricity costs onto SMEs and domestic consumers, and sending our essential base load generators broke (unless they are owned by ‘Gentailers’ who can play both sides of the RET game). Why the silence? Is it the dirty secret that will blow the whole energy scandal apart?

  25. struth

    He actually believes all this shit, and “saving the planet” happens to fit nicely with his ego.

    He believes in nothing at all.
    He is a raging narcissist and now is personally financially involved in the scam.
    Look at his son.
    If marrying your vacuum cleaner was a policy the press were positive for, so would he be.

    The Turnbulls of Australia rising to jobs like this, show us we are anything but a democratic meritocracy.
    Our worst financially succeed as it is in most corrupt socialist shitholes

  26. A Lurker

    I’ve often struggled to understand Turnbull’s position on this rubbish, and why he was so committed. At various times, I thought it was just politics, or part of his brand as a “modern progressive business” type, or maybe that he thought it would generate some benefits for his merchant banker mates… but it seems increasingly the case that the simplest explanation is the best: he’s a true believer.

    He might be a true believer but he is also a narcissist. Getting rolled by the party and losing out to Abbott over the carbon tax would have stung him deeply and in my opinion he’s been in payback mode ever since. As the saying goes – revenge is a dish best served cold and Turnbull’s revenge is to destroy the party that dared to remove him as leader and he’s bringing in what he wanted all along – a carbon tax, which will be a big middle finger to Australia, and it also gets him in good with the banker-elites and globalists.

  27. P

    He’s aiming for S-G of the UN.

  28. Boambee John

    Lurker at 1210

    Turnbull’s revenge is to destroy the party that dared to remove him as leader

    And the nation which voted in such numbers for Tony Abbott in 2013, but not so much for Turdballs in 2016.

  29. candy

    P #2792446, posted on August 18, 2018 at 12:12 pm
    He’s aiming for S-G of the UN.

    Now that does make sense, out of all this confusion.

  30. Mark M

    The UN’s Manchurian Candidate can do a lot more damage before he is removed.

  31. a happy little debunker

    BoyfromTottenham @ 12:05 pm

    Probably because that the LRET stops being a driver of increasing power prices in 2020. Something that Malcom intended the NEG to replace.

  32. All this emphasis on “emissions”.
    Emissions of WHAT? CO2? The stuff that increased vegetation world wide to the extent of two Australias?
    The emphasis should be on teh fact that the whole emission issue is a complete farce, built upon superstition and make-believe. That is the point that should be underscored.

  33. anonandon

    Well written Alan. I caught you on the Steve Price show the other day. I didn’t realise you were from the north. Which town if you don’t mind me asking?

  34. BoyfromTottenham

    A happy little debunker – I disagree with your 2020 figure. I just checked – the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act says this:

    This Act applies to the year commencing on 1 January 2001 and to all subsequent years. However, no certificates can be created, and no liability arises, in respect of electricity generated on or after 1 January 2031.

    Unless the NEG changes this?

  35. min

    I am old enough to have suffered at the hands of Turnbull before he was in parliament. As Fred Lenin mentioned, it was his entanglement with Adler and what happened to HIH that resulted in me losing my professional indemnity and having to get another. His observable behaviour has not changed . However what my professional background was makes me eligible to comment on belief systems of narcissists. The two applicable are, I am entitled and the rules do not apply to me. Both very evident in the handling of the reef donation. After reading Kerry Schott’s bio. and learning of how members of these authorities were handpicked by MT offered further evidence.
    Have they bamboozled Frydenberg in that he just accepts their recommendations and he does not question modelling etc or what?
    Perhaps Alan you can tell me about transmission lines and wattage and if the same applies to Snowy2 and solar farms. I had shares in Geodynamics and why it did not work was that wattage dropped the further power had to be transmitted and therefore not viable. It seems to me in Spain etc power does not have to be transmitted the distances it has to be in Australia and therefore a more viable method than here. Do new transmission lines make a difference and has allowance been made for all the new ones that are needed?
    I agree that what he has done re NEG policy and Labor is appalling ,with total disregard to his party members , not treasonous but enough to be removed . Would the Libs be able to do what Gillard did a buy an independent if he goes leaving LNP a seat short?

  36. Boambee John

    P
    #2792446, posted on August 18, 2018 at 12:12 pm
    He’s aiming for S-G of the UN.

    Explains why he didn’t support KRudd.

    No chance of two in close succession from here.

  37. Fleeced

    And natural gas is getting expensive too… I’d been seriously considering generator options. That’s not worth the money now, but I better get some gas bayonets installed before unflued heaters are outlawed in NSW as they are in Victoria.

    They come at you from all angles simultaneously with all these regulations – they really do. We should be living in an age of technological wonder and cheap energy. Instead, we have rolling blackouts and toilets that don’t flush properly.

    Shorten is a snake, but he’s an old-school union-hack type of snake. I reckon even that is preferable to Turnbull. I’m actually at that point. Libs who especially need to go: Turnbull, Pyne, Bishop, Frydenberg, O’Dwyer… and Abbott too, I guess. Morrison as well, sadly (such wasted promise). And Dutton isn’t that great. He might stem the bleeding, but he’s an authoritarian conservative more than anything. They really need a complete purge, but we need we at least them gone before letting them back into power.

    Abbott had many fuck-ups, but in hindsight, his biggest was not arranging a billion dollar boondoggle for Turnbull to retire into. I hate that swamp-level shit, but it would have been worth it.

  38. .

    They come at you from all angles simultaneously with all these regulations – they really do. We should be living in an age of technological wonder and cheap energy. Instead, we have rolling blackouts and toilets that don’t flush properly.

    Bang on.

  39. BoyfromTottenham

    min – you could take a look at this:

    https://www.explainthatstuff.com/powerplants.html

    It is factual, and doesn’t bag ‘dirty coal’, etc.

    Interesting comments about Geodynamics. Any competent electrical engineer would have known then that any large remote electrical power source needs high voltage transmission lines to efficiently connect it to the main (high voltage) grid. Geodynamics investors should have told this upfront, along with the fact that the ‘hot rocks’ supplying energy were, iirc, all in remote areas. Regarding Spain, I am not aware of any successful geothermal power generation project except in Iceland, but I could be wrong.
    Personally I think it likely that the project failed for other reasons, such as rapid corrosion of the pumps and pipes due to the high temperatures and mineral content of the subterranean water. In short, trying to short-cut prudent engineering practices such as detailed analysis, testing and scale-up of all aspects of this novel technology.
    History is useful here – it took over a century to progress from the first commercial steam engine – Newcomen’s ‘atmospheric engine’ in 1712, to the first commercial railway locomotive – Stephenson’s Rocket in 1829. I work in a company developing cutting edge technology, and even these days it is difficult and slow, but it is fun, and the payoff can be spectacular!

  40. Wil

    Turnbull lost me when, at his victory speech, he had the logo behind him declaring it The Turnbull Liberal
    Party. His speech was all about how clever he was, nothing about how he could serve the people better, and the slipper lickers behind him, Bishop, Morrison etc., was a disgrace. And they still are.
    Now is the time for a complete purge, make Australia great again.

  41. A Lurker

    And Dutton isn’t that great. He might stem the bleeding, but he’s an authoritarian conservative more than anything.

    I’d put up with an authoritarian conservative for a few years just to balance out the authoritarian Regressivism that we’ve had for the last ten years.

    The country needs to be repaired – not only economically, but also socially and culturally because it’s in a real bad state due to the anti-Australian Governments that we’ve been cursed with.

  42. Linden

    He has always wanted an ETS so that he and his middle men mates can cash in. John Hewson is the same.

  43. Hey BoyfromTottenham – you said – “…I am not aware of any successful geothermal power generation project except in Iceland, but I could be wrong.” Just over the ditch. Been there for decades
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wairakei_Power_Station
    wiki says 175MW not huge.

  44. Dr Fred Lenin

    No one is going to telll me Goldman Sachs is not up to its eyeballs in the easy money climate scam ,and when that mo decided to rape Australia’s finances they picke two wel connected muppets as front men ,, turnbull and young whitlam fitted the bill perfectly ,they knew everyone important and were stupid enough for te wide boys from New York to pull their puppet strings . It was probably them who set up turnbulls Cayman Islands set up ,whitlam probably has one too ,and this untaxed money woukd be heavily invested in the scam . You don’t have to be an economist or detective to work this out everything he does is out of self interests,it’s the old stuff you Jack. I’m all right .

  45. Gerard

    “If it means a by-election, so be it and if Labor gets a one seat majority so be it.”
    If Labor were to win a by-election in Wentworth, they would hold 70 seats in a 150 seat House of Reps – they would NOT have a one seat majority. The Coalition would still hold 75 seats and be the only parties capable of forming Government. They could do it with the support of one or two from the cross bench.

  46. Bob in Castlemaine

    Smoke and mirrors indeed Alan.
    Turnbull’s leadership is fatally wounded and maybe even the supreme egotist has grasped this himself. Hopefully what we are witnessing is his Kamikaze style last stand?

  47. stackja

    MT keeps rewording. Beliefs?

  48. Squirrel

    Having endured most of the Reps Question Time sessions last week, I don’t think I once heard Turnbull or anyone else on the Speaker’s right make the bleedingly obvious point that all the Labor/Green claims for renewable electricity rely on storage technologies which don’t yet exist in a form which is proven, affordable and reliable for large-scale usage throughout Australia.

    Make that point and keep hammering it, and you might just get enough of the voting public, including that large swathe of “have my cake and eat it too” twits who think that they can have cheap(er), reliable electricity at the same time as they are saving the planet, to understand reality.

  49. Genghis

    My, what an enormous number of comments.
    The only one that matters is mine!
    Who knows the country with the lowest price of electricity in Europe. – Norway with its hydro.
    The second – France with its Nuclear.
    The highest – Germany & Denmark with their renewables.
    And still the Progressives claim renewables are the cheapest.
    The whole world is crazy – apart from America.
    Change our law on Nuclear and start building, and solve both problems.

  50. Tel

    They come at you from all angles simultaneously with all these regulations – they really do. We should be living in an age of technological wonder and cheap energy. Instead, we have rolling blackouts and toilets that don’t flush properly.

    And showers that aren’t properly hot where hardly any water comes out the end.

  51. hzhousewife

    Change our law on Nuclear and start building, and solve both problems.

    Crossed paths this week with an Origin Energy worker, veteran. He held up a coke can, and said, this coke can full of uranium (? ore – not sure what he meant) would give me enough power for a year. Australia has plenty of this stuff, why are we Fkg around.

  52. hzhousewife

    that large swathe of “have my cake and eat it too” twits who think that they can have cheap(er), reliable electricity at the same time as they are saving the planet, to understand reality

    Sadly, where I live, there have been no power interruptions. Until there are, no-ones minds will be concentrated.

  53. miltonf

    Vomit making how the Engineers who actually know how to efficiently generate electricity have been elbowed out by this gaggle of lawyers and other parasites.

  54. Viva

    Having endured most of the Reps Question Time sessions last week, I don’t think I once heard Turnbull or anyone else on the Speaker’s right make the bleedingly obvious point that all the Labor/Green claims for renewable electricity rely on storage technologies which don’t yet exist in a form which is proven, affordable and reliable for large-scale usage throughout Australia

    That is because they are trying to bluff the public in hopes the storage technology will be developed before coal generated power finally runs out

  55. mareeS

    Thank you, Alan, for a crisp and concise view of Turnbull’s lunacy.

  56. Cpt Seahawks

    Thanks Alan. I tried to follow your careful explanation of these setups and I can’t.
    I can understand burn coal for electricity.

  57. OldOzzie

    Turnbull: the best PM Labor’s ever had

    PETA CREDLIN

    THERE were two very significant developments on Friday in the long struggle for the soul of the Liberal Party.

    When Sydney’s 2GB talkback host Ray Hadley announced on air that Peter Dutton, his regular guest, would challenge for the leadership within two weeks, there was no public denial from the Home Affairs Minister until a holding-line tweet on Saturday morning. And after claiming “overwhelming support” for his energy policy on Tuesday, Malcolm Turnbull up-ended it within three days. Even if Friday’s changes were only “putting lipstick on a pig”, it shows that the PM knows he’s in desperate trouble, and quite possibly, it’s mortal.

    Back in 2009, Turnbull was removed by his colleagues for wanting to support Labor’s emissions reduction policy. For months, he kept telling the then shadow cabinet that embracing climate change as an issue would throw off the shackles of the Howard era and make them more modern. It was part of his plan to move the Liberals to the centre after seizing the opposition leader’s job from Dr Brendan Nelson. To this day, I don’t think I’ve ever met a more decent man in politics than Nelson but, like so many others before him in political and business circles, Nelson was ruthlessly undermined for the ‘crime’ of standing in Malcolm’s way. Once in the top job, Turnbull’s good polls evaporated quickly, and poor judgment over the issue of Godwin Grech and faked emails, known infamously as the ‘Ute-Gate’ affair, hit him hard. Unpopular and backed into a corner, Turnbull decided that by joining with Labor to support an emission reductions scheme, he would be able to steal back support from the political centre and revive his fortunes.

    For months, closed door negotiations with Labor moved the Coalition further and further away from its base. When conservatives like Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott started to smell a rat, Turnbull denied negotiations were as far away from Liberal principles as they were. But that wasn’t true; I know, because I was an observer in the negotiations as his deputy chief of staff.

    Along with Chris Kenny, his then chief of staff and now one of the best political journalists going around, we argued long and hard that you don’t revive your political fortunes by moving away from your base; instead, you move closer to your natural supporters. But Turnbull was on a mission: he refused to listen to anyone other than the little echo-chamber that still advises him today. By the time Abbott resigned from the shadow cabinet declaring he could not support Rudd’s ETS, followed by Minchin and others, it became clear that the job of leading the Liberal Party was first, and always, about the personal ego of Turnbull, and his own left-of-centre views, rather than values of Menzies.

    The parallels with his second stint as leader, now Prime Minister of Australia, are glaring.

    In August 2015, when Tony Abbott’s cabinet settled on a proposed Paris target of 26-28 per cent, it was against the backdrop of the rest of the world seemingly determined to reduce emissions. As well, the campaign to roll Abbott had been aggressively underway for months so he was walking a cabinet tightrope. Despite this tension, the then Prime Minister wrote a caveat into the Paris negotiating bid that Australia reserved the right to walk away unless it was a truly global agreement. Within a couple of weeks, Abbott was gone, and Turnbull went to Paris in December as PM. Less than one year later, the day after Donald Trump was elected promising to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement — thereby triggering Abbott’s caveat to get Australia out of this failing deal — Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop ratified it.

    And it has only got worse.

    No-other country in the world is trying to make the Paris targets compulsory like we are. Once a framework is in, under Turnbull’s latest adjustments from Friday, it won’t be a parliament that increases the targets up from 26, it will be the stroke of a (Labor) minister’s pen. These are precisely the changes demanded by Victorian Labor Premier, Daniel Andrews. Once a framework is in, transport emissions will be next and then agriculture, and if you think stock losses from the drought are devastating, wait until farmers have to cull their herd to meet Paris commitments.

    Like so many of you, I just don’t understand why we are turning ourselves inside out to make good a commitment in Paris when we are only 1.3 per cent of global emissions, when what we do means ‘virtually nothing’ in the words of the Chief Scientist, and when almost no other country is reducing their emissions anyway?

    The US is out of Paris and China and India have no commitments to cut emissions; alone, they’re over 50 per cent of global emissions. The EU emissions are going up, and most countries now say Paris is dead. But here, we’re spending billions subsiding power that’s not reliable while shutting down coal-fired power that is, and we’re shipping coal to the ‘big emitters’ to keep warm, and get rich, while our own pensioners are going to bed at 5pm because they can’t afford to turn their heaters on.

    By giving his NEG legislation to Labor on Wednesday night — but not the Coalition backbench, Turnbull has again shown yet again that he’d rather negotiate with the other side than with his own. On climate change, Turnbull has always wanted to form a unity ticket with Labor. Throw in his Gonski school spendathon, the hit on so-called “rich retirees”, and it’s easy to see why so many Liberals think that their leader is in the wrong party. Apart from largely maintaining Tony Abbott’s border protection policy, is there a single conservative thing this PM has ever done?

    Whether Peter Dutton is about to challenge or not, he’s certainly put Turnbull on notice. If Turnbull wants to keep the leadership, he’s going to have to abandon anything that smacks of a Labor-lite energy policy but to be honest, I doubt he has it in him to change. When Coalition members finally got the NEG legislation on Friday night, it was described as “a Bill for an Act to amend legislation relating to emissions of greenhouse gases”. In other words, it was not about cutting power prices, as he’d claimed to the party room; it’s all about his emission obsession. Deep down, I suspect, Turnbull’s real motive behind the National Energy Guarantee is re-fighting and this time winning, the battle of 2009 which he regards as his worst personal humiliation. If he’s not careful, he’ll find himself repeating history rather than overcoming it. But in the end, it is, and always had been, all about him.

  58. Tom

    Turnbull: the best PM Labor’s ever had
    PETA CREDLIN

    That column by Credlin should be Turnbull’s political death sentence, but that doesn’t account for his insane Rudd-level megalomania and, like all leftists, the conviction that he is our moral superior when he’s wrong about everything.

    If the backbench rabbits are prepared to do whatever it takes to survive (always back self-interest because you know it’s trying), they will get rid of Turnbull without delay.

  59. miltonf

    Hope so Tom. I still can’t understand why Howard wanted him there.

  60. Iampeter

    Everyone’s always piling onto Turnbull but as much of a leftie as he is, he has done far less than Abbott to advance the environmentalist agenda and certainly much less than Howard who basically led the way in building Australia’s environmentalist bureaucracy and whose government is directly responsible for the energy problems facing our country today.

    Also I love how the “rebels” who gave us Direct Action and agreed to sign onto the Paris Agreement are going to oust the PM if he…doesn’t leave the Paris Agreement?

    I mean there are no words to fully describe the appalling state of the conservative movement.

  61. Rayvic

    Alan Moran: “The fact is that Turnbull cannot be trusted to carry out the changes he is hinting at when they undermine his basic philosophy. He will torture words and devise seemingly ameliorative policy platforms. But these will simply be superficial actions to dampen criticism while he continues towards his objectives.”
    Spot on!
    Can anyone suggest a more devious Australian PM than Turnbull?

  62. H B Bear

    Can anyone suggest a more devious Australian PM than Turnbull?

    Australia’s greatest Fabian, Gillard. That was easy.

  63. Megan

    But in the end, it is, and always had been, all about him.

    All About Me is the motto on the Turnweasle family escutcheon. One thing’s for sure, Malefactor takes it extremely seriously. Where, oh where, is our white knight? At this point, I’d settle for any one of the Blackadders.

  64. struth

    Turnbull won’t go by reason.
    He won’t go at all and will never admit to himself he has to.
    He hates Australia.
    It means nothing to him.
    It is going to be a long struggle to get id of him and we know, as does he, the Liberal party don’t have it in him.

    Politically, timing is very important.
    Now is the time, right now, to contact your local liberal member and get others to as well, to tell the gutless turds that not only will you not vote for them if Malcom is still there, but you will actively campaign against them personally next election.

  65. struth

    It is going to be a long struggle to get rid of him and we know, as does he, the Liberal party don’t have it in them.

  66. Senile Old Guy

    Now is the time, right now, to contact your local liberal member and get others to as well, to tell the gutless turds that not only will you not vote for them if Malcom is still there, but you will actively campaign against them personally next election.

    My local member is ALP, so there is little point. The local liberal party are useless.

  67. Entropy

    By not voting liberal you are not betraying any values. It is passing sentence on those who have betrayed us.

  68. mem

    Thank you Alan Moran for your excellent analysis of Turnbull’s revised NEG. My guess is that he had the revisions up his sleeve to deceive his own party and the public into believing he had compromised, when in fact what he has done is try to sneak in the added ability for the target to be easily ramped-up. It reminds me of how he operated when he tried to fool the public into voting for a republic without specifying how it would exactly work. He was done then and I believe will be done again on NEG. The emperor has lost his clothes.

  69. .

    Clint
    #2793031, posted on August 19, 2018 at 11:51 am

    We should be living in an age of technological wonder and cheap energy. Instead, we have rolling blackouts and toilets that don’t flush properly

    That’s the price we pay for mass third world immigration.

    What has immigration got to do with any of this?

  70. Leo G

    We should be living in an age of technological wonder and cheap energy. Instead, we have rolling blackouts and toilets that don’t flush properly

    … and stationary mass transit.

  71. mem

    Oh cripes. Here we go with a Daniel Andrews plan announced today.

    The Victoria Labor government has unveiled a plan to dramatically expand the installation of rooftop solar in the state, pledging $1.2 billion in rebates and no-interest loans for more than 650,000 homes.

    The announcement by Daniel Andrews – coming three months ahead of a state election and amid energy policy turmoil in the federal arena – will aim to install an extra 2.6 gigawatts of rooftop solar, accelerating what most people in the industry as the inevitable switch to distributed generation.

    It also comes as the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission urged both the federal National and Liberal parties to abolish federal rebates for rooftop solar by 2021, as part of a 56-point package designed to address the gouging to energy consumers by networks, retailers and generators. more here
    Victoria Labor pledges $1.2 billion in rebates, loans for rooftop solar https://reneweconomy.com.au/victoria-labor-pledges-1-2-billion-in-rebates-loans-for-rooftop-solar-19774/

  72. Ubique

    Turnbull …has done far less than Abbott to advance the environmentalist agenda and certainly much less than Howard who basically led the way in building Australia’s environmentalist bureaucracy …

    Different times. A reluctant Howard was under seige from every media outlet in the nation and an AGW-believing electorate, that the government needed to do something to stop global warming, the polar bears from dying and the seas from rising. Fast forward to the 2013 election and the environment had changed. The public had wised up to the AGW scam and Tony Abbott in promising to get rid of the Rudd Electricity (carbon) Tax won in a canter.

  73. Iampeter

    That’s the price we pay for mass third world immigration.

    No, that’s the price we pay for the policies of The Greatest PM Of Our Time

    But yea, easier to blame immigrants for everything.

  74. .

    That’s great Clint but it is 15 bn a year and we have 647 bn of public debt.

    Not everything is about immigration. We shouldn’t pay immigrants welfare but it won’t solve the MRET and NEG etc.

  75. Davo the spy

    There was a joke conspiracy theory going around when Turnbull was elected; that he has a ‘sleeper’ sent to destroy the Libs from inside out. Seemed pretty funny at the time, but as i said to my sons at the time, he’ll end up achieving that even if its not planned. He was always clearly useless and only interested in himself and the title “Prime Minister”

    Yep, the conspiracy theory was right on the money. That and the column at the time written by Bolt about all the skills and policies his ‘tyre pumpers’ said he had, but clearly did not. How could any person of any intelligence not see how useless he was from the start; spent his last 15 years just white-anting his supposed colleagues. It fails me to see how some sane people on this blog have supported such a tool. Maybe one day I’ll understand

    They have to get rid of him and his lemmings that like the ministerial leather more than their image in mirror each morning.. even if its for someone without charisma like Dutton. Why not follow the trend O/S and put a young gun in with old guys in support and some sensible policies. The green whacko media in their Canberra bubble will carry on about, but the people will vote for. Which policies? just look at Ontario…and give back a sensible superannuation policy

  76. Iampeter

    There was a joke conspiracy theory going around when Turnbull was elected; that he has a ‘sleeper’ sent to destroy the Libs from inside out.

    How would he do that exactly?
    The Howard government is responsible for building the environmentalist bureaucracy among many other leftist policies and Abbott is responsible for giving us Direct Action and agreeing to sign us up to the Paris Agreement. Thank god we didn’t get anymore of him otherwise we might already by Venezstralia.
    Yet Turnbull is the one destroying the Libs from the inside?
    In fact simply by doing absolutely nothing, Turnbull has been the least leftist leader the Libs have had in three decades.

    THAT is the measure of how far gone the Australian conservative movement is but you guys seem totally blind to it.

  77. egg_

    We should be living in an age of technological wonder and cheap energy. Instead, we have rolling blackouts and toilets that don’t flush properly

    … and stationary mass transit.

    Marvel at the pace of the current rollout of Sydney’s Light Rail.

  78. Germany, once the leader in renewable energy, has woken up to the folly.

    Germany’s Wind Energy Mess: As Subsidies Expire, Thousands Of Turbines To Close : http://notrickszone.com/2018/04/24/germanys-wind-energy-mess-as-subsidies-expire-thousands-of-turbines-to-shut-down-environmental-nightmare/#sthash.Ai9Z9rGd.lhpzwueR.dpbs

    Green Mega-Flop: Germany’s Solar Industry Crashes And Burns : https://climatechangedispatch.com/green-mega-flop-germanys-solar-industry-crashes-and-burns/

    One wonders if the Canberra clowns ever read any research?

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