ALP adopts direct action

Remember how the ALP laughed and sniggered and carried on about the Coalition’s Direct Action policy. How the ALP were the party of “market solutions”? Yes? Well it seems direct action is now bipartisan policy.

Labor will end a decade of commitment to an explicit carbon price by instead opting to subsidise household batteries and underwrite clean power generation to meet its 45 per cent target for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and minimise the potential for a Coalition scare campaign over power bills.

A “decade of commitment to an explicit carbon price” you say?


Anyway – a glorious victory for those of us who argued against Labor’s carbon tax policy.

In the meantime look for Pink Batts on Steroids as their latest policy.

 A Shorten government would subsidise batteries for 100,000 homes — paying $2000 to eligible families — and set a goal of installing them in a million households within six years as a means of reaching its 50 per cent renewable energy target by 2030.

So some quick back of the envelope calculations – there are about 250 working days in a year, so 6 years makes 1,500 working days. One million households in 1,500 working days equals 666.67 households per day. (I’m sure the sign of the beast number is a pure coincidence.) Don’t get too cynical – according to the ALP shoddy workmanship and house fires stimulate the economy.

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47 Responses to ALP adopts direct action

  1. Are there a million homes with solar panels already installed? What about those who can’t afford or are in locations where solar is not feasible? Is this another subsidy for those who can afford things without subsidies? While Australia is a ‘sunburnt country’, not everyone lives where the sun shines constantly.

    Have any unintended consequences been considered?

  2. David Bidstrup

    Mr. Shorten’s 1 million batteries will store enough energy to run the grid for 11 minutes a day but will require 14 minutes of grid energy to re-charge.
    It is another example of politically driven “energy policy” that has no connection with reality and will achieve nothing except to increase the debt.
    The reason no one ever puts out a coherent costed plan for 50 or 100% renewables is because it is impossible to achieve and the numbers show it.

  3. wal1957

    So after helping to pay for rooftop solar, I am now going to help pay for the battery backup as well?

    I would love to be able to spend other peoples money like those idiots in Canberra can.

    This plan would be much, much worse than pink batts.

  4. Buccaneer

    I reckon there will be more than 4 homes burnt down when the alp mates get hold of the 2 large for each sucker, the plinth of misfortune from pink bats and school halls is still visible in the community.

  5. Genghis

    Cricky, At the end of six years they can start installing them again. Same with wind turbines after 20 years. O’h I almost forgot who is replacing the solar panels after a southern Queensland hail storm, you know hail that comes out of big green clouds – sorry I forgot no more hail storms the world is getting warmer.
    At the moment I do not have solar but my guess is that their will be plenty coming onto the market, just have to find the right pub to go to!

  6. Rafe Champion

    Pink Batts on Steroids indeed, Ray Hadley this morning took calls on the performance of batteries, el cheapo batteries are flooding in from the usual sources to be stacked up by self-installers in defiance of advice to get reputable products installed by competent electrician.
    Well they should be exploding in time to give Electricity Bill some extra publicity before the election.
    ACT led the way as you would expect, stand by for more houses catching fire.

  7. Rafe Champion

    PS they last 5 to 7 years if good quality and well maintained.

  8. J.H.

    “house fires stimulate the economy”…. Isn’t there a “Broken Window” fallacy that refutes that…. 🙂

  9. Steve

    So have they thought about minimum standards for the duty cycle of batteries: charge and discharge rates, frequency and depth of discharge, cycle length, standby mode restrictions? Get that wrong (or encourage cheap but lower quality product) and you’ll have a lot of white elephants in a few years. I guess that isn’t relevant when you are promising shiny new things for free.

  10. Bushkid

    Not watching, or more especially not listening to that voice!

    I’ve always been distracted by that particular pendant she wore, the two pearls clustered and dangling like she’s got some poor bloke’s t*st*cles hung round her neck like a trophy. Yuck!!

    On the more serious question of ALP “policy”, they’re total nutters dedicated to the ruin of this country. The last three years of LNP have been bad enough, but the Shorten/greens ALP would be much worse.
    Not much of an election platform is it, that you’re not quite as bad as the opposition choice?

  11. BoyfromTottenham

    Sounds like the ‘milennium bug’ scam all over again. Tons of our taxes p!ssed away on a non-answer to a non-problem, but plenty of cronies cashing in on it while it lasts. I think I will spend some quiet time over the hols thinking up a few ‘joke’ climate scams to throw about next year, like ‘solar energised water’ or the like. Maybe some political party will be dumb enough to believe it.

  12. Craig Sargent

    This is simply a misdirection. Instead of paying ‘higher power prices’, the costs are all hidden in general taxation. In reality, people will still be paying a higher price for their power, but it isn’t obviously so.

    Direct action, is therefore a somewhat ironic label. It is indirect action.

  13. stackja

    Acid batteries? Nicad batteries?

  14. John64

    Dutton has nailed it.

    “Pink Batteries.”

  15. John H of Pelican Waters

    Bugger batteries. I’m more likely to go for a generator.

  16. Fred

    Lithium ion batteries explode.

    I have a little one for my remote control plane that comes with all sorts of warnings. Be careful of explosions and fires etc.

    Big lithium ion batteries in a million homes. What could possibly go wrong?

  17. Steve

    I’m just listening to Shorten’s speech. It goes beyond political posturing to blatant deceit. Who will call it out? Not the compliant Canberra press gallery.

  18. gbees

    “A Shorten government would subsidise batteries for 100,000 homes” – nope from taxpayers pocket. Just a lazy $200m. What could possibly go wrong?

  19. John Constantine

    Fifty percent ruined by 2030.

    Mass hysteria posing as saving the planet.

  20. No doubt the dickhead coalition will come up with their own version of this? After all we have Paris to commit to now, don’t we? Not to mention farting vows, sheep, chooks an pugs and the ozone destroying transport system that needs to be taxed into oblivion. Forget the Muslims, the government will destroy us before they get a chance!

  21. min

    First question are there enough qualified installers for increased number of solar panels ? Would not thinks so we will have the Irish backpackers like pink bats. Re batteries to make them we need lithium
    and cobalt both toxic to produce and where does it go at the end of battery life?
    Andrews is putting diesel generators on peninsula for back up . Oz does not have adequate supplies of diesel in store as we have to import it all.
    Thirdly electricity is needed to run trams, trains ,pump water, sewerage and ATMs Can you imagine the snowflakes if they cannot charge their iPhones etc?
    I cannot wait for this utopia promised by Andrews and Shorten when Victoria had snow today and observable science shows there has been no increase in temperatures for 20 years and computer predictions are so much over the actual it is embarrassing.
    Energiewende the German company established by government to manage transition to renewables has just been audited a failure on costs and also reducing emissions. Will this be us in 15 years with old solar panels and turbines falling down for nothing?

  22. Big_Nambas

    Hey calm down all of you………..
    Shortarse has to get elected first, he can’t do anything from opposition.
    The more of these silly policies he puts up the further from the Lodge he gets.

  23. Bruce of Newcastle

    A Shorten government would subsidise batteries for 100,000 homes — paying $2000 to eligible families

    About 5 years after the Pink Batteries are installed the complaints are going to start coming in. “My battery is nae working Mr Shorten please save me!”

    Is he going to pony up another two big ones for every rube who bought a Pink Battery, to replace their newly expired Pink Battery after it has died of old age? They only last 8 years, and by that time they’ve also lost about half their capacity.

    And seeing that we’re only in 2018 that means by 2030 all his Pink Batteries will be cactus.

  24. Fibro

    Ahhh….small price to pay for someone in the new ALPBC gubberment to get a seat on the board of Tesla.

  25. Jim of Wollombi

    Fibro #2869359 is on the money with the word ‘Tesla’.
    Ever since the deluded South Australians said ‘yes’ to a Tesla battery the batteriological infection has spread.
    Hopefully in a secure laboratory somewhere a group of boffins are working to develop an antidote which can be served in chilled bottles of water to all State and Federal pollies.

    David Bidstrup #2869273 is correct when he says: ‘The reason no one ever puts out a coherent costed plan for 50 or 100% renewables is because it is impossible to achieve and the numbers show it.’ Perhaps the widespread misunderstanding of the ‘real’ costs of renewables is the result of the dumbing down of education such that our children and grandchildren are no longer capable of critical analysis.

    Mr Shorten has achieved something for me with this latest nonsense. He has concentrated my mind wonderfully. I will not be voting Labor at the next Federal election for the first time in 53 years. SloMo doesn’t seem to have picked up the leadership vibe. So maybe I will just draw a picture on the ballot paper (no not of that!!!!!).

  26. Rohan


    Shortarse has to get elected first, he can’t do anything from opposition.

    My father kept on telling me as a kid that “the average man on the street is a dickhead”. Now I’m wiser, he’s spot on the money. And on that basis, I don’t hold your optimism on Shortarse remaining in opposition after the federal election.

    So we’re looking at something like the 200+ homes burnt to the ground, 4 dead installers, 3 dead home owners, and industry decimated and has never recovered including 3-4 suicides of small business owners going broke*. But like KRudd and Lurch with pink batts, Shortase and Co will never be held accountable for their criminal incompetence.

    *had an interesting discussion with one of the two main Australian manufacturers of insulation. He gave me the low down on where the industry stands a decade on and the suicides of his former customers, who’s instillation businesses were destroyed after the scheme halted. He said they had to close 2 of 3 manufacturing facilities and none have reopened since.

  27. Rohan

    Oh and there was a fifth woman found dead in a roof where they couldn’t directly pin it on the pink batt scheme.

  28. Mak Siccar

    And don’t forget the cost of replacing the inverter. Mine has fallen over after just 7 years. The replacement cost is $1200 plus another $100 to change the isolator switches (because the old setup is now no longer legal). According to the electrician, who says he replaces at least 6 per week here in Victoriastan, this lifespan is typical.

  29. Big_Nambas

    My grandfather said, “you will never go broke underestimating the intelligence of the average Australian.”
    I am not optimistic at all just stating the facts as they are.

  30. candy

    It’s kind of like Kevin Rudd’s $900 handout with a mixture of feeling good about promoting renewable energy.

    ALP are trusting that folks won’t think too deeply about the actual and ongoing costs, but just think they are getting something for free.
    I don’t know this time if that’s going to work.

  31. gbees

    I just noticed that the batteries Shortren and co. will be subsidising are the Tesla Powerwalls. They retail in Australia for around $12,000. That means the 100,000 households will have to fork out $10,000 themselves ($2,000 from taxpayers). Not many will be in a position to do that. The only one to win in this situation would be Tesla. Let’s say the wholesale margin on a battery is 30% (generous) then Tesla gets $8,400 per unit. That’s $840m in revenue.

  32. JohnJJJ

    So they weight about 100 kilos and full of heavy duty chemicals and last, let’s say 5 years at best. That’s 10million kilos of waste every five years. mmmm. Must be an opportunity there. Congo cobalt? To manufacture it all takes 16million kilos of oil, according to Wikipedia.
    Anyway I am certain Bill has all the figures.

  33. Dr Faustus

    More fun numbers:

    Average Australian households draw about 20kW/day. Assuming that Brother Bill’s Batteries are supposed to take them off the grid altogether, this means Australia will need a fleet of 1 million Tesla Powerwall 2’s (or equivalent). Smaller, cheaper units are available, but they won’t charge/discharge sufficiently to allow unrestricted typical usage. (The assumed existing rooftop PV arrays will likely need to be upgraded to provide sufficient power to charge the batteries – but that’s another story.)

    1 million Powerwall 2’s = ~$8 – 10 billion installed;
    They may last 10 years before replacement;
    1 million x 20kW taken off the NEM = 7.3 TW reduced annual load;
    7.3TW = ~3.6% of the annual NEM load;
    7.3TW is also slightly less than the annual output of a 1,000MW coal fired power station;

    A HELE 1,000MW coal fired power station could be installed for $3 billion + 10 years worth of coal purchased for ~$1.6 billion + $0.8 set aside for the first 10 years O&M
    = a total of $5.4 billion in undiscounted, arm-waving political comparison dollars.

    So, not nothing (if Government nagging convinces 900,000 unsubsidised householders to love batteries and the fuckup fairies keep away), but a massively expensive, and inconsequential step on the road from 15% to 50% renewables.

    An Iron Law: Whenever politicians make technical decisions, they are always extravagantly wrong.

  34. Terry

    They only got four with Pink Batts.

    They’re going to need something much grander to be worthy of calling themselves Socialists.

    Pity there’s only 25-odd million in Australia but that’ll make a good start I suppose.

    These people are bonafide Whackos.

  35. BoyfromTottenham

    I’m not in favour of this boondoggle, but we could try to make it somewhat less worse for the taxpayer: suggest to Electricity Bill that the Tesla batteries should be made here, with our lithium, our cobalt, our copper, etc. Jobs, better balance of trade, build up tech industry, etc. See the Green heads explode, see if Bill even gets it, see if the miners can see an opportunity right in their face, etc. Ha ha ha.

  36. I immediately thought of some poor young kid installing one in a garage with a nail gun.

  37. The BigBlueCat

    When I had solar panels installed at my old house, the qualified installer did such a shoddy job (despite certification of his work) that we suffered some power outages; it was down to a loose connection behind the power meter that was due to his work! The sparky who fixed it said our house could have burnt down.

    If solar panels and batteries are economically viable then I guess I have no particular issues with this – but I fail to see how spending taxpayer money to subsidise this, and risk house fires and associated death and destruction is in any way economically or socially justifiable, let alone morally defensible.

    I guess it’s not Socialism if they don’t mandate it for everyone … but of course, they are trying to lead people by the nose into their future “utopia”.

    Interestingly, I received an email from the Australian Taxpayer Association today:

    The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance (ATA), a 75,000+ member national grassroots advocacy group representing the nation’s taxpayers, today condemned the Labor opposition’s 45% emissions reduction target by 2030, $10 billion taxpayer-funded splash for the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, and $219 million solar energy handouts.

    “The propositions outlined today are an out-of-touch throwback to the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd era that will slam Aussie families and businesses with higher electricity and tax bills.” Said Satya Marar, ATA Policy Director. “Polling which we commissioned in key marginal electorates, shows that a resounding majority of Australians want cheaper electricity, not taxpayer-funded corporate welfare which does nothing to mitigate climate change as Australia accounts for just 1.8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

    “The botched transition to renewables through forced top-down mandates and corporate handouts has slugged consumers with unreliable and expensive power. Meanwhile, emissions reduction targets have translated into proposed carbon taxes ‘by stealth’ which will make cars, fuel and consumer goods even more expensive for hardworking middle-class Australians struggling to get ahead.

    “Government has no business picking winners by playing around with taxpayer money when different energy sources should compete on equal footing. Ripping off retirees with tax hikes to fund large, rent-seeking energy companies is the antithesis of what a “Labor” party should stand for.

    “The United States has significantly lowered its emissions by extracting and using more of its natural gas to the point where it is beating coal on price. Lifting the ban on nuclear power will also allow Australia to benefit in the long-term from cheap and clean energy with the quarter of a solar farm’s carbon footprint, according to the IPCC. These market-based policies can work alongside rapidly evolving solar, wind and battery storage technology to meet our international obligations without punishing ordinary taxpayers, businesses and consumers with even higher living costs than those we already face.”

    I must say I have to agree with them.

  38. manalive

    Significant penetration of solar PV causes technical issues, grid instability and damaged equipment as, for instance, when too much energy comes back up the system in the middle of the day.
    Batteries that store this surplus electricity that would otherwise be sent back to the grid via an inverter may alleviate the problem as long as feed-in and tariffs are ditched.
    The panels also raise the costs to those unable to benefit due to financial or simply living at the wrong latitude.
    According to this case study (2017) of solar panels and Tesla power wall battery performance in sunny Tucson Arizona the money saved is zero and for a household to be fully supplied off-grid would require “approximately eighty” Tesla Powerwalls.

  39. Rafe

    Just when you thought we had reached Peak Stupid☺

  40. Scott Osmond

    Wonder no longer how Romans felt as things fell apart. Who will pay to dispose of the batteries at end of life? oh, that’s right the silly taxpayer will pay again. For the environment. Comrades.

  41. Nighthawk the Elder

    Anyone in the insurance industry that can comment?

    With the dramatic increase in fire risk, surely this will send our premiums through the roof.

  42. Art Vandelay

    Pfft, he’s just stealing policy from the Liberal Party government here in SA:

    SA power: State Opposition releases $100m home battery plan to ‘reduce energy costs’

    If elected in March, the Liberals said they would create a $100 million household battery fund, which would provide means-tested grants averaging $2,500 to 40,000 homes to help them buy batteries.

  43. Squirrel

    “Direct Action” sufficient to get anywhere near the 45 per cent reduction target will be a “great big” Carbon Tax, under another name.

  44. 2dogs

    I predicted here in 2013 that the ALP would never regain office until after it had both accepted strong borders and abandoned carbon pricing.

    Looks like I was right.

    We’ll see if they actually keep these new commitments. I am guessing that once in office, the refugee question will rip the ALP apart internally. That’s the next prediction, anyway.

  45. hzhousewife

    Anyone in the insurance industry that can comment?

    With the dramatic increase in fire risk, surely this will send our premiums through the roof.

    Worth watching.

  46. mareeS

    FMD, I’m giving up on this insanity.

    There’s no way to unconvince these people, so we are just staying out of it now. It’s their religion. Off they go, we are clued up about how to keep ourselves and our kids out of it. First thing is to get out of business, and divest elsewhere.

  47. RobK

    If batteries had any sort of economic viability, then baseload generators and distributors would be using them (much like they use pumped hydro where practical). RE is subsidised, now the enabling hardware for increased penetration is being subsidised in the form of storage, instrumentation, complex control equipment, more regulatory boards and transmission capacity. All these are the hidden costs of RE. This experiment is going much too fast. Remove the subsidies. Let all forms of energy compete freely. Each has its strength. This area requires minimal input from government.

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