Policy Idiocy

It’s not just the ALP.  It’s all sides.  But let’s just pick on the ALP for the moment.

In a recent interview with, let’s not be surprised, Murpheroo @ The Guardian, shadow environment minister, Tony Burke:

declared Labor can no longer pursue a climate policy based on a market mechanism to reduce emissions.

As if market mechanisms are the preferred tools of Labor in the first place.  But Burke also said:

Effectively we’ve (ALP) based our policies on two principles, both of which are rock solid. The first is follow the science to set emissions targets, and the second is to provide a framework and allow businesses to make decisions within that.

Science and certainty.  Really.  What about some other kinda important principles such as:

  • What about economics as in does the benefit of pursing an emissions target justify the cost?
  • What about priorities and values as in would the resources spent on pursuing an emissions target be better spent elsewhere?  You know like the ALP Tourette-sian cliches of schools, roads and hospitals.
  • What about the equity and fairness of pursuing an emissions target when no other country is doing anywhere near what Australia is proposing?

Watching this debate in Australia would be funny if it was not so stupid.

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28 Responses to Policy Idiocy

  1. Pyrmonter

    @ Rohan

    Not quite. They understand performance ‘metrics’. Those ‘metrics’ are the results of polling, focus groups and casual observations of reaction. The effect is to surrender policy-making to the most persuasive activists. Not for the first time, those activists espouse self-serving, irrational policy – they’re the successors to the manufacturers who insisted that tariff protection was both necessary and desirable; and the farm lobbyists who pressed for ever more investment in ‘infrastructure’ like Lake Argyle. The shame is that their opponents – those who would live and let live, and have government spend its time on things it has to do, not things groups of voters want it to do as some sort of ‘expression’, and adhere to policies founded on robust science and economics – keep losing in the court of public opinion.

  2. Perhaps Burke can explain this: https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/altona-site-to-shut-union-sounds-jobs-alarm-on-gas-crisis-20190528-p51s2s.html.

    The closure of manufacturing giant Dow Chemical’s plant in Melbourne’s west has sparked a sharp rebuke of politicians for failing to solve the national gas crisis, with a key union warning that a job loss “avalanche” could be unleashed unless the problem was solved.

    Dow Chemical on Tuesday cited rising gas prices and increasing international competition as contributing factors in its decision to shut its manufacturing plant in the Melbourne suburb of Altona, costing 26 jobs.

    Industry representatives for some of the country’s top manufacturers – such as steelmaker BlueScope, fertiliser maker Incitec Pivot and building materials suppliers CSR, Brickworks and Adelaide Brighton – said the closure of Dow’s Altona plant highlighted the severity of the challenges facing the manufacturing sector.

    “If you want globally competitive manufacturing, you need competitively priced energy,” said Ben Eade, the chief executive of industry group Manufacturing Australia.

  3. stackja

    Watching this debate in Australia..

    What debate? Left/MSM have shouted down any disagreement.

  4. The BigBlueCat

    So, Tony Burke, does science tell you how much the earth will cool for any given reduction in atmospheric CO2? If so, why haven’t we heard about this science before? By the way, you do know, don’t you, that Australia cannot solve this supposed global crisis on our own?

    What a f*ckwit! (And I don’t normally cuss on the Cat).

    I’m so happy that Labor didn’t get the gong at the last election … still not sure if the LNP are necessarily better, but at least they understand that unlimited spending on climate change won’t change the climate (the earth’s climate, that is).

  5. Ubique

    Emissions reduction is not the objective – instead, it’s modifying the climate. To what extent has the billions we have thrown at climate change so far, including shutting down energy intensive industry, modified the climate or altered sea levels? If that question can’t be answered, we shouldn’t be spending another cent.

  6. Dr Faustus

    One thing is starting to emerge about Labor’s “learnings” from the unlosable election.

    It is clear that the general ALP thought is that the policies were pretty much AOK. Just that too much detail was provided, which confused the stupid lumpenproletariat and allowed the Coalition to run immoral scare campaigns.

    The takeaway: next time, keep it soft and fluffy and motherhood – and then reveal everything you really intend to do after you get the fuk’n keys to the fuk’n Lodge.

  7. It is clear that the general ALP thought is that the policies were pretty much AOK. Just that too much detail was provided, which confused the stupid lumpenproletariat and allowed the Coalition to run immoral scare campaigns.

    Chris Bowen admitted this publicly: https://www.breitbart.com/news/australias-ruling-coalition-gets-surprise-third-term/:

    Senior Labor lawmaker Chris Bowen said his party may have suffered from what he conceded was an unusual strategy of pushing a detailed policy agenda through the election campaign.

  8. Pyrmonter

    @ bemused

    Where exactly is the problem? Gas in the market in which Australia operates is expensive: thats a market-determined measure of relative scarcity. Some customers bought well on long term contracts; if Dow didn’t, they took a risk, one that hasn’t paid off.

  9. mh

    The takeaway: next time, keep it soft and fluffy and motherhood – and then reveal everything you really intend to do after you get the fuk’n keys to the fuk’n Lodge.

    Peter Garrett knew this – “When we get in we’ll just change it all”.

  10. Pyrmonter

    @ Ubique

    Indeed, a good deal has been spent for no purpose. We could do with an Audit Commission/Auditor-General’s Office or Productivity Commission review of the efficiency of abatement. In short, much spinning of wheels with little to show for it. That’s what happens when both sides of an argument ignore the use of market mechanisms: to date, policy has been as effective as trying to cart water in a colander – a lot of (well paid, expensive) effort, little achievement.

  11. Roger

    What about some other kinda important principles such as…

    Concerns surrendered to the UN by their obedient servants our elected politicians.

  12. Roger

    Concerns surrendered to the UN by their obedient servants our elected politicians.

    Beginning with John Howard & David Kemp, I should add.

  13. Where exactly is the problem? Gas in the market in which Australia operates is expensive: thats a market-determined measure of relative scarcity. Some customers bought well on long term contracts; if Dow didn’t, they took a risk, one that hasn’t paid off.

    Industry requires energy, provided by coal, gas, water, windmills, solar or fairy dust (the favourite of the Greens). You don’t appear to understand how all of this is intertwined.

  14. Pyrmonter

    @ bemused

    All industries would like to obtain their inputs as cheaply as possible. Complaining about ‘expensive energy’ is akin to a CBD cafe-owner complaining about ‘excessive rent’; or a farmer complaining about ‘expensive transport’: no policy intervention can change those costs, revealed as prices by a process of market exchange. Intervention can move the cost elsewhere (by subsidy) or throw costs onto other producers (eg by restricting exports or imports), but that won’t change the underlying fact that gas is expensive.

  15. Terry

    What about economics as in does the benefit of pursuing an emissions target justify the cost?

    Only “a stupid” would ask such an irrelevant question.

    There is NO AMOUNT of your money they are not willing to spend on entrenching their power.

    Why are these arguments continually framed as if these people are on our side?

    The Science, the economics, the “greatest moral challenge…”. Irrelevant sideshows.

    It is only about their power and how they might use it to pilfer your freedom. That’s their business plan for a comfortable life, at your expense. It is only about that.

    When “climate change” is “solved” (ie. the vote herd becomes bored/immuned) the next “crisis” will be required for them to solve, using even more of your money to take more of your freedom in pursuit of their business plan for their comfortable life, at your expense.

    Fleeced again.

  16. All industries would like to obtain their inputs as cheaply as possible. Complaining about ‘expensive energy’ is akin to a CBD cafe-owner complaining about ‘excessive rent’; or a farmer complaining about ‘expensive transport’:

    When government artificially increases the cost of energy, which then is passed on all the way through production, from wholesale to retail to the every day cost of living, there is a problem. It has nothing to do with market forces.

    You do realise that Australia had the cheapest electricity in the world before we started onto the path of forced renewables. That was before government intervened and decided how businesses would operate.

  17. Terry

    @ Pyrmonter
    “no policy intervention can change those costs”

    Fundamentally untrue.

    Policy intervention in the energy sector (RET, Carbon Taxes, etc) has done plenty to “change those costs”.

    The devastating impacts of idiotic policy permeate the entire economy.

  18. Tim Neilson

    All industries would like to obtain their inputs as cheaply as possible. Complaining about ‘expensive energy’ is akin to a CBD cafe-owner complaining about ‘excessive rent’; or a farmer complaining about ‘expensive transport’: no policy intervention can change those costs, revealed as prices by a process of market exchange. Intervention can move the cost elsewhere (by subsidy) or throw costs onto other producers (eg by restricting exports or imports), but that won’t change the underlying fact that gas is expensive.

    Policy intervention can also take the form of dynamiting a perfectly good coal fired power station in SA and forcing another one (with capacity to supply 25% of Victoria’s power needs) to close down.

    Even if gas-fired electricity would be expensive in any event, the deliberate strangling of supply of a cheap reliable alternative is surely something that manufacturers are justified in complaining about.

  19. John A

    Tim Neilson #3028926, posted on May 29, 2019, at 11:27 am

    All industries would like to obtain their inputs as cheaply as possible. Complaining about ‘expensive energy’ is akin to a CBD cafe-owner complaining about ‘excessive rent’; or a farmer complaining about ‘expensive transport’: no policy intervention can change those costs, revealed as prices by a process of market exchange. Intervention can move the cost elsewhere (by subsidy) or throw costs onto other producers (eg by restricting exports or imports), but that won’t change the underlying fact that gas is expensive.

    Policy intervention can also take the form of dynamiting a perfectly good coal fired power station in SA and forcing another one (with capacity to supply 25% of Victoria’s power needs) to close down.

    Even if gas-fired electricity would be expensive in any event, the deliberate strangling of supply of a cheap reliable alternative is surely something that manufacturers are justified in complaining about.

    Has everybody forgotten that the Dastardly Dan Andrews government of Victoriastan has effectively banned the search for, and extraction of, new gas supplies? That’s policy intervention to artificially restrict the search for alternative lower-cost energy and distort the market.

  20. Robbo

    Tony Burke says Labor is following two principles on its climate policy. Both of these, he said, are rock solid. Albanese, the new pragmatic saviour of Labor, will no doubt tell us “ these are our principles but if you don’t like them then we have others”.
    Albanese is a modern day Groucho Marx and his idiot friend Burke is acting like Harpo. They are certainly a pair of fools but nowhere near as endearing as the Marx Brothers.

  21. Pyrmonter

    @ Tim N

    – the northern power station would probably have gone whether there were renewables or not; it was supplied by coal carried by rail from Leigh Creek, almost 300km away. The owners suggested the state might subsidise them to keep it open, and pick up all the remediation costs in the process, for 2-3 years. In a rare sensible move, the SA Labor government rejected that attempted shakedown.

    There is an external cost to emitting CO2 – this is the stuff of Economics 1. What that cost is, is debateable. What and how much should be done is also debateable. But in a forum where the ‘debate’ rarely rises above the Jo Nova ‘CO2 is plant food’ level, why would anyone bother?

  22. Pyrmonter

    @ Terry

    We have been left with a RET because the ‘A-Team’ of Abbott, Credlin etc, couldn’t find a way to package a message into three words. And then spent months sledging the NEG, which would have repealed it.

  23. Leo G

    Effectively we’ve (ALP) based our policies on two principles, both of which are rock solid. The first is follow the science to set emissions targets, and the second is to provide a framework and allow businesses to make decisions within that.

    Burke is claiming that the two basic assumptions of the ALP policies are (1) emission targets must be set and (2) Regulate business to comply.
    How very scientific.

  24. Fang

    When/if a dirty big rock travelling at 100,000km/hr decides to take a trajectory path through Earths path! I hope it impacts Canberra first! Quick, Clean and we won’t gave to worry about any clean up!

  25. Fang

    When/if a dirty big rock travelling at 100,000km/hr decides to take a trajectory path through Earths path! I hope it impacts Canberra first! Quick, Clean and we won’t have to worry about any clean up!

  26. Rohan

    Peter Garrett knew this – “When we get in we’ll just change it all”.

    And lets not forget that Lurch resided over a program that killed 7 people that we know about, burned down around 200 homes and single handedly decimated an industry which still hasn’t recovered 10 years later. This financial destruction of a once vibrant industry, by a know-nothing Marxist clown with a penchant for atrocious virtue signalling singing-spaz-dancing, has resulted in a spate of suicides by bankrupt business owners in Victoria alone.

  27. Rohan

    Has everybody forgotten that the Dastardly Dan Andrews government of Victoriastan has effectively banned the search for, and extraction of, new gas supplies? That’s policy intervention to artificially restrict the search for alternative lower-cost energy and distort the market.

    Nope, you beat me to it John A. This is the culmination of systemic government interference by cretins that have zero knowledge of anything outside a law or political science degree or unionised shop. Both the LNP and ALP at both state and federal levels. There’s what, 1 scientist or engineer or manufacturing business owner in total elected at either state or federal level in the whole country?

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