Peter O’Brien: Frydenberg again

Here’s Frydenberg at it again:

And in the words of the AMEC, you only get offered a discount from the energy company when you threaten to leave to go to another one. That’s effectively a loyalty tax that’s being imposed on the customers (and) that’s not good enough — these companies have a social licence to operate…

God help us!  And again, what planet does he live on?  All businesses, particularly those within the insurance industry, that are not contract based, will offer additional discounts to avoid losing existing customers.  All businesses, including power companies, operate to make, indeed to maximise, a profit and if they do not do so they will be punished in the stock market and investors will lose.  In the long run, their success depends upon them being flexible and nimble and this includes variable pricing.  The upside for customers in this business model is that they do, now, have this leverage – leverage they would not have if they were locked into contracts (which would be the preferred model of the business).

And as for ‘social licence to operate’.  To hear that from a supposedly conservative government minister just beggars belief and gives me virtually no hope for the future.  Wasn’t it Frydenberg who, contemptuously, rejected Tony Abbott’s call for the government to step in and purchase Liddell if AGL refused to keep it going, as being contrary to the ‘free market principles’  that Conservatives espouse.  How does the concept of a ‘social licence to operate’ fit in with those principles, Josh?

If there is such a thing as a ‘social licence to operate’ in our democratic society it does not reside on the market side of the equation.  From time immemorial, societies have advanced on the back of trade – the willing exchange of goods, services and money.  It does not need a licence to operate – it operates because that is what society wants and needs.  If anyone should be constrained by a ‘social licence to operate’ it is government.  We, the people, grant to government, certain powers to intervene in our normal endeavours for strictly limited purposes, for example, to protect us against wrong doing by powerful corporations.  At least, that’s how it should work.  What we are increasingly seeing is that government is ignoring its ‘social licence to operate’ and imposing itself more and more into our lives.  Government has become its own raison d’etre.

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67 Responses to Peter O’Brien: Frydenberg again

  1. C.L.

    Frydenberg has become the Robert De Niro of Australian conservatism; his blaming of energy companies for the cost of electricity the “fuck Trump” of polemics. The difference is that De Niro at least believes he’s being truthful. Frydenberg

  2. Delta A

    Frydenberg is out of his depth in this portfolio.

    More than that, he’s deliberately ignorant, pushing renewables one minute and then trying to temper his support, depending on his audience.

    He would make a charming tea boy at the green grannies knitting groups.

  3. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    It’s not just Rolls-Royce: China is stealing every technology that isn’t nailed down
    The arrest two days ago of a Rolls Royce engineer for allegedly spying on his employers on behalf of China did not shock many in aerospace. It’s no secret that China is attempting to develop an indigenous aerospace industry and will do everything it can to get its hand on modern Western-designed jet engines. Such is the complexity of these engines that they are virtually impossible to reverse-engineer.

  4. Ƶĩppʯ (ȊꞪꞨV)

    wrong freds

  5. Delta A

    I’m enjoying your posts, Peter O’Brien. Please keep them coming.

  6. miltonf

    Frydenburg Trumble Fifiled Pyne Bishop etc all further left than Hawke and done much more damage. They make Keating seem like the good old days.

  7. …will offer additional discounts to avoid losing existing customers.

    I just left AGL and they weren’t in the least bit interested in retaining me as a customer.

  8. miltonf

    Oh yes Payne def worth a mention in the above list.

  9. miltonf

    And who gave a public asset in the form of Liddell power station away for a song to Australia’s answer to Enron?

  10. None

    Well said. Keep them coming, Peter. I have no idea why some people thought frydenberg was leadership material. He’s just a lap dog. A useless spineless nothing burger who will say anything do anything just to keep his seat.

  11. We, the people, grant to government, certain powers to intervene in our normal endeavours for strictly limited purposes, for example, to protect us against wrong doing by powerful corporations.

    And then you gave the government carte blanche to do as they wish.

    Australia – Too.Stupid.To.Survive.

  12. egg_

    he’s deliberately ignorant, pushing renewables one minute and then trying to temper his support, depending on his audience.

    Frydemburgers is trying to be a poor man’s Peanut Head.

  13. Faye

    And the Liberals want us to vote for them?

  14. H B Bear

    Fraudenberg is trying out out dwyer O’Dwyer and SloMo.

    He’s doing a pretty good job.

  15. Julian

    Electricity is a utility and an essential service, and I’m not sure gouging customers “who don’t ask”is particularly ethical. Insurance is not essential for everyone so I’m not sure why you made this comparison.

  16. miltonf

    Faye you couldn’t possibly vote for them after everything that’s happened since the putsch. And Howard seems to have basically told us to suck it up.

  17. .

    Electricity is not an essential service.

    This is why children can go camping on their own and not die.

  18. OneWorldGovernment

    #2739745, posted on June 17, 2018 at 5:58 pm

    Electricity is not an essential service.

    This is why children can go camping on their own and not die.

    I agree dot.

    However, successive Government has made it so by enforcing renewable energy

  19. herodotus

    There’s a building storm on this front, and Frydenberg appears to know nothing about it, despite the hot running commentary from what used to be “the base” of the Libs.
    You can read their anguish and diatribes all day every day in The Australian’s comments section. On Energy, Climate Scam, Gender Bending, Immigration, The ABC …
    The Libs do not deserve to have any support until they get smarter and have some sort of purge.
    The Outsiders on Sky today – Ross Cameron at least – gave a pretty good sounding of where the ideological home ground and current grounds persons of the modern Lib coincide. Way to the left of where their former supporters want them.
    Not a pretty painting.

  20. herodotus

    Dot, I was glad you were back until I read that ridiculous comment.

  21. .

    Do you die when there is a power outage, Herod?

    “Essential service” is a left wing weasel term to demand funding for bloated departments that are resisting budget cuts.

    You’ve been sold a pup old mate.


    I went camping as a kid, without electricity, and I DIDN’T DIE!

  22. None

    There are two basic inputs for economic activity. Fuel and electricity. Unless you want to live in a cave hiding from the Chinese like dot does, you need to yell at Frydenberg and his ilk to get on their bike.

  23. stackja

    Electricity generation is the problem. Coal is the solution. Electricity retailers aren’t helping.

  24. .

    This faux tribalist, binary choice stuff is brain dead.

    We can live in a world where we don’t use the left’s weasel words and have a free market in energy with booming coal, petroleum and nuke industries.

    …and kids (and adults) can go camping without batteries or cable power and come back the next day alive and well.

  25. Perhaps he’s just spruiking the Liberal’s ‘Labor Lite’ narrative, to position them in the centre. I imagine that would be pretty galling. Its a ‘broad church’, etc.

  26. anonandon

    Social licence, social justice….what do these terms even mean?

  27. Mak Siccar

    Social licence = consistent with the ideology of the finger-wagging political pricks giving the sermon from their pulpit.
    Absolute stand-over bullsh1t which should be thrown back in their faces.

  28. NB

    I’ve always wondered why I don’t own a power company. Now I know. I never sat the test for a social licence.

  29. min

    I will be seeing Frydenberg next month when I will have an opportunity to pressure him on some of his hypocritical nonsense such as Tasmania being battery for Oz with pumped hydro, Snowy 2 and the nonsense about Liberal governments not interfearing in markets. Have you some points you want emphasised?

  30. Faye

    “And the Liberals want us to vote for them?” miltonf, I was being sarcastic.
    I dumped the Liberal Party the day they knifed Tony Abbott. An ex-member of 30 years, I will never return to the Party. Turnbull was gotten rid of (I thought) in 2009! Trump is showing up the world “leaders” as useless. This is the time the Liberal Party could have been flying high for the country if they had have turned RIGHT instead of LEFT.

  31. .

    Actually, pair bonding is likely to be rejected in places where there is economic disadvantage and legal inequality.

    Like why women divorce in the West to get welfare and child support.

    Men cannot compete with the state; hence the destruction of the black family in the US.

    Polygamy sold in the frontier, but not in cities.

    Monogamous marriage in the west was strongest when upward mobility was up for grabs to anyone who was able-bodied and had a sense of work ethic.

  32. Frydenberg is simply out of his depth. A nice mummy’s boy and all that. But he is substandard. I think his powers of reasoning are curtailed.

  33. Tel

    Social licence, social justice….what do these terms even mean?

    Social licence = Socialist license

    Social justice = Socialist justice (i.e. no justice at all).

    Hiding in plain sight.

  34. egg_

    Electricity is a utility and an essential service

    Unless you live in a cave. you will be unable to “pump gas” into your car, no traffic lights, etc. enroute to the camping trip; will be unable to charge your mobile phone from your fuelless vehicle, etc.

  35. miltonf

    Faye yes Trump really has exposed the phonies including Howard.

  36. Bruce in WA

    Social licence, social justice….what do these terms even mean?

    I was told in 1996 that my “social licence to possess a firearm had been withdrawn”.

  37. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    I was told in 1996 that my “social licence to possess a firearm had been withdrawn”.

    I was told at the height of the “mulesing debate” a few years ago, that “I needed a social licence to run a farm.” When I told the SJW involved that she could starve, for all I cared, she got very hurtfaced/tilty headed indeed. It seemed her food appeared on the shelves of the local supermarket, all wrapped in plastic…

  38. As previously noted, Friesnburger is living in a world where his understanding of the technology needed to survive exceeds his limited mental capacity.

  39. Entropy

    Social licence, social justice….what do these terms even mean?

    Social ut in front of a word reverses it’s meaning.
    Thus, even if you have assed every regulatory hurdle a government caN dream up, it means nought if someone can claim you don’t have a social licence. Social justice is pen t justice, social science isn’t science, social studies are not, etc etc.
    Using social as a verb is the last resort of activists when everything else has shown them in the wrong..

  40. Entropy

    I was told at the height of the “mulesing debate” a few years ago, that “I needed a social licence to run a farm.”

    Whenever I have someone complain about mulseing I want to take them and find a flyblown sheep and rub their nose in it.

  41. Bruce in WA

    I was told in 1996 that my “social licence to possess a firearm had been withdrawn”.

    Mind you, that was better than being screamed at as a “fucking murderer” by some tattooed “female” at the SSAA stand at the Perth Royal Show. Or the mother giving her young (4 or 5) son a clip over the head and nearly wrenching his arm out of its socket as she dragged him away, because he came into the display to talk to me and have a look at the stuffed fox we had on display.

  42. OneWorldGovernment

    Freydeggburger probably thinks that because he is dje wish anyone that calls him a dickhead is attacking him for his dje wishness.

    What a selfish Cu$nt.

    I personally would kick him fair in the guts because he is one of the dumbest shitheads I have ever heard of.

  43. OneWorldGovernment

    Hey friedeggburger.

    You think you look after your people?

    I will tell them that you are transporting them to the non electricity you foul piece of shit.

  44. OneWorldGovernment

    What a dead shit is he.

    And the farquit so called Australian Liberal Party is merely a liberal democrat party.

    I would kick any of you fair in the guts you pack of pooftas.

    I want to burn down everything.

  45. OneWorldGovernment


    I want to sue you for your lies.

    How do I organize that against you you filthy lier.

  46. OneWorldGovernment


    you just lie to people.

    You just lie all the time.

    What a filth of a lier you are.

  47. OneWorldGovernment


    Nothing to do with you.

    Fredenberg just lies
    And if the scum will front up then I will tell him in a court of law.

  48. GD

    OWG, I like the cut of your jib.
    I feel the same way.

  49. OneWorldGovernment

    Ah GD

    If the prick wont front up to a court of law then he is a proven lier.

  50. Mother Lode

    As I see it, there are three screaming problems with ‘social license’:

    1) It is not a really established concept – it is not clear what it is, how it is defined, or whether it is a justifiable concept. It seems to mean whatever the speaker wants it to mean. (“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less”)

    2) What is established, by how it is used, is the idea that the whole of ‘society’, the countless millions that supposedly embraces, gets to weigh in on each persons individual choices. We already have laws, so these are different. The idea that you might want to do something, your own business and affecting no one else, and yet society (either as an abstraction or in a hypothetical situation where the millions weigh in) must give you permission. How the millions are supposed to be able to make their one opinion known, reconcile differences and so on is something that is somehow never an issue. Also, all these millions of judges are, at different times, being judged.

    3) In practice, and alluding the one of the points above is that the people who use the expression, when they do, have not actually consulted the spectrum of society. They are instead voicing their personal (or party’s) opinion as if speaking for everyone.

    It ultimately boils down to a handful of ideologues demanding the right to decide what other people are allowed to do. The laws don’t exist to enforce this so they came up with a term that they hope sounds credible to impose their whims on people who just want to get along. It is like ‘Precautionary Principle’, which is risk assessment with only one of the variables (‘consequence’ but not ‘probability’).

    That Fries’nburgers even uttered this at all reveals that is thinks is a valid argument or he just feels like he should be saying stuff no matter what (in the latter case he should be publicly eviscerated and his organs fed to rabid dogs while he watches, in the former he should be forced to pay for cleaners afterwards).

  51. .

    As I see it, there are three screaming problems with ‘social license’:

    It is a weasel word like “essential service”.

    For example: “Big brother has decided to revoke your social licence to the essential service of oxygen consumption”.

    It is usually declared by tut-tutting unwashed activists, who represent the extreme fringe of left wing crankery.

  52. thefrollickingmole

    Social licence: This is weasel speak for “I stand to lose nothing imposing my wankery upon you or you business. I am so driven by my own inadequacies and failure to clean my room I must project my failure onto external causes in order to find relief”

    Anyone using the term is announcing they are a big man-baby who wants daddy government to make the bad things stop.

  53. None

    Oh gosh Miranda Devine is whimpering but Josh inherited a mess and was just trying to work things out. *sniff* Leave the baby alone *sniff*.
    Ever since she decided to fellate Malcolm Turnbull Miranda Devine has lost the plot. She will come up with the most bizarre reasons to excuse discoverment incompetence and continuing destruction of our economy. Can’t wait to hear her bizzaro justification for Turnbull and Porter wanting to criminalise the seal of confession.

  54. None

    * this government’s incompetence

  55. Peter Sandery

    I , too was disappointed, but not surprised that Frydenberg used the term ” social licence” – no point in looking towards him as a possible future leader to extract the Libs from the hole that they have been digging for themselves for some time. On second thoughts perhaps someone in Turnbull’s entourage did this to set up Frydenberg to fail.

  56. Percy Popinjay

    Heard Frydenberg bloviating on this controversial topic yesterday and he made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    The man is a monumental dullard.

  57. JohnL

    Frydenberg – another well-educated idiot! He is in good company with Malcolm etc. That’s why Australia is fucked.
    Why is society spending money on educating these fuckwits? The country needs tradesmen. With they built Frydy and Malcolm could have been good bricklayers. Even if they have been bad bricklayers they could have done as much damage to the country as in their current position.

  58. Tim Neilson

    “Social licence” is a demonstrable falsehood.

    The whole basis of our legal system ever since European settlement and for about a thousand years before that in England has been that every individual has absolute liberty to do whatever he or she wants without legal consequence except to the extent that there is a demonstrably established rule of law inhibiting or sanctioning that exercise of liberty.

    Yes, nowadays, demonstrable laws inhibiting or sanctioning conduct cover about 99.999999999% of conceivable human behaviour, but I don’t recall being asked to vote to abolish the basic rule and replace it with a system based on some theory of [National] social[ist] licence.

  59. Iampeter

    When have conservatives ever supported or implemented any serious policies with respect to “free market principles”?

    Most conservatives today want to regulate even more aspects of our lives than progressives do.

  60. Ms Smith

    #2739956, posted on June 17, 2018 at 9:22 pm
    Your comments are exactly right. How many Australians are blind to Turnbull and Co.’s left leaning betrayal to the electorate, and their LEFT agenda is as plain as day. I can’t believe he has gotten away with this so EASILY!! – through lies and misinformation, and a very complicit media. NWO, globalism, politicial correctness, deep state, – they are all the same, and making a ruthless run throughout the whole world, while Trump is the only leader trying hard to fight this evil agenda, God bless him.

  61. struth

    I went camping as a kid, without electricity, and I DIDN’T DIE

    Yes, we know………………………………………………

  62. Viva

    Will never forget the look of amused, smug, barely concealed condescension as he was being interviewed by Rowen Dean who asked whether he had any climate sceptics among his circle of advisers and he replied “No”.

  63. Paridell

    We received a letter offering a discounted rate on our gas and electricity on the condition that we switched our provider to AGL, consented to receive our by bills by email, and paid them on time. Since we always pay our bills on time anyway, we agreed to switch to make the switch. But before we had actually gone ahead with the switch, our existing provider – Energy Australia – rang us to offer an even more discounted rate, again on condition that we consented to receive our by bills by email and paid them on time. So we remained with Energy Australia.

    Although we are benefiting considerably from this arrangement, I do find it somewhat un-Australian. Australians have traditionally looked to their public utilities to offer a reliable service at a fair price. We have never looked for special advantages over their neighbours; that is just the way we are. In our case, we were loyal Energy Australia customers of many years’ standing, but we only got the discount by announcing our intention to leave – which is something that Australians might expect from a pay TV company, but not from a public utility. We are also paying much less than people who struggle to pay their bills on time, or who have no computers, or who rely on bills coming through the post.

    I think this situation is what Mr Frydenberg is complaining about in his admittedly jargon-laden comments.

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