Leading article Australia

It’s coming back…

7 July 2018

9:00 AM

7 July 2018

9:00 AM

In 2013, the Australian people thought they’d tossed the pernicious carbon tax out for good. And with it, the job-destroying, productivity-sapping leftist ideology of deliberately destroying our industrial base in order to further some whacko socialist nirvana powered by the sun and wind. Alas, like the most perfectly crafted boomerang, it doesn’t matter how hard you toss the damn thing away, the carbon tax keeps coming back.

Now it has yet another shiny new acronym to join the likes of ‘ETS’ and ‘CPRS’: the NEG, or National Energy Guarantee. No doubt highly-paid adland creatives are beavering away pitching for the NEG account as we speak, feverishly designing funky logos and expensive TV commercials that (much like the laughable squiggly green hose thing for the NBN campaign) will attempt to persuade a gullible electorate that the government can indeed conjure up an energy magic pudding of lower carbon emissions (the clear priority), reliability (fingers crossed) and lower household bills (a con job).

Don’t take our word for it. In a frank ABC interview on June 25, Kerry Schott, head of the Australian Energy Market Operator, made it clear to host Emma Alberici that the NEG is designed for one specific purpose, to lower carbon emissions, and there can be no guarantee on energy prices. In other words, in all but name a new form of carbon tax. The NEG document itself is a dead give-away as to the whole purpose of this latest scheme.

As was revealed by Tony Abbott, in a courageous speech he delivered in Melbourne last Monday night, pointing out that thanks to the Turnbull cabinet’s obsession with climate change, we are back to where we were in 2009:

Now, I can understand why the government would like to crack the so-called trilemma of keeping the lights on, getting power prices down and reducing emissions in line with our Paris targets – it’s just that there’s no plausible evidence all three can be done at the same time.

If you read the NEG documentation, there’s a few lines about lower prices, a few pages about maintaining supply, and page after impenetrable page about reducing emissions. The government is kidding us when it says that it’s all about reducing price when there’s an emissions reduction target plus a reliability target but no price target.

It’s a telling indicator of priorities that the official design document recommends a $10 million maximum fine for failing to maintain reliability requirements but a $100 million maximum fine for failing to maintain emissions reduction requirements.

Sure, we can substantially reduce emissions – but if we do – we can’t expect power prices not to rise and we can’t expect energy-intensive industries not to close.

We are witnessing a modern Shakespearean tragedy. One where the arrogance and climate fanaticism of the PM and his team threaten to destroy his party and our prosperity. As Tony Abbott concludes, and we concur: Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement that is driving the National Energy Guarantee would be the best way to keep prices down and employment up; and to save [the Liberal] party from a political legacy that could haunt [them] for the next decade at least.

In praise of Julie Bishop (& The Speccie)

Writing on our Flat White blog last October, Andrew L. Urban drew Speccie readers’ attention to the need to cancel Australian aid to the Palestinian Authority because of their murderous Martyrs Fund. In March, our cover story ‘Aussie Tax Slayers’ by David Adler, head of the Australian Jewish Association, called on Julie Bishop and DFAT to cancel further Palestinian aid due to the ‘pay-to-slay’ policy. Following that piece and appearances on Sky News’ Outsiders, Pauline Hanson, Michael Danby, Fraser Anning and others joined in the call, raising the matter in parliament.

We are delighted to report that Julie Bishop has heeded our call, and removed a $10m chunk of that aid. Job well done, everybody. Now, about that embassy, Julie…

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