Leading article Australia

Scott superglues his colours

2 November 2019

9:00 AM

2 November 2019

9:00 AM

And so the Great Betrayal of the Australian people continues. Not content with sneakily ratifying the Paris Agreement on Climate Change behind the backs of an unsuspecting public on the very day that the Paris-sceptic Donald Trump was elected to office, nearly three years later to the day the Liberal National government of Scott Morrison proves that when it comes to the madness of climate change, it is no better than its hapless predecessor. This week, Mr Morrison proudly announced an additional $1 billion of taxpayers’ funds is to be frittered away on the pointless and disingenuous Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The purpose of this extravagance is to pump more money towards subsidising so-called ‘renewables’ such as wind and solar farms as well as — wait for it! — injecting more money into the great folly known as Turnbull’s Snowy 2.0 scheme. This preposterous project uses dodgy accounting tricks to pretend to the hapless consumer that you can defy the laws of physics and ‘generate’ energy by pumping water uphill then letting it flow back down again through turbines. The entire scheme relies on a large differential between peak and off-peak prices in order to give the appearance of success, when of course in reality all the scheme can possibly do is either drive up electricity prices for consumers or — in the unlikely event that electricity prices ever come down to where they should and would be if we carried on relying primarily on coal — sit idle, like all those other Green elephants that dot our shorelines. (Let us not forget that a senior bureaucrat at the Energy Market Operator once famously admitted that the entire scheme relies on high electricity prices).

Indeed, proof of just how vacuous, pointless, obscene and politically-motivated this latest waste of taxpayers’ money is came within hours of the announcement itself — in the shape of an approving tweet from none other than former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull himself, who wrote: ‘Good call by @ScottMorrisonMP Govt to put an extra $1 billion into the @CEFCAus — worth recalling that it was the Abbott Govt’s policy to abolish it and that one of my first decisions in 2015 was to retain it. Good progress.’

Unlikely. In fact, this is the first major regressive step by Scott Morrison who until now hasn’t really put a foot wrong since winning the election. But if he or any of his advisers think this was a wise move, they are seriously mistaken.

Set aside the grotesque fact that there is not a taxpayer in this country who would not have preferred to see that billion dollars going directly to help farmers and businesses affected by the drought, the reality is that this is the first time that Scott Morrison has shown he is prepared to put the self-interest of the merchant-banking investment class (aka Turnbull’s millionaire lobby mates) ahead of the interests of decent, hard-working, small business-oriented ‘quiet’ Australians — the very people who gifted him his ‘miracle’ election victory.

The Prime Minister would do well to remember that it was the backlash against Mr Turnbull’s similarly extravagant half a billion dollars glad-handed over lunch to some two-bit mob to ‘fix up’ the perfectly healthy Great Barrier Reef that so enraged the public (on talkback radio, in letters to the papers, over barbecue conversations, etc.) that confirmed in the mind of many blue-collar and small-‘c’ conservative voters that Mr Turnbull was a merchant banker to the core (rhyming slang pun intended) who treated their taxes as if they were his own and was prepared to lavish their hard-earned money on frivolous, ideological, left-wing causes that would garner the approval of the Point Piper gang.

This move by Scott Morrison is no different. In fact, in many ways it is worse. It is an even larger sum; it is being spent on flawed technologies which have been shown to be unreliable in an Australian context; and worse, is propping up products that have taken us from having the cheapest electricity in the world to among the most expensive. This billion dollars of taxpayers’ money, in other words, will not only be wasted, but if experience is anything to go on, will actually add to households’ and small businesses’ misery of higher electricity bills.

Worse still, this announcement comes at the very time Mr Morrison should be going all out to combat the insidious and dangerous climate change cultism that is seeing endless protests and disruption within our major cities. By so casually tossing a billion dollars at ‘clean energy’, Mr Morrison is in essence siding with the protestors against the interests of small business.

Coming only days after reports that he had stopped his avowed climate-sceptic MP Craig Kelly from appearing on Q&A, and hours after reports of an expletive-laden encounter with Senator Matt Canavan about delays to approvals for a new coal mine, this is further evidence that Mr Morrison has now nailed his colours firmly to the climate cult mast.

Or rather, superglued them.

We will all be the poorer for this treacherous decision.

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