Flat White

This is worse than we thought

24 May 2022

1:00 PM

24 May 2022

1:00 PM

It’s much worse than we thought.

The ALP will govern in its own right, but will be forced into extreme positions by a Green-left Senate.

The first thing to recognise is that the result demonstrates a new consensus.

There are some differences between the ALP, the Coalition, the Teals, and the Greens. To placate its funders within the union movement the ALP will seek to abolish the ‘gig’ economy and promote a 5 per cent wage rise, something the Greens would also support. But that apart, the consensus represents a goal of abandoning the fossil fuel burning energy industry and coal and gas exports; differences are essentially confined to the pace at which this happens.

Replacing the socialist-free enterprise divide that conditioned political dualities during the 20th century, we now have the belief in global warming as the key delineator.

The vast majority of politically actives within society are undeterred by or unaware that there has been no significant warming over the past 30 years or that warmings and coolings were a feature of planet earth long before fossil fuels were burned. They are convinced that Armageddon is upon Australia with fires, floods, and rising sea levels resulting from human-induced global warming. These, the new True Believers, further believe that if Australia (with one per cent of greenhouse gas emissions) ceases to burn fossil fuels we will restore some imagined ecological nirvana. And, unchastened or unaware of this year’s five-fold increase in wholesale gas and electricity prices, they believe this will come at a trivial cost.


The Teal candidates, (described by Peta Credlin as, ‘Greens with nice clothes and designer handbags’) represent the left of the Coalition and have captured six Liberal blue-ribbon seats in major cities to add to their two incumbents.

Such success would not have been possible without the $12 million spent by Simon Holmes à Court and his affluent supporters (many of whom have vested interests in an outcome that promises more subsidies for renewables).

But Clive Palmer spent $70 million, which yielded very little.

The difference was that the Teals had the support of an army of devotees, many of them the result of the long march through the institutions that has indoctrinated a generation and a half of schoolchildren into accepting the green illusion.

Some National MPs representing coal districts and a handful of Coalition Senators like Gerrard Renwick, Matt Canavan, and Alex Antic depart from the delusionary climate consensus and recognise the importance of coal and gas for power generation as well as exports. There may be others, like Peter Dutton the presumed new leader, who were previously muted.

The Teals’ success may bring a split in the Coalition. Such an outcome was foreshadowed by Liberal leftist Senator, Simon Birmingham, though he saw this as a formal rupture between the Liberals and the Nationals, when the central Climate Change issue divides both parties (some more successful Nationals MPs, like Darren Chester in Gippsland, are pro-climate action). Simon Birmingham would take the federal Coalition along the path adopted in Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia, a path that would leave it in permanent opposition to the ALP/Greens.

If the Coalition parties split, the conservative elements would develop policies covering a range of matters beyond energy and climate change to include freedom of speech, regulation reform, and spending cuts.

But forging such a new party would be a formidable challenge. The Freedom Friendly parties which include One Nation and Liberal Democrats and, incongruously, Palmer United, failed to exploit any presumed gap from the Coalition adopting green policies. Taking the Senate vote, compared to the Coalition (at 33 per cent) and the ALP (at 30 per cent), these parties (plus the shooters, fishers, farmers) got 11.3 per cent. The Greens and their close allies got 14.6 per cent.

The freedom parties’ vote has hardly grown. Senate, swings to the freedom parties, as illustrated below, were much lower than those to the greens and their allies – they were even lower than the 1.95 per cent swing achieved by Legalise Cannabis Australia!

 

Voter shares (per cent)

Increase in voter shares (per cent)

Freedom parties

11.32

0.57

Green parties

14.55

4.26

The fact that fewer than 12 per cent of people unambiguously voted against green mysticism suggests that, in terms of political tactics, the Coalition could have done worse than prosecute the campaign on a me-too climate change platform. But this is, in part, because for six years they failed to explain the importance of reliable energy to the economy both for supplying domestic power and for its share of the export revenues (half and growing). Nor did they make a dent in unwinding the institutional forces feeding the climate change agenda.

The policies the electorate has endorsed are profoundly against the nation’s economic interests and must lead to an economic collapse. For a poor country, like Sri Lanka, going the Full Green Monty quickly unravelled the economy. Australia, though, has fabulous natural wealth and a desperate government may be able to avert disaster by cashing-in much of that, since, even after the excessive spending of the Turnbull/Morrison/Frydenberg era, debt remains at only 54 per cent of GDP, half that of many European countries, America, and Canada.

World recession and rising interest rates may however expedite an unravelling of the economy. In any event, we need political leadership which explains the operations of the economy with the hope that the people through a democratic process will recognise where their true interests lie.

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