Abetz and other Speakers at HRNicholls Dinner

On Friday evening I attended the annual dinner of the HR Nicholls Society and gave the vote of thanks to the speaker, Senator Eric Abetz. His address was highlighted by The Weekend Australian giving it the front page lead story (see below) and the SMH also reported it, but not The Age. Abetz, who was dropped by Turnbull from ministerial ranks (he was Minister for Employment under PM Abbott) and from being Coalition leader in the Senate, used the HRN dinner as an opportunity to criticise Turnbull for failing to make reform of workplace relations a major policy issue at the election on 2 July. He pointed out that, with the ammunition provided by two major reports (the Heydon Royal Commission and the Productivity Commission), a policy advocating further reform had been a “gimme” and he noted that “not even the unlegislated ­elements of the 2013 election policy were taken forward such as changes to right of entry, transfer of business and individual flexibility arrangements”.

The ABC, More on South Australian Blackout, Qld renewables, and Paris Agreement.

Yesterday’s The Australian detailed the bias we all know already exists at the ABC: in this instance our reference point is a TV presentation by ABC Four Corners, apparently approved by editorial director Sunderland (and with no reference to the almost invisible “new” CEO Guthrie). This presentation obviously grossly distorted the behaviour of the Nauruan community and the standard of government facilities in Nauru and, hence, its unsuitability to accommodate “refugees” trying to come to Australia. The ABC (and its sister SBS) are well known supporters of the refugee cause.

SA Blackout, Qld Commits to Renewables, Turnbull on Racial Discrimination

It is now more than two weeks since the South Australian blackout on 28 Sept and yet the South Australian government has said nothing about the possible need to change its existing policy of relying on wind power to supply 40 per cent of the energy for electricity. Indeed, in terms of official news releases it took five days before on Oct 4 Premier Weatherill made even a formal acknowledgement of the blackout However, he did then announce an “independent” review led by former Police Commissioner Burns on October 4. My inquiry to the Premier’s office about whether submissions could be made has still not been answered.

Explaining Adoption of Renewables Policy

As expected, various “explanations” of the South Australian blackout and the role played by the use of renewables continue unabated. The most important is the revelation that the Federal Labor Party’s policy on renewables appears to have been framed initially in a pub by a Labor Environment Action Network (LEAN) whose membership included a Wilderness Society campaigner, Felicity Wade. LEAN adopted an international report by Climate Works which had the aim of achieving zero emissions from fossil fuels by 2050 (see Labor’s Pub Policy on Renewables). This involved an internal fight within the Labor party, with the CFMEU opposing its adoption and Shorten describing it only as an “ambition” with the details to be worked out by 1 October 2017. But the SA blackout appears to have forced Federal Labor to formally adopt the 50% renewables target by 2050 now and there have been similar “forced” effects on Labor State Governments’ renewable policies.

New Polling on Political Parties and Use of Renewable Energy, Limits to Use of Windpower

The latest Newspoll confirms Labor’s lead of 52/48 on a TPP basis and shows a slight worsening in Turnbull’s net satisfaction to minus 25 (from minus 23), although he remains “better PM”. This outcome seems to confirm that Turnbull’s meetings and photos with world leaders during the break in Parliament did not impress the electorate. Nor did his photo op in a train with Lucy help.

Energy Security Review 9 Oct 2016

The agreement by Federal and State Energy Ministers to have an independent review to “DEVELOP A NATIONAL ENERGY SECURITY BLUEPRINT” provides for Chief Scientist Finkel to head the review and to have two deputies. It anticipates that the review will be completed by December (see attached communiqué/ press release by federal Environment and Energy Minister Frydenberg).

SA Blackout, Allepo, Moderating Muslim Attitudes

The black out in South Australia (which still exists in parts of the state) has produced disputes about whether this is simply “the weather” or something more substantial. The Premier of South Australia is reported as attributing it to extreme weather causing towers to collapse but neither he nor his Energy Minister have made any justifying news releases so far. By contrast, the Herald Sun’s business editor, Terry McCrann, has made it clear that the weather was not extreme and that the blame lies with the structure of the electricity net work including the extensive reliance on renewable energy to meet demand (40%) (see attached McCrann on SA Blackout).

Turnbull’s New Strategy & New Assessment of Importance of Fossil Fuels

I have previously suggested that Turnbull is developing a strategy of making statements which are apparently compatible with the views of the conservative section of the Coalition parties but do not prevent him penetrating those views at the edge. This seems to have been the case with his strong support of a border controls policy while at the same time announcing a further increase in refugees despite Australia’s already high rate of intake, uncertainty about the checks to those admitted, and extensive public support for banning migrants from countries with substantial Muslim populations.