22
Jun
2017

Analysing Turnbull

Turnbull and the Liberal Party

Today Andrew Bolt has made a scathing attack on Turnbull and has extended that to the Liberal Party itself for allowing Turnbull to get away with it. He suggests that, even if Abbott replaced Turnbull, the left that now exists of that party is so strong that he would be unable to repair it. Genuine supporters of liberalism would therefore have to decide where they would vote at the next election. I suspect a goodly number have already decided.

Of course, personally Turnbull probably wouldn’t mind if he became Opposition Leader as he would still be in Parliament (because as indicated by recent experience nobody would challenge him) and he would still get publicity on his views as each issue came up for debate. As Bolt reminded us a week or so ago, he (Turnbull) has told some that he really wanted to lead Labor but concluded that as a business man he wouldn’t be accepted by Labor (Incidentally, when I drew attention in a Commentary to this reference by Bolt, a federal Liberal Party MP emailed me to say that it was nonsense. But I have access to a document which contains carefully compiled references to various statements by Turnbull, made over considerable years, criticising liberalism and the Liberal party. It would be impossible for any rational person to conclude that he supported a party which supports liberalism as it is commonly used).

The move to the left is reflected in the Turnbull government’s recent decisions on more government involvement in such topical areas as climate and education policy and, as a result, adding to government spending. Clearly, Turnbull likes being involved in the public debates over the various issues involved and the resultant exposure he receives in the media. One almost forms the impression that he doesn’t much care which way the debate ends: the important thing is that he is involved!

Note that today’s Bolt article (see Bolt on Turnbull & Liberal Party) alsosays that the successor to Triggs at the Human Rights Commission is a left wing academic and that Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop has “appointed an advisory committee including former Labor MP Jennie George to figure ways to force Australian bosses to submit to United Nations rules to ‘remedy human rights abuses’. He (Bolt) has missed the report that the proposed new federal executive director of the Liberal Party is reported to be one of Turnbull’s “mates” (the report also says that he worked for Abbott). If Turnbull succeeds in securing such appointments, and in expanding the role of government (and the federal side in particular), Australia will have a quasi Labor party and a Unionist one, plus a series of small parties such as exist today, but no Liberal Party except in name.

Shanahan on Bolt

The Australian’s Political Editor, Dennis Shanahan, is highly critical of Turnbull’s handling of education policy, arguing that “he has part of the Coalition support base up in arms against it”, that there was  “a lack of initial consultation and a proper appreciation of the place of the low-fee Catholic schools in Australian society”, and that this has “led to this diabolic solution that costs more and doesn’t satisfy the main protagonist” (see Shanahan on Bad Turnbull Strategy). Sounds like there should be a review of the leadership!

Energy Policy

The debate, if one can call it a genuine one, on energy policy continues and has reached the US, where the leading sceptic-type organisation (The Science and Environmental Policy Project or SEPP) has referred to the Finkel Blueprint’s advocacy of target 42% renewable by 2030 and concluded that

“Apparently, the expert panel doesn’t understand the nature of the grid, even after the grid failure in South Australia causing South Australia to go black. The grid is an energized system serving all those on it. Like a central nervous system, if a major component goes down, it all goes down.

Many of those involved in climate and energy are resembling the theoreticians and academics on the flying island Laputa in Johnathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels where one person in the grand academy of Lagado was engaged in extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers. Unless there is a major technology breakthrough in the generation of electricity or in its storage, a grid based on wind and solar will fail, unless bureaucrats can control when the wind blows and the sun shines”(see SEPP 22 June 2017).

The editor of SEPP is an expert in climate analyses and was one of the advisers on environmental policy to Trump when he became President. This edition of SEPP (a weekly version is normally issued) also contains other critical references to Finkel from expert climatologists (see SEPP June 17 2017, which is wrongly dated by me). Note in particular the one headed Finkel report destroys baseload coal power economics.

Of course, as noted in SEPP, Finkel claims to have consulted widely, including with the IEA. That organisation recently changed its leadership and its relatively open position on global warming. Finkel is also reported in today’s media as continuing to support the CET (which includes the 42% renewable by 2030) as the best outcome for energy policy.

By allowing such claims to continue, Turnbull risks Australia being compared with Laputa Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels.

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