The combination of today’s Newspoll (another 49/51 TPP result for the Coalition) and the utter failure of the Turnbull government to come forward with a meaningful energy policy demands that tomorrow’s party room meeting vote for a change of leader. Turnbull has had his (second) chance 38 times and must go now even if that forces an election before Christmas.
In fact, that would give the new leader a chance to put together a Cabinet which comprises members who have a better understanding of the policies Australia needs. And to bring back some voters who have moved to prefer One Nation (up from seven to nine percentage points) or one of the other groups (up from eight to nine). A clean sweep is required.
The failure after two years to develop a meaningful energy policy even now demonstrates the inability of the present leader to depart from his Labor-lite approach to governing. Yet another poll shows 63 per cent give priority to keeping prices down and only 26 per cent give priority to meeting targets to cut greenhouse gas emissions Despite this potential election winner it is only in the last few days that the electorate been told that the new policy would include the underwriting by the government of investment in electricity generation that would, magically, ensure lower prices. But nobody knows how much of such investment or how much prices would fall! Suffice to say here that it is consistent with the Turnbull view of government, not with private enterprise view supposed to be the aim of the Liberal party.
The National Editor of The Australian, Simon Benson, has well summarized the situation in his opening sentences, viz
“The Turnbull government lacks policy coherence, party unity and remains crippled by a failure of political management. The consensus is that it is sleepwalking to likely defeat. The critical message from the electorate is this: the relative popularity of both leaders, or lack of it, is no longer the key driver of votes”.
But Andrew Bolt has probably put it best below.
Liberal MPs need to reject Turnbull’s ‘stupid’ scheme, writes Andrew Bolt
Andrew Bolt, Herald Sun, August 12, 2018 8:32pm
“ATTENTION Liberal MPs. Tomorrow is when you start fighting or slouch to defeat. It’s when you stand against idiocy or be forever damned as sheep.
Tomorrow is when Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull calls a party-room meeting to tell you what you will do about the National Energy Guarantee.
But it must be the day when you turn the tables and say: enough.
Say no to this futile, pointless and expensive con — a global-warming scheme to cut emissions that this government pretends is a scheme to cut electricity prices instead.
Dear Liberals, no one buys that spin. We know your scheme has targets for cutting emissions but none for cutting prices.
And no matter how brilliantly the Prime Minister thinks his government is playing the politics of your NEG — an acronym and plan not one in a 1000 voters understands — you and I know the truth.
Voters are telling every pollster they are furious about soaring electricity prices. Expecting them to admire your NEG is like expecting an AFL Grand Final crowd to clap you for staging a game of tennis, instead.
What on earth are you thinking? Even if this scheme made sense, it would not cut prices this side of next year’s election. You’d just be telling voters to trust you to cut prices when they have no reason to.
At best, you’d simply create a global-warming scheme that the new Labor government will thank you for — and hang around your neck as one you wanted, too.
How does that make political sense?
But let’s now talk about the national interest.
Ask yourselves: why are you pushing a scheme to cut emissions when even Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, himself a warmist, admits we are so small that the difference any cuts would make to the climate is “virtually nothing”?
Why you are so determined to cut emissions when there has been next to no warming this century?
Why are you so determined to cut our tiny emissions under the Paris Agreement when the world’s three giants — China, the United States and India — have either pulled out or been allowed to increase their own emissions?
How do you explain your blind commitment to a Paris Agreement that under the best estimate — by Professor Bjorn Lomborg — would cut the world’s temperature by just 0.053C by 2100 — and only if every nation met its promises, which most won’t?
How do you explain to voters why you push global-warming schemes that have helped to close nine coal-fired power stations in six years, making power prices jump?
How do you explain to pensioners who cannot now afford to heat their homes that their sacrifice is worth it even though it makes no difference to the climate?
Why are you inflicting all this pain for zero gain? None of it makes sense.
Ministers argue that they need this compromise with Labor to finally give investors the “certainty” they need to invest again in more power stations, and invest with such added confidence that they take less in profits and pass on the savings to voters.
Dear me. Such naivety.
Where is the “certainty” in a NEG that will actually make it easier for the next Labor government to demand even bigger cuts to our emissions — 50 per cent, if you please, with its Greens allies demanding 100 per cent?
Dear Liberal MPs, all this is madness and I bet almost every one of you knows it. So why go along with it?
Some of you tell me you must, because rejecting this NEG would undermine your Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, a global-warming fanatic.
Despite surviving negotiations in Friday’s COAG meeting, the government’s National Energy Guarantee will face its next big test in the Coalition party room on Tuesday. A number of MPs have indicated they are willing to cross the floor over the contentious legislation. Shadow Energy Minister Mark Butler blames disunity in the Coalition for stalled energy talks.
But how can you undermine a dead man? I write this without knowing the results of today’s Newspoll, but you all know the weight of evidence suggests you have lost the election already.
You must change course.
If Turnbull can’t sell the kind of new policy you need — cutting electricity prices, not emissions — then find yourself a new leader who can. And if you lose the election anyway, at least you’ll be in better shape to fight the next.
You can say “I told you so” as Labor makes power prices even worse. But in the end, the choice is basic: did you really get into politics to make Australians suffer for nothing?
Please, this is the time for serious Liberal men and women to say no to stupidity. Just because everyone around you has lost their head is no reason for you to lose your own”.