Morrison Has “In-Between” Policy on Energy
In last Sunday’s Commentary I drew attention to the lack of any substantial difference emerging in energy policy by Scott Morrison compared with what had been envisaged under the Turnbull/Frydenberg clique. Even though he has been emphasising the importance of reducing electricity costs, that remains the case as there has been no announcement of reductions in the cost-adding policies of reducing carbon emissions and increasing usage of renewable.
Indeed, on last night’s Sky News, Andrew Bolt argued that Morrison has so far failed to explain why he is PM. This is expanded in this morning’s Herald Sun. The gist of Bolt’s thesis is captured in the following extract:
“See, he’s Prime Minister Not-As-Bad. Trouble is, that doesn’t make him Prime Minister Good or Prime Minister Stand-For-Something. Alas, Morrison is a politician who decides his position by consulting not his convictions but a measuring tape, to work out the halfway point between two extremes. Scott Morrison is already running out of time. He still can’t explain why he is our new Prime Minister. It’s timid. And it’s not working. Yes, Morrison does present much better than Turnbull. He seems more interested in fixing your problems than in fluffing his feathers. He speaks more convincingly and, if given a chance, could still do well. But he’s not getting that chance. By doing nothing bold he’s created a news vacuum” (see Bolt on Morrison).
It seems that Morrison may now have recognised the need to make a broader announcement on his government’s policies, hopefully including the vital energy policy so as to draw a more distinct difference from Turnbull. Morrison should not portray himself as Mr In-Between. Today’s Australian says that Morrison will today make his first “headland” speech “in a bid to chart a new course for the Coalition government” (see Morrison to Outline Beliefs).
One must hope that it does not include a change such as his announcement that the Age Pension start will not now be raised to 70, which was the previous Coalition policy. The fact that the Budget deficit could now be eliminated this financial year (because GDP is increasing at a faster rate than forecast and adding to taxation revenue) should not stop a much needed tightening in welfare both on the Age Pension and other elements in welfare policy.Note that when Treasurer under Turnbull he “announced the energy supplement would be extended to support pensioners struggling to pay power bills”. That should be dropped and power bills reduced by reducing electricity prices.