On the subject of...

Federal Politics

18
Aug
2018

More Ridiculing of Turnbull’s Policies 18/8

Commenting on this morning’s media speculation that he might challenge Turnbull for PM, Peter Dutton said “In relation to media stories today, just to make very clear, the Prime Minister has my support and I support the policies of the Government. My position hasn’t changed from my comments last Thursday.” (see Dutton Says Supports Turnbull). That of course is a short time ago and he has also said that, while in Cabinet, he is bound to support government policy.
17
Aug
2018

Last Weekend for Turnbull?

I suggested in yesterday’s Commentary that Turnbull’s proposals on NEG policy (sic) have created a chaotic situation in which changes now seem to be made almost every day in an attempt to persuade rebel MP’s to re-think their opposition to the policy and avoid resignations by some Ministers. These rebels are particularly opposed to any legislation which seeks to lock in the 26 per cent reduction in emissions under the Paris accord. It should be noted that, while 10 rebels have been publicly identified, there appear to be others who are also unhappy with some of the existing NEG proposals. Former Major General Jim Molan (now a Senator), for example, told Sky News last night that he did not accept any legislation endorsing the 26 per cent reduction in emissions.
16
Aug
2018

Shorten to Save Turnbull?

In today’s Australian, it is reported that attempts are being made by so called “rebel” MPs (said to be 10) to persuade some ministers to resign their positions. This would avoid the requirement that ministers vote with the government and Assistant Minister Keith Pitt is mentioned as a possible resignation (see Possible Resignations by Ministers Re Neg). He and Deputy PM McCormack had apparently proposed establishing a $5bn fund to build “at least three new power stations (presumably coal-fired) under a government-owned company model to keep the cost off the budget books”, but this was apparently rejected by the government.
7
Aug
2018

Samuel Griffith Conference Showed Increased Conservatism

The annual conference of the Samuel Griffith Society , which finished at 1.00 pm last Sunday after starting on Friday evening, was notable for many reasons but most importantly showed through those who spoke and attended that the “conservative” movement is strongly increasing. The expansion in the Society is due importantly to the contribution by leadership from Stuart Wood QC, who is also able to be a leading industrial relations barrister.
2
Aug
2018

More Responses to NEG Modelling

The editorial in today’s Australian is critical of the policy approach adopted by the Turnbull government –“under Mr Turnbull the Coalition seems to think all it needs to do is announce elegant policy and await the plaudits” – but (disappointedly) does not advocate considering any change of leadership. By contrast, while agreeing about the need for policy changes, Andrew Bolt rightly argues that any policy changes needs to be preceded by a change in leadership (see OZ Prescribes Tighter Econ Strategy and Bolt says Change Leader Then Policies).
27
Jul
2018

Questioning Continues Regarding Effects on Pricing under NEG

Today’s Australian reports that the views of three groups in the Senate appear to depend on whether and/or by how much the supposed final version of NEG will reduce costs. Pauline Hanson says she is “strongly against” the NEG and wants to pull out of the Paris accord requiring reduced carbon emissions as coal-fired power stations would deliver cheaper power. Senator Leyonhjelm, the Liberal Democrat, said he wanted to see evidence the NEG would dramatically lower power prices before he would back the deal: “they need to fall by at least 50 per cent to restore competitiveness and take pressure off households”. The Centre Alliance’s Rex Patrick said he and Senate colleague Stirling Griff backed the NEG’s goals but their vote would depend on how much the policy brought down power bills: “we would expect on the pricing side for there to be a clear indication of what the savings will be, and that the modelling that generates those savings is released publicly, including all assumptions that were made,” Senator Patrick said (see Some Senate Opposition to NEG).
24
Jul
2018

“Final” Version of NEG But Coal Still Favoured by Many

The Australian reports that the “final” version of NEG has now been sent to the states from where they will soon be leaked (see NEG “Finalised”). This version is to be considered at COAG next month and it appears that it does not include the mechanism for setting the emission reduction target, which are (amazingly) to be set each year under federal legislation. The responsibility for meeting the so-called “reliability obligation” is unclear as to what variation in supply, and from what fuel source, would be “unreliable”. No mention is made in this report of what is expected to happen to electricity prices.
21
Jul
2018

Some Realities Not Faced Under Proposed NEG

Recipients of my Commentary (who include Environment Minister Frydenberg and PM Turnbull) know that recent Newspolls show only 24% support for reducing carbon emissions by 26% (cf 2005) by 2030 and 48% favour pulling out of the Paris accord (14% Uncommitted). They are also aware that the CEO of the Australian Energy Market Operator has advocated continuing to use existing coal-fired generators for the next 20 years because electricity prices will be lower than using other fuel sources. And that Turnbull has acknowledged this view as correct.
19
Jul
2018

NEG Must Be Abandonned

In previous Commentary I have drawn attention to the apparent strengthening in The Australian’s critique of the Turnbull government’s NEG. Two days ago the paper published a Newspoll showing that only 24% opt for the Turnbull policy of obtaining a 26-28 % reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 rather than keeping energy prices down and that 48% now favour Australia pulling out of Paris. Yesterday it gave publicity to the report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and the CEO’s call ”for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power plants to be operated for as long as possible to prevent a ­future price shock in the transition to renewables, claiming the ageing plants will still deliver the cheapest electricity for the next 20 years” (see CEO AEMO). It also referred to Turnbull’s welcoming of the report and his telling to radio 3AW listeners that “there’s no question that getting more megawatt hours out of an existing coal-fired power station is cheaper than the megawatt hours that’d come out of a new one. No question about that at all”.
18
Jul
2018

What is the NEG Policy Now?

The editorial in today’s Australian contains an important follow-up to yesterday’s Newspoll showing that only 24% opt for the Turnbull policy of obtaining a 26-28 % reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 rather than keeping energy prices down and that 48% now favour Australia pulling out of Paris, which is up 3 percentage points (see OZ Favours Coal Instead of NEG). It also draws attention to the report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) and its call ”for Australia’s fleet of coal-fired power plants to be operated for as long as possible to prevent a ­future price shock in the transition to renewables, claiming the ageing plants will still deliver the cheapest electricity for the next 20 years”.
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