In my Commentary for 17 January I noted that “there is no sign yet of a more comprehensive presentation of Coalition policies even though Turnbull has gone”. Recent developments have now raised the question of what Morrison is actually seeking to achieve as leader of the Coalition. For example, his three day visit to Vanuatu and Fiji, accompanied by his wife, and the announcement of financial provisions for extensive infrastructure and other aid have made it appear an important initiative for Australia
As Parliament left for the six week winter break, major divisions remained within the Coalition on electricity policy, the outcome on which basically depends on what view is taken on climate change. If the view is taken that Australia must significantly reduce emissions of CO2, we will continue to reduce the use of coal to power electricity and instead use the more expensive sources of power which have already caused major increases in electricity prices even though they involve lower or nil emissions. It would also mean an acceptance of a much bigger role of government in the economy, which many see as the real objective.
This report was presented to the Prime Minister Turnbull and State Premiers at the COAG meeting on 9 June and the head of the reporting panel, Chief Scientist Finkel, outlined the main features to COAG. The panel of 5, incidentally, all seem to be science oriented with little or no economic back ground. And Finkel himself has no background in climate change analysis but accepts the dangerous warming thesis.
Coming on top of the further drop in Turnbull’s status as a leader, his handling yesterday of the Coalition’s policy on climate change makes it difficult to see how he can continue as leader of the Coalition and PM. Shorten rightly described the chopping and changing as “climate change wars”.
The CEO of CSIRO, Dr Larry Marshall, who was appointed in Jan 2015, has set the cat amongst the pigeons, including some international ones, by declaring that the organisation will cease to examine the causes of climate change and concentrate instead on how to mitigate the effects of it (see “CSIRO Head Abandons Research on Climate Change”). The clear implication is that he regards the science as settled. But although a physicist, Marshall appears to have had no experience in analysing climate change. His CV indicates that he is an “innovator” - and an exaggerator who claims (unbelievably) Australia has been responsible for “more than 100 great inventions”