Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

Economy

Abbott’s unconscionable coal coterie

*Pic: Callous coal clowns of the Monash Forum

First published April 12

A group of backbench MPs, calling themselves the Monash Forum. are currently pushing for the government to build a new coal-fired power station, but this is at odds with the prime minister and treasurer’s view that new coal power stations are not the answer to our future energy needs. So will this be the issue that sees the demise of Malcolm Turnbull?

Tony Abbott is leading the charge with his myopic ideology by stating “We should be the party of low power prices, and that means more coal-fired base-load power generation in this country,” … “We shouldn’t be just exporting coal. We should be using it here.”

The forum was named after John Monash who was an engineer, and in 1921 became the first full-time chairman of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria who oversaw the creation of Victoria’s brown coal electricity-generating power stations, which was only the second brown-coal station in the world after Germany.

Almost a century later, the members of the Monash Forum, who are essentially a bunch of climate change deniers, are pressuring the government to continue focussing on the production of electricity by coal, including the use of inefficient brown coal ahead of renewable energy.

Abbott has backed the immediate replacement of ageing coal-fired power plants with new ones, and took a swipe at Scott Morrison after the treasurer denounced the demands of a new pro-coal group who claim that new power stations would provide cheaper power that could be sold into the energy grid.

Scott Morrison’s rebuttal stated that new coal-fired power plants would cost twice as much as power as from existing coal power station, and said new high-efficiency low-emissions (HELE) coal generation plants would sell power for between $70-$80 per Megawatt hour, which is twice as much as the old power stations. This alone could be a gross underestimate as Bloomberg New Energy Finance puts it at $130/MW.

Simon Holmes a’Court who is a senior advisor to the energy hub at Melbourne University claims that Australian power stations fitted with ‘Clean Coal’ technology emit 9.95% less pollution than stations burning the same fuel with regular sub-critical technology.

Further references:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/apr/04/scott-morrison-new-coal-fired-power-station-not-the-answer

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/aug/24/coal-in-decline-an-energy-industry-on-life-support

image

Meanwhile the majority of Australians support the phasing out of coal power stations by 2030 – https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/mar/29/majority-of-australians-support-phasing-out-coal-power-by-2030-survey-finds

Current world electricity generation trends, extrapolated to 2032.

image
Graph – Andrew Blakers

Trouble Brewing

But there is more to the Monash forum than just building a new more efficient coal plant somewhere. This project appears to have an agenda to undermine Malcolm Turnbull’s leadership, and concurrently drawing him into a commitment of providing an expensive extended life of the planned de-commissioning of Liddell power station in 2022.

Last year the government approached the Hong Kong-owned Alinta Energy regarding the uptake of Liddell, and the company has now signaled it will bring forward an offer by the end of this month, though the question remains if this Liddell life-line is dependent upon on another huge prop-up of taxpayers’ money? The only certain outcome will be that power prices to the consumer won’t decrease as a result of a takeover.

The Turnbull government has already declared that the Snowy Mountain 2 scheme will provide addition baseload power to the grid by around 2024. That’s approximately 2 years after the planned shutdown of Liddell.

It has been estimated to cost near a billion dollars to extend the life of the Liddell station beyond 2022 for a few years. A pragmatic and cheaper concept to install renewable energy plants could be provided at a much lower cost, and would continue to provide energy far into the future.

In December 2017 AGL Energy Ltd said it would replace the Liddell coal plant with a mix of renewables, gas power for peak periods, and battery storage.

So why is the Liberal coalition still looking at coal as a solution?

Turnbull’s future energy policy, and his undermining foes seem to have caught him between a rock and a hard place.

*Ted Mead claims the future energy sources in Australia beyond 2030 is undoubtedly going to be provided mostly through renewables considering the exponential private investment in the sector. Ted believes the costs of maintaining coal power generation plants over the construction of cheaper renewable energy projects is an economic no-brainer, and that the present government knows this but simply can’t detach itself from the control of the coal-mining corporate influences.

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34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. Russell

    April 20, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    Re #34 … “Australia does not have nuclear for burning bio-fuels for electricity” …

    Huh? Please explain?

    Tasmanian smelters haven’t suffered at all using 100% renewable energy have they, Robin?

    We invite you to the 21st century, Robin.

  2. Robin Charles Halton

    April 19, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    #32, Yes, as well the reasons at least more recently include those of energy market dysfunction, take the steel industry, its lucky that we have anyone left at all.

    There is absolutely no guarantee that coal won’t be used in the future as a stop gap measure to stabilise for keeping up with demand for electricity in developed countries including Australia.

    Australia does not have nuclear for burning bio-fuels for electricity, and as we know gas is too expensive and unlikely to play a major part part in electricity production.

    Regardless of the politics I think we are in for a shock, combined with the high price of gas, reluctance to invest in coal, and the private ownership of most the grid to max their $ investment as there is no such thing as prices dropping.

    One can expect frequent blackouts depending on Renewables other than for Hydro!

    Further short term battery storage technology may help, supported by more widespread diesel powered generators across the nation, which are likely to assist to stabilise the grid when the wind fails to blow, combined with fog/cloud replacing the sun.

  3. Russell

    April 19, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    Re #30 … “In my opinion it is the vexed question to balance price, reliability and emissions reductions at the same time as the nation has lost too much manufacturing investment because of energy policy and market dysfunction.”

    Wrong. The only reason why Australian manufacturing industries have moved off-shore over the last few decades is because the natural resource extraction industries have sold just about everything to China, and others, at give-away prices, and the Australian consumers have bought it back in cheap Chinese value-added commodities.

    It’s not because the coal-fired power stations have shut down when the manufacturing industries started moving off-shore decades ago. The dinosaur power stations only recently begun closing down because they are uneconomic, and to keep them open and floundering along in continual decay will see the energy price to consumers skyrocket to compensate. If it costs more to make, it will cost more to buy. Simple mathematics.

    To suggest that the Government maintain an actual workable solution to keep the nation alive and functioning by massively subsidising coal-fired power stations with public money is lala land stuff. 1 – 2 = -1. Simple mathematics again.

  4. philll Parsons

    April 17, 2018 at 11:27 am

    The Forum of Fossil Fuel Fools has peddled through brown coal land making a big splash about its appropriation of the name Monash.

    This group of dead wood and burnt out hasbeens will never see a Ministerial spot under Turdbull. Universally unpopular, they can only get in by being in ‘safe’ seats.

    As one would expect, their little flurry of furious activity has not seen a wave of support, and so they have gone back into their coven until they find another opportunity.

  5. Robin Charles Halton

    April 15, 2018 at 10:15 pm

    #28, Jon … Initially I thought that Germany had dismissed nuclear power in earlier times! Chancellor Merkel’s coalition announced on may 30th 2011 that Germany’s 17 nuclear power plants would be shut by 2022 in a POLICY REVERSAL following Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

    As of January 2017, 8 nuclear plants with 11,357 MW are still in operation.

    As for the rest of the course for Germany, it strives to achieve 65% Renewables by 2020.

    It is claimed by Germany that its pre 1990 CO2 emissions are only making a little gain in reductions due to transport (greater use of diesel vehicles) industry, and housing construction demands!

    Back to planet earth here in Australia where uncertainty continues to prevail!

    It seems the latest push is by business! Manufacturing Australia represents a sector that employs nearly one million Australians and is appealing to states and territories to support the government’s signature energy policy based on the national energy guarantee despite the push by back-benchers wanting the government to intervene in the market and build a new coal fired power station.

    The next move is that State and territory ministers will meet on Friday to go over the next stage of the NEG’s design with the Federal Government hoping to secure final state agreement for the package as soon as August.

    In my opinion it is the vexed question to balance price, reliability and emissions reductions at the same time as the nation has lost too much manufacturing investment because of energy policy and market dysfunction.

    I am suggesting that the Government under PM Turnbull needs to be realistic, maintaining an actual workable solution to keep the nation alive and functioning.

  6. George Smiley

    April 15, 2018 at 2:48 pm

    #5 … No-one cares what AGL shareholders think. ‘Economic rationalism’ and ‘budget repair’ were only handy buzzwords toward obtaining the only true belief of these sociopaths which is to hold power by hook or by crook, whatever the cost to the nation’s books or the planet, or least of all to worthless reputations.

    Our Capitalist Roaders fiddle the ownership of the means of production (like electricity networks) to offer a public monopoly on the unprofitable parts of the economy, while any public asset in the black is flogged off to funding cronies, AND the proceeds publicly and timely spent for electoral advantage. Too bad your power prices went up, but nobody buys constraints.

    But hey, now we have a whole box of bandages which are employment-generating white elephants-to-be, something obvious only after the perpetrators are happily inflation-protected super annuated.

    So now we are to export hydrogen! This sounds like some permutation from the desperate end of the Third Reich where motor fuel was synthesized from coal. Of course there is no hydrogen in coal. Carbon combustion supplies the energy for the chemical transformation of water and all the CO2 has to go somewhere. The only vehicles capable of holding hydrogen remotely economically are heavier chemicals like ammonia (NH3) – still gaseous but at least compressible and liquifiable in which case we could export further value-added as fertiliser, or of course as part of some version of gas from CH4 (methane) onwards to liquids fuel technology holding a lot of carbon and in the Last Days of the future can power our home-grown Wermacht independently of transfer-priced and Asian-threatened petro-chemicals from little Singapore.

  7. Jon Sumby

    April 14, 2018 at 4:19 pm

    Re. #27, Robin … Sure thing.

    I forgot to mention why that power station is starting up when coal fired power stations are closing around Germany.

    It was built on the back of contracts for supply that were signed in the early 2000s at a fixed price. As time dragged by, the price of power came down fast on the back of renewable sources. The companies concerned tried to withdraw from the higher contractual price and it all went to court. The power station won and so it has a supply contract locked in at that higher price, so they want to run the station to make that money.

    Also, the company has sunk over a billion Euros into the project so they want to run it to recoup that cost from the contract and make a profit. I wouldn’t be surprised if it were closed down in a few years, as once the supply contract period is over the power station will be uneconomic to run.

    Mind you, over that time it will have pumped millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere …

  8. Robin Charles Halton

    April 14, 2018 at 1:13 am

    #15, Jon Sumby …Tthanks for the research, re coal fired PS Germany, enlightening indeed.

    I will get back to you soon and see where to from here with Australia which obviously does not have any direction for a developed country.

    Lost in the Lucky country, unbelievable but probably due to privatisation of electricity providers who are calling the shots all the way to the end. Well, that is how its seems!

    Better to bring everything to a head now, so I wonder who can attempt to put the record straight!

    Will join in the debate again soon!

  9. Ted Mead

    April 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    #25 – Yep, it would seem that the pay checks for Martin come from all resource extraction industry sources these days.

    Some people would trade their grandmother for a kick-back, it seems.

  10. John Hawkins

    April 13, 2018 at 4:05 pm

    #19 Fitch … If Abbott could raise $25 million from the Minerals Council he could buy the next election.

    The problem now is that no one loves coal.

    These two Newspaper reports are for actions only 6 years apart …

    Sydney Morning Herald 2 Feb 2011

    How much does it cost to bring down a prime minister?

    The answer: a tad over $22 million.

    The mining industry spent $22 million in six weeks on its campaign against Kevin Rudd’s plan for a resource super profit tax.

    The AEC political spending disclosures for 2009-10 reveal just how much the miners spent campaigning against the plans to levy a 40 per cent tax on their ”super” profits.

    The campaign contributed significantly to a slump in Labor’s electoral standing in the middle of last year, which prompted Labor MPs to replace Rudd as prime minister with Gillard.

    The industry’s national body, the Minerals Council of Australia, spent $17.2 million, mainly on TV advertisements; BHP Billiton spent $4.2 million; Rio Tinto just over $537,000, and a smaller lobby group, the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, just under $274,000.

    A spokesman for the Minerals Council said the tax had been a threat to the viability of Australia’s minerals industry.

    The Financial Review 2 Dec 2015

    Rio began selling coal mines in October 2013 with its 50 per cent stake in the Clermont thermal coal mine for $US1.3 billion. If followed up with the $US606 million sale of its 40 per cent stake in the Bengalla mine in September this year.

    The company has sold out of Mongolian coal miner South Gobi Resources and the disastrous Riversdale project in Mozambique.

    Mr Jacques dodged questions about further thermal coal sales after his speech last week, saying every asset was for sale “at the right price”, while adding he believed thermal coal prices were unlikely to recover for five to seven years.

    BHP has retained sizeable metallurgical coal assets in Queensland, which is used to make steel, but sold its thermal coal business in South Africa when it spun-off assets into a separate company, South32.

    It has retained the giant Mt Arthur mine in the Hunter Valley and Cerrejon Coal in Colombia, but is selling the San Juan thermal coal mine in New Mexico. In its third quarter production report BHP said its thermal coal output would be flat this year.

    In late September BHP endorsed a goal to limit global temperatures rises to 2 degrees and tested how its portfolio would be affected by strong emission reduction targets. While it saw a strong future for uranium and natural gas, it forecast thermal coal demand would be 20 per cent below its long-term average.

    A spokesperson for BHP declined to comment further on its outlook for the coal business, pointing to its September climate change statement.

    Thermal coal prices have fallen more than 60 per cent since peaking in 2011 to be trading below $US55 a tonne. Falling thermal coal demand in China and a switch to natural gas in the United States is behind the big price falls, leaving the global market heavily over-supplied.

    China’s coal consumption fell 4.7 per cent over the first 10 months of the year, while imports were down 30 per cent over the same period.

    Fitch, can you in light of this explain your figures – or am I missing your point?

  11. TGC

    April 13, 2018 at 3:36 pm

    #20 “… dead trees affected by climate change.” Is it only since ‘climate change’ that trees began to die?

  12. Russell

    April 13, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    Re #17 … Please try to avail yourself of the real facts, as Jon and others have provided you, and speak with some clarity and truth instead of the bogan pub fairytale parrotings.

  13. Keith Antonysen

    April 13, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    No 19, MjF … In relation to your comment about record amounts of coal being exported currently; that record amount of coal has impacts. They are a death sentence for many Asians through the emissions created, and if not a death sentence, they cause ill health for many. That factor is ignored; ideological neocon thought appears to be that poor people don’t matter anyway.

    Now people are beginning to experience the impacts of climate change in more wealthy countries, through extreme weather, drought and wildfires. Climate change is an add-on to natural events such as hurricanes. Don’t believe it? Bring up Google Scholar and type in “attribution in climate change”.

    https://scholar.google.com.au/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0,5&q=attribution+in+climate+change&btnG;=

    Wealth is of no use if there is nobody about to enjoy it.

    Off topic:

    But, Trump, May and Macron appear as though they will attack Assad, which will more likely than not involve Russia as well. The attack on civilians through use of a chemical weapon was barbaric to the nth degree; but, causing death to innocent civilians through bombing is still murder. The point here is that there is no moral high ground in war; admittedly use of chemical weapons is as low as you can go.
    Another low point has been that there was no immediate overt reaction in relation to Yemen where the population was starved, had little water resources and few medical supplies, and where many men, women and children died a terrible death.

    Should Russia become involved it is likely we will all be stuffed. If Russia knocks out any missiles directed at Assad, it is virtually certain the extreme hawkish Trump regime will take further action. Putin is no shrinking violet, and China has hinted it would support Russia, so the use of nuclear weapons is a huge possibility.

    Incidentally, check American oil interests in Syria!

  14. Jon Sumby

    April 13, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    Re. #19, MjF … Please learn to focus and stay on topic.

    I was writing about the use of coal for electricity generation in Germany and China, not the ‘global market’ in all coal.

    On that topic your statement, ‘Australia is rapidly heading to record export levels of coal’, is wrong.

    For thermal coal the Office of the Chief Economist, in their latest assessment, says:

    ‘In 2017–18, Australia’s exports are forecast to rise marginally from 2016-17, and see further minor gains to 203 million tonnes in 2018–19.’ Hardly a record.

    As for metallurgical coal, exports have been stable at about 180 million tonnes for the past few years and the forecast is that the market is firm and should increase to 210 million tonnes by 2022-23. Firm growth but hardly record growth.

    The Office of the Chief Economist does forecast this:

    ‘Australia’s resources and energy export earnings are forecast to increase to $230 billion in real terms in 2017–18 — a record high. The drivers of this increase are broad-based, but LNG is expected to be the largest growth contributor.’

    Note that this includes resources and energy combined, also note that LNG is the biggest contributor. Not coal.

    Note also that the term ‘record high’ needs to be taken in context, as in a growing market every year is a record year. Using that term for this period implies that earnings after that will decline to less than the record.

    The outlook from the Office going out to 2040 is a decline in thermal coal exports as renewables become the number one electricity supply globally.

  15. John Hawkins

    April 13, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    #19, Martin J Fitch … I was not aware that the government received the income from the coal, natural gas or oil as and when it was exported. I thought, obviously mistakenly, that the income went to the companies who mined or extracted the product and then exported it, with the final profit going to their worldwide shareholders. Sorry to be so stupid.

    As a sideline, who funded the ‘Kill Rudd’ campaign to tax our natural resources at source in order to benefit the people of Australia? Was it Rio, BHP? I forget now, so perhaps you can assist.

    I burn wood from dead trees affected by climate change. It is illegal to burn coal in a grate in most cities around the world as it is a well known pollutant. Have you ever lived through a London smog? It is over 50 years since coal burning in London grates was banned.

    I also plant trees, over 100,000 so far, to improve my landscape for the future. This is the opposite of your own life’s work.

    As a man who knows about trees, what is causing the weeping brown bark syndrome? Is it a marker of the plague now occurring all over Tasmania as millions of trees croak before our eyes?

    You have probably never noticed this pending disaster. It’s something about logs and eyes.

  16. MjF

    April 13, 2018 at 3:27 am

    Hawkins … You miss the point entirely, as you’re prone to doing when launching into your “I-know-what’s-best” tirades.

    Here’s an update for you to contemplate. Australia is rapidly heading to record export levels of coal, so where’s it all going ? Hardly being dumped at sea is it?

    The carriers cannot berth and load quickly enough. One way or another this is considerable income flowing into Mals purse’s. This exit of coal is also at odds with Jon Sumby’s observations of a collapsing global market. Go figure.

    That income (acknowledging no GST is normally charged on export sales) will take a lot of replacing, if and when coal finally bites the dust. That time is certainly not now, bought governments or not.

    This situation is really simple to solve. Someone tell the buyers not to buy it. Go on, off you go and do it. Take all the help you need.

    Seems to me such an undeniable argument for climate change is all too easily denied. Do you burn a bit of carbon in the estate grates just for authenticity ?

  17. MjF

    April 13, 2018 at 1:53 am

    #10 … If you could desist from indulging in self congratulatory obsession for a moment, please explain the distinction between over 18 idiots and non-idiots ?

    I just know you can raise a definition that won’t appear to be too elitist or discriminatory Jonny. Don’t disappoint.

  18. MjF

    April 12, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    #11 … Na, I was thinking of people more like yourself, since you ask. Maybe I’ve been a tad ambitious. You are over 18 and otherwise eligible to vote ?

    Mostly qualified, I’d say Rustle, for Jonny Haywoods prized demographic. Just the age part, to confirm if you can pls.

  19. John Hawkins

    April 12, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    #14, TGC – aka Trevor Cowell … Thankyou for that pearl of Tasmanian Liberal wisdom.

  20. Jon Sumby

    April 12, 2018 at 8:48 pm

    Re. 13 … Robin, try to keep up.

    The German power station you mention was been in construction since 2009, but has been mired in controversy and contractual and permit legal cases.

    It finally got its operating permits in 2016 and the company announced a start up in August of 2017. However, during testing in December 2017, faults were found in the boiler seam welds. There are 350,000 seam welds and a minimum of 35,000 need to be manually examined.

    The company has pushed back the start-up date to the final quarter of 2018, and to possibly early 2019.

    This generator is 1.1 gigawatts, however also in 2017 a coal fired station of 2.2 gigawatts closed down.

    Late last year the company Steag announced that over the next two years it is closing five coal fired power stations because they are no longer commercial given the rise of cheaper renewables.

    On that topic, the official figures on energy use in Germany showed that between 2003-17 overall energy demand in Germany dropped by 0.5 terawatt-hours (TWh) despite a growing economy and population.

    Over that period, 2003-17, Germany dropped:
    89.2 TWh of nuclear power,
    52.3 TWh of hard coal generated power and,
    10.2 TWh of lignite coal power generation.

    … a total reduction of 151.7 TWh.

    On the other hand, between 2003-17 there was an increase of:
    171 TWh of renewable power,
    23.1 TWh of natural gas generation and,
    2.8 TWh of ‘other’ power generation.

    … a total of 196.9 TWh.

    Take the last away from the first and you get a 45.2 TWh increase.

    Coincidently, or not, over that period (2003-17) Germany has not only managed to supply power to the country but grow power exports to 45.9 TWh, with 2017 being the record year with 53 TWh of electricity exported.

    As for China, demand for coal power generated electricity is suffering from a lack of demand, and in October 2017 the Chinese government stopped or delayed the construction of 151 coal fired power stations.

    These halted power stations had a generation capacity of the power used by Germany and Japan combined.

    Coal is collapsing around the world. It is old tech, no longer commercially viable, and out of favour.

  21. TGC

    April 12, 2018 at 7:49 pm

    #12 … “The biggest game in town is to buy an election.” And why not? Government is just a commodity.

  22. Robin Charles Halton

    April 12, 2018 at 3:14 pm

    #9 … Guidance via Martin’s appraisal is fine, I am aware that Germany recently built a coal fired power station to supplement its Renewables and other forms of electricity generation. I don’t think Germany engages with nuclear generation yet!

    China has, over the past few years, built more coal fires power stations away from major city centres, and more recently has embarked on a major program of intermittent wind power generation in order to play the field environmentally.

    The current coal coterie debate .. they are not popular figures, that is understandable, but that is not the point of the exercise! Their role is to robustly debate what is best for the nation and Malcolm should listen carefully. Now is the time to properly assess the future for electricity which is a very complex issue that currently has the nation on edge.

    The Coalition, Labor and the Greens need to all throw in their two bob’s worth as the next Federal election is fast approaching. So is Malcolm’s future as Coalition leader!

    The continued likelihood of coal will remain as a part of the energy solution regardless of all of the fighting over alleged climate issues!

  23. John Hawkins

    April 12, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Fitch #9 … If a Company owns a coal mine, an oilfield, or an iron ore mountain the product is mainly sold offshore.

    As the exporter, you claim back all the GST accumulated in production and take it as profit.

    Think what this does to all the meat exports with GST taxed to the farmer and then gifted to the exporter.

    If you examine the process, for example the oil in Singapore and return it to Australia (To facilitate the scam the oil majors have closed nearly all our refineries in Australia) you can transfer price your profit to a tax haven, as you can argue that there is no available refining capacity in Australia and keep your profit and the GST away from the ATO.

    On its refined return the overseas entity charges the maximum that the Australian market will bear, and then returns the money when paid to Singapore having claimed back the GST paid on entry. GST then only becomes payable on sale.

    The sale is when the mug punter pays the GST at the company-owned petrol bowser and the oil company gets to keep it in the kitty on the short term money market until paid over to the tax man. In effect therefore the international oil company pays no GST.

    If you try and tax these boys at source with a resource rental tax on Australian soil they will squeeze you like the Rudd lemon and you will lose the election as the coal, oil, gas, or iron ore majors fund your campaign to protect their interests.

    The top 50 companies employ an army of people to ensure they can transfer price their products, pay virtually no tax, and keep the GST.

    They keep the pollies on their pay roll through very large political donations.

    Our pollies get elected for facilitating this scam by using corporate funds to buy power via electoral donations.

    In Tasmania we have seen a just and proper policy canned when the Liberals sold their souls to the poker machine lobby which bought them a majority in parliament. It is as simple as that.

    Abetz, Joyce and Abbott, the dunces in the class of 2018, have sold their souls to big coal which wants their coal and gas to power the nation.

    Renewables are a threat. Hence climate change is crap and all Greens are drongos.

    Fitch, Halton and TGC – you are mere pawns of the big boys and it shows.

    The biggest game in town is to buy an election.

    It can be done. Just ask wee Willie.

  24. Russell

    April 12, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Re #8 … You’re are foolish.

    Why don’t you just sit quietly and watch play school?

    Re #9 … “All this appeals to the ‘over 18 idiots’ who can see a bright future in either operating a machine or repairing one in these massive mines Australia supports.”

    People like yourself? And what’s left of the deforestation leaches which have mostly been replaced by machines?

  25. john hayward

    April 12, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    Reading #9 was truly a road to Damascus revelation for me, but I should have expected that an ardent proponent of Tassie’s woodchip miracle would likewise recognise the vast economic benefits of greatly increased CO2 levels. This island is blessed to the point of embarrassment with visionaries such as MJF.

    John Hayward

  26. MJF

    April 12, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Sadly for the pro renewable coterie’s cause, a number of ‘clever’ countries are currently still building new coal fired power plants and this country’s coal exports are building again towards record levels. Mr Adani, with his poor environmental and human rights record, still refuses to go away despite even the kitchen sink being thrown at him.

    All this appeals to the “over 18 idiots” who can see a bright future in either operating a machine or repairing one in these massive mines Australia supports. They like the associated lifestyle of frequent regional flying, avoiding darling and the scone grabbers for a fortnight at a time, and the handsome remuneration for the toy collection and early mortgage repayment.

    Not to mention the vast injections of royalties, PAYG and GST, the last of which is so desperately needed by lesser states such as VDL. Also pretty useful for funding that minor federal agency known as Centrelink.

    Pro-renewable lobbyists will need to step it up to have any impact here.

  27. TGC

    April 12, 2018 at 12:18 am

    #2 … “Is it possible to launch a nation-wide class-action against the Federal Government for ignoring the risks of Climate Change and the wishes of the Australian people?

    Can a People’s Referendum be initiated for a public mandate on the direction of energy policy?”

    Of course to both – go for it #2 – the overwhelming majority of TT contributors will be right behind you.

    Already New Zealand has moved decisively to halt climate change in that country, so it seems reasonable to halt it in Australia. As for the rest of the world – we don’t need to be concerned for them – at least we would be able to breathe easy.

  28. john hayward

    April 11, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    There is one principle, and possibly only one principle, to which the members of the Monash Forum have been unswervingly faithful, and that principle is shared with thinkers as eminent as Trumpsky and Vlad Putin. That principle is, of course, perceived self interest.

    If we had a functional RTI system, we might be able to discover the Forum’s links to the coal industry. Their scare campaign against renewable energy however, is more to do with harnessing the electoral power of idiots over 18.

    John Hayward

  29. Graeme Wells

    April 11, 2018 at 7:33 pm

    What seems to have been missed in the smoke and mirrors of the AGL Liddell closure is the deal to prop up the Portland aluminium smelter. The smelter accounts for around 10% of Victorian electricity consumption. AGL’s four-year supply contract for Portland expires in 2022, the same year as Liddell is scheduled to close. The contract is subsidised by Victorian taxpayers by around $200m over the four years, plus an interest-free loan from the Federal government of, if memory serves correctly, $30m.
    So it would be a step in the right direction if, in addition to having a half-way plausible account of the cost of a new coal-fired power station, the Monash group came clean on the cost of plans (if any) to keep the Portland smelter afloat.

  30. Nigel Crisp

    April 11, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    Whether the Monash Forum will see the demise of Turnbull is I think immaterial, because he’s a goner any way you look at it. Yes their agenda almost certainly is to undermine him and in a futile attempt to have their own climate denying moron as PM, they’re forgetting one thing; The patience of the electorate for the coalition is over.

    It might be a last ditch effort on the part of big coal, but I think Abetz and his cronies will be playing their last hand.

    I think John Hawkins is correct in calling Abetz an appalling man, but I say let the man make his play, and he can then by his actions make the coup de grace for the LNP.

    what will the shareholders of AGL have to say about Lidell?

  31. Steve

    April 11, 2018 at 3:03 pm

    #3 … “He now sits with great discomfort on a Bench down the back”. Not that much discomfort, John. He’s still handsomely remunerated from the public purse, and then there’s the lucrative years of retirement ahead …

  32. John Hawkins

    April 11, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    The appalling Abetz entered the Senate via a casual vacancy and then sat illegally in the Senate for 16 years as a dual national until renouncing his German citizenship on the steps of the High Court in 2010.

    Promoted above his station, Abetz adored holding the reigns of power.

    He now sits with great discomfort on a Bench down the back with the other sacked dunces in the class of 2018.

    This does not sit well with his inflated personal ego for he considers himself to be one of the good and great.

    As a seriously bad minister, Abetz cost the State and the investors over 4 billion dollars when he promoted and protected from the ATO the dud Ponzi tax scam over MIS plantations.

    In the words of the great man, to protest was akin to treason.

    When I protested he sent two of his goons to my front door in Chudleigh to threaten me.

    Not a good look, Erich!

    For this reason alone, and there are many others, this man should remain anchored, no strapped, even chained to the bench down the back as it has proved impossible to throw him out of our Parliament.

    When last let of the leash as keeper of the dirt files for the Liberal party he kneecapped Turnbull via Godwin Gretch. This allowed his liege lord and henchman Abbott to became prime minister.

    When Turnbull regained the reins he immediately kneecapped Abetz.

    As a result Abetz hates Turnbull and will do anything to knife him, for he acts only out of spite.

    Abetz is dangerous, divisive and a disaster.

    As for Joyce …

  33. Russell

    April 11, 2018 at 1:13 pm

    What a bunch of Neanderthal backward losers from the Howard era.

    The public doesn’t want any new fossil-fueled power stations.

    The energy companies themselves don’t want any new fossil-fueled power stations, and they are closing down the ones they have because they are uneconomical and they will be liable to be sued by their shareholders under the Corporations Act for ignoring the effects and risks of Climate Change.

    The renewable energy future is cheaper, sustainable and environmentally responsible, as also stated by the CEOs of the energy companies.

    Is it possible to launch a nation-wide class-action against the Federal Government for ignoring the risks of Climate Change and the wishes of the Australian people?

    Can a people’s Referendum be inititated for a public mandate on the direction of energy policy?

  34. Pete Godfrey

    April 11, 2018 at 11:21 am

    The Liberals have never been the party of lower prices. Everything they do makes life harder for the poor and makes the rich, richer.

    Looking at the photo at the head of the article just shows that these people have no idea of who they are. Their life has been an exercise in clinging to power and infamy.

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