I recently read John Hewson’s article in the Saturday Paper. Hewson, a former federal leader of the Liberal Party seriously criticised Scott Morrison as someone whom he believes, “simply doesn’t understand leadership (which) involves strategic thinking, being proactive, and acceptance of responsibility and accountability”.
Whereas the article concentrated on the Pandemic, the traits called out by Hewson (and previously by Malcolm Turnbull) can clearly be levelled at the Federal Government’s handling of anything Climate Change. For those of us who endeavour to keep up with policy in this area the evidence that this Federal Government’s policy pronouncements on climate change (particularly those made by the PM himself and his energy minister Angus Taylor) are just empty words that do not reflect the reality of what is actually being pursued by this Government. The evidence that this Government will continue to appease the fossil fuel industry and its supporters and lobbyists is overwhelming.
Recall the words spoken in the lead-up to the last election that electric vehicles cannot pull a caravan or power a four-wheel drive and will therefore spoil your weekend and tradies will be left without their utes – words that it is almost impossible now to back-track from even by a prime minister who is famous for back-tracking. The promotion of electric vehicles is still recorded as part of the Coalition’s so-called Technology Backed approach to emission reductions which, when asked they trot out, but we know there has been no effort expended in this area and apparently never will be.
Recall the numerous appointments of current and former fossil fuel executives to advise Government on energy issues and their appointments to government bodies such as the Clean Energy Regulator.
Recall Angus Taylor trying, and still trying, to force through regulations to redirect to fossil fuel initiatives, the funds held by ARENA (Australian Renewable Energy Agency) under its charter to support renewable energy projects.
Recall that when Daniel Westerman, the chief of AEMO (Australian Energy Marketing Organisation), stated that he wants the country’s main grids to be able to handle 100% “instantaneous” renewables by 2025, the Federal Resources Minister, Keith Pitt called this “absolute nonsense”. Of course, we know that Pitt is a climate denialist from several other decisions and statements he has made whilst in this portfolio. This is just one example of the Morrison Government distancing itself from those with genuine expertise in the energy system.
*The author is a member of the Metung Science Forum – a forum for progressive science and evidence-based discussion of climate change and related issues for the people of Metung and surrounds.