Energy Policy: the meat grinder of the poor

The outstanding success of the South Australian government of giving their people the highest power prices in the world is going to be replicated around the country.

Even as the whole nation is looking on in amazement as Jay Weatherill continues to display his incompetence and make his government a global laughing stock, other state governments are looking at imitating his policies. This is a bit like watching your friend walk down an alley, getting mugged and saying, ‘this looks fine’ and wandering down after them.

In Queensland the Deputy Premier Jackie Trad announced in July that Queensland would follow the lead of South Australia and Victoria thereby guaranteeing that the state would join them in the ranks of the highest power bills in the world. To quote from the Brisbane Times:

“Queensland will have zero net emissions by 2050, under a plan to drive down carbon pollution announced by the state government. Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the Queensland plan was necessary to help the nation implement the Paris Agreement.”

The term ‘carbon pollution’ actually refers to carbon dioxide (CO2) which is plant food. When any politician uses the term pollution to describe CO2 you know they’re up to something because pollution sounds bad; plant food sounds, well, normal.

“Releasing two documents, the Climate Transition and Climate Adaptation strategies, Ms Trad said the government had mapped a way to achieving zero net emissions by 2050.”

This map is essentially a pathway to South Australia’s border and the inevitable industry shutdown and unemployment that comes with it.

The balance of the announcement is littered with the normal buzzwords used by governments when attempting to pre-empt criticism of their latest vote buying scheme, ‘investment and innovation’, ‘drive investment’, ‘jobs of the future’, ‘children’, ‘vision’, ‘skills’, etc. etc.

Of course, no announcement such as this would be complete without the requisite photo op with climate entertainer Al Gore.

“Ms Trad will join a roundtable meeting of state governments and former US vice president and climate campaigner Al Gore in Melbourne later this week…”

What is it with these politicians and celebrities?

We’ve heard it all before and all it really means is much higher power prices for absolutely no gain as attested to by Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr. Alan Finkel.

When asked by Senator Ian Macdonald what difference would Australia’s 1.3% contribution to global carbon emissions make if stopped, the answer was, ‘virtually nothing’, which is scientific speak for ‘nothing’. Jackie Trad has also linked this latest ‘please don’t vote Green in my seat’ scheme to The Paris Agreement. Remember that agreement that the United States isn’t part of (17% of global emissions)? And that China (27% of global emissions) can continue doing exactly what it was already planning on doing? That’s right, the Divine Church of Token Agreements that Achieve Zip with little old 0.3% of global emissions Queensland, destroying our economy to save Jackie Trad from electoral defeat. Self mutilation on an industrial scale in a desperate clinging to power.  The cruellest part of the whole deal is that it is not they who will pay the day-to-day price for this electoral vanity. And this brings me to the main point: the most deeply impacted will be those least equipped to handle the skyrocketing costs, namely the poor. The very people that Labor claim to champion will be the hardest hit and ever is it so with socialist schemes. As George Orwell observed in Animal Farm with his analogy of Boxer the giant horse that represented the working class peasants of Russia and his maxims of ‘I will work harder’ and ‘Napolean is always right’. He carried the load of building, ironically, the socialist windmill. His strength was sapped until he breathed his last as he carried the workload of his master’s dreams.

So it will be with this scheme as it has been elsewhere, the poor will be the hardest hit. The wealthy can handle an increase in their power bills and still spend on the other things in life, the poor cannot.

Not only will this be felt directly through power bill shock, it will also flow into every other area of life, again hitting the poor the most. The cost of running a retail shop, a food outlet, anything manufactured, processed or delivered will increase. Government fees and charges will also rise as the CPI increases and the costs of all business’ increase. Jackie Trad and well-heeled union officials will be fine, they will still be able to indulge in discretionary spending and send their kids to dance classes, the poor will not. The answer of course will be more government handouts that will make the poor even more dependent on government largess, cause further tax hikes and further entrench the stratification of society.

For all of Bill Shorten’s talk of equality, any possible benefit that could come from his proposed measures will be wiped out in no time with this government lunacy. He will kick the poor out of the cruise liner that’s not sinking and into the lifeboat that is.

The cost of luxuries in Australia is either steady or dropping but the cost of many essentials is rising, most notably energy, housing and food and the last two are intrinsically linked to the first. Essentials, by their very nature cannot be avoided and it’s a cost that all must pay for basic existence.

To bring costs down the most important policy component is to introduce as much competition into the marketplace as possible and allow operators to utilise our energy resources unhindered by RET’s.  Cheap and accessible power is essential to economic growth and economic growth is essential to lifting people out of poverty and increasing social mobility.

On the policy front the Labor party is wedded to this ideology like a condemned Roman criminal being chained to a decaying corpse. It’s a dead weight and its killing them but they’ve done it to themselves. There’s simply too much money and too much control at stake to surrender the ideology too easily. Minor parties are beginning to see this as the defining issue of upcoming elections in Australia. One Nation has announced a major energy policy measure to build new coal fired power stations in North Queensland. Recently Cory Bernardi outlined his intentions regarding power in an interview with Alan Jones:

CB: Well, Alan, you can build a gas-fired power station, a peak-load power station, relatively quickly. We have to provide assurances, and government needs to provide assurances, that anyone who wants to build a power station, whatever it is, we’re not going to subsidise it but we will give you the environmental conditions, the tick of approval, which will last for the longevity…
AJ: That’s right, but see, Cory, sorry to interrupt you, that won’t be competitive, commercially competitive will it? While the government subsidises renewable energy to the tune of billions of dollars.
CB: You’re exactly right, Alan, it’s three or four billion dollars per year for the unreliable wind and solar power. We’ve got to remove the subsidies from all power generation, freeze the rent where it is currently and say, “bring it on.” Anyone that wants to build a power station of any ilk, let them do it if it stacks up commercially. Because the more we have, the cheaper, more reliable power we’ll have for the people.
AJ: Absolutely right. Cory, if you and I were going into business separately, and the government was going to subsidise you, and not subsidise me, so you’re wind and I’m coal, you’re going to win every time.
CB: Every time, and yet we can dig up our coal, ship it off to India where it’s not used in the same clean manner that we are in this country, and that’s okay. It just beggars belief that we’re disadvantaging our own people because of this green theology and it is a theology. Governments of all stripes have swallowed it.

The LNP are in the mix with each way options but still incorporating measures that will unnecessarily increase prices. Once they see a significant shift in public attitudes they’ll drop the idea like a bag of bricks and move back into the sensible policy centre where normal Australians live. And from the look of things the electorate is shifting sooner rather than later. In a new Galaxy Poll commissioned exclusively for the Courier Mail, 47% of Queenslanders are blaming renewable for surging power prices. To quote:

Queenslanders are blaming renewable energy for their surging power prices, forcing them to cut spending on holidays, dinners and clothes to cover the costs.

Most Queenslanders have also backed a proposal for a new coal-fired power station in the north of the state to help drive economic opportunities and bring down prices.

The findings from a new Galaxy Poll, commissioned exclusively for The Courier-Mail, are a bitter blow for the Palaszczuk Government which has hotly pursued a 50 per cent renewable energy target and condemned the costs of new coal-fired power.

Labor is being caught in a pincer movement that is completely of its own making and is being caught between reality and even worse for them, public opinion. Once this starts to take effect, their options will become limited. Drop the policy and join everyone else in reality land would be the best choice. However, looking at their past performance in other jurisdictions the favoured option will probably be to follow Jay Weatherill, buy fossil fuel generators that can’t work in temperatures above 40 degrees and purchase huge Duracell batteries from global rent seekers.

All the while the costs continue to rise and the poor continue to be placed into the policy meat grinder by our ruling elites. For anyone interested in gaining political power, there has seldom been a greater gift offered than this.

About the Author

Stephen Cable
Stephen works as a Quantity Surveyor in Brisbane and has a bachelor’s degree in Construction Management. He has an intense interest in the ideological contest between freedom and control that dominates our social and political discourse. Stephen strongly believes in free market systems, freedom of speech and smaller government.

92 Comments on "Energy Policy: the meat grinder of the poor"

  1. Your right they just don’t care

  2. Poverty is a small price to pay for green smug.

  3. A bit rich to ignore the costs of climate change, something that will make huge numbers of refugees, in Australia and beyond.

  4. I’ve been saying this for years. And it’s not just the money, they can switch off the power any time they want- think about it

  5. This article condems SA, yet Queensland on all coalpower is still well above most of the world! …….Why?

  6. When will the pro Business LNP regulate an industry that is rapeing Australia and its citizens, destroying every business dependant upon electricity and exporting their profits overseas

    • THE SUPPLY OF POWER IS A STATE RESPONSIBILITY NOT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
      the problem is with the LABOR STATES SA. VIC. QLD

    • NATIONAL POWER GRID so its a FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ISSUE SO its a LNP ISSUE States have no authority across the border. Unless you want each state to have its own regulations, 8 sets of regulations with maybe a central exchange yes that might work…lol

    • David, the “National” part simply means that there are connections across state borders, like the one connecting SA to Victoria. Electricity supply is totally a State issue.

      And yes, the three worst states are ALP run.

    • it is national pricing and bidding and yes the LNP refuses to fix it

    • And the regulator is the AEMO, a National body which controls how much each power generator can generate, and when they can come online etc. The state do not have control over their I wn power generation and distribution., they NEED the permission of the National Regulator to do anything.

  7. The strange thing with this is that those least able to afford it are the ones most likely to vote labor and greens and these crazy renewables policy that are driving up prices

  8. Political partys put the people in this position bye selling all our revenue base income
    Bye back our power our water

  9. Maryann Mary, This is a great read, show Terry

  10. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a realist party? Someone who realises that no matter which side of the climate debate a person is on, the truth is that Australias emissions aren’t even a drop in the ocean and so we might as well generate the cheapest possible power for our people.

    If you can’t say openly “It’s wrong to have policies that force our pensioners and lowest income people to choose between heating and food.” Then bugger off out of politics.

    The next generation deserve the chance at a job and we can only do that by encouraging business. Cheap electricity is what brought prosperity to the West in the first place. It can do so again.

    • Generate expensive electricity while opening up new big coal mines to supply India with cheap coal for cheap electricity. But, but that’s OK according to minister Canavan, because that coal is to be burnt in India, what the??

    • Exactly. Let’s use it to provide cheap electricity for our people. For that matter, why not use the Royalties mining companies pay to further decrease the electricity price in Oz? Oil producing nations do it all the time. 😉

    • Per capita, we’re one of the worst for carbon emissions

    • Which matters not at all Peter. What matters is tonnage and the annual increase in Chinas output is greater than the Australian total. I’ve seen many, many calculations as to climate and CO2 and not one of them mentioned “per capita”.

      No, I don’t feel guilty for not living like a medieval peasant.

    • It matters, because it shows we’re doing more than most to put the world in a precarious position.

    • So it’s about virtue signalling and “looking good” rather than doing something concrete and actually useful. The simple truth is that continue as we are or sink into the ocean it won’t make any difference to the climate or what the world does.

      I understand that it’s hard for some to accept just how insignificant Australia is on the world scene, but it’s the simple truth. The world really doesn’t care what we do. They are far too busy lifting billions out of poverty.

  11. After all of the pain and the billions of dollars spent on renewable energy, as of today’s power mix 23.73% of Australia’s power comes from renewables, 13% of that is hydro so 76.17% of our current energy comes from fossil fuels, these figures are not from the coal industry, they are from a renewables web site.

    • Better for conservatives to allow their mates to stagnate instead of innovate, more profits for nothing

    • And the lights ? You know, the poor peasants’ lights. It WAS owned by us and some wonderful “progressives” sold it all to the “mates”. On both stupid parliamentary sides.

    • Peter Simpson no conservative state government in South Australia, plenty of socialist innovation there, and highest power prices in the world, and they can’t keep the lights on, and are now resulting to that clean energy called diesel. This is the cost of innovation subsidies per Mw/Hour, solar $412.11, wind $41.64, hydro $17.53, cost of fossil fuel subsidies coal $0.86, gas $0,30. If someone anyone dosnt sort out our base load power, the rest of Australia will go down the path of that socialist utopia South Australia.

    • There is nothing socialist about South Australia unless your only metric for socialism is “government doing stuff”

    • Is that all you have got, no criticism or counter argument about the about other items in my post, your either piss weak or you agree with what I have said.

  12. STOP……the gouging!!!!

  13. The poor can’t get a better deal because of poor credit rating companies use the system against them

  14. Labour and the Greens and liberal will keep shafting workers and the poor by flooding the labour markets with 250000 immigrants a year and fucking everything else they can but sadly those getting screwed will vote for thier oppressors

  15. Australia has been betrayed ‘ and our forefathers insulted by State and Federal governments that have chosen to sell off our energy resources to overseas interests ‘Whilst Governments see as its priority to dither over spending $BILLIONS on becoming a Republic ,Marriage Equality,Changing the date of Australia Day ,Penalties for Mooning, Buying Submarines ,Dining out on Lobster, as its main priority; How can any Government not Control its own Resources to protect the risk of power outages that threaten industrial closure ! Is it justifiable to sell off our Gas supplies when our servicemen and women put themselves in harms way for the prosperity of Australian ! …………..And all we do is accept and post up a meek response on Facebook !

  16. The cruel thing is that the RET is just about taking money from poor people and giving it to rich people. No surprise rich people like politicians think it is a good thing.

  17. I spoke to a guy today that says he times his washing machine and cancels the function after the first rinse
    That way he saves the power on the second rinse and the spin cycle

    He’s out of work and he’s serious

  18. Enough of totaly useless governments doing nothing for Australian tax payers, only interested in their own pockets being filled with CORRUPTION, we need to vote LNP & LABOR out so we can have a fresh go at making Australia great again, it has been a long time going down hill, LETS DO IT.

  19. how did we allow consecutive governments to privatise our energy assets, we fucked up people, we fucked up! but we can fix it, vote em out and forbid them getting their pensions until they turn 70, the country will save millions, half of em will die before they turn 70, oops, thats what we the people are supposed to do?

  20. Eventually high power bills will have an effect on everyone and it is just not the poor who are feeling the pinch….the more we all pay on power bills the less we have for the cost of living….also small business will crash and burn under the weight of high power costs

  21. It’s the middle class they are actually out to impoverish. We talk about South Australia now, but the plan is to do this worldwide.

  22. Everyone is missing the point gas prices are linked to world oil prices which are at record lows! Coal prices are at record lows to! So our bills should be to! But only in australia do commodity prices when they go down dont go down for consumer! It goes up to shore up the falling profits of the multinationals and export earnings! We get slugged no matter what! The government is keen to protect its multinationals mates and gst take too! Our government needs everything to go up its like an artificial gst increase without getting the blame! So behind closed doors it tells all executive’s to lift its prices for everything!

  23. I think about ten years ago I watched a programme on either SBS or ABC Australia that was an investigation into increased power prices in the US when it created a free market and from memory it investigated price gouging by the major players particularly in California. One of those companies was called ‘Origen’ It was a scam as it is here.

    • You should watch the film on ENRON and how they artificially created power shortages in California to jack up prices. The problem there was lack of regulation which is the problem we now have in the energy market.

  24. Another privatisation disaster.

  25. Privatisation of generation and networks is responsible. A nice Singaporean has a 99 year lease on SA’s grid network. This was a Liberal decision. Privatise everything that’l work.

  26. Blaming privatization and not massive subsidies of expensive, unreliable renewable power, lol.

  27. The world highest prices and people say nobody wants to generate power…..that in itself tells you the prices charged are a fraud

  28. What a load of lies and stupidity.

  29. Dont worry about the poor. They can shiver in the knowledge that they are saving the world from climate change. That should make them feel better and give them a warm inner glow.

  30. Because right winged bastards let the mining corporations dictate the prices of Australian resources for Australians – that’s why the prices are high. Because the fucking right wingers sold the power grid away to profiteering bastards. Once this stupid government goes out we can finally turn it for the better.

  31. Well so right @Patrick Adams, shame our meek response is just a post on Facebook !

  32. My latest electricity bill came to 89 cents. The postage for sending it to me was $1.

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