Richard Jones' Log: "Green" Initiatives

Tue, 15 Jun 2004

Last night's interview on the 7:30 Report was just astounding, watching David Kemp (Minister "for" the Environment) trying to pass off a $1.5 billion subsidy for users of diesel fuel as a green initiative:

KERRY O'BRIEN: But the bottom line, Dr Kemp, is that those in the frontline of the solar power industry, those in the frontline of the wind industry, say that this package is going to take them backwards.

The biggest single spending package in this white paper cutting the fuel excise, mostly for heavy vehicles, amounts to taxpayers subsidising a dirty fuel, a pollutant.

How's that going to help the environment?

DR DAVID KEMP: It's going to help the environment a great deal if that fuel can be cleaned up as it can be.

There are technologies available that are now being used in the North Sea, now being used in North America to sequester the carbon dioxide from power stations.

We want to move this country towards the possibility of the no emission power station.

KERRY O'BRIEN: What's that got to do with your fuel excise, you diesel fuel excise?

DR DAVID KEMP: We don't want to be pouring massive subsidies, Kerry, into industries which are not going to do other than import technology from overseas.

If those industries develop technology here in Australia which meets Australian needs, there are really good opportunities for them within this statement.

KERRY O'BRIEN: But Dr Kemp, you're going to massively use taxpayers' funds to the tune of $1.5 billion to give subsidies to the diesel fuel users?

DR DAVID KEMP: Well, Kerry --

KERRY O'BRIEN: $1.5 billion -- that's a massive amount of money and you're directly subsidising heavy vehicle users?

(my emphasis) ... and it continued on, with Kemp unable to answer most of the fairly straight-up questions O'Brien asked.

Yep, a paltry $100 million (half of which is old money) is going towards local industries to develop renewable energy technologies - that's 6% of the $1.5 billion that's going towards consumption of diesel fuel. The reaction from the wind power industry spokesman amounted to "WTF?" and the statement that this package will probably kill off most of the sector (from a projection of an $8 billion industry down to about $1.6 billion).

Of course, the other large chunk of money in the plan, $500 million allocated to the coal industry, comes as no surprise given that the PM's Chief Scientist is in the pocket of the mining industry.

Update: On a brighter note, the Promoting Teen Pregnancy Bill was dumped after Abbott realised that he didn't even have the full support of his own party.

Comment by toby on Wed, 16 Jun 2004

And the stupidity runs even deeper:

Comment by Richard on Wed, 16 Jun 2004

It really was amazing to watch Kemp though. He simply couldn't answer O'Brien's simplest questions about how the fuck the $1.5 billion subsidy is supposed to be good for the environment. I expect that question time will be full of such questions too...

Comment by Alan Green on Thu, 17 Jun 2004

I believe the principle being employed is this: if you have been caught doing the wrong thing, you lie and say you did the right thing. The media report that you said you did the right thing.

In the end, most people believe you did the right thing, while a small minority come to the conclusion that you are a liar, as well as having done the wrong thing. This is, apparently, better than everyone believing you did the wrong thing but were honest about it.

Remember back when John Howard was known as Honest John?