Who are the wind industry rats in the Liberal ranks?

danishratThe wind industry is driven by one factor. Greed.

It’s growth is due to the billions of taxpayer dollars siphoned off into various pockets.

And a lot of those pockets are political.

In the UK the Daily Mail has just published a report on how green companies have paid Conservative MPs to influence environmental and energy policy.

Big business, green groups and Conservative politicians. Money can make for strange bedfellows.

And Australia is not immune.

We’ve already reported Infigen, one of our most high profile wind energy companies, was a major donor to the NSW ALP when the company was called Babcock and Brown.

This is the same company that received $174m in US taxpayers funds just before it went bust.

But it doesn’t stop there.

TurnbullFormer Babcock and Brown chief Phil Green gave $16,500 to Malcolm Turnbull’s fundraising organisation, The Wentworth Forum. Green was its patron in 2007.

Read that paragraph again.

Phil Green was patron of Turnbull’s money machine, just months before Babcock and Brown imploded.

And remember.  Babcock and Brown represented the most shameful period in Australian corporate history.

All we can say is, nice performance on Q&A this week Malcolm, but you weren’t keeping nice company back then.

We’ll come back to Mr Turnbull but first, a more immediate matter.

We keep hearing rumours about why Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy has lost his mojo on wind farms.

While the Baillieu Government was quick to introduce its promised 2km set-back, Waubra wind farm is still non-compliant almost four years after it began operation – and three years after a guy called Matthew became the minister responsible.

So what’s going?

What we hear … and move in close, we can only whisper this … is a certain senior Liberal honcho with close connections to the wind industry is leaning on Guy to go easy on wind farms.

And by leaning, we mean squeezing him by the nacelles until they turn blue … politically speaking of course.

And so we did a bit of digging and kept coming up with one name. Michael Ronaldson.

We don’t know if that’s true – that Ronno is leaning on the Libs in Victoria – but he certainly has close ties with the wind industry.

And the Victorian government has certainly dropped the ball on wind farm compliance right across the state.

ronaldsonRonno is a Senator who lives in Ballarat, about 30 kms from Waubra wind farm.

And his family is thick in the wind farm business.

His website lists offices in Canberra, Melbourne and Geelong – but nothing in Ballarat.

Ronno has been politically absent from Ballarat for a long time, although he lives there, just a stone’s throw from picturesque Lake Wendouree. But that’s all another story, we’re told, and the topic for another website focusing on other matters.

Interestingly, Turnbull promoted Ronaldson in 2008 to the Shadow Cabinet, where he continued as Shadow Special Minister of State, but was given the extra role of Shadow Cabinet Secretary.

We wonder if they spoke about wind farms following Turnbull’s close association with the man from Babcock and Brown.

There are four major wind farm projects going up around Ballarat – Mt Mercer, Lal Lal, Moorabool and Stockyard Hill.

The first three projects were proposed by the one company, WestWind.

And some of these projects will have turbines on land belonging to Ronno’s relatives.

Mt Mercer will consist of 64 turbines, Lal Lal 64 turbines and Moorabool 107 turbines. And in the other direction, 35 km west of Ballarat, Stockyard Hill will have 157 turbines.

At an average host fee of $10,000 per turbine per year, that equals $3.9m per year up for grabs by local landholders, give or take a couple of hundred grand.

The Ronaldson family has deep roots in Ballarat.

According to the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Ronno’s grandfather, Archibald Fisken, was a highly respected local grazier who won the House of Representatives seat of Ballarat in the 1934 election.

The “splendid” grazing property Lal Lal Estate has been in the family since 1846. Ronno’s cousin, Geoff, now lives there and runs the property that sprawls over 2025 ha.

But a title search of Lal Lal Estate shows the property has a caveat on it placed by “Yendon Wind Farm Pty Ltd”.

WestWind Energy’s own map shows at least 36 turbines planned for the Lal Lal property.

Wind Farm Layout Map_PPAR_FINAL-page-001

Nice little earner, that will be. But that’s not all.

A cousin, John Molesworth, reportedly has a contract with West Wind to host 24 turbines for the Moorabool wind farm on his property near Ballan.

Molesworth is known as an aggressive wind farm supporter and wasn’t backward in stating loudly in a local pub he didn’t “give a fuck” about people opposing them.

CouttsAnd yet another very close contact, Rowena Coutts, hosts three turbines at Evansford, near Waubra. Coutts is the senior Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ballarat.

The university has been a major supporter in helping local councils respond to the current ALP government’s National Broadband Network rollout.

And the same family was set to get a whole lot more turbines under the Waubra North proposal, which didn’t proceed.

Coutts and her husband and Ronno have houses at Anglesea, we understand, and socialise regularly. Ronno and Coutts are related, possibly cousins.

Members of the Senator’s extended family stand to make a pretty packet out of wind farms over coming years.

And if the Senator has a financial interest in Lal Lal Estate, say through a family trust, there would certainly be a conflict of interest here in relation to any forthcoming vote in Federal Parliament on any matters related to wind farms.

And what about Turnbull? Is he still on Infigen’s Christmas card list? Are he and Phil Green still in contact? Do wind farm companies donate to The Wentworth Forum?

In Ronno’s maiden speech he quoted Churchill.

‘An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.’

In the current Liberal party jostling over the Madigan/Xenophon Bill, these are good words for any politicians secretly in bed with the wind industry to keep in mind.

If Ronno was a regular reader of STT (and maybe he will be after this post), he’d know the push back against big wind is about to become a bloody big crocodile, not only in Australia but around the world.

Equally there’s a renegade, hard-core pack in the Liberal party – people such as Greg Hunt, Ian Macfarlane , Malcom Turnbull and  Rowan Ramsey – who are very twitchy about the subject of wind farms at the moment – particularly with the arrival in Parliament of the likely new Member for Hume, Angus Taylor.

We look forward to returning to this issue in future posts.

10 thoughts on “Who are the wind industry rats in the Liberal ranks?

  1. STT – you are wonderful – thank you.
    A Mr Coutts is a stakeholder of the proposed Barunah Plains (west of Geelong) WEF – coincidence?
    The Mayor of the Golden Plains Shire, Vic, is an outspoken advocate for WEFs and has a wind mast on her property.

  2. Well well well….

    It’s Ronaldson who’s got me buggered!!

    What the f$&k do we do now??

    If we can’t vote LNP..
    And we can’t vote ALP…
    And we can’t vote Greens!!…

    Who do we vote for??

    I tell ya!! This country is fuk’d.
    We need someone with balls…
    Not nacelles….

  3. Today, I actually saw Democracy at work in NSW, O”Farrell style. I drove to Yass, visited the local members office and asked if I could be accompanied to the Yass services club by the Chief of Staff of the Local member Katrina Hodgkinson, to the Services club whereby he could ask the convenior of the meeting if I could attend as a passive observer.I laid down the reasons, I belived the meeting was in fact unlawful ,in that the Government, and I am led to believe Wind Farm Representives were present, that the meeting was held in Secret, invited guests only. I further stated that In my belief it stank of Corruption, collusion ,and one formed the impression of dishonesty.I was informed that he was unable to do same. I informed him that’s what I thought and that it was OK but I had to ask. I further asked if the Section of Government applicable had in fact Officially informed Katrina that the meeting was to be held at Yass in her Electoral Base. The answer was no. Can you believe that ! [yes you can] I attended the Services club with the intention of in fact seeking out the convenor who ever he may have been, but found on my arrival that to actually get into the Club you were vetted and that your name had to be on a list, [Fort Knox ] so gave it away. Spoke to a couple of people as they approached asked them politely if they were for or against, the answer, for and to their credit listened , to what I had to say, However, I looked into the very elderly gents eyes and hosestly all I saw was Dollar signs, I am not being offensive as I am no spring chicken but he had one foot in the grave and couldn’t reconsile that his life would be changed and not for the better. His wife appeared very concerned and to the fact that they would be ostracised and her health would suffer. He will get them, The Nigerian scames work wonderfully, all you have to do is wave Dollars under the eyes and it’s all over.So If you were like me and belived that my so called Liberal Party after the last election, would change all this corruption , you like myself must be extremely disappointed. On a more pleasant note I was surrounded by a group of decent careing people who have a love for their country and fellow Australians, even if our Government and some of our Politicians don’t.

  4. No wonder we at times feel as if we are fighting an up hill battle. Still we are going up – they are in danger of coming down like ‘Jack’.

  5. Alot of truth there… no need to say any more
    its not going to be nice for Mr Ronaldson if he supports this crap, infact he may be out of a job

  6. The reason the first Senate Inquiry June 2011 recommendation for urgent research into the adverse health effects of wind turbines was never acted upon is because of vested and corrupted interests in the Greens, Labor as well as Liberal /Coalition ranks.

    Thank goodness for the integrity and courage of Senators Madigan, Xenophon, and for Liberals like Senator Back, Alby Schulz, Craig Kelly, Judy Moylan and the likely future member for Hume, Angus Taylor.

    And thank goodness for STT.

    Bring on the Royal Commission, and watch the overfed squealing Rats come out of hiding as they try to desert the becalmed ghost ship of the Wind industry in droves.

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