Game On: the Race to Kill the RET

Tony Abbott macfarlane 18.12.13

Tony Abbott and Ian Macfarlane declare war on the RET.


With the Head Boy, Tony Abbott recently signalling the demise of the RET (see our post here) Labor apparatchiks have gone into a flat panic.

Labor is a party that’s controlled by Australia’s Unions – and fed and fattened on a steady diet of the money controlled by Union backed Superannuation funds.

Over the last decade, Union Super funds – which control $billions in union members’ savings – have invested enormous sums in wind power outfits like union heavy Gary Weaven’s Pac Hydro.  Gary’s mate – another former union heavy – Greg Combet – has helped by channelling millions from private investment bank, Members Equity – which also controls buckets of Union Super cash.

The aim and purpose is simple – use workers’ savings as a means to get in on the ground floor of the greatest environmental and economic fraud ever committed and rake in a fat pile of power punter’s cash under the guise of “saving the planet”.

The returns are pretty handsome – sling up a 3MW fan worth $2-3m in a windy spot and – by operation of the RET – you’re guaranteed to recover over $500,000 worth of RECs each year – and you’ll get to pocket about the same again under your Power Purchase Agreement with a retailer.  Better still, this little gravy train is presently set to keep on rolling until 2030.  Who said there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

So now that the Coalition has announced its intention to scrap the RET altogether, those with their trotters in the trough (and that means union heavies, like Weaven and members of the ALP, like Combet) are terrified that the RET party will end much sooner than planned.

Here’s one of their number, climate change spokesman Mark Butler, howling about the Coalition’s plan to end of the rort of the Century.

Tony Abbott inclined to drop RET: Mark Butler
The Australian
Sid Maher
24 December 2013

LABOR has accused Tony Abbott of preparing to break an election promise on the Renewable Energy Target as Nationals senator Ron Boswell called for the scheme to be scrapped completely.

After The Australian reported that senior electricity industry executives had begun talks on the possible shape of a new scheme in anticipation of government changes, Labor’s climate change spokesman Mark Butler said the RET had been a “clear policy success”, driving investment in wind and solar power and creating thousands of clean energy jobs.

But Senator Boswell, who has been one of the most outspoken critics of the scheme, said the RET should be “scrapped altogether if we are to have any hope of lowering electricity prices for struggling households and manufacturers”.

“By 2020, the RET is calculated to cost Australians $5 billion a year, making it almost as big a burden as the $8bn-a-year carbon tax,” Senator Boswell told The Australian.

He said power prices in the US were less than half those in Australia and that the use of gas there had lowered energy costs so much that the US was repatriating manufacturing capacity from China.

He said that under the RET, the cost burden placed on the industrial sector had seen electricity demand plummet, and as a result the fixed renewables target of 45,000 gigawatt hours should be reduced to 30,000GWh if it was to accurately reflect forecast power consumption in 2020.

“However, this ‘real’ 20 per cent target would only lower the annual cost of renewables from $5bn a year to $3.7bn a year by 2020. This may seem like a good enough saving, but in our current environment ‘good enough’ doesn’t go far enough,” he said.

“Right now, every dollar added on to an industrial power bill means the difference between a factory worker keeping their job and having it sent overseas.”

But Mr Butler said after telling voters before the election that he would keep the RET in place, the Prime Minister looked set to break yet another promise.

He said the RET had been a clear success, driving a big expansion of wind and solar power as well as thousands of new clean energy jobs.

“Jobs in the sector have tripled, wind power tripled, households with rooftop solar increased from under 8000 to more than one million and renewable energy increased its share of the National Electricity Market by 25 per cent in 2012-13,” Mr Butler pointed out.

“Any decision to interfere with Australia’s Renewable Energy Target can only be motivated by spite and base politics.

“Tony Abbott falsely claims the Renewable Energy Target increases the cost of electricity and harms manufacturing in Australia. It is Tony Abbott that is hurting manufacturing in this country.

“If Tony Abbott goes ahead and breaks this election promise, he will severely damage Australia’s efforts at reducing carbon pollution,” Mr Butler said.
The Australian

We almost feel for Mr Butler.  Except, that is, he represents the worst aspect of what’s happened to the Australian Labor Party – to call him a “class traitor” doesn’t cover it.

Butler trots out the usual fiction about wind power reducing power prices, when nothing could be further from the truth (see our post here).  Perhaps, raking in a Federal Minister’s plum salary, Butler hadn’t noticed, but South Australians suffer the highest retail power prices in the world.

And worse, he wraps it up in the fallacy that wind power is all about reducing CO2 emissions – which intermittent and unreliable wind power, delivered at crazy, random intervals and backed up 100% of the time by fast start-up fossil fuel generation sources can never do (see our posts here and here and here).

Butler comes from South Australia – a place that’s reeling at the loss of its manufacturing base – car maker Holden, just the latest to announce that it will shut up shop.

In our last post we looked at how Sir Tom Playford made the obvious connection between providing cheap, reliable power and encouraging long-term manufacturing and industrial investment, bringing with it growth in employment and rapidly rising living standards.

Ironically, Butler is the great great-grandson and great grandson respectively of former Liberal Premiers Sir Richard B Butler and Sir Richard L Butler – it was the latter who frequently clashed with Tom Playford over his move to create ETSA and spark South Australia’s golden economic age.

But, perhaps, South Australia’s dwindling ranks of Labor voters shouldn’t expect too much from Butler – he never worked in a shearing shed, like Clyde Cameron or Mick Young, he never drove a locomotive, like Ben Chifley and, therefore, couldn’t be further in outlook and experience from the historical roots of the ALP.

No, Butler is part of what is euphemistically called “modern” Labor – a law graduate who went straight to work as a union heavy, played the “insiders” political game at a cracking pace and ended up being dropped (comfortably) into one of the safest Labor seats in SA.

From the twaddle he pitched up to The Australian (if we didn’t know any better) we’d simply think that Butler was blessed with a fine brand of ignorance.  However, his Labor party is so completely wedded to the fat pile of cash being gleaned from power consumers – and funnelled into Union Super fund coffers via Pac Hydro and others – that you can expect Butler & Co to fight like demons to try and hang on to the RET, at all costs.  Labor’s next big battle won’t have anything to do with “saving the planet” – it’ll be all about saving Union Super fund balance sheets.

But the RET will go and – when it does – watching Labor insiders like Butler and Combet lose their ability to gorge at the great wind scam trough will be like watching a heroin addict going “cold turkey” – ultimately necessary and beneficial, but not pretty to watch.

In our next post we’ll take a look at just how far the ALP has strayed from its roots as a party built by workers, for the benefit of workers.

mark butler

Mark Butler – class traitor – grins, while his constituents bear it.

About stopthesethings

We are a group of citizens concerned about the rapid spread of industrial wind power generation installations across Australia.


  1. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Just a little statistic – in SA over that past 48 years, since Playford left office,Labor has ruled for 35yrs 123 days (approx.), while the Liberals have held office for 13yrs and 181days (approx.).

    You would think Labor could have got it right by now? And now, after all this time in the ‘box’ seat, they are overseeing the complete demise of the state’s economic and industrial wealth. AbLabor party is overseeing the demise of what they are meant to stand for, the so called ‘working class’, reducing them to the ‘welfare class’.

    Of course this is all with the help of previous Federal Labor Governments, who thought they were smart by leaving all the decision making to industry-vested interests, the Greens and lobbyists with axes to grind.

    Signing up to a commitment which they did not research and assess if it was possible, economical or even necessary. Then putting all their considerable powers behind one technology to achieve it without considering the cost to the nations other industries and the impact on the nation as a whole.

    Let’s hope our current Federal Government has the capacity to withstand the lobbyists, those with vested interests and the ‘tainted Greens’.

  2. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    Targets are there to be ‘shot at/down’, so if the RET does go ,then the Federal Liberal Party will have shown they can ‘shoot straight’.

    Labor in SA is scared. They’ll be shown the door and have it closed firmly behind them at the March election. Their cry of the state being open for business will turn on them and bite their tails. They opened the doors to this fraud and fed it by their political actions, such as the removal of the right to appeal with respect to IWT’s, and created an environment where these companies have a free reign over the wishes of the citizens of this state. Remember that because Richard Paltridge won in the ERD court – proving Labor to be true paid up/off lackeys of the IWT industry.

    No Labor leader, no matter how they try to fool us, has ever been able to do as much for the ‘working class’ of this state as Playford did. He was a man of vision and had the state at heart. He stood up not only for the so called ‘working class’, but for all South Australians. He wanted wealth and the good life for everyone and he was willing to make a stand to achieve it. He didn’t go out there and pay companies to produce here, he went out and created an environment which made production here profitable.

    If Weatherill and his cronies here had a brain it would be lonely. All they have to offer us is poverty. Roll on the end of the rort and fraud, whether Federal or State, we need a government which is willing to stand up for the people and not just the money hungry/grabbing fraudulent ones that have ruled the roost for so long.

    Roll on the end of the RET.

  3. I hope that silly grin is because someone just stuck a pitchfork up his a$$! He needs to go! What a lying piece of scum!

  4. It will be very intresting to see who falls out of the very high money tree when the CARBON TAX, RET and the REC get taken away and thrown into the garbage dump. We will see who all the wind weasel and greentard goons are then, Combet and Butler will be two, good start.
    If we can clean out these crooks, then the nation can start looking after the environment again.


  1. […] traitor, Labor’s Mark Butler has completely misread the potential impact of the Coalition’s Direct Action […]

  2. […] Australia is “blessed” with energy market gurus like Labor’s Mark Butler – who loves giant fans and is currently fighting a rear-guard action to save the RET (or, […]

  3. […] the Coalition is about to undertake a complete review of the Renewable Energy Target. The PM, Tony Abbott is no fan of fans and says: “that when the wind doesn’t blow, the power doesn’t flow”. Simple […]

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