PM’s Top Advisor – Maurice Newman – Hammers Palmer’s “Inconsistent” RET Plan


Clive if you pretend NOT to be a coal mining magnate, I think we’ll pull it off.

As the dust settles on the Palmer/Gore circus of the bizarre, it’s now evident that the PUP’s leader has pulled one the greatest confidence tricks since Paul Newman and Robert Redford joined forces in “The Sting”. As the hard-green-left stared in awe at their grand warming alarmist, Palmer slipped through the net unnoticed.

It was a good 24 hours before the green-lefty press (Fairfax/ABC) and the Greens worked out that they’d been had. The play was a good ol’ fashioned “swithcheroo”. Clive put forward an ETS with the impression – sucked up by the Greens and their acolytes – that this was a die-in-a-ditch condition for supporting the Coalition’s plan to abolish the carbon tax. So far, so “green”.

But – as with most politics – the Devil’s in the detail. With the price for a tonne of CO2 under Clive’s ETS set at zero until all of Australia’s major trading partners also sign up to an international ETS, there will be NO price placed on CO2 at all: not now; not ever. Good one, Clive. To the horror of the Greens, it soon became clear that even that “policy” was a rubbery as Clive’s ample figure.

By lunchtime on Thursday, big Clive had dropped his demand to have his ETS replace the “carbon” tax, when repealed. The “carbon” tax will hit the legislative scrapheap within weeks – without a whimper; to be replaced by nothing: the “Sting”, complete.

There is, however, the small matter of the mandatory RET – which – as covered in detail in our last post – Palmer seems keen to support – at least for the moment.

The mandatory RET will see power prices double again between now and 2020, when the target hits the full annual 41,000 GWh target. The risk to the economy is something we’ve been banging on about for some time now. And it’s a matter not lost on the PM, Tony Abbott’s top business advisor, Maurice Newman – among others.

Here’s The Australian on the risk to real businesses in maintaining the mandatory RET.

Palmer’s RET policy ‘too costly for businesses’
The Australian
Annabel Hepworth
27 June 2014

THE head of the Prime Minister’s business advisory council has warned the Palmer United Party’s plan to retain key climate-change policies is at odds with getting electricity prices down and boosting industry competitiveness.

In the wake of Clive Palmer’s move to back the repeal of Labor’s carbon price, Maurice Newman said the carbon tax repeal should lower costs on businesses and households. “But it’s only part of the story,” he said, arguing that “we need to go a lot, lot further”.

He criticised the plan to oppose any changes to the renewable energy target before 2016 and to block the government’s plans to scrap Labor’s $10bn Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Climate Change Authority.

“Mr Palmer seems to want to hang on to them, which seems totally inconsistent with this idea of bringing down the price of energy,” Mr Newman said.

Australia needed to reduce its energy prices. “Australia is getting less and less competitive … We’ve got a very high wage structure and we’ve got very high energy costs.”

Other leading business figures lined up to back the warning on the RET, which is being reviewed by an expert panel headed by businessman Dick Warburton.

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive Kate Carnell said it was “enormously expensive”.

EnergyAustralia chairman Graham Bradley said it was “a very good thing” the carbon tax was likely to go swiftly, but that the RET should be changed to a “real” 20 per cent.

Executives at EnergyAustralia, which owns the Yallourn brown coal power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, estimated that ­delivering the required investment in renewables to meet the target would require a fivefold increase on past investment.

“We don’t believe this is achievable without driving up the cost of renewable energy,” group executive manager of strategy and corporate affairs Clare Savage said.

Mr Palmer’s single condition for his support for the carbon tax repeal is a legal requirement that power companies pass savings from scrapping the tax to households. This would go beyond government plans to give the competition watchdog extra monitoring arrangements in the carbon tax repeal.

Energy Supply Association chief executive Matthew Warren said: “It is not clear to us what other head of power the commonwealth could use, as regulating energy prices is a matter for state governments,” Mr Warren said.

Australian Industry Group chief executive Innes Willox raised concerns most businesses had been unable to pass carbon costs to their customers.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission should “not expect reductions in prices for those goods and services that never rose in the first place”.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said he was confident that when the carbon tax repeal passed the savings would be passed on.
The Australian

A while back, Maurice Newman identified the mandatory RET as the Elephant in the room – tagging it as being responsible for the demise of motor manufacturer, Ford and lots of other energy intensive businesses (see our posts here and here and here).

The mandatory RET must go. As retiring Queensland Senator, Ron Boswell put it: “We can have a carbon price and renewable energy targets or viable manufacturing. We can’t have both” (see our post here).


Maurice Newman: the RET is a surefire job killer.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Keith staff says:

    The best circus of all time. The greentards, the wind weasels, have effectively shot themselves in the foot. Now watch Palmer change his mind on the RET.

  2. Stand against wind says:

    If only Clive Palmer would read Stop These Things!

  3. I can’t help but think that Clive’s plan is to look at the RET review when its released and change his mind about it.

  4. The carbon tax was simply taxing a form of energy, whereas the RET is a subsidy for ineffective power supplies that don’t necessarily reduce carbon emissions. No surprise then that the RET didn’t have too many business men upset.

    Clive Palmer, a business man, with a good propensity for skimming the RET slush fund, is on record for “buying” political support. He knows that game well and maybe Al Gore knew very well how to relate to such ways of thinking…


  1. […] And it’s on the issue of being able to trade CCU’s on the international market that the Coalition have been talking seriously to big Clive Palmer and, in this respect, may end up adopting parts of the PUP’s much reported plan for an ETS – starting with internationally tradeable CCUs. Of course, Palmer’s stated position is that the price for ETS credits must be set at ZERO, until such time as all of Australia’s major trading partners (like Europe, China, Japan, Canada and the US etc) sign up to an international ETS (see our post here). […]

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