Labor Out to Kill Australia’s Manufacturers & Mineral Processors

bill shorten

Bill Shorten: determined to kill Australian jobs & prosperity.

Back in December last year we looked at how South Australia went from economic zero to economic hero during the 1950s and 1960s – with the help of a pragmatic Adelaide Hills farmer, Sir Tom Playford (see our post here).

Tom created a manufacturing and industrial investment paradise – principally by making cheap and reliable power available through the Electricity Trust of South Australia (ETSA).  His guarantee of cheap, plentiful sparks encouraged miners, car makers, shipbuilders and all manner of industry to join in the South Australian economic bonanza of the post-war era.

It was an era that led to rapid economic growth – with working-class migrant households starting in near poverty conditions on their arrival in the 1950s and, within a decade or so, working their way to living standards that far surpassed those enjoyed by their English and Scottish compatriots, who stayed at home.

It is not to place the gloss of nostalgia on that period to call what Tom Playford helped create then as a “working man’s paradise”.  Ironic it was that Tom was a Liberal, presumed to be from the “conservative” side of politics – and, therefore, an enemy of the poor.  The myth is (and was) that conservatives always put the working man last on their list of priorities. Tom Playford, in the end result, did just the opposite.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Australian Labor Party had its beginnings during a shearers’ strike in the 1890s and – as myth and legend has it – was born in the shade of a ghost gum at Barcaldine in western Queensland in 1891.  The Labor Party was, thereafter, seen as the “workers’ party” and its shady birthplace earned the tagline of the “Tree of Knowledge”.

For nearly a century, the ALP stuck close to its political and botanical roots.  The party attracted shearers – like Clyde Cameron and Mick Young – and one of its most revered sons, Ben Chifley, started life as an engine driver.

It was also seen as a party of “ideas”.  Apparently tapping into the Tree of Knowledge – it went on to introduce wide ranging and positive social and economic reforms – such as Medicare (universal health benefits coverage); floating the Australian dollar; and deregulating Australia’s (until then, hamstrung) banks, during the Hawke/Keating era of the 1980s.  Since then, the “workers’ party” has become anything but.

In this post we saw how Labor’s climate change spokesman, Mark Butler was quick to come out swinging in favour of maintaining the ludicrously expensive and utterly pointless Renewable Energy Target.  The RET has already cost Australian power punters more than $9 billion in RECs – added to their spiralling power bills – since it began in 2001 – and will go on to cost power consumers a further $50 billion in RECs to be issued and added to power bills until the scheme comes to an end in 2031.  Unless, of course, Action Man Abbott puts it to the sword first.

Labor’s Mark Butler ought to know better – he’s a South Australian – purportedly looking after constituents from working class Port Adelaide – where unemployment well exceeds the national average and where a power bill, these days, is opened with a sense of dread – that’s assuming it’s a household still connected to the grid.

South Australia has the highest power prices in the world and, it appears, that Butler and his Labor mates are keen to give his constituents more of the same.  A large number of the more than 50,000 SA homes that have been disconnected from the power grid in the last couple of years are situated in Butler’s electorate of Port Adelaide – which has a large proportion of unemployed households struggling on welfare payments and plenty on low incomes battling to make ends meet.

mark butler

Butler should lose the grin, start looking after his constituents and stop looking after his old union mates’ investments in wind power.

Once upon a time, a “good” Labor man would die in a ditch to help working class people by reining in the excesses of wanton corporate greed.

Not so with modern Labor apparatchiks, like Butler and his boss, Bill Shorten – who are more concerned about protecting the $billions invested by their mates running Union Super funds in wind power outfits – like Union heavy, Gary Weaven’s Pac Hydro – outfits that profit from the $billions in RECs that have been channeled via the RET to wind scammers from struggling power consumers.  These boys are well aware that if the RET goes they will not only lose their financial shirts, they’ll also lose their ability to control the “game”: in modern politics, money is power.

Former Queensland Labor Treasurer, Keith De Lacy laments how the modern Labor Party has taken an axe to the Tree of Knowledge; and, successfully, and irreversibly severed its links to the workers’ party that was born under the shade of a ghost gum at Barcaldine, QLD over a century ago (see our post here). He’s not alone.

Now that the obscene cost of the mandatory Large-Scale RET has ceased being a well-kept secret (see our post here) – you’d think that Labor would change its tune – and be prepared to help put an end to the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the Commonwealth: a transfer that comes at the expense of struggling businesses; cash-strapped families; and the poorest and most vulnerable in society (see our post here).

Not a bit of it.

Labor are hell-bent on maintaining massive subsidies to the wind industry (protecting union super fund wind farm investments) and are more than happy to destroy what’s left of Australia’s manufacturing and mineral processing industries into the bargain.

Here’s lefty rag The Guardian on Labor’s latest disgrace.

Renewable energy target: Coalition and Labor no closer to compromise
The Guardian
Oliver Milman
17 September 2014

Division remains in Coalition where backbenchers are pushing against large-scale wind and solar projects

The two major parties appear no closer to a compromise on the future of the renewable energy target, amid a push by Coalition backbenchers to strip away the mechanism for large-scale wind and solar projects.

The government has repeatedly called on Labor to compromise over the RET, which requires that 41,000 gigawatt hours of Australia’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2020.

The scheme is made up of the large-scale RET, aimed at wind and solar farms, and the small-scale renewable energy scheme, which has helped encourage more than one million Australian households to install solar panels on their roofs.

A review of the RET, led by businessman Dick Warburton, found that the system had helped lower carbon emissions, drive investment and create jobs. But it recommended the scheme be either closed or suspended until energy demand increases.

On Wednesday, Tony Abbott said the review was a “good document”, but would not set out the government’s official position. Both the Coalition and Labor pledged at the election to keep the RET as it is.

“We are weighing the public response to that document and we will be having more to say about the renewable energy target in a few weeks’ time,” Abbott said.

According to the Australian, a “compromise” position of pushing back the deadline for the large-scale RET to 2022 or 2023 has been put forward by the Australian Workers Union. The AWU also wants the aluminium industry exempt from the RET.

While this proposal might gain support within Labor, Coalition backbenchers are looking to go further.

Coalition senator and deputy whip Chris Back said he understood the complaints of the aluminium industry but that everyone should be exempt.

“I don’t think we should have the large-scale RET in place at all, we should give everyone the same relief that aluminium is seeking,” he told Guardian Australia.

“The cost of household systems is coming down, which is good, especially as power costs go up. I think there’s a case to support that for now, until there’s cost parity.  “We are having discussions in the Coalition and people have different views but we are in accord over solar installation. People [in the Coalition] are pleased that household solar is popular and generating jobs, but not so much with the large-scale RET.  “I have challenged the windfarm operators to show the community how the industry has reduced greenhouse gases and they have been completely silent. I think they need to do that, they’ve certainly got the resources to respond.”

Back said further Coalition talks will take place in Canberra next week. Within the cabinet, Abbott is thought to favour the closure of the RET while others, such as education minister Christopher Pyne, is understood to support leaving the scheme as it is.

A Coalition position of support for small-scale solar but nothing for large-scale projects is highly unlikely to receive the support of Labor, the Greens or the Palmer United party, which has used its key position in the Senate to stress that it wants no change to the RET.

Bill Shorten, the Labor leader, said he supported the jobs and investment that the RET has helped provide.

“Renewable energy is a plus for Australia’s future,” he said on Wednesday. “But there’s no doubt that we’ve got to make sure vulnerable, emissions-intensive sectors like aluminium are carefully considered in any design of a renewable energy target.

“The real problem is that the Abbot government has created a year of uncertainty and then they came down with a Warburton review which was basically ‘get rid of renewable energy targets altogether’. So I think it’s the government that is the danger to jobs. We’ll make sure we have good policies which get the balance right.”
The Guardian

STT suggests that the Minister for Education, Chrissy Pyne should stick to his knitting – battling fired-up Uni students over his plans to increase their tuition fees, say – and leave the heavy lifting on energy policy to those among his colleagues who know the difference between a REC and the shortfall charge. For example, WA Senator, Chris Back – whose challenge to the wind industry to stump up credible evidence to back its entirely unsubstantiated CO2 abatement claims (see our post here) has been met with stony silence. Funny about that (see our post here).

Thankfully, the Coalition’s energy policy will be determined by Tony Abbott, who has a keen insight into the scale of the RET rort; who hates giant fans; and who is keen to bring Australian power prices back under control (see our posts here and here and here). The PM is all set to unwind the mess left by Labor when it upped the ultimate target for the LRET to 41,000 GWh.

The modern Labor Party is so far out of touch with reality it’s as if they’ve been living on another planet. When it comes the LRET: there is no “balance” as Labor’s Bill Shorten bleats. And Shorten’s claim that scrapping the target threatens jobs is pure nonsense – spiralling power costs under the LRET will kill at least 6,000 real jobs (see our post here). As former 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).

Labor are not only forsaking what was their traditional blue-collar base, but – as part of their economic death-wish – are determined to protect near-bankrupt cowboys – like Infigen – and Spanish, Chinese and Thai wind power outfits, like Acciona, Goldwind and RATCH.

With the Labor Party digging in to protect the wind industry, by refusing to consider any change at all to 41,000 GWh LRET, the Australian worker might fairly ask: “with ‘friends’ like the modern ALP, who needs enemies”?

To STT it seems that the workers’ party is having serious trouble just keeping in touch with its roots.

tree of knowledge

The modern ALP – like the tree of knowledge – struggling with its roots.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Dick Warburton will no doubt be quite bemused by some of the conclusions the ‘disconnected’ left is drawing from his review, such as the RET is decreasing CO2 emissions and will ultimately reduce power prices!! Such scenarios are predicted only on the basis that the RET totally destroys our economy. It is no coincidence that politicians from states that are economic basket cases such as South Australia and Tasmania see (not to mention Scotland) a guilded lily in such schemes because ‘wealth transfer’ has become their mode of survival and they take their wealth ‘creating’ citizens down with them but it’s always those on publicly funded salaries that are the last to go, as in Greece. Next thing Pyne will argue for is an increase in GST for some states but not South Australia or Tasmania with a corresponding increase for the share those states get, meanwhile ‘send us the ‘Recs’.
    It is a real pity Abbott has had to become involved to the extent he is in international affairs, it is allowing MacFarlane and Hunt and others to get away with cosying up to their centre left mates in the labor party to keep the RET alive. Worse to come is the ‘Energy White Paper’ whose board is in direct opposition to Warburton and firmly attached to to the public purse and totally connected to the wind mill fantasy. Wind mill developers are just starting to poke around again in farming communities, apparently having been given the nod its all ‘going to be okay’. The battle by the ‘Waubra Foundation’ and impacts from noise and property devaluation needs to stay at the forefront of concerns for rural communities threatened by the absurdity of ‘giant windmills’ saving the planet.

  2. Jackie Rovenksy says:

    The emphasis should be on helping individual home owners to become more self sufficient in their energy requirements, for businesses to be able to install solar with assistance in the form of a tax breaks, that all new homes and buildings having to have solar as a component of their plans. That will resolve the need for more and more BIG energy production facilities, it would probably knock big wind off the scene quicker than anything else – they produce so little and return even less in cutting emissions they should never have been given the free hand they have. Labor is certainly not showing any concern for the people they apparently work for. Jobs have not been created in any worthwhile number from Big wind, but there have been plenty created for roof top solar.

    Tonight on TV news there was a march in Adelaide of around 500 supporting the RET, I wonder how many of those actually live close to IWT’s, how many actually know what the RET is or even the REC’s. I wonder just how many of them have read anything other than the Green’s and Labor’s warble?

    Help the people and industry help themselves and we will see a nation once again move forward in unison, and families with a future free of fear of the ‘bailiff’s’ coming to the door.

    The cost of energy does not end with a single power bill but it’s the line of ever increasing power bills, affecting the cost of everything, food, clothing, heating/cooling, running a business, schools, hospitals, doctors, emergency centres and services, places of entertainment, everything we buy has a line of power bills behind it.

    Once people accept this those with any brain soon realise how that energy is produced and supplied is important to their lives and livelihoods – every aspect of their lives.

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