Maurice Newman was the former head of Deutsche Bank, the ABC and ASX so you’d think he might know a thing or two about economics and business. Maurice doesn’t mince his words about these things: calling wind power “a crime against the people” (see our post here).
Maurice has also previously made the connection between spiralling power costs – being driven by the insanely expensive and utterly pointless Renewable Energy Target – and the death of manufacturing in Australia (see our post here).
Before Malcolm Turnbull’s coup did in Tony Abbott as PM, Maurice acted as chairman of the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Council.
One notable feature of Turnbull’s time in office is his reluctance to appear on Alan Jone’s Breakfast Show. Probably due to Jone’s ability to go for the jugular, it’s a case of Malcolm ‘Timid’ Turnbull.
On the eve of an election where Turnbull faces a far tougher crowd than his back-bench, Maurice has weighed in on the cost of the LRET, the parlous state of what passes for governance in NSW and the systemic corruption that sees its Planning Department side with foreign owned wind power outfits to crush the rights of wind farm neighbours and to silence them in the process.
While Malcolm can run, he can’t hide. Nonsense policies catch up with even the most surreptitious, as plays out in Maurice Newman’s recent interview with Alan Jones. [radio podcast here and transcript below]
Alan Jones AO: Well we are supposed to be in election mode so I thought I might try, from time to time, without boring you rigid to inject a bit of reality into one or two things that ought to be election issues but don’t hold your breath. And so we’ll be covering things like this as I said, without driving you nuts in the next several weeks.
One of the issues of course, the most important, is the cost of living. There doesn’t seem to be any willingness to change the punitive tax rates. There doesn’t seem to be any disposition to wind back debt. But if both parties have their way it seems, there is one thing for sure your electricity bills will go through the roof. Why? Because we continue to argue that the world of tomorrow belongs to renewable energy. So heavily subsidise it. Shove it in the grid and watch your prices go north.
You see to prove that ideology takes command of government, not reality, the businessman Dick Warburton conducted a review of the renewable energy target back in 2014. He was commissioned by the Abbott government. Well he found what some of the bedwetters didn’t like. He described the business of 20% of energy being generated by renewable sources as a joke. And he asked why we were continuing to put subsidies into getting more electricity which was already oversupplied. He might have added, why are we forcing up prices by making power companies source a greater proportion of electricity that they sell to us, from expensive green sources owned by foreign outfits? Wind farms and rooftop solar panels. As I’ve said many times, if these things were not injurious to health (wind farms) we would put them in Macquarie Street or Queen Street or Collins Street in Brisbane. We’d put them in front of Parliament house, on Bondi Beach.
Now the government is broke but we’ve got over $20 billion in subsidies to these outfits [STT’s note to Alan, more than $9 billion has been paid in subsidies under the RET, so far, with a further $45 billion to come]. Can some small businessman give me a call now, who’s listening to me as they are going to work or at work, who is being subsidised by the taxpayer? But of course these Chinese owned wind farmers are. And yet we can’t use coal here for cheap electricity, but we sell our coal to China and India so they can have cheap electricity. So they can emancipate billions of people from poverty. Can someone tell me how that makes sense?
One person who does make sense on this is Maurice Newman who was an adviser to the Abbott government. He is most probably, under the new regime been silenced as well. He is immensely well credentialed and he has rightly said to me more than a year ago and since, quote “95% of climate models that prove the link between human carbon dioxide emissions and catastrophic global warming, have been found after nearly 2 decades, to be in error.” He said we’ve been subjected to extravagant claims from climate catastrophists for close to 50 years. And he proves his point.
Life magazine in January 1970 – remember the Y2K thing? – well Life magazine in January 1970 argued based on “solid scientific evidence, that by 1985 air-pollution would reduce the sunlight reaching the earth by 50%.” The figure is most probably about 3 or 5. Paul Erlich in 1971 said, if I was a gambler I would take even money that England won’t exist in the year 2000. He was a hero. Remember Flannery? All the predictions that there would be no water in metropolitan Australia. All these people have been proven to be duds. In March 2000 David Viner a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia told the Independent newspaper in London that snowfalls are now a thing of the past. 2000.
So people write to me and say ‘what are we meant to make of this?’ Now I’m no conspiritist, but the executive Secretary of the United Nations framework on climate change, Christiana Figueres, said in Brussels in February 2014, and I quote, “this is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that’s been reigning for at least 150 years since the industrial revolution.” This is a woman who’s on record saying that democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Is there some agenda here? She says communist China is the best model. Executive Secretary of the United Nations framework on climate change.
Maurice Newman said when I last spoke to him quote, “this is not about facts or logic. It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN. It’s opposed to capitalism and freedom and it’s made environmental catastrophes a household topic to achieve its objective. We have apologists for that point of view here in government.
Maurice Newman has said of these alarmists they’ll keep mobilising public opinion using fear and appeals to morality. And of course you’ve heard me say that the kids are being taught this in school. This is being built into our society for years to come. It is worse than that. Maurice Newman is on the line. Good morning to you.
Maurice Newman AC: Good morning Alan.
Alan Jones AO: Thank you for the intellectual contribution you make. Where are we heading?
Maurice Newman AC: Thank you. Well I think you explained it extremely well and I quote you back to yourself, that ideology has taken command and as a consequence of that what we are seeing at the political and public service level, is a lack of integrity and dare I say corruption. You may recall, probably 4 or 5 years ago, there’s a woman in Queensland called Simone Marsh who blew the whistle on the Santos gasfield. She was told to prepare an environmental report, given no time at all to get it together and she was told, what ever it is you have to come out with a favourable recommendation.
Alan Jones AO: I think the words were a ‘bankable outcome for Santos’.
Maurice Newman AC: Correct.
Alan Jones AO: And it was about a water report. She said ‘I don’t have the data’. Do it.
Maurice Newman AC: That’s right and so that’s, if it happens in Queensland, we’ve seen in South Australia…
Alan Jones AO: Just to interrupt you there Maurice, for the benefit of my listeners, Simone Marsh when she said it can’t be done I don’t have the data, she packed up her bags and in tears left the office for good. She actually believed this matter would be heard, because it was corrupt, with the Crime and Misconduct Commission in Queensland and Campbell Newman did nothing about it.
Maurice Newman AC: And that’s what we are dealing with. We’ve seen the Environmental Protection Agency staff in South Australia conduct acoustic surveys and there appears to be a deliberate attempt to corrupt the data. This is the sort of thing that is going on all of the time. We’re seeing it in here in New South Wales. We are seeing people being asked to sign what essentially are shut up agreements so they are not allowed to speak out if they suffer health consequences or devaluation of their properties.
Alan Jones AO: Well let’s just talk about that point. We are talking about Crookwell, I mean the Crookwell wind farms for a start, the approval was given by Kristina Keneally. There were specific limitations in relation to those approvals. Those limitations have been violated. They put them wherever they want them and now of course you’re talking about these letters that have to be signed by neighbours, a ‘neighbour agreement’, but basically they are just buying their silence.
Maurice Newman AC: And you have to ask why is it necessary to buy silence? What are you trying to hide?
Alan Jones AO: And why is the government party to it, because the letter that’s signed then goes to the minister.
Maurice Newman AC: And this is the point Alan. You have to ask, I’m not suggesting this is a conspiracy in the sense that everybody is in a room, but there is our spontaneity in this which comes as a result of the ideology. In relation to these agreements people, for a paltry sum, are waiving their rights.
Alan Jones AO: Quite and it says the words a neighbour “must not make,” you’ve got to sign this thing, “must not make any claims against the company, or other persons, in relation to any wind farm impacts, or make any complaint, demand or objection to any governmental agency in relation to any wind farm impact and must not object to, or procure any 3rd party to make an objection to any application”. So in other words we’re going to pay you money but in return you must shut up.
Maurice Newman AC: And nowhere in that document is there anything which spells out to the signatories any health warnings. They may suffer from health effects or their properties will be significantly devalued, there is nothing. They just sign them. And of course by asking those signatories to write a letter to the Minister, there’s a sort of imprimatur given that this is part of an overall officially-sanctioned deed.
Alan Jones AO: Yeah quite. Or, or I think you’ve pointed out, and I’ve pointed out, so there’s the letter, sign the letter, give it to the Minister. So that’s to give the Minister the impression, and bureaucracy will use it, that any approval of erecting a wind turbine at 1 1/2 km or 2 km from a dwelling etc, is all okay. The landowner won’t object to any noise or visual impacts. This is terrific, let’s get on with it.
Maurice Newman AC: But Alan, the other point that I make to you is in relation to the Crookwell 2 and Crookwell 3 wind farms. In 2004, Union Fenosa, which is a Spanish outfit, was given approval which had a five-year life to get on with the construction, I think it was 30 wind turbines.
Alan Jones AO: Thirty wind turbines.
Maurice Newman AC: At the 11th hour, after 5 years, so in 2009, when the 5 year time they had to commence construction had run out, or was about to run out, they put 5 demountable buildings on the site. That was sufficient in 2009 for the government to give them approval for an unidentified unlimited time. When they had the approval, almost immediately afterwards, they took the de-mountables away leaving just one. And this is what goes for integrity for due process.
Alan Jones AO: See you’re raising a further point aren’t you? The government is a party to this you’ve talked about ‘an emerging authoritarianism here, in the Baird government. We’ve got forced council amalgamations. We’ve got anti-protest laws. We’ve got silence in the face of ICAC’s abuse of power. We’ve got the indifference to the pain and suffering of wind farm neighbours. We’ve got farmers invaded by coal miners. I was in the Hunter Valley yesterday and coal seam gas companies. And you said to me ‘our individual freedoms are being snatched from us at every turn and I fear for the world my grandchildren are inheriting.
Maurice Newman AC: It’s absolutely true and I think you’ve been on about the Canberra forced council amalgamations. There is no transparency. No one has seen the KPMG report. I mean what is going on? And I think you made the point yesterday, or certainly recently, that the master servant relationship has been reversed – we are now the servants.
Alan Jones AO: Absolutely. While I’ve got you here, you were an economic adviser to the Abbott government. He tried to, in that first budget, repair this debt question And the media, his own party, the bedwetters and the opposition went into meltdown. Where do you think we are in relation to debt and expenditure far in excess of revenue?
Maurice Newman AC: The budget that will be brought down on 3 May is unlikely to do anything that will have a significant effect on the budget deficit or our debt. So we will wait probably until after the election, well certainly until after the election and maybe May of next year. In the mean time we’ve got the rating agencies knocking on our door. We’ve had 3 warnings at least. Nothing has been done. So I would think it would be highly likely that Australia’s credit rating will be downgraded.
The people in Canberra are no longer prepared to take the sort of courageous stand that Tony Abbott did. It would be my view that we will continue to see our budget deficit and debts grow and it will take a crisis for someone to have the political courage to do something about it.
Alan Jones AO: I mean the parliamentary budget office has said that since December’s midyear budget update, the deficit over the 4 year forward estimates has blown out by another 27 billion, that’s in 6 months, and is now is estimated to be 96 billion. 27 billion.
Maurice Newman AC: And the mantra from Canberra is well growth will take us out. We’ll be okay, because economic growth will take us out.
Alan Jones AO: I loved your comment. Maurice Newman recently said ‘in the meantime we’ll be told changes to superannuation arrangements, taxes on multinationals and tobacco will get us into balance’, and he says, you said ‘oh and I forgot to mention the tooth fairy’.
Maurice Newman AC: And that’s true.
Alan Jones AO: That is true.
Maurice Newman AC: Alan we have little time left. I just want to say to you, and I know other of your listeners have said this, but without you, who are out there trying to protect the battler. There is nobody and there certainly is nobody in Macquarie Street. There is no one in George Street. There is no one in Canberra. And I think for, this is the sort of thing that has given rise to Trump in America. They feel they are unrepresented. And I think that this is a message that needs to get out there. When it comes to economic policy it seems to me it’s a question of whether you drive over the cliff more quickly with Mr Shorten or more slowly with Mr Turnbull. It doesn’t seem to be a significant difference between the parties.
Alan Jones AO: Good on you. Good to talk to you Maurice and thank you for your time.
Maurice Newman AC: Thank you Alan.
Alan Jones AO: There he is, Maurice Newman.