Monash Forum: Rattles Renewables Rent Seekers with Threat to Endless Subsidies

Craig Kelly: a man with a plan.


In a little over 15 years, Australia has gone from an energy superpower to an international joke. Power prices are rocketing, and its Eastern Grid is on the brink of collapse. All for the sake of a pointless, ideological obsession with wind and solar power.

Thankfully, a solid rump of 30 Liberal and National Federal MPs are determined to turn the mess around. Their Monash Forum has started with a plan to restore affordable and reliable power which, up to now, Australians have justifiably seen as their birthright. As that baseballer/philosopher, Yogi Bera put it: “If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up some where else.” Here’s Alan Moran with a little roadmap on where the Monash Forum is headed.

Energy policy takes center stage
Catallaxy Files
Alan Moran
9 April 2018

The action is getting hotter on the energy front. Having been in a small minority for years, readers and writers on catallaxy are now finding themselves closer to the mainstream on the policy on energy/climate.

To recap, the recent initial incendiaries were thrown by backbencher Craig Kelly in forming the Monash Forum and calling for the abandonment of the renewable energy subsidy policy which is destroying the competitive fibre of the economy. Unnerved by the whole process Mr Turnbull then moved once again to gently suggest to AGL that it might defer the next planned power station closure (Liddell in 2022).

I covered the developments here and Judith covered them here in a critical article about the market regulator Audrey Zibelman that brought Ms Zibelman to castigate the AFR for alleged misrepresentation (not that this caused the AFR to pause in its rooting for renewables and claiming AEMO as a cohort).

AGL rejected Mr Turnbull’s legendary persuasiveness. It now claims precedence over the government as the nation’s social arbiter, saying the closure must go ahead since Australia must reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Some part of this is a rationalisation for the huge profits AGL earns from closing down capacity and boosting prices – the firm earns 80 per cent of its profits from the coal that it demonises.

The momentum is continuing. Following the 30th Newspoll, Tony Abbott’s pollie-pedal charity ride passed by the Hazelwood plant, the closure of which, stemming from government policies, has forced a near doubling of wholesale electricity prices. Mr Abbott first suggested that we ought to be tougher on AGL then argued for a forced acquisition. Discovering his inner liberalism, the PM dismissed this as alien to the free market capitalism he said he espouses.

The forces are arraigned. Some on our side take the Turnbull line and, overlooking the history, call for policies involving termination of subsidies and suspension of the Paris Agreement on which, via the National Energy Guarantee, the next round of subsidies to renewables is to be based.

Others, including Terry McCrann point out that Liddell has assumed the position of being an essential service and the Constitution (in fact every government constitution) would allow for the acquisition of such a facility. As he points out this must be on “just terms” but, as AGL values the facility at virtually nothing, those terms should be set low and the government could then dispose of Liddell to one the interested parties (three groups have already emerged).

The ALP is having a ball hoisting the Coalition on its free market petard. But they are likely to be in office come 2022, and if by then they recognise that the plant’s closure would bring increased prices and lower reliability, they would not hesitate in taking it over.

Power prices stemming from governmental sabotage of the electricity industry are now the hot button issue. They, or their corollary, climate change ideology, brought down Malcolm Turnbull from the Liberal Party leadership in2009. Abbott as PM, aside from abolishing Gillard’s carbon tax was unable to do anything to mitigate the renewable policy’s erosion of electricity competitiveness but now says he would act differently.

Turnbull could change policy and abandon the renewable policy and the Paris Treaty he ratified the day after Trump, its avowed enemy, won the US Presidency. But his judgement is so poor, as evidenced many times (refusing to drop climate policy of 2009, Grech, Don Dale, 2016 ratification of Paris, Snowy2), that he is incapable of doing so.

The alternatives outcomes are therefore that

  • the Coalition slouches to the next election with Turnbull and present policies and loses to a Shorten Government so radical on energy, spending union power that will perhaps push us towards the Venezuela outcome
  • the coalition under Turnbull actually wins the next election and we continue the gradual decline that is the inevitable outcome of following Labor-lite policies
  • a leader (Abbott, Dutton or some other conservative) takes over, suspends the Paris Agreement, removes all tariffs, encourages new coal based power station construction as well as pursuing other deregulatory, expenditure reducing measures. Then Australia becomes what it should already be: the most prosperous country on earth.
    Does the electorate and political leadership have the capacity to allow the third development?

Catallaxy Files

Reliable & affordable: You’ve arrived at your destination.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. Can’t say I’m too confident that option three will happen. Even if Turnbull is rolled before the election, there may not be enough time to repair the damage done to the Liberal Party and the public’s confidence in them. The Turnbull faction has been a cancer in the Liberal Party and it has grown and spread enough so as to be terminal. A Bill Shorten Venezuela, might be what we are facing!

  2. Jackie Rovensky says:

    Allow the electorate a say independent of elections and the third option will win hands down. Leave it until an election and Party ‘loyalty’ / electoral stupidity will put Labor back in and this country will go down so fast war will be raged by countries wanting sole access to our bountiful natural resources.
    Not that they don’t have plenty of access at a cheap price as it is.
    Its time Turnbull stepped aside or down, in stepping aside he could begin to listen to his party and not his navel and bring this country back from the brink, failing to do either will ensure disaster.
    Turnbull and his band of ‘happy chappies’ need to understand and accept energy is AN ESSENTIAL service and we are at war with the energy producers in this country and therefore we need a Government with the courage to take control of the production and distribution of this ESSENTIAL SERVICE.

  3. Solar Power and the catches with poor quality equipment makes it a joke

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: