Down Tools: Australia’s Most Powerful Workers Union Rejects Unreliable Wind & Solar

Labor – aka the ‘Workers Party’ – remains determined to destroy whole industries and thousands of jobs with a 50% RET and a giant ‘carbon’ tax. Business and job destroying policies that helped it comfortably lose the ‘unloseable’ Federal election in May, and which its deluded front bench simply can’t bear to let go.

Australian industry has been a protected species since the Victorian gold rush in the 1850s, cosseted behind an insurmountable wall of tariffs and propped up with subsidies. As the tariffs and subsidies to industries – such as motor manufacturing, clothing and footwear – were slashed in the 1990s, hundreds of businesses and entire industries have disappeared.

Nowadays, mining, manufacturing and mineral processing are being treated by politicians as a class of mangy vermin – fit only for urgent eradication – with a raft of utterly insane energy policies which threaten thousands of small and large businesses, alike.

Thanks to Australia’s obsession with heavily subsidised and chaotically intermittent wind and solar, mining, mineral processing, manufacturing and agriculture already face the nightmare scenario of rocketing power prices and an unreliable, and unpredictable supply. Precisely the disastrous combination that destroyed South Australia’s manufacturing industry and which is all set to destroy what’s left of its mineral processing businesses, too. Nyrstar’s lead and zinc smelter at Port Pirie is on life support, unlikely to survive.

Then there’s the not so minor issue of having power on tap at all. On peak demand days, when wind and solar down tools – NSW is forced to chop power to big industrial users, such as the Tomago aluminium smelter, as well as dumping households from the grid. What’s euphemistically called ‘demand management’.

The power behind the ALP comes from labour unions and the power behind the unions come from employed members. Without members and their dues, the labour unions would be 90 pound political weaklings.

No doubt prompted by dwindling membership and the wholesale slaughter of the industries that once employed them by rocketing power prices and unreliable supply, the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has put its members and their employment prospects ahead of renewable energy virtue signalling; and put the Labor party on notice.

Driving a wedge into the ALP – which suffers from confusion and policy paralysis at the best of times – the CFMEU is demanding High Efficiency Low Emissions coal-fired power plants (in the short-term) with a move to nuclear power plants (over the longer term).

The Union’s goal is pretty obvious: cheap and reliable power in abundance to support mining and manufacturing jobs of the kind that keep its members in well remunerated and lasting employment.

In a ham-fisted and bumbling display, Labor’s Deputy leader Richard Marles, managed to remind us all why the ALP managed to lose the unloseable Federal election last May.

Richard Marles in struggle for safe ground on coal-fired power
The Australian
Rosie Lewis
10 February 2020

Deputy Labor leader Richard Marles has failed to say whether he supports new coal-fired power plants or coalmines, as the Victorian CFMEU backed high-­efficiency, low-emission coal and nuclear energy over renewables.

The union also said the transitioning of coal-fired power station workers and their communities towards a modern nuclear power industry was realistically achievable, but a “‘just transition’ to ­renewables is not”.

Mr Marles struggled to clarify on Sunday whether Labor would allow a coal-fired power station to be built if ­industry funded the project, but suggested a future Labor government would not stand in the way if it met “normal environmental ­approvals”.

“A Labor government is not going to put a cent into subsidising coal-fired power. And that is the practical question as to whether or not it happens,” Mr Marles told the ABC’s Insiders program.

Mr Marles’ confusing messages on coal came as the Victorian branch of the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and ­Energy Union urged the state to embrace HELE coal and nuclear power to both deliver reliable ­energy and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

In its submission to the Victorian parliament’s inquiry into nuclear prohibition, the union’s mining and energy division’s state secretary, Geoff Dyke, said HELE coal combined with carbon capture and storage was the “preferred option” but a transition to nuclear energy was also worth considering.

“A ‘just transition’ of coal-fired power station workers and their communities towards a modern nuclear industry is realistically achievable, whereas CFMEU Mining and Energy Vic believes a ‘just transition’ to renewables is not,” Mr Dyke said.

“More importantly, a ‘just transition’ to nuclear power could provide the essential social licence for this proven technology to overcome lingering public concerns surrounding its safe operation in local communities where they might be located if, locally, they were to replace existing coal ­generators.

“Australia certainly has the skilled people and stable government to run a first-class nuclear power industry.

“All that is needed is the green light.”

Mr Dyke warned Victoria should be powered by dispatchable energy supplemented by renewables “rather than just relying on renewables alone” to avoid major blackouts, unaffordable electricity and the shutdown of the state’s industry.

The call for a ­nuclear industry puts the CFMEU at odds with ­Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese, who has declared nuclear power does not stack up in Australia because it has “never overcome the dangers that we have seen played out around the world”.

New federal Resources Minister Keith Pitt, a staunch nuclear advocate, would not say whether transitioning coal workers to a ­nuclear industry had merit, but he ­acknowledged the jobs and skills required to run a coal or nuclear power station were the same.

“If you ignore the fuel source that provides the scheme, in a practical, pure engineering sense, the roles are exactly the same,” Mr Pitt said.

“If you’re in a technical trade in a power station and the power ­station is the same apart from the source of fuel, of course there are opportunities.”

Former Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, also a big supporter of nuclear energy, said coal workers could be transitioned into nuclear jobs but the jobs must be available right away.

“If it becomes a theoretical promise, people don’t trust us enough to ever accept one of those,” he said.

Scott Morrison has made it clear the government would not consider ­nuclear energy unless there was bipartisan support.

Labor’s equivocation on the Adani coalmine in Queensland and ­ambitious climate change policies were considered critical to its 2019 election loss, which led to a disastrous ­result in Queensland and big swings against the party in coalmining seats.

Mr Marles, who once said the collapse of the global thermal coal market was a “good thing”, ­acknowledged coalminers played a “very significant” economic role and the industry would continue “for decades to come”.

Greens leader Adam Bandt ­attempted to wedge Labor, saying it was refusing to join with the minor party and stop “coal-­huggers in the Liberals”.
The Australian

H-E-L-E coal spells a future for Tomago’s workers.

About stopthesethings

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


  1. So it was all virtuous fun and games until some clown inside the CFMEU got out a calculator and said “hey….”

  2. Jacqueline Rovensky says:

    Its not completely unexpected that the Unions would begin to smart over the loss of jobs and membership income, what is more amazing is that its taken them this long to accept what has been said by ordinary people who can see beyond waffle, for years – this ‘renewable’s’ industry does not provide plenty of jobs and does not reduce the cost of energy and cannot be relied on to provide it when and where it’s needed.
    That investment by Governments via subsidies and an ‘open door’ policy and agreement to financially destroy and by regulation penalise any other energy producer which the ‘renewable’s’ industries fanatical movers and shakers put forward as dirty and dangerous, should never have been allowed to progress to a point where jobs are lost with none to take their place.
    Where costs keep rising, where industries across the board fail, where reliance on cheap and nasty imports fills the gaps left by the demise of quality and reliable products once produced in this country.
    That these products that were once plentiful and affordable for everyone but are no longer, is a blight on the concept of a modern progressive society run by Governments which not only say they will look after their people but actually do.
    Time is running out, Governments cannot stall any longer they know what is happening has to end and commonsense returned.
    They cannot keep putting off what they know in their deepest being is needed.
    They cannot put off any longer taking a stand against the rampant misinformation and waffle of those who are only interested in self preening in front of a camera or crowd trying to justify what they know to be wrong and damaging to society and the environment.
    Unions once had a purpose that the workers themselves worked for, now they are nothing more than mouthpieces for these preening money grabbers.
    But its good to see there are cracks forming and light beginning to shine through – maybe they will once again be working for the workers rights to employment and a future.

  3. Reblogged this on ajmarciniak.

  4. Peter Pronczak says:

    It appears a contradiction in ‘renewables’ is it’s not progressive; it’s a regressive dead-end: A means in itself that leads nowhere else; all it develops is known technologies.

    If the true problem is CO2 they (renewables) can solve that problem but in doing so, provide many more in its complexity of administration.
    Is it therefore a rational approach to provide productive energy in a singular form?
    Unlike technological history, progress to nuclear fusion provides a multitude of benefits beyond just that of electricity. Or, just a means of transferring public funds from the poor to the rich.

    A safe molten sodium reactor was developed in the 1950s but abandoned, apparently in pursuit of further nuclear bomb development.

    The “Workers Party” was ‘Old Labor’ not this pseudo Greens-Conservative-Malthusian pretence.
    Labor developed the International Harvester factory in Geelong, Victoria that was almost the capitol of the state, it was a stronghold of manufacturing bolstered by much post WWII migration. It was targeted for industrial destruction and the city now is nothing more than a dormitory town and a junkie green stranglehold (we’re having a green party coming?) – the national template: Geelong had the first round-a-bout and the first wind turbine; not the one portrayed on Wikipedia, a smaller one that was supposed to provide power for the sewer outlet east of Torquay, but as a regular going past it, I never saw it turning.

    As long as political parties are categorised as ‘charities’ the taxable double-dipping to keep the system going, will continue.
    With the ABC being the status quo mouthpiece that has for years manipulated the public by radio presenters pretending to present original programs and interviews when they’re repeats of other regions broadcasts: Amazing what voice recognition software is capable of, and the problem of not changing internet archived program properties – and they want more financing; much like print media copy & paste while saying the cost of print keeps rising.

    Funny how the first thing that happens at war is price control, but the 1980s ALP-NLP economic consensus saw the destruction of our economic sovereignty (CBA) and The Australia Acts 1986 that saw Crown consolidation over state control of resources (reciprocal): Kim Beazely’s acceptance of WA governorship ended any ALP pretension for a ‘republic’.

  5. Reblogged this on uwerolandgross.

  6. The Australian powers seem to not understand that mining, manufacturing, and agriculture are the source of all wealth. Without them, everyone is poor.

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