Australia’s radical anti-environmentalist element is coming out of the woodwork this Tuesday for a Tea Party-style rally against wind farms. Organisers allege wind energy the “greatest economic fraud in Australian history,” criticising the Howard government-established Renewable Energy Target (RET), which aims to have 20 percent of Australia’s energy coming from renewable sources by 2020.
Shock-jock Alan Jones has put his hand up to MC the event that will feature the marginal independent Senator John Madigan. Of concern is the fact that a contingent of rogue Coalition politicians have jumped on the bandwagon.
Ostensibly, the Abbott-led opposition supports renewable energy. Greg Hunt, the Shadow Minister for Climate Action, reiterated his support for the RET in an interview with the ABC. Yet due to his reluctance to commit to the 41,000 GWh target, the Coalition is creating policy uncertainty.
Meanwhile, the following members of Hunt’s party are actively campaigning against wind farms.
Angus Taylor, the Liberal candidate to replace Alby Schultz in the safe seat of Hume, NSW. Taylor goes for the farm boy image. His Liberal Party profile emphasises his rural pedigree, talking about what he likes to do when he’s not “on the farm.” In this favourable write-up in the Financial Review, where Taylor is pictured leaning against a fence (having just heroically killed a tiger snake with a shovel), he argues against the RET on economic grounds and calls for its review to be brought forward from 2016 to 2014.
However, Taylor is not primarily a farmer. He’s a business consultant and director of the firm Port Jackson Partners Ltd (PJPL). Although PJPL does advise farming businesses, it also has had contracts with Orica, a company that services the mining industry and prepared a large report for the Mineral Council of Australia. Given its clientele, it’s unsurprising that PJPL authored this report, critical of the RET. Nor is it surprising that Taylor has been circulating inaccurate PJPL literature among his Liberal party colleagues.
Next is Alby Schultz, retiring member for Hume and Taylor’s biggest fan, billing him as Australia’s next PM. He is best known for his boycott of parliament during Kevin Rudd’s apology to the stolen generation and for grabbing a fellow parliamentarian by the neck. Schultz’s arguments against wind farms lack the economic rationalist subtleties of Taylor’s. In fact, his language is reminiscent of that use by the opaque “grassroots” organisations opposing wind farms. In a speech to parliament on the 30th of May echoed their cries of fraud.
“Fraud is just the tip of the iceberg: the modus operandi of wind turbines is also centred around intimidation, manipulation of fact, character assassination, lies and cover up. This multi-headed industrial Hydra is aided and abetted in its plundering of the public purse by incompetent governments, friendly pro-wind bureaucrats and a variety of individual parasites living off the taxpayer pot-of-gold renewable-energy-certificate process,” said Schultz.
On the same day, Schultz gave another speech defending anti-wind campaigner Sarah Laurie and denigrating the public health researcher, Professor Simon Chapman.
Craig Kelly is the Liberal party member for Hughes, south of Sydney. Kelly has a history of climate denialism and dishonesty, yet it is unlikely that he will lose his seat in September. Kelly echoes anti-wind campaigners’ claim wind turbines are precipitating an exodus of rural households.
Liberal Senator Chris Back came straight to politics from the oil and gas industry. In July of last year, Back published this extensive manifesto against wind energy and the RET and in October made this speech against wind farms of equally impressive length. Unfortunately the accuracy of his material is not as impressive as its comprehensive coverage.
Finally, representing the other half of the Coalition is Nationals Senator for Queensland, Ron Boswell, who is retiring in June 2014. Boswell has made a lengthy tirade against wind power in the Senate.
If you’re one of the 73 percent of Australians who support the Renewable Energy Target and 76 percent that support building more wind farms, you might like to contact the following politicians and let them know about your views.
- Alby Schultz – Electorate office, (02) 4822 2277. Parliamentary office, (02) 6277 4386. Email: Alby.Schultz.MP@aph.gov.au
- Craig Kelly MP – Electorate office, (02) 9521 6262. Parliamentary office, (02) 6277 4366. Email: Craig.Kelly.MP@nsw.liberal.org.au
- Senator Chris Back – Electorate office, (08) 9414 7288. Parliamentary office, (02) 6277 3733. Email: Senator.Back@aph.gov.au
- Senator Boswell – Electorate office, (07) 3001 8150. Parliamentary office, (02) 6277 3046. Email: Senator.Boswell@aph.gov.au
- Senator Madigan – Electorate office, (03) 5331 2321. Parliamentary office, (02) 6277 3471. Email: Senator.Madigan@aph.gov.au
- Senator Xenophon – Electorate office, (08) 8232 1144. Parliamentary office, (02) 6277 3552. Email: Senator.Xenophon@aph.gov.au
This post was authored by Odile Gotts.