Greg Hunt was forced into a humiliating backflip by senior colleagues after the Environment Minister re-announced a half-billion-dollar solar-power policy without the Prime Minister's permission.
Fairfax Media can reveal that Mr Hunt took his colleagues by surprise when he announced to an industry gathering last November that the Coalition was committed to its $500 million ''1 Million Solar Roofs'' program. Mr Hunt described the flagship solar program - which was to have provided $500 rebates for installing 1 million rooftop solar-energy systems over the next 10 years - as a ''shining beacon'' of the Abbott government's Direct Action climate policy.
But Mr Hunt's ''shining beacon'', a leftover from the 2010 election campaign, had not been approved by Prime Minister Tony Abbott or his top economic ministers.
Yet Mr Hunt effectively ''went around'' the Coalition leadership by announcing the policy, sources say, and in the months after his public pledge he was told the money would not be forthcoming. The Abbott government's budget ''razor gang'' - the expenditure review committee - had already told ministers that unless a policy had been specifically confirmed at the 2013 election, it was no longer official government policy.
Mr Hunt either ignored or did not receive that message. In his presentation to the Clean Energy Council on November 29 last year, the Environment Minister declared: ''The government will provide $500 million for the 1 Million Solar Roofs program. And a further $50 million each,'' he added, would be given to ''the Solar Towns and Solar Schools programs''.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has reaffirmed Australia will work closely with the United States before deciding what to do about the deteriorating security situation in Iraq.
Mr Abbott is returning home from a round-the-world trip after meeting the leaders of Indonesia, France, Canada and the United States over the past 11 days.
The Prime Minister's comments come as the insurgent offensive in Iraq seemed to slow, as government forces regained some territory in counter-attacks.
US president Barack Obama said on Friday he was reviewing military options, short of sending combat troops, to combat the insurgency.
RELATED STORY: Iraq insurgent advance slows, US sends carrier to Gulf. Australia preparing to send a couple of orange lifeboats...
Please stay out of this, Tony, you have no idea where this is going to lead to... If you must, don the uniforms of a bomb disposal expert and go there on your own in a package marked "do not open". Your daddy Rattus Howard did enough damage there already.
A frontline Indigenous services program, launched on a recommendation by the royal commission into Aboriginal deaths in custody, has been told it will no longer receive federal funding from the end of the month.
The NSW and ACT Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) was informed last week its funding of $500,000 a year for a program helping Indigenous people reintegrate into daily life after jail would end on 30 June.
Phil Naden, the head of the ALS, said it did not expect the government to reverse its decision, and the ALS “carry a great sadness” at the loss.
“We have heard so many public statements by government, in the lead-up to and after the 2014 budget, that no frontline services in Indigenous Affairs would be cut," he said.
"Our Prisoner ThroughCare field staff are engaged in vitally important work on the front line to assist people leaving prison avoid further recidivism, and these public statements do not reflect what our Prisoner ThroughCare staff were accomplishing."
Tragically for Australia, the conduct of the blundering new government and its boorish leader is being observed by other nations — and reported.
(This is third part of Alan Austin’s report, prompted by Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s recent travels. Read part one here and part two here.)
Two themes dominate recent overseas media reports on the Abbott Government. Dismay at the ineptitude of international diplomacy. And bewilderment at an austerity budget imposed on the best-performed economy in the world.
Reflecting on Abbott’s recent visit to Canada Christopher Hume at the Toronto Star skewered both Canada’s and Australia’s leaders in a piece on Monday headed ‘Stephen Harper and Tony Abbott deserve each other’:
'What a pair they made, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Canada’s own Stephen Harper — Gollum and Mr Potato Head — publicly thanking each other for their honesty in Ottawa last week. Unlike most world leaders — if that’s the right term — these two want to be frank; they will do nothing to stop global warming, they proudly declared, if it might hurt the economy.'
Hume’s analysis elaborated on 'their obvious shortcomings' and noted that Abbott
'... outside Australia will always be the man who was sliced and diced into little pieces in the famous ‘misogyny speech’ by his predecessor Julia Gillard delivered in 2012. After being reamed out so definitively, it’s a wonder he can still show his face in public.'
But after Canada, Abbott did, indeed, show his face in the United States.
What he was told in private by various high-ranking officials remains confidential.
However, influential congressman Henry Waxman blasted Abbott publicly, telling him that repealing the carbon pricing scheme was a "mistake":
'Australia will go from being one of the great leaders in the world in tackling this problem, to one of the great laggers ...'
Two national leaders aghast at Abbott’s and Harper’s obstruction of efforts to contain climate-related catastrophe are the presidents of Kiribati and the Marshall Islands.
An article in Terra Argentina reported the alarm of the Pacific islands’ leaders:
'For his part, the President of the Marshall Islands, Christopher Loeak, said: ‘I'm very concerned that the prime minister [Abbott] is setting the wrong tone in what needs to be a very determined effort to tackle climate change’.'
In a major departure from protocol, The China Daily openly criticised Abbott’s tardiness in finalising the free trade agreement.
It noted Abbott’s
'... economically historic tour around the Asian neighborhood, deftly securing trade pacts with South Korea and Japan.'
'Yet a free trade agreement with China, representing an opportunity several orders of magnitude greater than both deals combined, remains – after nine fruitless years – unfulfilled.'
For other observers abroad, domestic events deserved attention — and, mostly, condemnation.
In France, Sud Ouest reported mirthfully on Abbott’s reintroduction of knighthoods. It noted that Queen Elizabeth II was advised of the move, but not Abbott’s ministers.The article suggested this was un bond dans le passé (a leap into the past).
read more: http://www.independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/an-abbott-abroad-iii-what-the-watching-world-wrote,6587
There is a snippet of news item in one of the nasty left-wing Saturday papers in regard to Tony at the commemorations of something, possibly a landing on a beach in Normandy, if my memory from five minutes ago is correct... As the present dignitaries were placing their right hand on their heart, Tony was looking for it — his heart that is. His left or right hand was dangling by the side of his pants until he decided to scratch his budgies but stopped short of doing so and placed his hands on his lower tummy. Apparently, Kim Beazley found his heart on his round tummy without hesitation.
But the icing on the cake goes to the Saturday Paper where, with the same picture (see at top) of Tony and Obama that were used by the merde-och press to show great things were a-coming, The Saturday Paper had the gall to suggest that there was a meeting of course, but not of the minds...
A week after meeting with Prime Minister Tony Abbott at the White House, the US president has hosted New Zealand prime minister John Key, telling reporters they discussed plans for "robust action" on climate change.
Barack Obama says the two leaders had a good conversation about climate change and their plans for action at the 2015 Paris conference.
It comes after Mr Obama and Mr Abbott noted they had different approaches to tackling emissions during wide-ranging talks last week.
"New Zealand, I think, has been an excellent partner with us and other economies recognising that this is a threat none of us can solve individually, that we're going to have to work on together," Mr Obama said.
"So we discussed our plans for putting forward robust action in 2015 with the upcoming Paris conference."
The United Nations Climate Change conference will be held in Paris in December next year in a bid to get all countries to adopt an agreement to be implemented from 2020.
read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-06-21/obama-discusses-climate-change-with-new-zealand-pm-john-key/5540588
The opinions expressed in this site are those of the various authors and contributors and do not reflect those of the site, the site owners or hosting agencies.
Contributors please note that this site is archived in the National Library of Australia in perpetuity.