Saturday 31st of July 2021

a rump backside...



















Compensation for farmers and other rural industries will be crucial to a potential deal between the Nationals and Liberals on contentious climate targets.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is expected to continue negotiations with Prime Minister Scott Morrison with a long-term move towards a net zero carbon emissions target a sticking point.

Deputy Nationals leader and Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the party wouldn’t enter a deal until what was on offer was clearer.


“That’s just good business principles. You don’t give away your end price straight up,” he told Sky News.

“We’re going to look at it, we’re going to see what we can get and make sure that no one’s hurting, but we also start to square that ledger.

“We copped it in the neck in regional Australia for everyone to sleep soundly in metropolitan Australia and it’s time that our mob got repaid for it.”


Labor leader Anthony Albanese accused Mr Joyce of being a climate change sceptic that would further damage Australia’s reputation when other countries were behind the 2050 target.

“What we have is a rump in the coalition, in the National Party and in the Liberal Party, but it’s a rump that’s holding back Australia,” he said.

Mr Joyce is also weighing up the Nationals’ ministerial roles. Bridget McKenzie – who lost her cabinet position due to the sports rorts scandal – is expected to return at the expense of fellow Victorian Darren Chester.

Mr Joyce took over former leader Michael McCormack’s roles in infrastructure, transport and regional development when he was sworn in on Tuesday.

Mr Morrison has been stuck in quarantine at The Lodge while the junior Coalition partner switched leaders.


But he has urged MPs and senators via video link about the dangers ongoing disunity could cause for the Coalition government’s re-election hopes.

Mr Morrison said having a clear plan, staying united and having an ability to “get stuff done” could deliver victory.

“If we fail on those things, we will hand the reins of government to those who are not fit to handle them and we will regret that forever,” he said.

“We’ve got to focus. No time for individual agendas or pet projects.”

He said voters would be sent to the polls within the year. A federal election must be held by August 2022.


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the nats go to water...


The Nationals have split from their Liberal Coalition partners during a Senate vote, in a bold move that could blow up the Murray-Darling Basin Plan and ensure that less water would be returned to the environment from farming.

Nationals senators abandoned the party’s cabinet ministers and Liberal colleagues, putting amendments to legislation that would effectively rewrite the plan and prevent the Commonwealth from buying water rights from irrigators.

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was legislated in 2012, with bipartisan support across the Commonwealth and basin states, to provide more water for the environment.


Victorian senator Bridget McKenzie, who is expected to be promoted to cabinet by new party leader Barnaby Joyce later this week, is leading the charge in the Senate to change the Basin Plan.

Sources have told the ABC that Senator McKenzie wants the water portfolio as part of her promotion, something Labor senators have sought to highlight in countering the Nationals’ push in the Upper House.

The Senate amendments relate to a bill to establish an independent inspector-general of water compliance to monitor the plan and provide independent oversight.

The bill was overseen by Water Minister Keith Pitt, a Queensland Nationals MP who sits in the lower house. Nationals in the lower house backed the original legislation Mr Pitt brought to the Parliament.

The ABC has contacted Mr Pitt to see if he supports his Senate colleagues’ proposed changes.

The Nationals senators proposed changes include:

  • That 450 gigalitres of water should not be required by legislation to be returned to the environment;
  • That the Commonwealth not be allowed to back any more water rights from irrigators.


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dead then...


Barnaby Joyce has an answer to those who say Australia should commit to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. He says 2050 is too far away to be sure of anything.

As he put it in February while a backbencher, "many of the politicians and commentators talking about a 2050 aspiration will be dead by then".

The man he replaced as deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, said much the same thing at about the same time. He was "not worried about what might happen in 30 years' time".

While edging Australia ever closer to endorsing a target for 2050, Prime Minister Scott Morrison used the same line of reasoning.

Australia's goal was to reach net zero emissions as soon as possible, and preferably by 2050.

"But when we get there, when we get there, whether in Australia or anywhere else, that will depend on the advances made in science and technology needed to commercially transform not just advanced economies and countries, but the developing world as well."



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YEP... China had a plan 40 years ago and hoped for the best... Australia has a stone in its shoe but we'll walk backwards to ease the pain... Meanwhile DARPA is working already on the weapons of 2075, while most Western philosophers are hiding in Neanderthal caves, just in case... People like Gus would have been long dead before smartphones are replaced by telepathic transmissions though this technology could happen tomorrow, if we disregard commercial financial inertia that supports the smartgizmo (which makes people bow their heads and go dumb to the new deities, Google, Facebook and Twitter)... Meanwhile "I had a good life" and I plan to stay there with more of it... until nothing matters...





BY Alan Kohler


At the heart of the Coalition’s problem with climate change is that they’ve told Australians that dealing with it will be cost free.

It’s not true.

What it really means is that Australians are being told they can be freeloaders.


The International Energy Agency says it will cost the world $US5 trillion a year by 2030, of which Australia’s share, based on GDP, would be $110 billion a year, about three times the current defence budget … if we spent it, that is, and weren’t freeloaders.

The point about reducing emissions to (net) zero by 2050 is that it will cost much less than the alternative, which is allowing the planet to heat up by more than 1.5 degrees.

Politicians around the world, not just here, are trying to pretend they can dodge the cost and/or continue to mine fossil fuels, and in Australia this line has become especially well honed, especially in the Coalition.

The methodology has shifted over time, from outright denial that global warming is happening to: “We’re doing our bit” (Liberal Party) or “It’s too far off” and “Not our problem” (National Party).

Ex-leader of the Nationals, Michael McCormack, said in February: “I’m certainly not worried about what might happen in 30 years’ time.”

New leader Barnaby Joyce said: “We’ll all be dead by then”, or words to that effect, which is called “cut through”, so he got the job.

And the difficulty with committing to net-zero emissions by 2050, as the government will obviously have to do this year, is that it will be impossible to keep saying it will be cost-free.

Global warming is already costing plenty.


Research by Stanford University has found that since 2000, it has cost the United States and the European Union at least $4 trillion in lost output and tropical countries are 5 per cent poorer than they would have been without climate change impacts.

And, of course, Australia has seen plenty of extreme weather events in recent years, including the $100 billion bushfires in 2019-20.

The Coalition government’s song sheet for ministers is to no longer deny the science, but to say Australia will fix it with technology, not taxes.

The Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, told Sky News recently: “That’s how we’ll achieve this, not by raising the cost of energy, not by imposing taxes on Australians, not by telling them what kind of cars to drive, but by developing and deploying technologies that allow them to bring down their emissions.”

There are two things that will expose that fallacy: First, companies are voluntarily committing to net zero by 2050 and buying carbon credits and offsets to achieve it and therefore increasing their costs and prices, and second, the imposition of carbon border adjustments by countries that have put a price on carbon emissions to stop Australia being a freeloader.

Europe already has a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) as these taxes are called, and it will soon be global.

Meanwhile, the voluntary carbon offsets market is growing rapidly, based on demand from companies trying to do the right thing.

There are four global NGOs issuing carbon abatement certificates: The Verified Carbon Standard, or Verra, Climate Action Reserve, Gold Standard and the American Carbon Registry.

An outfit called Science Based Targets has signed up 1537 companies worldwide, including 32 in Australia, to limiting warming to 1.5 degrees.

Another group called Climate Action 100+ has 167 companies, including 14 in Australasia, with a variety of emissions targets.

Many local companies have committed to being “carbon neutral” on various time frames, either because shareholders and employees are demanding it, or they believe customers want it.

For example, Telstra has been carbon neutral for 12 months by buying two million tonnes of offsets – supporting carbon-reduction projects. To do it the company investigated 1000 projects and chose less than 50.

In October last year, Australian carbon trading firm CBL Markets launched the world’s first standardised carbon offset futures contract, called the GEO (global emissions offset).

The current spot price of GEOs is $US2.50 per tonne, up from US70c when it launched; trading is brisk.

And the Australian Clean Energy Regulator has called for tenders to run a local carbon credits exchange and has been flooded with bids, including from CBL Markets and the ASX.

Not that the official market in Australia is up to much.

On Tuesday this week, the regulator had issued a total of 95,354,615 Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), almost all of which have been bought by the federal government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, with taxpayers’ money.

What’s left – about 6 million units – can be traded on the exchange, but that represents less than 1 per cent of the emissions covered by the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting scheme that was introduced in 2007.

The last auction of ACCUs in April resulted in an average price of $15.99, less than a fifth of the European price.

Why the difference?

Simply because Australia hasn’t committed to net-zero emissions by 2050 like everyone else, which means companies are not required to buy many ACCUs so there isn’t much demand for them.

Which brings us back to where this column began: Freeloading.

A minority of companies have made a net-zero emissions commitment of some sort and are buying offsets, which mean their costs rise and they become less competitive. Their competitors are freeloading.

Some companies are offering customers the option of paying more to offset their carbon footprint caused by buying that company’s product, and some people are actually paying it, even though most are freeloading instead.

The reason for a national target of net zero by 2050 – that is, making emissions reduction mandatory rather than “preferable” – is to spread the burden of reducing emissions and share the cost.

Eventually carbon border adjustments and a consensus among corporate stakeholders forcing companies to buy offsets will ensure that everyone pays in the end.

And maybe that’s the cunning political plan, to simply dodge the blame for the inevitable.



Alan Kohler writes twice a week for The New Daily. He is also editor in chief of Eureka Report and finance presenter on ABC news


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shuffling deck chairs...


Barnaby Joyce has shifted old foes out of cabinet and rewarded key supporters who helped his leadership return with plum positions in the latest Morrison government reshuffle.

After days of speculation, Joyce announced his picks for the ministry, shifting Queensland’s Keith Pitt to the outer ministry, while dumping Michael McCormack backers Darren Chester and Mark Coulton altogether, and promoting his supporters Bridget McKenzie and Andrew Gee.


Pitt will retain the resources and water portfolios but will no longer sit in the cabinet, making it the first time in five years a minister holding those portfolios was moved to the outer ministry.


Pitt also lost the key Northern Australia portfolio in the reshuffle, which will now sit with David Littleproud and first-term Queensland senator Susan McDonald, who will take on the role as an “envoy” for northern Australia.

Chester, a longtime critic of Joyce and key Michael McCormack backer, was prepared for his move out of the ministry, despite pleas from veterans and their families to retain him in the Veterans’ Affairs portfolio. With the royal commission into defence and veteran suicide now getting under way, veterans have called for consistency.

Gee will become the fifth minister to head the portfolio since 2015.


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