Don’t mention the climate — unskeptical conservatives give away some of their best weapons
The local Liberals (conservatives) got smashed on the weekend in the Western Australian election. Polls predicted it, but instead of a Trump-surprise, Colin Barnett’s team got a nasty shock instead — wiped out. There was no “hidden vote” waiting there because the local Liberals are just another brand of The Establishment. There is nothing politically brave about them.
In WA climate was a non-issue, yet pandering to the religion still cost conservatives. One of the main election messages was about the privatisation of “Western Power” (Electricity supplier). This strange spectacle unfolded where McGowan, the leader who’d suggested the ridiculous 50% renewables target was thumping Barnett’s campaign with messages of fear about rising electricity prices after the privatization. Barnett didn’t hit back — No one seemed to notice the incongruity of Mr Renewables accusing someone else of making electricity expensive.
There are many reasons the WA Libs crashed (read some here). But the “climate” policy hole gets forgotten. Colin Barnett was unarmed, unskeptically accepting the unaudited foreign committee reports. In 2014, when semi-skeptical-Abbott was PM, the premier of a state that lives off mining and energy wasn’t even brave enough to go with the federal government of the day. Barnett publicly backed Obama’s climate plans instead.
Like Turnbull, Barnett missed the chance to roast the opposition for pandering to the climate faith, wasting money, making energy unaffordable, crippling industry etc etc etc.
Last year the WA Labor party waved the fantasy that this 13% renewables state could become a 50% Renewable Energy State. This should have been ripe fodder since it was South Australia on steroids: bigger and more risky. We’re a small isolated grid, not connected to the rest of Australia. There’s no hydro, no nukes, and no hope of another state keeping us running. We would be the blackout-state-in-waiting. But weeks ago, after yet another South Australian debacle unfolded — and leader of the Labor Party, Mark McGowan dropped the 50% target. Criticism was muted instead of savage.
Turnbull couldn’t unleash on his opponents in last years election, and neither could Barnett. Unskeptical politicians are just firing blanks.
The current nowhereville state of the WA Climate pandering:
Dr Nahan said renewables currently represented just over 13 per cent of WA’s energy mix and the Liberals were on track to meet a 23.5 per cent target by 2020 under a COAG agreement.
“There will be growth beyond that to about 30 per cent, maybe 33 per cent,” Dr Nahan said.
WA Labor leader Mark McGowan said it was appropriate to leave renewable energy targets up to the federal government.