Give us a spell, Mr Treasurer

Now which of these two photos would be described as a blight on the landscape?

BlayneyLoy Yang

Joe Hockey says a lot of things that makes you raise your eyebrows. However last weeks’ rant on commercial radio must take the cake for the most innane piece of self serving commentary yet. And the problem is, he doesn’t believe a word he is saying. Mr Hockey:

Can I be a little indulgent? I drive to Canberra to go to Parliament … and I must say I find those wind turbines around Lake George to be utterly offensive. I think they’re a blight on the landscape. We can’t knock those ones off because they’re into locked-in schemes and there is a certain contractual obligation I’m told associated with those things.

A blight on the landscape??? You obviously haven’t driven through the LaTrobe Valley. Now THAT is a blight on the landscape. How about building the BIGGEST coal port on the Barrier Reef? NOW THAT WILL BE A blight on the landscape. What about clear felling old growth forests in Tasmania. THAT IS A BLIGHT ON THE LANDSCAPE. So don’t go pushing fossil fuel loving dressed up as caring for environmental aesthetics. Just say I hate renewable energy.

We have to remember, this is coming form the treasurer of the party that believes there is already too much protected area. In early March, Prime Minister Abbott made these comments at a timber industry dinner:

We have quite enough National Parks, we have quite enough locked up forests already. In fact, in an important respect, we have too much locked up forest.
When I look out tonight at an audience of people who work with timber, who work in forests, I don’t see people who are environmental bandits, I see people who are the ultimate conservationists.

So Mr Treasurer, we are not going to lock up the glorious landscape in a designated park, and we wont use it for renewable energy, then what would you like to order? I suppose the answer is “I’ll have mine with a coal mine please”.

Just don’t ask the poor folk of the LaTrobe Valley how it feels to live near a coal power station and open cut mining. Only last Febuary mine fires in the LaTrobe Valley caused mass panic with authorities even considering evacuating 10,000 people  from Morwell as carbon monoxide reached dangerous levels. 25,000 face masks had to be distributed to filter out ash and smoke.

Children were not allowed to play outside. Schools were cancelled. Many people now face the prospect of bills of thousands of dollars to clean up their houses and properties that are inundated with coal ash.

Mr Treasurer, I’m sure they would gladly relocate to live near a wind farm.


UN Climate Change Conference – COP19 / CMP9 Warsaw 2013


“A new universal climate agreement is within our reach,” said Ms. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
She noted that “the world is ready” and there is a groundswell of climate action, not only for the environment, but also for security, energy, economic and governance reasons.
“We must win the Warsaw opportunity, Parties can lead the momentum for change and move together towards success in 2015,” she told participants at the 19th session in Poland.

The UN seem a little more positive than I do, but lets wait to see the outcomes from Warsaw. Follow all the information here:

COP19 / CMP9 Warsaw 2013

Interview with Tony Cocker, CEO of E.On (UK)


I was listening to the BBC world service last night, and a very interesting interview was conducted with Tony Cocker, CEO of E.On – one of the Big Six (The Big Six Energy Suppliers are Britain’s largest energy companies, supplying gas and electricity in the UK, with over 90% share of domestic customers).

It seems that the UK is not too dissimular to Australia with large energy increases being hotly debated through Governent and Community. The level of mistrust of energy companies in the UK seems to be at a much higher level than here in Australia, with Parliamentary enquirires and the Labour party even going so far as to impose a price freeze for 20 months from 2015 (if elected). It will be very interesting indeed to follow the UK progress thru their energy pricing crisis and see if we can learn some lessons along the way.

Mr Cocker said: “Social costs, environmental obligations, upgrading our network – all of these things are adding to energy costs.

Sound familiar? The interview lasted around half an hour, unfortunately I could only find a nine minute grab:

Tony Cocker: Public mistrust of the energy industry

What I found most interesting (more than the actual questions and answers) was the level of vitriol in the commentators questioning and examination of Mr Cocker and E.On. It is something rarely heard in Australian broadcasting where CEOs are held in greater esteem. I’m not sure if this is good or bad, but most of the time we can’t even get our CEOs to face up to public scrutiny, so at least in the UK they are being asked the hard questions. I suppose thats what the get paid the big bucks for!