Angus Taylor is the Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, and he is arguably one of the best educated people in our parliament, with a degree in Economics, one in Law, and a lazy Master of Philosophy (Economics) from Oxford. Each of these degrees is necessarily reliant on the use of facts, and figures, real evidence, and reasoning.
That is why Angus Taylor’s position on wind power, and climate change in general, is so mysterious. Ben Potter from the Financial Review believes his opposition to wind power dates from when a wind farm was built next door to his family’s property in Cooma. I can understand that may have annoyed the family, but this is a Minister of the Crown with such an illogical and unreasoning hatred for a form of power generation that perhaps he should step aside from his portfolio, as it appears to be beyond his emotional capacity to deal with. Or he could simply get over it, and do his job.
He also moves in mysterious company for one so classically and formally educated. While still only a candidate he joined the “National Wind Power Fraud Rally” in Canberra in June 2013, where he was introduced by Alan Jones, that noted assistant to Prime Ministers and aspirants. Amongst other luminaries attending was Craig Kelly, the culture warrior from the extreme right of the Liberal Party, and a a noted climate change sceptic. If you consider attendance at this rally as an audition for cabinet, clearly Angus Taylor out-performed Craig Kelly on the day! He also made a string of wildly inaccurate claims re. electricity prices, and the reasons for those increases.
Now let us consider his position. He is the Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister. Two big, important jobs, and yet he seems unable to give either a fair shake. He is in favour of a taxpayer funded coal-fired power station, against all the evidence, as it becomes less and less financially viable when compared with wind and solar power. These price comparisons are not being done by feverish greenies somewhere in their mum’s basement, but in boardrooms across Europe, the US and Australia.
He is against any sort of target when it comes to renewable energy. He is even a staunch critic of his own government’s electric car policy, with such a misunderstanding of the basics of battery storage and the charging technology being rolled out over Australia’s East coast, that he thinks we will all have the extra cost of installing 3 phase power to our homes, if we want the luxury of an electric vehicle.
Consider the first and only measurable target he was mandated to achieve in his newly supercharged role. He was obliged to release the December quarter’s emissions results on May 31. They were calculated five months ago, and were available for some time before the deadline.
They were, at first instance, late. They were then, rather than released, leaked to a journalist from the Australian newspaper. Finally they were officially released, as per parliamentary order, six days late. They showed a rise in emissions, for the fourth year in a row.
How did our fearless minister explain this failure to achieve a reduction, which is after all the goal, because we signed an international agreement to do just that? He argued that although we had failed to achieve any sort of reduction, we sort of had, because if you took into account this other figure, which is not part of the calculations, and has nothing to do with measuring national emissions, but it made the minister feel proud, because it was helpful to other countries who import our natural gas, I think he said, but if you’re counting strictly, well no, we did not actually meet our target.
At this stage I expect Oxford University has rung Angus, and asked for their degree back. This is the person charged with the reduction of this country’s greenhouse gas emissions, which a lot of Australians consider important, perhaps even crucial to the future of mankind.
It almost appears as if the Prime Minister wants us to fail the test of rolling back our emissions, because he appointed someone so ill-suited to the task. He either believes in the science and its conclusions, or he does not. His choice of minister sends a message that he is unconcerned, and so Angus will do.
But let us not forget that Angus from Goulburn is very good at his job-because he told us so. He actually delivered this endorsement, of himself, by himself, on Facebook -“Fantastic. Great move. Well done Angus.” That is not to any random Angus, but to himself. Strange ideas indeed!