In the face of soaring domestic and commercial electricity bills across the country, Julia Gillard — with typically breathtaking audacity — has proclaimed the carbon tax has nothing to do with it, and that Liberal state governments are the root cause of the problem. What crap!
I know this is an issue from early in the week, and that I am playing catch-up; but regular readers will know that I am still working close to 100 hours each week on other things; I do apologise for the delayed post, but I am keen to resume the near-daily frequency of this column as soon as possible — alas, just not quite yet…
…anyhow…CLAIMS made by the Prime Minister earlier this week, in a speech to the Energy Policy Institute of Australia, are really extraordinary; in short, it seems, the rocketing price of electricity has nothing to do with the much-hated carbon tax.
In a remarkable piece of spin, Gillard has blamed state Liberal governments and the Premiers who lead them squarely for the increases in power bills. It’s outrageous, she says; it goes against every instinct of fairness and decency in the land. Only a Labor government, Gillard says, can resolve such a weighty issue as exorbitant electricity prices to the betterment of ordinary Australians.
If anyone thinks I’m mocking her, they’re right; but the truth is that Gillard’s words would almost be laughable if they weren’t predicated so thoroughly on such a frightfully abject piece of disinformation.
Yes, electricity assets and the supply of power is a state domain, which begs the question of what Gillard is doing wading into this issue at all.
But to the extent she does so, she is wrong: the carbon tax does impact power bills; by her own admission, 9% of every electricity bill is carbon tax, and “compensated” she may claim people are, they are neither insulated nor compensated for the spillover effects of the carbon tax into retail prices, nor compensated at all if they don’t fit inside the neat little box pigeonholed by the ALP as constituting “not being rich.”
The rest of the claims at the heart of Gillard’s “argument” (and I accord it the status of a cogent argument reluctantly) are easily checked off.
Have electricity prices become a major cost of living issue? Damn right they have.
Have prices gone up a long way, and quickly? She’s a bright girl, our PM.
Could Australians afford electricity price rises of 50% over the past four years? Of course not. And can they afford similar increases again in the next four years? Of course they can’t!
Gillard asserts that rising electricity prices are a threat to the economy, and a threat “to fairness in society.” Again, I can’t fault the logic.
Then comes the bold proclamation about the Labor Party’s historic qualifications and mission to solve “these kinds of problems” — followed directly by lobbing the whole issue into the faces of the Liberal state Premiers (no mention of the remaining ALP regimes in SA or Tasmania, of course) and a demand that these Premiers come up with solutions to the problem of rising electricity prices.
If the Liberal Premiers don’t do as she demands, Gillard says, there will be consequences.
She won’t say what they are just yet; doubtless she thinks it adequate merely to wave the big stick around at present — just so people can see she is carrying it — rather than move straight to whacking someone over the head with it.
Gillard does note, however, that over the past eight years, state governments have extracted a combined $32 billion out of their respective electricity generation and supply companies, and that this has directly impacted household and business bills by sending the price of electricity rocketing.
Again, who could argue?
But the problem Gillard has — and the very deliberate item of misinformation she is attempting to peddle — is that by and large, all of these state governments were Labor state governments.
In SA and in Tasmania they still are; and until very recently, the Labor Party was the party of government in Victoria, New South Wales, and in Queensland.
Even the Liberal government in WA hasn’t even served its first full term yet after following an eight-year Labor administration into office.
I think it’s well and good that Gillard professes concern over electricity prices. But she can hardly be taken seriously when her first act is to commit the sin of omission by denying the ALP’s complicity at state level in what she correctly identifies as a scandalous bread-and-butter issue facing millions of ordinary folk across the country.
And of course, her beloved carbon tax — reviled, it seems, by everyone else in Australia except the
Communists Greens — has nothing to do with it.
Yet again, Gillard’s solemn-sounding, finger-wagging attempt to appear to studiously and sincerely address something that outrages voters has blown up in her face.
But then, if you are Gillard, you’ll blame anyone; last week it was Tony Abbott, and this week, it’s the Liberal Premiers.
I just wonder who Gillard’s scapegoat and patsy will be next week — when she is again purveying her dishonest excuses as to why her government is not responsible for precisely the agenda items it institutes itself.