5 quick fixes for Turnbull and Frydenberg to change energy debate

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A series of 28 consecutive News Polls show the Coalition is trailing Labor. So perhaps it’s time to dump the right wing policies on energy and climate Turnbull promised to cherish, and set a new path. Here are some quick and easy fixes, offered free, and without retainer.

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The Coalition government is wallowing. It has marked up a 28th consecutive poll where it is trailing the Labor Party. Even prime minister Malcolm Turnbull is struggling to hold his head above Bill Shorten as preferred PM.

So perhaps it’s time to finally change the conversation, dump the right-wing policies on energy and climate that Turnbull promised to cherish, and set a new path. Here are some quick and easy fixes, offered free and without retainer from RenewEconomy.

Buy that EV

You know you have wanted to ever since you visited the Tesla factory and gushed about the new technology and the exciting transition ahead.

“Walking through the highly automated assembly lines was inspiring, but nothing matched taking a test drive in the latest Tesla S model,” Turnbull wrote in a Facebook blog in early 2015. “This one has a range of 265 miles (about 480 kms) and accelerates to 100 kph in 3.5 seconds. The key of course is the battery technology which is improving all the time both in terms of cost and energy density.”

And how. Batteries are cheaper, and the EVs have even greater range and can now do 0-100kph in little more than 2 seconds.

And Turnbull went on: “Batteries have the potential to revolutionise the energy market, reducing peaking power requirements, optimising grid utilisation of renewables and in some cases enabling consumers to go off the grid altogether.”

Not only that, but: Jobs and Growth!!

“The all electric cars are being made in a huge factory that used to belong to GM and Toyota. It shut down and then four years ago Tesla took it over and it went from being an industrial relic to the home of what many regard as the world’s fastest and coolest electric car. And many of the workers at Tesla today are auto workers who had been laid off when the old GM/Toyota plant closed. Tesla has gone from employing 500 people to 11,000 in five years. A reminder of how innovation drives jobs.”

Hmmm, now where could one find an old GM or Toyota car factory in Australia?

Share that EV

If trading in his Audi for a Tesla or some other EV – the new Jaguar looks nice, and the new Leaf is on the way – appears a little indulgent, maybe Turnbull could encourage or demand the Comcar fleet to go electric.

Comcar currently charges $114/hour for its petrol vehicles, and it would be amazing if a fleet of Teslas or some EV should cost any more. And there is no local car manufacturing to justify the commitment to GM petrol vehicles.

It would be a terrific fillip and inspiration for fleet operators across the country, who must be doing the sums and thinking that EVs make sense – from truck operators all the way down to taxis and shared vehicles.

Perhaps Turnbull could convince GM to ship over some all-electric Chevy Bolts, in honour of his favourite journalist.

Install that solar

Josh Frydenberg is the minister for energy in the country with the biggest penetration of rooftop solar in the world. But guess who doesn’t have rooftop solar? Crikey, even Corey Bernardi has 12kW on his roof.

As Sophie Vorrath notes in this piece today, more than 1.05GW was installed on Australian rooftops in the last calendar year, a rate of 6.5 panels a minute.

Frydenberg says he has not had the time – he can hardly say he doesn’t have the money – so if someone can help him out with some mapping and a quote, we could probably get this sorted pretty quickly.

Share that solar

One of the most exciting things that has been happening in recent times is the focus on lower-income households for rooftop solar and battery storage, and the concept of “shared” energy, particularly for those in apartments or rental properties that can’t install on their property.

South Australia has been setting the lead on this, but what a great opportunity for Frydenberg or Turnbull, who already has a 14kW rooftop solar array at his Pt Piper home, along with around 13.5kWh of battery storage.

Just think of the kudos of sharing that solar and helping lowering prices for those least able; someone, for instance, who might be struggling, living in a regional centre, forced to move into low-cost housing, losing their job, having their salary slashed and expecting a baby. Every little bit helps.

Show some ambition

Turnbull came to power with a promise to the right wing to do what he had promised never to do: maintain their policies and lead a party – nay, a government – that doesn’t take climate action seriously.

So, how’s that working out? A series of 28 consecutive News Polls that show that the Coalition is trailing Labor, a sign, the right wing rightly observes, that Turnbull is no more adroit at getting public support for right-wing agendas than they are.

So, what to do? Turnbull risks being turfed out for pursing policies he doesn’t believe in, or by pursing policies he does believe in. Might as well give the latter a crack. Climate change is real, it is human caused, and wind and solar are cheaper than any other option. Storage is here.

Turnbull has two signature policies out in the market at the moment – build Snowy 2.0 and introduce the National Energy Guarantee.

Both ideas are about as far away from free markets as you can imagine, but at least they might be justified a little bit if the ambition was raised. Neither policy initiative serves any purpose under current and proposed government trajectories.

So, that’s our lot. There’s probably a gazillion other things that can be done, but these are actions that could easily be achieved with a few phone calls and a speech to the National Press Club. Over to you.

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49 Comments
  1. Chris Fraser 1 year ago

    And in regard to sharing that solar, most home builders would consider covering the roof in PV provides a very quick return on investment. Especially if they can join with a retailer who specialises in peer to peer trading and permits small generators to recoup their daily access charge, and more, every single day.

  2. Horst 1 year ago

    The problem is that Turnbull was burned by the Liberal right wing, (and in essence also by Kevin Rudd and the Greens), over his principled stance on a price on carbon, so that’s the brave principled progressive Turnbull the people wanted, but the party only wanted his popularity and not his policies. So they have kept a lot of the hare brained stuff but now with a Turnbull who they themselves have stuffed, and I bet they are all scratching their heads wondering why things have turned sour. So there is a lot of stuff, like the above, that he could do, but somehow is too impotent to do it.

    • Joe 1 year ago

      The price on carbon was and is the right policy. Turnbull chucked out his principles and he deserves everything that he has brought upon himself. When his time as PM is over he will look back and say..I ticked my bucket list…I was PM!

    • Barri Mundee 1 year ago

      If Turnbull had even a gram of integrity and genuine commitment to more progressive policies, he could have insisted that he either he allowed to implement them or step aside and allow Abbott to careen towards electoral oblivion.

      Of course Turnbull may not have had any real commitment to progressive policies at all and is more in love with being PM??

      • Joe 1 year ago

        Your last line is spot on.

        • John Blundell 1 year ago

          Yes, like a dating site con-artist he lives out the BeeGees song ..words are all I have to steal your heart away. Content? Riches and power derive from Process! They and the ads agencies believe..
          Then perhaps when pissed these pompous hollow vessels will throw in an optional Henry Kissinger line about testicles. No wonder they have few problems with chicks and, er, don’t really want any in cabinet!
          An interesting Take-That-Mr-Rabbit! angle is Mr T has more pals in the City of London than Abbott could shake a stick at. In fact T went to Britain before the spill to garner support for it – back in the colony. He plastered the meetings on his Twitter page, with pictures of these terribly important English chaps. These historical scripts huh! Staggering cultural and economic cringe – Billy Hughes, not Menzies ascendant. Fully 100 years out of it!
          And technological cringe- regardless of all the frank bullshit of bad science and private school chatter about STEM subjects..
          Which brings me right back on topic: well done Giles. We rely on you to keep real STEM investment, political sanity and phenomenal economic growth coming to our country.

      • Chris Fraser 1 year ago

        He should have climate bargained (regardless of what he believes). For a while there he had the right wingers eating out of his hands.

      • Eric 1 year ago

        No, that would have required backbone.

    • John McKeon 1 year ago

      Horst, you said “his [Malcolm’s] principled stance on a price on carbon”.

      Before you get too carried away with that one, consider this video of Tony Abbott in another life admitting that – if you are going to have a price on carbon – then a carbon tax is the simplest way to go:

    • Eric 1 year ago

      He is the most gutless, pathetic, vacuous, waste of space windbag that ever led this country!

      Wouldn’t you at least have a go, you know, stand up for something you are supposed to believe in when you get to the top. But no, we find out he never believed in anything except being prime minister…
      Sorry people, nothing to see here, move along.

  3. Joe 1 year ago

    Thank you Giles for a wonderful critique of affairs. The way you handled a serious topic with some light hearted joiners added to my enjoyment of reading the article. The writing is on the wall for the end of Two Tongue Turnbull’s Prime Ministership. He will not be the PM when the next election is held. Self interest of The Libs will ensure that ‘Mr 30 Newspolls in a row’ will be dumped and a fresh face will be wearing the PM hat come the next election. The Libs should also be dumped at the next election as they are an abysmal Government.

    • Peter Campbell 1 year ago

      Will that new person also be someone superficially palatable but still saddled with the same Abbott policy of being anti anything that might be slightly tinged with green or that requires taking science seriously?

      • Joe 1 year ago

        Your question, personally I just want them / The COALition gone. They can put up whomever they like as new Leader. Their brand of politic is one that I don’t support and never will. But if I do have to suffer them as a government then all I ask is that they deal honestly with issues and policies. I’m not seeing that with this lot…they have to go….the sooner the better.

  4. Peter Campbell 1 year ago

    I might have been semi-convinced if Turnbull had done all this (and more) a year or two ago. Now it would just smack of desperation and it would be hard to believe he was serious.

  5. rob 1 year ago

    @gilesparkinson ! That article was pure gold! That alone was worth me donating $120.00 to reneweconomy on the weekend (hope you got it…..my bank certainly took it out quick enuf) and I’m on the bloody pension so donated a fifth of my meagre income to you……..no regrets! Keep these articles flying especially up to our S.A. election! love your work…..cheers rob

    • rob 1 year ago

      And to all other readers please donate as little or as much as you can to make this website essential reading for the whole populous! cheers rob

  6. Hayden 1 year ago

    “28 news polls in a row for the coalition”. No, sorry. 28 for Mal and 30 for Abbot before that. 58 and counting.

    • Eric 1 year ago

      Unfortunately they won the poll that counts by a whisker. Lets not take anything for granted. What is Labor’s policy on renewables anyway? Have they dumped the carbon tax or just stopped talking abut it?
      I’m in contact with a Federal Labor MP who I knew from school, I’ve let them know they should basically keep the old carbon tax because it is the best policy supported by everyone accept the mineral council and the loony right. But they should never ever ever refer to it as the carbon tax. Re-brand it as a pollution tax, which is more honest, and just keep hammering “pollution tax” at every opportunity.
      Also, Shortens stance on Adani is pathetic. All he needs to do is say it would be economically irresponsible for the tax payer and government to support a project that every major bank in the country has run away from. Just leave it at that and watch the Lib/Nats tie themselves in knots over it.

  7. Marc Talloen 1 year ago

    Fantastic article! Now is hoping the message reaches him…

    • Durham 52 1 year ago

      In an ideal ‘Camelot’ world they might hear the message and realise their mistakes, but this is reality and they are a bunch of ‘born to rule’, bought by big business, tax dodging, negative gearing obsessed, I want to join the 1%, the voters are chumps to be exploited, race to the bottom for workers, hypocrites. Absolutely no chance they’ll change. They might make a few election promises to try and sucker the uninformed, but after the election those promises would turn out to be “non core” ones as always. Remember them being “lock step” on the NDS, Gonski and a host of other popular initiatives until they got their bums on the government seats?

      • Gavin Cerini 1 year ago

        Peter Campbell made a key point. It is too late now for the COALition to change its spots. Howard tried a climate policy change close to his last election, and deservedly lost his majority and his seat.
        Too many voters were sucked in by Abbott`s moronic slogans, but I`m hoping they are smarter now. We need to concentrate on beefing up Labor policies. They are still carping (Q&A 5 April) about The Greens canning Rudd`s inadequate plan, but don`t seem to realize Greens policies must be adopted to avoid the worst of the climate crisis.

        • Joe 1 year ago

          ‘Honest’ Johnny Howard with his climate policy at the 2007 election. The one that he later told us was basically all a con to try and win the election. But ‘Honest’ Johnny had form in duping the punters. Like the losing 1983 election with Fraser as PM and ‘Honest’ Johnny as Treasurer who cooked the budget books. Just like the 1996 election with ‘Honest’ Johnny and his later “core and non core promises” boast to justify breaking pre election promises. Abbott was the same with the 2013 election with his famous “No cuts to……” quote. And of course his iron clad guarantee to keep The RET at the level that it was. We know the result of that promise. On climate related policy The Libs are pathological liars. You can’t trust a word that they say. The Greens are the ones that have credibility and their thinking is increasingly being adopted by our State Governments with all the fantastic RE announcements and implementations like in SA and ACT for example.

      • Joe 1 year ago

        …The Abbott promised these gems at 2013 election…mo cuts to the ABC and SBS, no increase in the GST, no cuts to health, education and pensions, fully onboard with Labor on NDIS and Gonski – The FULL GONSKI ! They all got chucked overboard except for the GST and even there Abbott & co had a red hot go at INCREASING the GST but hit a brickwall of opposition. The next election is approaching and the Big Bribe will be Tax Cuts…the punters will be suckered in once again.

  8. Robert Westinghouse 1 year ago

    If there is a god, I am praying for the LNP to extract their heads from their bottoms. The only god for the LNP is more profit for big companies and their mates in China, America, etc. We will have to do it alone. If we all get PV, then the Chinese Power Companies (EA and AGL etc) will burn and die. If we do nothing we are the blooded sacrifices for the high priests of the LNP.

    • Roger Brown 1 year ago

      Had my solar since 2012 . Had my solar hot water since 1993-94 . Best thing since sliced bread ! Cleaned it twice and have replaced the hot water valve three times (8yrs each). I have 26 degree roof , 11.5 ft ceilings and on stumps , so that’s why it don’t get cleaned much . But still heats my water , even with a large (now) Aust. red cedar tree, blocking the winter sun . The seasons have changed since 1991 , no more frost , hotter and the leaves don’t fall off till later in spring .

  9. Carl Raymond S 1 year ago

    Here’s one. Ban the purchase of new diesel buses. Provide finance to allow such purchasers to afford electric buses. The diesel savings will fund the repayments.
    People like the new B1 bus line to Sydney’s northern beaches. Had it been electric they would have been inspired.
    FerryMcFerryFace is also sadly diesel. (And also sadly not named the Ian Kiernan).

    • Joe 1 year ago

      Yes, electric buses please and I am one of those riding The Diesel B-Line on The Northern Beaches. How dumb of McFerryContance our dunce of a transport mismanager.

    • MrMauricio 1 year ago

      there are tens of thousands of BYD and other electric buses in Chinese cities.Stop start traffic also suits garbage and other city deliver trucks with regen braking and electric motors.These vehicles will last at least DOUBLE the life of ICE vehicles with minimal maintenance.

      • Greg Symons 1 year ago

        We hosted family friends from China, very recently, they were amazed we still had diesel buses. Couldn’t believe we as an advanced country were so behind the times.
        Of course China also has the benefit that the Government can in fact do what ever it wants…..

  10. Mark Diesendorf 1 year ago

    To drive the transition to an ecologically sustainable energy future, we need more than individual gestures, such as the purchase of an EV by Turnbull or a rooftop solar PV + battery system by Frydenburg. We need effective policies, such as:
    – a RET that increases to 2030 and includes a separate tranche for dispatchable RE and storage;
    – charging infrastructure for EVs;
    – increases in the budgets for ARENA and CEFC, and withdrawal from Parliament of the bills to abolish them;
    – in cooperation with the states & territories, an expansion of energy efficiency standards;
    – in cooperation with the states, some key transmission upgrades, e.g. in north-west Victoria and western NSW, to enable new and proposed solar and wind farms to feed their rated power into the NEM;
    – construction of a high-speed railway joining Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane;
    – removal of the subsidies to the production and use of fossil fuels; and, dare I mention it,
    – a price on carbon.
    I know, it will be hard enough to get Labor to adopt these policies, let alone the COALition.

    • Joe 1 year ago

      Leadership is supposed to come form the top isn’t it? Instead Leadership is coming from the punters and Premier Jay is the one who has seized the moment. Two Tonguer Turnbull only got Solar PV and battery at his home because his son talked him into doing it. The Fraudenberg doesn’t even want to think about Solar PV at his home. This tells us all we need to know about these two dudes who are supposedly ‘leading’ the nation on Environment and Energy matters….they don’t have their heart in it so the nation suffers as a result.

    • Farmer Dave 1 year ago

      Great list, Mark. I would like to add some more:
      – immediate ban on new fossil fuel exploration (new acerage)
      – ban on new approvals for the expansion of fossil fuel production
      – legislated timetable for bans on new petrol and diesel road vehicles
      – moratorium on new freeway projects, with funds diverted to rail projects
      – support resources to help communities develop plans for a just transition away from fossil fuels. This program should be available everywhere, but be particularly targeted at heavily fossil fuel dependant communities, such as the Latrobe and Hunter Valleys.

      • Mark Diesendorf 1 year ago

        Spot on, Farmer Dave!

  11. geraldf 1 year ago

    get rid of frydenberg – the man is a technical luddite – and quite frankly the pair of them continuing to have infantile cracks at south australia is doing them no favours either, unfort these clowns are slow leaners, so they will continue to have cheap and often inaccurate shots (esp frydenberg) as its the only tool they know how to grab from the toolbox. the pair of them will be remembered by the next generation as vandals

    • Joe 1 year ago

      …and we should be looking at actions to prosecute the ‘climate vandals’.

      • Phil NSW 1 year ago

        Excellent idea. A class action on behalf of the environment. Frydenberg will be a perfect witness with all of his public statements known to be inaccurate. He has effectively hung himself already.

        • Joe 1 year ago

          Yep, get them all in court…the Fraudenberg, the Kelly, Two Tongues Turnbull, lump of coal Scotty and the rest of the cheer squad. We’re gunna need one hellavu big courthouse to fit all these crims in. Parliament House, the scene of their crimes might just be the appropriate venue…we’ve got Hansard as extra proof of their crimes as well.

          • Nick Kemp 1 year ago

            There is already a fence around parliament house – perhaps we should just lock it and turn off the power

          • Joe 1 year ago

            Solitary confinement…loving the idea!

  12. Alex 1 year ago

    Strategically, it makes sense for the Comcar fleet to go electric- if some completely unexpected outbreak of hostilities should occur in the South China sea, cutting off our fuel supplies from the ME, surely our ministers would still like to get about?

    • Joe 1 year ago

      Give them each one of those ‘Ready Go’ bicycles. Our MP’s can get fit at the same time as getting out and about.

  13. Phil NSW 1 year ago

    If Turnbull’s has two signature policies then clearly one needs to be put on the unending policy turntable with no end and the second modified to be a mandate for clean energy. The NEG could easily be a zero emission policy outcome. Let’s be honest, the current government is on a road to nowhere and maybe what we should be considering our next federal government?

    • Joe 1 year ago

      The Governent is on the road to ‘Oblivion’ and the Newspolls back it up.

  14. MrMauricio 1 year ago

    The LNP certainly want a “FIXED” electricity sytem-fixed RIGID to repay their sponsors/donors-the BIG4 electricity companies and the poles and the un”regulated”wires monopolies so those can continue their massive price gouge and resist facing up to the health and climate consequences of fossil fuel electricity.They are the biggest single polluters in the country!!!

  15. phred01 1 year ago

    Turncoat will not be allowed for the libs to change course The captain & the IPA won’t have it

  16. Roger Brown 1 year ago

    We need to put the LNP and their RWNJ’s Donors in the recycle bin at the next election or hope Mal is a Labor mole and is destroying the party from within ? 6.5 panels a MINUTE ! WOW.

  17. MaxG 1 year ago

    No need to fix the LNP; let them vanish…

    • Joe 1 year ago

      We are getting closer to ‘The Vanishing’.

  18. Nick Kemp 1 year ago

    You might as well tell them to grow a brian – they really are little smarter than the two old muppets sitting in the balcony

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