Anti-wind circle unbroken: Taylor steps up, Schultz joins Waubra

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Liberal MP Angus Taylor has taken up the anti-wind fight in the NSW seat of Hume. His predecessor, meanwhile, has become an anti-wind patron.

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If you thought Alby Schultz’s withdrawal from federal parliament meant he would also be withdrawing from the political battle against wind farm development in rural Australia, well, then you thought wrong. The recently retired Federal Member for Hume, NSW, has consented to become the first “patron” of high profile Australian anti-wind group, the Waubra Foundation.

The Foundation announced Schultz’s anointment on Tuesday, along with the appointment of two new directors: organic farmer Charlie Arnott, and Alexandra Nicol – a former Liberal staffer who worked with the late Senator Judith Adams, who was involved in the Federal Senate Inquiry into Rural Wind Farms.

“Alby, Alex and Charlie all have a detailed knowledge of the damage being done to rural communities impacted adversely by industrial low frequency noise. They each have a keen interest in seeing progress with the research recommended by the Australian Federal Senate inquiry into the Social and Economic Impact of Rural Wind Farms in June 2011,” the Waubra Foundation public announcement said.

Neither has Schultz’s retirement taken the anti-wind politics out of Hume, with his replacement in the electorate, Angus Taylor, taking up where Schultz left off. Literally.

In July, the then preselected Liberal candidate for Hume – who is firmly on the record as a conscientious objector against wind energy and the RET – filled in for an unwell Schultz at the “National Wind Power Fraud Rally”, organised by the not-so transparent anti-wind group, Stop These Things.

At the rally, Taylor stressed that he was not a climate sceptic, nor was he anti-renewables, but said he was motivated to speak at the rally because he had grown tired of watching local communities across Hume and Australia “tear themselves to pieces… cousins verses cousin, brothers verses brothers, for massive subsidies to the wind industry, facilitated by the Federal Government.”

In 2012, Taylor expressed concern about “building a whole new industry on the back of a subsidy, particularly when the subsidy is paid out of the hard cash of some of the least well off, via electricity prices.”

He also claimed that the capital markets “(didn’t) believe the renewable energy fairy tale any more, because the economic foundations are flimsy, and so they are not supporting the companies that rely on these subsidies.”

Lately, he is rumoured to have been busy whipping up the “vast reserve of anti-renewables passion in the rump of the National Party and the Liberal party backbench” – a deep-set antipathy that we touched on last week, in the wake of the “extraordinary tirade against renewable energy” delivered by Burchell Wilson, a senior economist at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Sophie Vorrath

Sophie is editor of OneStepOffTheGrid.com.au and deputy editor of its sister site, RenewEconomy.com.au. Sophie has been writing about clean energy for more than a decade.

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17 Comments
  1. Keith 5 years ago

    Has the Waubra Foundation found another form of “low frequency noise” (“industrial low frequency noise”?) or do they refuse to accept the recent scientific studies which show that their claims are nonsense?

    • your local fire fighter 5 years ago

      Even though they are ‘nonsense’ the current “Government from Hell” will have many followers’ and disciples’ as our Ecosystems and Environment collapse.

      Science is way off the radar now, just look at the disappearance of Broadcasting on the ABC alone. Shaman and Faith healers rule.

      • Keith 5 years ago

        George,
        All of the links you offer are nonsensical.
        Science is about rigour. Leading carefully chosen participants in a study which has a clear intended outcome doesn’t cut it.
        If this is the evidence for “wind turbine syndrome”, then I understand why the scientific studies all find an absence of credible evidence.

        My comment was about the repeated claim for the existence of “industrial low frequency noise”, when a recent careful study had shown that wind turbines did not lead to increased low frequency noise.

        If there is evidence then show it, but don’t keep repeating discredited nonsense.

        • George Papadopoulos 5 years ago

          Keith you’re sounding like a broken record…
          So where is your evidence?

          • Keith 5 years ago

            George,

            OK here is the link to a recent statement (well referenced) by The Association of Australian Acoustical Consultants, “Position statement on wind farms”. This is a professional group who did some measurements in response to claims by Waubra concerning low frequency infrasound.

            http://www.aaac.org.au/au/aaac/downloads_website/AAAC%20Wind%20Farm%20Position%20Statement.pdf

            The relevant section says :

            “Investigations have found that infrasound levels around wind farms are no higher than levels measured at other locations where people live, work and sleep. Those investigations conclude that infrasound levels adjacent to wind farms are below the threshold of perception and below currently accepted limits set for infrasound.(x,xi,xii,xiii). The AAAC encourages members to continue to contribute to new research and review research in the technical literature.”

            You will note that as a reputable professional body, they encourage further research.

            As to your latest “evidence”, a couple of things.
            i) Self reporting is not science, so the whole basis of the report lacks rigour. If you want to make assertions about vertigo etc you don’t take people’s word for it, you check whether they actually have vertigo etc
            ii) The “data” has no data points, just trend lines so it isn’t possible to get a sense of how the results look.
            I’m sure there are real scientists at The University of Waterloo who are embarrassed as to how such a poorly conceived study would be allowed as a poster.

          • George Papadopoulos 5 years ago

            Keith, sounds like the AAAC is out of sync with reality and wishes to bully acousticians to not follow their professional conscience. Here is my letter in response to their position statement:

            Dear members of the AAAC Executive,

            I note the position statement of the Association of
            Australian Acoustical Consultants “Position Statement on Wind Farms” found
            here: http://www.aaac.org.au/au/aaac/downloads_website/AAAC%20Wind%20Farm%20Position%20Statement.pdf

            I would like to however to point out the following statements:

            AAAC members assess environmental noise against objective criteria set
            by relevant authorities …

            AAAC members should continue to primarily rely on the view of
            government bodies in relation to the health effects of wind farms and should
            conduct assessments in accordance with the relevant guidelines in each state.

            These statements are undoubtedly a call for acoustical
            consultants to compromise their professional standing in favour of “objective
            criteria” set by authorities. These same authorities do not set criteria to
            protect each member of the public, but simply a compromise between emitters of
            noise and surrounding residents who may have their health and well-being
            compromised.

            I also note the following statement in the above mentioned
            position statement, and some comments of the AAAC Chairman in an online ABC
            report:

            Those investigations conclude that infrasound levels adjacent to wind
            farms are below the threshold of perception and below currently accepted limits
            set for infrasound.(AAAC position statement) and;

            The Chairman of the AAAC, Martti Warpenius, says the group wants to
            clear up any confusion over the health impact of windfarms.

            “People themselves generate infrasound through things like their
            own heartbeat, through breathing and these levels of infrasound can be
            substantially higher than an external noise source.” http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-16/windfarm-results/4959556

            The surprising generalisation of perception and levels is
            profound – much in sync with the previous statements that direct members to
            enforce guidelines that protect that position of authorities and their narrowly
            defined “objective criteria”. There is no hint that given the widespread problems
            of noise around wind farm that these “objective criteria” need refining,
            perhaps redefining. And there is certainly no mention that AAAC members should
            primarily be furthering the cause of public health, particularly when they can
            see phenomena like amplitude modulation, noise nuisance, vibration, and
            psychosomatic symptom destroying their health!

            I would like to point out two hypothetical scenarios that
            demonstrated how flawed the AAAC position is:

            1)
            With reference to comparing equivalent noise
            levels: A psychologist tells a mother with post-natal depression that her
            crying baby is no louder than her radio, therefore she should perceive the
            crying as no more annoying that her
            favourite music. So if someone around a wind farm can perceive an impulsive
            thump every second or so during sleep hours, we tell them to imagine they are
            enjoying themselves at the beach? They want to go to sleep don’t they?

            2)
            With reference to natural infrasound from the
            heart: Our guts are full of bacteria, digested food and excrement, but I see no
            one walking down the street stepping on dog poo and feeling it to be a minor
            inconvenience because they are full of… excrement.

            Frankly, I think the position of the AAAC is totally
            unprofessional and demonstrates a keenness to protecting government and
            industry over the concerns, health and wellbeing of private citizens.

            Yours sincerely,

            George Papadopoulos

          • Keith 5 years ago

            George,
            Wow!! I have to say that someone who finds conspiracy in such a non-controversial group as the AAAC must live a very lonely existence. You probably wouldn’t even be friends with the fairies at the bottom of the garden.

            Society works by having people such as the AAAC who do the hard yards developing special skills and expertise and whom we can trust. In your world, there seems to be just you as the arbiter of what is wrong (mostly) and right. Sad really ….

          • George Papadopoulos 5 years ago

            Keith, I can hear the broken record again. Personal attacks now? Anything “anti-wind” is dodgy for you, any criticism on pro-wind statements is “conspiracy theory”. No point continuing the discussion, your behaviour seems rather predictable…

          • Keith 5 years ago

            George,
            Perhaps an apology to the AAAC?

            You are a 1 person arbiter of what’s right and wrong.

            Sorry I’m pushing back for decent people who do the right thing.

          • George Papadopoulos 5 years ago

            Oh yes paternal Keith. I will take your advice and apologise to an association that is de facto bullying fellow professionals into trampling all over their conscience and cuddling up to planning departments…

          • Keith 5 years ago

            George,

            That’s a curious apology ….

        • George Papadopoulos 5 years ago

          And here is one more recent study Keith by the University of Waterloo:

          http://freewco.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/poster_cpaller_oct15_wt-noise-sleep-quality.pdf

  2. Miles Harding 5 years ago

    For anti-wind campaigners, these guys show a remarkable ability to produce wind!

    If anybody wants a laugh; read the rubbish on ‘stopthesethings.com’.

    One thing that is immediately apparent in the slogan “the truth about wind farms in Australia” in that it’s a clear parody of Murdoch’s tabloids — and the truth is nowhere to be found inside!
    It’s a rant from end to end with NO discussion of what would actually be won if wind power was eliminated. This is one time that a mission statement would be useful.
    And then there’s the imagery used – what a joke!

    Apparently, it is not intended to be read by anybody with a working brain.

    One thing that was particularly funny in the above story has to be “the nation wind power fraud rally”, which is self-referential.

  3. Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

    Angus Taylor is as removed from reality as the three Amigos mentioned above. Angus also has a penchant for double standards. He complains about supposed subsidies for wind energy but never ever mentions the much greater real subsidies that go to propping up coal-fired generators.

    • John P 5 years ago

      Earlier this year, the IEA actually gave the numbers.
      Governments across the world subsidise renewables to the tune of $89billion and fossil fuels – $253billion.

      • Blair Donaldson 5 years ago

        The IEA provides global figures. The “subsidies” such as they exist for wind energy in Australia comes by way of the requirement for energy distributors to source a percentage of their supply from renewable energy. It’s a subsidy of a kind but not a direct subsidy.

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