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 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.