Barnaby's re-Joyce: New Nationals leader is just another anti-wind climate denier | RenewEconomy

Barnaby’s re-Joyce: New Nationals leader is just another anti-wind climate denier

As we farewell one anti-renewables, climate denying, coal loving Deputy PM, are we about to see more of the same? New man has attacked climate science, demonised wind, and signed off on Tony Abbott’s refusal of free solar panels for the Lodge.

AAP image
AAP image

So Barnaby Joyce has gone; resigned from the position of Leader of the National Party and deputy prime minister of Australia, taking with him his climate scepticism, general dislike of renewables, and love of all things coal.

But is his replacement – Michael McCormack – any different? Quite possibly not. Here’s what we know, so far:

The Coalition’s minister for veterans affairs, and the newly installed minister for infrastructure and transport, McCormack joined parliament as a Nationals MP in 2010, after being elected to the House of Representatives for Riverina, in New South Wales.

He is the first Nationals leader since 1990 not to have worked as a farmer, although he is the son of a farmer.

McCormack started his working life in the media, rising from cadet journalist at the local Wagga paper the Daily Advertiser, to the position of editor.

He has some shady opinions on climate change.

In his first speech to parliament in 2010, McCormack he referred to climate science as “the nonsense we hear so often spoken by so many who base their views on mere assumptions of what might or might not happen.”

And he said: “When it does not rain for years on end, it does not mean it will not rain again. It does not mean we all need to listen to a government grant-seeking academic sprouting doom and gloom about climate changing irreversibly.”

He also referred repeatedly to that old Dorothea Mackellar poem – “I love a sunburnt country” – that some people seem to believe is a legitimate counter argument to decades of scientific research.

In 2012, he made an impassioned speech against the Labor government’s Carbon Pricing scheme:

“Australia fear for their livelihoods as the carbon tax starts to force prices up and up across the board – price increases they will be forced to wear unless they pass them on to customers.

“…This is a tax that the government sees as a magical cure to so-called climate change and exemplifies this government’s commitment to the environment over the citizens of Australia.”

On energy, and in particular the current debate on electricity market reform, McCormack has been pretty quiet lately, although it is doubtful he will deviate from the company line on renewables (too much, too soon, states bad).

But he does have form on anti-wind energy campaigning. In 2012, in a speech delivered to Parliament, he claimed:

“Wind power is an extraordinarily expensive and inefficient way of reducing carbon emissions compared with the option of investing in efficient and flexible combined cycle gas plants.

And “electricity from wind is four times as expensive as coal” (quoting a member of the notorious anti-wind lobby group Australian Landscape Guardians).

And “There are also serious concerns from people about the adverse health effects of wind turbine operation and these cases are starting to attract attention from medical professionals.”

On solar he appears to have fewer opinions, but his website does list a number of media releases announcing PV installations on Riverina sports grounds, airport terminals, and pools.

Perhaps that’s because in the Riverina region, solar is being embraced as a way to cut energy costs and deliver cheaper more reliable energy for struggling farmers.

It is host to one of the largest solar farms in the development pipeline for New South Wales – Maoneng’s battery storage ready 250MW Sunraysia solar farm, south of Balranald.And French renewables developer Neoen has also just started building a solar farm in the district, a 150MW project in Coleambally.

In Deniliquin, RES Group has announced plans for the 195MW Currawarra Solar Farm, with a possible lithium-ion battery system of around 88MW/44MWh.

RES is also proposing a possible 90MW solar farm at Tarleigh Park, with a possible 32MW/16MWh battery system.

Local governments have embraced it, too. The Shire of Corowa powers a majority of its local government buildings and facilities with more than 700,000kWh a year of solar power, after installing 416kW of PV across 14 council sites in 2015.

Meanwhile, his own electorate of Wagga Wagga, was named as the centre for a potential renewable energy zone in a major report put together by NSW network operator Trasngrid and the Australian Energy Market Operator. (See map above.)

Fun Fact: It was McCormack who in 2015 signed the official letter rejecting the offer from group of Christian church leaders of free solar panels for then PM Tony Abbott’s Sydney residence, Kirribilli House.

McCormack, in his former role as the parliamentary secretary to the finance minister, said the solar gift could not be accepted for reasons including Kirribilli’s heritage listing, ongoing costs of cleaning and maintenance, and security concerns.

At the time, McCormack reaffirmed the government’s commitment to renewable energy, but said the RET “as it stood, was going further than was planned. It was unsustainable.”

So, is McCormack still a climate denier and wind farm hater? The answer is… we don’t know yet if he has evolved any.

Greens MP Adam Bandt tried to ask the new Deputy Prime Minister about his position on climate change during Parliament’s Question Time, but got shut down by the House Speaker:

“The member for Melbourne has been in the House long enough to know that he needs to ask ministers about issues for which they are responsible, not about first speeches, not about any other speeches. The member for Melbourne can resume his seat. The Deputy Prime Minister, as far as I am aware with the tabling of the new ministerial responsibilities, is still the Minister for Veterans Affairs and he is the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, and that question in no way goes to his responsibilities. We will go to the next question.”

That’s a stunning statement – to suggest that ministries of infrastructure and transport “in no way” are linked to climate change.

RE has emailed and phoned McCormack’s office to ask if he still holds any or all of the above views. Or if he had changed them like he did on his strident attack on homosexuality that he later apologised for. We will keep you posted.

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  1. Simon McClusky 3 years ago

    These guys are developing projects all over Vic. and NSW. One example of a recently approved project is the 150 Mw Hay Sun Farm.
    NEWS : 150MW Hay Sun Farm is awarded planning approval by NSW State Government, Department of Planning and Environment
    The Hay Sun Farm located near the township of Hay in New South Wales obtained planning consent in December 2017. The project is being developed in partnership with UK group, Island Green Power and is progressing the final stages of development with the expectation that construction works will start in 2018.

    • Joe 3 years ago

      The National Party long ago stopped representing the true interests of the Farmers. The Farmers know the impacts on land and water that climate change is visiting upon them. Yet The National Party blows the anti climate change trumpet and is begging for more Coal digging, Gas drilling and Water exploitation. The National Party stands for Big Coal, Big Oil, Big Everything. Just love Baaaananabee trying to defend the water theft of The Murray-Darling…plenty of water for Big Rice and Big Cotton…not a drop to be spared for the rivers and that catastrophe (that once was) The Menindee Lakes. All on Baaaaananbee’s very close and ‘careful watch’. I hope that Premier Jay and his Royal Commission into The Murray-Darling haul Baaaananabee in front of The Royal Commission so that the nation can see what a crooked political grub Baaaaananabee is.

      • Ken Dyer 3 years ago

        Well said Joe. The National Party is a bunch of trogdolytes that will be consigned to the opposition benches at the next election.

      • solarguy 3 years ago


      • Alex Hromas 3 years ago

        Can you or anyone for that matter explain why farmers still keep voting NP. Talking to them i often suggest that the Greens are more in line with their problems only to be told “we use them for target practice”. They can’t all be as dumb as Barnaby statistically not possible

        • Joe 3 years ago

          Wouldn’t it be wonderful to interview individual farmers who vote Nationals to find out what the attraction really is. I always laugh when I think of the time when The Country Party changed name to The National Party…..a national party of what exactly.

  2. Chris Fraser 3 years ago

    Sadly, I suspect many readers have heard enough from the likes of him

  3. Steven Gannon 3 years ago

    When I lived in his electorate I wrote to him and asked him why the govt wasn’t acting on climate change by supporting renewable energy. It took 2 months but he replied, he said there was 3,000MW of excess capacity in the system and avoided mentioning climate change.

    He’s been hanging around farmers who know climate change is real, are installing solar panels etc… for a long time, don’t doubt that he understands it. I’m not expecting him to be anything but a talking head though.

  4. Radbug 3 years ago

    Michael MacCormack is someone Malcolm Turnbull does NOT need. He’s the classic colourless, invisible, man. In the next Federal election it will be all shoulders to the Coalition wheel and Mr MacCormack will be no where to be seen. Wouldn’t it be funny if Barnaby had to be begged to be the face of the Nats during the next Federal election?

  5. Brian Wilshire 3 years ago

    Australia’s own Department of Climate Change admitted in 2011 that the historical record (from the Vostok ice core samples) showed that each rise in global temperature preceded rises in atmospheric C02. The gas could not, therefore, have caused the rises. There is absolutely no reason to fear C02, let alone warming. It’s a pity so few journalists understand basic science.

    • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

      What do you think about the satellite data dickhead?

      • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

        PS If I hear again from this science-less ball-lass bludger called Brian Wilshire in this thread I’ll be as surprised as you!

        That’s what Tump’s Russian team do! They hit and run. They make a false claim for conjecture then fuckington right off and never return. They are ball-less cop-outs of people. Not the kind of people who we should be basing our country and government upon!

        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          PPS Brian please challenge me to a dual so I can slap you silly.

          • Michael Spencer 3 years ago

            Ron: not only do you need to learn to spell, but how about arguing without the expletives? People who know what they are talking about do not use expletives; those that don’t get indignant and use expletives to “prove” their point.

            And by the way, Brian Willshire has stated a fact. It might not agree with your ‘belief’ system, but the fact that CO2 levels FOLLOW temperatures is indeed scientific proven FACT!

            So now try something else you might not like: CO2 has an effect on a small portion of the light spectrum only, with the main factor being dihydrogen monoxide. And, apart from that, CO2’s impact diminishes rapidly on a logarithmic scale as its atmospheric concentration increases. Its increasing effect at its present level can only be described as ‘trivial’, but it is doing a wonderful job of ‘greening’ the planet.

            You should do some homework instead of ‘believing’ what you’ve been told/read/heard. And, should you do that ‘homework’ you might just discover that many of those ‘pushing’ the “global warming/climate change” story have been/are doing very nicely financially out of it. (Why would it be that the biggest investors in wind-farms in Sicily are the Mafia?)

            And now, I’ll stand by for some foul-mouthed abuse for citing nasty facts.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Oh Christ, but no wozzas, I’ll take on you with your right wing shite AND Brian with his,and slap you both down you silly fucking old dickheads!

          • Michael Spencer 3 years ago

            And Ren – you have just proved my point! Crude insults, but no facts.

            And I suppose you believe that the ice is melting on Greenland, thus causing the sea levels to rise, and we’re all doomed?

            Well, right now it’s -30C at the Summit Camp: mind you, this is something of a heatwave because it was -52C several weeks ago, so that must prove that CO2 is driving warming.

            Mind you: the temperature did get to an alarming -9C at the height of the last northern summer. But then, perhaps you believe (the operative word!) that ice melts at these temperatures.

            And pigs might fly!

            Enjoy your alarm Ren …..

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Who the fuck mentioned the temperature of Greenland? Oh wait you did! Are you getting pre-emptively paranoid, Michael? Oh come on admit it, getting paranoid is what right-wing inclined people are inclined to do, is it not?

          • Matthew 3 years ago

            Dear Moderator, could we have sensible discussion here? People who resort to hysterical language should not appear. Where is the reasoned discussion, the maturity of thought? It is not apparent when commenters can only resort to abuse!

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            You’re a ball-less hollow snitch appealing to teacher, is what you are. Why don’t you just admit it? ‘Dear Moderator’ my fucking fanny!

          • MrMauricio 3 years ago

            loving your work Ron-maintain your rage,bud!!!

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            Better believe it!

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            I must not get into pointless arguments on the internet.
            I must not get into pointless arguments on the internet.
            I must not get into pointless arguments on the internet.
            I must not get into …….

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            OMG you repeated what you are!

          • Joe 3 years ago

            On The Greenland, this week’s ABC’s Foreign Correspondent show revisited Greenland 10 years after their first visit. Any deniers of climate change should watch the program.The Greenland Ice sheet and Glaciers are all melting away.

          • MrMauricio 3 years ago

            Oh well-here we go again.Ice Melting from Ice Caps on LAND, WILL result in sea level rise-and Greenland and West Antarctic ice IS meting due to warming seas(absorbing 80% of warming).Extreme temperatures in Europe at the moment relate to predictable and observable increase fluctuations in Jet Streams which circle the earth maintaining basic climate band identity.Major osclllations are occurring much more frequently as temperature differentials between bands decline.This leads to air mass swapping-polar air to Europe/North America and their warmer air masses to the Arctic,further increasing ice melt.To a denier of course any unusual cold means global warming is disproven.Unfortunately in these cases the reverse is true.

          • lin 3 years ago

            The northern tip of Greenland has had a record-smashing 61 hours of temperatures above freezing so far this year, linked to a rare retreat of sea ice in the Arctic winter darkness. The region of the arctic ocean that normally has the thickest multi-year ice is currently open water. Record low sea ice extent at both poles as we speak. 4000Gt reduction in land ice over the past 30 years, and accelerating. But I don’t expect any of these facts to change your faith based beliefs.

          • MrMauricio 3 years ago

            Your base claim is incorrect-that CO2 rises ALWAYS follow temperature changes!!!

          • Cooma Doug 3 years ago

            Michael Spencer
            A survey recently done by facebook looked at trolls.
            The most common trait was the use of sarcastic spelling and grammer corrections.

          • solarguy 3 years ago

            Yep noticed that too Doug, it’s their signature.

          • Joe 3 years ago

            …and talking bullshit

      • Brian Wilshire 3 years ago

        Al Gore’s giant graph was a deliberate lie:
        Global warming is a monstrous political hoax, promoted in “science” only by those whose careers now depend on them being politically correct.

        • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

          When you quote Joanne Nova you automatically lose the argument. Similar to how I lost the argument by getting rat faced stroppy, before I deleted my crud.

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago

            You climate deniers for several years prior to 2015 relied on the satellite data to temporarily prop up your failed argument of “no warming”, but since 2015 that last vestige of credibility has disappeared – because the satellite data shows rapid warming.


            Time to give it up, old mate, or you’ll be like the old Jap soldier who still defended a remote jungle outpost 30 years after the war was over.

    • solarguy 3 years ago

      How about you put a plastic bag over your head and fill it with CO2, how long do you think you will survive. Added to that, you have your facts wrong, CO2 increased then warming happened, just like now genius!

      • Michael Spencer 3 years ago

        Vostok Antarctica ice core records: CO2 FOLLOWS temperatures UP OR DOWN. Brian Willshire is quite correct. And this graph was produced by Dr Guy LeBlanc Smith: “I am a concerned professional research scientist
        with over 30 years’ experience, latter part with CSIRO as a Principal Research Scientist. As my funding no longer depends on politicians, I am free to make my information and conclusions public.

        Make fun of that solarguy ….

        • MrMauricio 3 years ago

          If you are saying CO2 is not implicated in climate changes then you are an outlier in the science community!!! Are you denying CO2 is a warming gas?????? Would you like to explain how the earth entered and recovered from 2 periods of snowball earth while we are discussing CO2’s role in geological scale climate trends.Of course every scientist/informed person knows other factors can trigger climate change-such as changes in solar radiation and Milankovic cycles,but changes in CO2 levels are involved in all of them.

          • Michael Spencer 3 years ago

            You are quite correct about solar radiation and the Milankovic Cycles. There are other factors as well, which is why REAL scientists are the first to admit how little they know about the complexity of the climate. And, of course there are changes in CO2 levels all the time: this graph shows clearly how everything has changed over long period of time, but with one important feature: CO2 bears absolutely no correlation to temperature changes.


          • MrMauricio 3 years ago

            Climate Misinformer: Roy Spencer

            Dr. Roy Spencer is a
            principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in
            Huntsville, as well as the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced
            Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He
            is known for his work with the satellite-based temperature monitoring
            for which he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional
            Scientific Achievement Medal [Wikipedia].

            Dr. Spencer suggests that global warming is mostly due to natural internal variability, and that the climate system is quite insensitive to humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions.

            Other professional affiliations:
            Dr. Spencer is on the board of directors of the George C. Marshall
            Institute, a right-wing conservative think tank on scientific issues
            and public policy. He listed as an expert for the Heartland
            Institute, a libertarian American public policy think tank. Dr.
            Spencer is also listed as an expert by the International Climate and
            Environmental Change Assessment Project (ICECAP), a global warming
            “skeptic” organization [DeSmogBlog].

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago


          • MrMauricio 3 years ago
          • Michael Spencer 3 years ago

            And this is the actual effect of CO2 as a ‘warming’ gas in the light spectrum:

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago


          • Michael Spencer 3 years ago

            And this shows the logarithmic reducing effect of CO2 as a ‘greenhouse’ gas: as the atmospheric level increases, the extra heat retention decreases:

          • Ren Stimpy 3 years ago


          • Joe 3 years ago

            Ignore this Trolli.

          • Giles 3 years ago

            Well, that took me about 30 seconds to find on Google. This garbage from that idiot website WattsUpWithThat, and is reproduced on fossil fuel lobby sites like coal-to-liquids association. To read why this is nonsense, please go here. As the authors say, the notion that the CO2 effect is ‘saturated’ is based on a misunderstanding of how the greenhouse effect works, and based on several myths disproved by simple maths.

        • solarguy 3 years ago

          What a sad human being you really are. You are quite happy tell complete lies for money. Have you managed to pass your genes on. If you have, do you feel content in the knowledge that you are doing your best to set them up for the kill, so that the corporations that employ you can survive a little bit longer.

    • Alastair Leith 3 years ago

      You know that 97% or higher or publishing climate scientists accept the human induced global warming is happening and it presents a grave risk to humanity and the millions of species that have evolved to live in certain climates and ecosystems. Entire ecosystems are in peril.

      Here’s your rebuff. I’ll take the climate science over your word for it Brian, I’m sure you’ll understand.
      Shakun et al. Clarify the CO2-Temperature Lag

      When the Earth comes out of an ice age, the warming is not initiated by CO2 but by changes in the Earth’s orbit. The warming causes the oceans to release CO2. The CO2 amplifies the warming and mixes through the atmosphere, spreading warming throughout the planet. So CO2 causes warming AND rising temperature causes CO2 rise. Overall, about 90% of the global warming occurs after the CO2 increase.
      CO2 lags temperature – what does it mean?
      Is the long-term trend in CO2 caused by warming of the oceans?

  6. solarguy 3 years ago

    The question is:
    How do we stop these moronic bastards breeding?

    • mick 3 years ago

      bonk ban?

  7. MrMauricio 3 years ago

    Just another block(head) in the wall!!!

  8. John Elliott 3 years ago

    The policy-makers come and go, but when I want the best peer-reviewed scientific findings on climate change, I go to the international body formed so that backyard punters don’t have to have arguments based on maverick science, spin or anecdote. It’s called the IPCC, and their most recent full publication (published in 2014/15) can be found at

    Its key finding on the drivers of climate change (SPM 1.2) is

    “Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. {1.2, 1.3.1}”

    The term “extremely likely” in IPCC language means “greater than 95% probability”.

  9. Les Johnston 3 years ago

    I guess Michael has had limited education and that might explain his position in relation to critical analysis of climate change and renewable energy. I would hope that he has not resorted to speculation on the infra-sound from wind turbines. Although, such a position would show that he has some creative imagination.

  10. Aluap 3 years ago

    Blowing in the wind, or bagged by the windbag.

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