Much of the focus of Jaymes Diaz’s excruciating interview with Channel TEN has focused on the Liberal candidate for the marginal seat of Greenway in Sydney’s west and his failure to memorise more than one point from his party’s six-point plan to Stop the Boats.
But what about the Coalition’s other great three-word policy slogan, to “Axe the Tax?”
Diaz was asked by the TEN reporter how Direct Action – the Opposition’s policy for addressing climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating a path to a low-carbon economy – would work.
Diaz: “Direct Action is a very positive plan we have. It’s Direct Action. It’s providing a real solution and a Green Army, so it is a real, practical solution.”
TEN Reporter: “So a real solution and a Green Army? I’m not quite across that.”
Diaz: “It’s a real solution. You are planting real trees. You have a real army of people going out planting trees.”
TEN Reporter: “Is that all you doing? Direct Action and planting trees?”
Diaz: “We are doing more than planting trees. We are planting trees, we have a solar panel, we have a fund that will go towards supporting those type of projects. We’re committed to supporting the environment but not by penalising households.”
As excruciating as it sounds, Diaz has actually summed up the Direct Action policy quite well, at least the bits that are known about it. How the fund will function is yet to be revealed – the Coalition will invite contributions to a White Paper if elected.
It does, however, highlight the paucity of the ideas and the uncertainty that Direct Action create. Although, to be fair, the policy is likely to result in the installation of more than one solar panel – probably more than six million of them, if the Coalition holds true to its one million solar homes policy, which is now a one million extra solar homes policy. But how the mainstream media has not taken to lampooning the “Green Army” idea is beyond us.
You can find the comments on Direct Action from about 1m 40s on the following YouTube video.
Abbott’s letter writing
Meanwhile, the other bits of Direct Action that we do know about include Tony Abbott delivering on his promise to axe the tax, and dismantle the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, the Climate Change Authority, and the Climate Commission.
On Monday, as we reported, one of the first things that Abbott did in the election campaign was to send letters to Ian Watt, the secretary of Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, and to the chairwoman of the CEFC, Jillian Broadbent.
The Coalition’s aggressive stance against clean energy, and particularly the CEFC, has taken many in the industry aback. Some suggest the two letters he wrote to Watt and Broadbent are revelatory, in their tone, their courtesy (or lack of it), and their intent.
Abbott went to the trouble of crossing our “Dr Watt” and penning in Dear “Ian,” as politicians often do. But Broadbent – a banker of some repute, a long serving member of the Reserve Bank board, and an AO (Order of Australia) – was afforded no such courtesy.
But if that was an oversight, what can be made of the tone of the letter, and the instruction by a putative prime minister to Broadbent to effectively break the law – to stop doing the work they are legislated to perform? The aggressive stance that the Coalition is taking towards clean energy in general, and the CEFC in particular, has stunned many in the industry.
Here are the two letters in full. And below, a snapshot, to set the tone:
Madigan breaks wind
Victoria’s Democratic Labor Party Senator John Madigan has continued his attack on the wind energy industry, and its presumed health impacts – a view shared by several leading Coalition politicians, including Abbott’s primary business advisor, Maurice Newman. But while it may be tempting to dismiss Madigan’s comments, the prospect of him holding an influential vote in the Senate, along with another anti-wind Senator, Nick Xenophon, looks increasingly likely.
Cate Faehrmann, the lead Greens candidate in NSW, told a forum in Sydney on Tuesday that there is a growing danger that the casting votes in the Senate could be delivered to Madigan, Xenophon, Pauline Hanson, or representatives of Clive Palmer’s party, or even The Shooters party in NSW – none of whom are particularly strong on energy or climate. Faehrmann was speaking at what was supposed to be a political debate about clean energy, but the Labor and the Liberal candidates didn’t show up.