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Guardian Energy

Energy | The Guardian

Latest news and features from theguardian.com, the world's leading liberal voice
  • Turnbull admits 'many impacts' on energy bills in response to Labor attack

    Opposition leaves itself room to move on Coalition’s national energy guarantee while zeroing in on promised price reductions

    Malcolm Turnbull has acknowledged there are “many impacts” on a household energy bill after being pursued by Labor about whether he could guarantee the power price reductions floated under his proposed energy policy.

    Labor has zeroed in on the price impacts associated with the national energy guarantee, unveiled by the Turnbull government on Tuesday, after the policy was ticked off on by the Coalition party room.

    Related:Greens vow to protect ABC from 'blatant ideological attack' – as it happened

    Related:What is the national energy guarantee and is it really a game changer?

    Continue reading...
  • Greens vow to protect ABC from 'blatant ideological attack' – as it happened

    Having won over the party room on energy, for now, the Coalition is taking on the states. Follow the day’s events here

    And on that note, we’ll finish up for the day. But don’t despair – we have one more day of fun and games ahead of us before the break.

    First, let’s take a look at what we learnt and what we have to look forward to.

    Just because we all need a little light relief at the end of a day, I can inform you that the Senate, led by Cory Bernardi, passed a motion:

    That the Senate
    (a)
    takes note of an event scheduled to occur on 26 October 2017at the
    Australian National University entitled “Celebrating the 1917 Russian Revolution”, organised by Socialist Alternative;
    (b)
    observes that this year marks 100 years since that revolution, which led to
    a litany of human rights abuses and approximately 10 million deaths;
    (c)
    notes that the 1917 revolution promoted Leninist and Marxist teaching to
    the broader world; and
    (d)
    rejects any assertion that the teachings of Lenin or Marx should be
    celebrated in a liberal democracy.

    For anyone who cares – and I mean anyone – the last movie Malcolm Turnbull can remember seeing was the last of the Hobbit movies, with his daughter.

    He still Netflix and chills, “whatever that means”, and did you know that he is a Game of Thrones fan, because I am not sure he has ever mentioned that before. In fact: BREAKING the prime minister watches Game Of Thrones.

    Triple M Sydney cuts short Can’t Stand Losing You by the Police to go to Malcolm Turnbull, who opens with the “trifecta” of “affordability, reliability, responsibility”.

    He says energy policy is one of the greatest challenges for government’s all over the world, as the market transitions to new technologies – and as he always says “get the politics and ideology out of it. It’s been a disaster.”

    An update on the citizenship bill (the one with the retroactive longer waiting periods, stricter English tests et al): it remains on the list, but it is sitting at number four on the schedule, which gives it almost bupkis chance of being reached tonight. The government has until 7.20pm to bring it up for debate, under the terms of the Greens disallowance motion, but given they have not ceded enough ground yet for the Nick Xenophon Team to even come close to giving it their support, it doesn’t look like happening.

    This doesn’t mean it is dead, buried and cremated by any definition – the government can bring it back to the Senate motions paper, but to do so will require a vote. You’ll know when it gets close (if it goes away after today) when that happens.

    Abbott is also “very, very happy” the government has dropped the clean energy target “because that was always a very bad move”:

    And certainly the policy framework that the government announced yesterday will be vastly better for everyone than Labor’s plans for a 50% renewable energy target so full marks to the government for a big, big step forward, but... there will be still renewables in the system, the more renewables there are, almost inevitably, the higher the price, because you have to have matching coal- and gas-fired power to make sure that when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine the lights will still come on, so this remains a problem.

    As I said, this is a big step in the right direction and full marks especially Josh Frydenberg, who has worked night and day and laboured mightily to bring about this very significant improvement in our policy. Good on him.

    Tony Abbott is speaking to 2GB.

    He says the health minister, Greg Hunt, is one of the smartest ministers in the cabinet. That is in context of the upcoming over-the-counter ban on codeine, which Abbott says he understands but thinks Hunt will be monitoring.

    This media motionhas just passed the Senate, with Labor joining with the Greens:

    The Senate notes:

    The government has been dancing around this issue for the past day a bit, mostly because it may not want to alert the party room to the fact it might have got this by them.

    But is the Neg a carbon price?

    Well, yes, of course it is. Anything that operates, anything that drives investment in the electricity sector in the 21st century, if is going to work, has to reflect the carbon price. There is a value that is attributed to the risk of carbon in all investments.

    The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, has commended the ABC bill to the chamber, which would add “fair and balanced” to the ABC charter, which already has the word “impartial”.

    It is important to recognise that the bill will not alter or diminish in any way the ABC’s independence. Objectively, there should be no concern about this proposal. The ABC’s own editorial policies require the ABC to adhere to fair treatment in the gathering and presentation of news and information, and a balance in its news reporting that follows the weight of evidence. The amendment contained in this bill simple enshrine this obligation in legislation.

    A quick update on where Andrew Wilkie’s allegations in parliament have gone: the Greens and crossbench want a Senate inquiry:

    The Australian Greens, together with Senator Jacqui Lambie and the Nick Xenophon Team are moving for a Senate inquiry into the regulation of Australia’s casino industry, after allegations of poker machine tampering levelled at Crown Casino.
    Crown should not continue to operate its poker machines until a full and independent audit is undertaken, said the Australian Greens Leader, Dr Richard Di Natale.

    We know that pokies cause substantial harm in the community. Actions that trap people into losing even more money are deeply concerning and need to be investigated.

    Politicians at the state and federal level cannot sit by and allow such serious allegations to go unchecked. Crown has given over $1m to the LNP and ALP in the last 10 years: now we will see what that money buys them.

    On Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad, Bishop says the regime will “have to be part of the negotiations towards a political solution [in Iraq]. What we don’t want to see is Syria falling to complete anarchy – there has to be a political solution.

    “There is now a Raqqa civilian council which has been set up to focus on local governance in Raqqa, but the coalition will have to work with the Assad regime and Russia and Iran and others who have been backing Assad to find a political solution which involves [the] Syrians.”

    Speaking on Sky, Julie Bishop says the government has not forgotten about the 110 Australians who went to fight for Islamic State.

    Should they survive, about 80, maybe 83 Australians have been killed fighting for Isis by the anti-Isis forces and others... I don’t know whether all 110 will [want to return to Australia] but there is that potential and that is why we are tracking them, they are under surveillance to the extent that we can, we are working with partners in the region to exchange information, and we will seek to track them and to intervene so they can’t carry out a terrorist attack on the way home or indeed in Australia.

    To catch up on all things question time, you can head here:

    Did you miss QT in the House? You can catch up on our YouTube channel: https://t.co/eUvteChVly

    Sarah Hanson-Younghas had a bit to say about the ABC changes the government has proposed (with a little help from One Nation, and by help, we mean demands).

    The Greens communications spokeswoman said in a statement:

    Australians love and trust the ABC and are sick of seeing the public broadcaster used as political punching bag.

    The Greens will fight to protect the ABC from this blatant ideological attack and will do everything we can to save our public broadcaster from the government and One Nation’s axe.

    First it was Tony Abbott breaking his promise not to cut the ABC’s funding; now it’s Pauline Hanson wanting to dictate how the public broadcaster does its job and how it reports on news.

    It was only a few months ago that Pauline Hanson crowed about going after the ABC as revenge for the broadcaster reporting the dodgy antics the One Nation political party gets up to.

    Opening up the ABC’s charter to give more coverage to the loopy ideas of anti-vaxxers or anti-science is not about making the public broadcaster ‘fair and balanced’ – it’s revenge from One Nation senators who can’t handle the truth being reported.

    I’m calling on Labor and the Nick Xenophon Team to join with the Greens in voting this toxic legislation down.

    We finish on an “any alternative approaches” dixer for Darren Chester, where he links the Neg to regional development and then we are done.

    Small mercies.

    Michelle Rowland tries again (after a dixer).

    “Is the prime minister so out of touch that he doesn’t understand the people are complaining because his second-rate copper NBN is slower, more expensive and less reliable than what the prime minister promised?

    I thank the honourable member for the question because it gives me an opportunity to update my earlier answer. As of today, as of the 12... October, the latest numbers, 6 million people are able to connect to the NBN. Nearly 40,000, nearly 40,000 premises were activated on the NBN in the last week. Labor, remember, 50,000 in six years.

    The reality is this: As the honourable member knows, and she should know this, that what has been going on is that retail service providers, Telstra, TPG, have not been buying enough bandwidth to provision their customers. That is being investigated by the ACCC. It has been called out. They have been given three months to get their act together and ensure that what they promise they deliver.

    It has nothing to do with whether the network is fibre to the premises, fibre to the basement, fibre to the node, the problem of under provision by retail service providers is common across all technologies. The honourable member should recall that she was part of a government that completely and utterly failed this project.

    We have moved on to the the NBN and Malcolm Turnbull is very happy with Labor because it “gives me an opportunity to remind honourable members once again that every 10 days the NBN under our government is connecting more Australians than Labor did in six years”.

    “We are connecting between 30,000 to 40,000 premises a week! 30,000 to 40,000 premises a week! There are now 3 million customers connected... ”

    Chris Bowen wants Scott Morrison to confirm that the “sum total” of documentation the opposition was provided was a single letter:

    Given the opposition has received absolutely no other documentation modelling or evidence from the government, can the treasurer confirm that the cabinet and the joint party room considered and adopted a major government policy based purely on the vibe?

    The shadow treasurer is such a terrible, sad sack! Here are the papers the government has available to us that are available to the opposition. The ACCC’s inquiry into gas, Mr Speaker, the interim report and its 75 pages, the ACCC’s report into retail electricity pricing, Mr Speaker, some 175 pages. The electricity statement of opportunities prepared which I tabled, Mr Speaker. The advice the commonwealth government on dispatchable capacity, Mr Speaker. I have now a document, a statement from the cChief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, on the Australian government’s energy announcement which he says, “The process was thorough, the emissions reduction trajectory has provided a credible... ”

    Peter Duttongets his dixer and, in a feat of verbal gymnastics, manages to link strong borders to energy policy.

    But one of the things that all of these projects have in common, Mr Speaker, is they need reliable and affordable power. They must have reliable and affordable power and that is what the national energy guarantee provides, Mr Speaker. It means more capacity in the system. More supply, driving down the price, working with the other elements of the government’s energy policy which are also driving down price and driving up reliability.

    Now, who could be against a policy that ensures reliability and drives down the price of energy, Mr Speaker? No sensible person would and that is why, as the minister for the environment and energy pointed out, there’s been so many third-party endorsements of this policy in the last 24 hours.

    Just a quick brush-up at the desk.

    Christian Portertakes a question on the energy supplement for carers asked to Malcolm Turnbull and manages to get Sam Dastyari into his answer. As you read this, please be advised there is a Chinese delegation sitting in the gallery, as welcomed by Tony Smith, who found this exchange quite interesting, given the amount of chatter that started up among them.

    Was the Labor’s fiscal plan saving the supplement, banking it and spending it? Absolutely. What the member for Jagajaga does is gets up here and criticises the government for making a savings measure which they have made, which they have banked and which they have already spent. And in the process of doing so, the member for Jagajaga criticises the fact that the energy guarantee has the capacity to deliver a savings in 2020 each year of up to $115 a week. Now – a year – a year.

    The criticism of that is that – the criticism of that is it is not enough, Mr Speaker. In fact, Senator Dastyari tried to make that criticism today with a cheeseburger. I understand he was more of a Chinese food aficionado, but hear, hear! $115 a year is a potential saving to Australian households, it is actually significant.

    It might be prudent to point out that a Queensland election is expected to be called at any moment and Katter’s Australian party is fighting One Nation off in its two Queensland electorates as I post this photo.

    Tanya Plibersekhas the call and she asks Malcolm Turnbull about the promised drop in power prices made before coming to office, where “the Liberals promised Australians their power bills would drop by $550 a year. They didn’t.”

    Scott Morrison has A LOT to say about this, but is hushed by the Speaker. Plibersek picks up where she left off, asking about the “lousy 50 cents a week in three years’ time. Why would the Australian people believe anything this prime minister says about energy prices?”

    Barnaby Joycegets his daily dose of dixer and picks up from yesterday with his attack on basket weavers, but unfortunately there is no update on Moonbeam and Dewdrop from the Manic Monkey Cafe, but we do get a history lesson:

    And I want to quote someone from the Labor party who was talking about that Gladstone coal-fired power station. This member said this: “Naturally the Australian Labor party welcomes the commonwealth participation in the provision of electricity in central Queensland, which is an area where power has been hardest to come by and is the most expensive in Australia.”

    That member for the Labor party later went on to say about this: “The only problem he has with the coal-fired power is the advance was not a grant.”

    Malcolm Turnbull is up again and being asked by Bill Shorten about the guarantee part of the national energy guarantee: just now the prime minister confirmed that his lousy 50 cent savings are only likely. Doesn’t this make a mockery of the prime minister’s so-called guarantee?”

    I can... understand the way in which the leader of the opposition is squirming on this issue. I can understand his embarrassment, having called for bipartisanship, having called for us to listen to experts, having support of the establishment of the Energy Security Board, then when these independent experts, authorities in the field give an advice that doesn’t suit him politically, he wants to attack them personally. He wants to challenge their integrity.

    Yesterday, Mr Speaker, he was having a go at the integrity of the Energy Security Board. Muttering to himself, oh he was, I could hear him, muttering away to himself, talking to himself – that may well have been the case – you will get an attentive audience when he does that(!)

    Bob Katterhas stormed out of the chamber after he didn’t get to ask his whole question, because he ran out of time.

    Here is out it went down:

    Prime minister, electricity prices in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia in the 13 years, 1989 to 2002, rose from $650 to $780, $113 in 13 years. In 2002 all pricing was done by free open market operations and the industry privatised. In the next 13 years, the price skyrockets from $810 to $2,130. A $1,300 increase. Clearly, the prime minister...

    The member for Kennedy will resume his seat. We will take that as a 45-second statement. We will go to the member for Chisholm.

    The member for Kennedy has been asked to resume his... The member for Kennedy will resume his seat. There was no question. There was no question. The member for Kennedy will resume his seat. The member for Kennedy will not reflect on the chair. The member for Kennedy, unlike members of the opposition, has additional time to ask a question. Special rules have been put in place to allow 45 seconds. And they were put in place principally for him. And there was 45 seconds of quotes and statements without a question. This is question time and I’m not going to be lectured by the member for Kennedy. The member for Chisholm has the call.

    Meanwhile, in the Senate:

    Peter Whish-WIlson just called George Brandis "senator Brand-Arse" then apologised saying "that's just how I pronounce it" #auspol #SenateQT

    Malcom Turnbull returns to answer a Bill Shorten question on whether or not Kerry Schott, talking to Lateline overnight, was correct when she said: “I don’t think anybody can guarantee a price reduction.”

    This is taken as an attack on Schott. Because of course it is.

    Kerry Shott is one of our nation’s greatest public servants, energy experts, economists, mathematicians, and what she said on Lateline is absolutely correct and what honourable members opposite know is the case.

    The fact of the matter is this: As she said, and as we know,there are many impacts on a household’s electricity bill. Wholesale prices are one important factor. But there’s also the matter of the price of fuel, which is not affected by this policy. The price of gas.

    Scott Morrison gets a dixer and, in his answer, appears surprised that the opposition, would, well, oppose something the government has put forward:

    Yesterday, we said yes to providing certainty for investment in boosting energy supply through the national energy guarantee that will make power more affordable, more reliable and achieve our environmental commitments. Business and industry have said yes to that, Mr Speaker. Economists have said yes to that, Mr Speaker. The chief scientist has said yes, Mr Speaker, to the national energy guarantee.

    What has Labor done again? Labor has said no. Labor have no plans for investment certainty, they only have a plan to say no, Mr Speaker, on every single occasion as this government works to drive investment that support jobs,that supports certainty, that support higher-paid jobs and that support a growing economy, Mr Speaker.

    It’s official– the government has decided on its three-word sell.

    Affordable ✅ Reliable ✅ Responsible ✅
    WATCH the PM on @TheTodayShow pic.twitter.com/cXDafferXo

    Barnaby Joyce is his usual healthy shade of beetroot but Turnbull’s voice is already starting to fade. That’s the problem with the non-stop sell. Someone might need to pass him a Soother.

    The Labor backbench is not as rowdy as the Coalition, as yet. But it is only just warming up. Turnbull takes a dixer on energy and gets to use his smartest people in the room quote again. One would assume he includes Alan Finkel in that, given that he is the chief scientist. We move on to Mark Butlerand the affordability aspect of the Neg:

    Last night when asked whether she would personally guarantee to the people of Australia that their energy bills will be cheaper in three years’ time under the prime minister’s latest energy policy, the chair of the Energy Security Board said: “I don’t think anybody can guarantee a price reduction.” When the chair of the government’s Energy Security Board can’t guarantee that energy prices will fall for households, why should the Australian people believe the prime minister’s so-called guarantee?

    One thing we can guarantee is that if you impose a $66bn subsidy on the Australian energy sector, and you get the taxpayers to pay for that, you can guarantee that electricity bills will be higher. If you continue to ignore the lead for dispatchable base-load power you will get more blackouts and then you will get more volatility.

    We know how this Labor horror movie goes. It’s been playing in South Australia for years. We know what it does. They have no conception of the engineering and the economics that we need to deliver a reliable and affordable energy plan.

    The lols are coming early this question time. Bill Shorten opens with a question on the Coalition’s “latest energy policy” but can’t get it all the way out, because Josh Frydenberg is laughing harder than a middle-aged man watching Monty Python.

    Malcolm Turnbull, obviously feeling the Halloween spirit, gets a little supernatural with his answer.

    Earlier today the leader of the opposition stood in front of some solar panels. And for a little while he was talking sense and then a beam of sunlight struck the panel and he was transformed, not into a werewolf but an economic fantasist.

    This is what he said. Renewable energy is getting cheaper – he did. He said it’s correct to say we have been moving down the renewable energy path and we are seeing the benefits and he said it needs to be subsidised!

    Question time is almost upon us.

    Taking a look at the morning’s events, energy will once again be the name of the game. But with the telecommunication ombudsman report, the NBN will most likely get a go as well.

    You’ll find the amendments Gareth Hutchens had mentioned on the citizenship bill here.

    People are reacting very seriously to the allegations Andrew Wilkie raised in parliament this morning.

    Vic gambling regulator STATEMENT: "We take any claims of this type extremely seriously and they will be thoroughly investigated." pic.twitter.com/Bfc3SaVHb4

    It looks as though Peter Dutton’s controversial citizenship bill will be struck from the Senate notice paper this evening.

    Last month the Senate voted to give Dutton until today to bring his bill on for debate in the Senate because they were tired of him telling voters how crucial his bill was while simultaneously withholding it from the Senate so it couldn’t be debated.

    Christian Porteris defending the government’s planned welfare reforms. You may remember from earlier this morning (which already seems a lifetime ago) the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, slammed the proposed welfare drug testing trial and said it was stigmatising social security recipients.

    If the real goal is to reduce the use of illegal drugs, why start with the poorest members of society? Will there also be a policy designed to drug test and crack down on the well-to-do who spend far more on drugs, and receive all sorts of tax deductions, social security payments and other government benefits? Or is it only the poorest whose drug use the government feels it should punish through social security-based measures?

    We’ve got 100,000 people who don’t do the right thing in the system, overwhelming two-thirds of people either don’t miss any appointments over six months, or they miss one, and they tend to move off the payment very quickly, but what we have identified is the present complexities and slackness of the compliance system means we have 100,000 people who routinely miss important things like job interviews, and they get stuck on the payment. So it is a very complicated, long and important piece of legislation. I am very confident that almost all of it will go through the Senate. Obviously the contentious issue is testing drugs in welfare recipients and to mandate treatment and it is no secret that there has been some opposition to that... I think government should be able to try things new things in the welfare space by virtue of the fact that a lot of the old approaches simply don’t work.

    Over at the Press Club and Brendan O’Connor is addressing the impact of the gig economy on industrial relations and how Labor plans on dealing with it:

    Federal Labor is examining exactly what we should be doing for people who are selling their labour on particular digital platforms. Recently, we have had Airtasker negotiate with unions in New South Wales a better deal for people who are using Airtasker to find work. Labor hasn’t settled on exactly what we need to do but we will apply the values that we apply to our public policy generally. We should embrace technology but we have to ensure it is not used to obviate obligations under particular laws, to undermine people’s rights and that includes industrial rights. We have a long way to go. Not only in this country. I think globally a long way to go to tackle the complexity of what is happening with the use of technology, exemplified by Uber. We will have more to say about that before the election but it is a complex area of law and I am examining other jurisdictions as to how they are approaching it.

    Didn’t vote? You’re one of 1 million enrolled Australians who didn’t take up their democratic right and legal obligation in the same-sex marriage postal survey. AAP reports the Australian Electoral Commission’s latest annual report found a 46% increase since the 2013 election in people not voting, with the lowest turn out, 91%, since compulsory voting began in 1925.

    Julie Bishop has confirmed Australian forces have played a role in the recapture of Raqqa, which served as the Islamic State capital for some time.

    AAP reports Bishop confirmed the Royal Australian Airforce provided support as part of the international coalition, but added there were complexities:

    The Syrian city of Raqqa and at least 90% of territory held by Isis in Iraq has been taken back by coalition forces. About 80 Australians fighting for Isis in Iraq and Syria have been killed in the conflict and the government continues to track the movements of another 110 believed to be in the field.But as Isis forces flee south, entrenched conflicts between Iraqi and Kurdish forces have been reignited in Kirkuk and Sinjar. This is deeply troubling and it’s an example of the layers of complexity in Syria and Iraq.

    Scott Morrison took the Turnbull government’s message to Queensland, telling the ABC Brisbane audience the state’s Labor government’s 50% renewables target was “nuts”. That should definitely help bring Queensland on board at Coag.

    He also explained exactly what the Neg was designed to do.

    It works like this. You walk into the shopfront of a retailer – put it in that context – Origin, AGL, whoever it might happen to be. What they have to do, they have to buy energy from the system from all the producers, the wholesalers and others – which a) delivers on a reliability standard which is set by the Energy Market Operator and provides a portfolio of energy that meets the emissions reduction target. So, when you’re buying your energy, you know you’re getting a product which meets both reliability and meets Australia’s environmental obligations. So, this actually does deliver on the trifecta of affordability, of reliability and environmental obligations. So you get rid of the subsidies out of the system – and the reason you can do that is they’re no longer necessary, the price of renewables has come down, they can now compete on their own two feet as they should. So the energy retailers will find that the cheapest way of getting that energy package together to provide to you the customer.

    Over at the National Press Club, Brendan O’Connor is giving a speech on workplace relations.

    Here’s his opening:

    We cannot tackle inequality or build a future of inclusive prosperity unless Australia has a workplace relations system that is both productive and fair. We have to both address the challenges in the labour market that exist now and prepare for what is coming.

    Essential to that task is striking the right balance of power between workers and employers. The tilt of bargaining power away from workers and to employers has gone too far.

    Another question time strategy hint from Labor, with Mark Butler discussing the chief scientist.

    I think Alan Finkel should be congratulated with his work over the last months, taking advice from experts overseas and through process developed a comprehensive plan. Malcolm Turnbull has turned his back on that plan. Yes, at the end of the day, Alan Finkel said there needs to be an orderly mechanism to combine climate and energy policy and he then said the clean energy target was the best mechanism. He said it was the mechanism that would deliver the best outcome for households on power prices and Josh Frydenberg reflected that when he did his presentation to the Coalition party room. He [had] a slide that said the clean energy target will lower prices. Malcolm Turnbull reflected that. The problem for us all is that Tony Abbott vetoed it and again Malcolm Turnbull ended up capitulating to Tony Abbott.

    The clean energy target is not a headline item. It is bullet point number two of three bullet points. It is not even introduced as a clean energy target, it is introduced as the need for a credible mechanism and there are multiple ways of achieving a credible mechanism.

    As promised...

    Also undetected yesterday because of the focus on energy, Peter Dutton told party room colleagues he would amend the citizenship package.

    Stay tuned: we are hearing there is movement on the citizenship reforms after all. We shall have those details with you as soon as we can.

    We are moving quickly today, so please stay with me while I try and keep up.

    The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, is moving forward on the ABC reforms he promised to One Nation as part of the deal for their support on the media reforms.

    The Turnbull government will today introduce legislative reforms to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Act to enhance the ABC’s commitment to rural and regional Australia and require its news services to be fair and balanced.

    The Australian Broadcasting Corporation Amendment (Rural and Regional Measures) Bill 2017will implement reforms championed by Senator Bridget McKenzie to enshrine a formal commitment to rural and regional Australia in the ABC’s charter. The bill also requires the ABC to consult on changes affecting rural and regional audiences, through the establishment of a regional advisory council.

    Turning my Eye of Sauron outside the Canberra bubble for just a moment (I know, I know, I should get out more) the former Greens leader Bob Brown has had a win in the high court.

    Here is a bit from Michael Slezak’s report, which you’ll find here:

    Meanwhile Julie Bishop has announced a new consul general to Istanbul, Jeffie Kaine.

    The Australian consulate general in Istanbul plays a significant role in fostering trade and investment between Turkey and Australia. Istanbul is the business and finance capital of Turkey. It generates almost one quarter of Turkey’s GDP and accommodates one fifth of Turkey’s population of almost 80 million. Istanbul is a popular destination for Australian travellers and a gateway to the Gallipoli peninsula.

    Our enduring relationship with Turkey is grounded in our shared experience at the Gallipoli battles of World War I and covers a broad range of areas including Anzac commemorations, cooperation on counter-terrorism and participation in the MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia) forum.

    While we’ve all been focused on energy (or perhaps that’s just me), trouble has broken out inside the government on another front. This fight is over plans to regulate the salary and appointment of banking executives, which is one of the things the government is doing to hold off calls for a royal commission into the banks.

    The veteran Liberal MP Russell Broadbentkicked up a stink about this package in the Coalition party room meeting yesterday, and is reserving his rights, which means he might cross the floor to vote against the change.

    Andrew Wilkie is speaking more about the allegations he has tabled in the parliament this morning, regarding Crown casino. He won’t go further into the allegations during the press conference because parliamentary privilege does not extend to the Senate courtyard and press conferences. But Wilkie, a whistleblower himself, says he is also not going to do anything which could identify the group which have come forward to him.

    He’s calling for a parliamentary inquiry into the allegations and wants the Victorian government and the federal government to investigate what has gone on.

    I’m not going to talk to the specific allegations: You know where to find them in the Hansard record if you’re interested in seeing them. What I will say is that the three whistleblowers who have approached me, I’ve met them – I’ve confirmed their identity, and I think that the allegations have enough weight to them that we should take them seriously, and they should be investigated.

    It’s now up to the federal government and the Victorian state government to take strong and immediate action. The federal government because some of the allegations would involve breaches of federal law, and obviously the Victorian government because the allegations, if true, would indicate breaches of Victorian law. So, I’m now looking to the prime minister and to the premier to find out what they’re going to do about these very serious allegations. Clearly there needs to be some sort of inquiry by the relevant law enforcement and regulatory agencies and I’m also looking to the parliament to form some sort of parliamentary inquiry into these allegations, and perhaps more broadly than just Crown casino, just to be able to reassure ourselves that if these allegations are true, that at least they’re limited to Crown seen know, but we will wait and see.

    Related:Hooked: how pokies are designed to be addictive

    Back to the politics.

    Bill Shorten is at the Mt Majura solar farm, with about half the Labor shadow cabinet (that may be a slight exaggeration, but with Mark Butler, Chris Bownand Andrew Leigh, joining him, it’s quite crowded)

    What we saw yesterday was Turnbull energy policy 72.0. The latest attempt, as they go from crisis to crisis with an energy policy. Just a few weeks ago we were told by the prime minister a clean energy target “would certainly work” Josh Frydenberg told us it would reduce electricity prices. A few weeks before that just in the last session, we were told that the answer to Australia’s energy needs was to keep the Liddell power station open, the coal-fired power station, words that don’t utter their lips anymore. T

    The prime minister says it is about engineering and, but it’s about party politics. What is particularly concerning is the lack of modelling which goes with this policy. I’ve seen more thorough modelling in a high school economics essay than the government has been able to produce this far. Particularly scary is the fact that the treasurer said this morning the Labor party has all the information that the government has. Well, I tell you what, that means the government has no information, no modelling at their disposal.

    Related:Malcolm Turnbull is playing a losing hand on energy policy | Peter Lewis

    Before the politics gets in the way again, here’s a bit of what Malcolm Turnbull told our Invictus Games team:

    It’s good to see so many of you again. Last time we met we were in Sydney with Prince Harry and you’ve been hanging out with him at the Invictus Games where you’ve been so successful.

    It’s great to see you again Gary. You kept Julie Bishop – Julie Bishop is here – you were part of our close personal protection team in Afghanistan years ago, not long before you suffered your injuries in the Black Hawk crash. And you kept us safe. You put your life on the line with your comrades to keep us safe there as you all do and have done every day.

    I want you to know, just as the prime minister has said, on behalf of all Australians – that by returning from adversity, by returning from places which many Australians will never have to go, coming through that storm, that difficulty and that uncertainty – coming through the other side – you served your country again, by your inspiration.

    You are proof of the human spirit’s boundless resilience. I want you to know how many people you give hope to by your effort. They mightn’t always get the chance to tell you, but trust me, you give a lot of people, a lot of hope. And you are also a reminder of the duty that we owe all of those who’ve served, the duty to support the men and women of the ADF and their families.

    Wilkie has released a statement ahead of his press conference:

    Today very serious allegations have been levelled at the poker machine industry.

    Although the allegations focus on Crown in Melbourne, they could also suggest a broader pattern of behaviour in the poker machine industry, which would obviously have grave implications for people right around Australia, including in my electorate of Denison.

    Andrew Wilkiehas set off a small explosion in the House, tabling allegations from whistleblowers and using parliamentary privilege to allege “illegal machine tampering” at Victoria’s Crown casino, and worse.

    We’ll bring you more on that as soon as we can. But here is a little of what he said in parliament this morning.

    Although the allegations focus on Crown in Melbourne, they also suggest a broader pattern of misbehaviour in the poker machine industry and that obviously has grave implications for people right around Australia, including in my electorate in Denison. For example the whistleblowers allege illegal machine tampering, including the disabling of the lower debt options and the modifying of buttons to allow prohibited autoplay. Both of which increase... losses. There’s software manipulating to increase gambler losses even further, in particular on weekends when the number of naive first time and casual users is obviously greater. I am horrified to recount that the Victorian commission for gaming and liquor regulation has allegedly done nothing to stop this shocking criminal misconduct. Indeed, according to the whistleblowers, in some cases the commission is clearly complicit in covering it up. Regrettably, the alleged misconduct at Crown is not limited to poker machines. Indeed, the whistleblowers also allege the casino avoids Austrack scrutiny of individuals involved in transactions over $10,000 by sometimes tolerating and even encouraging the misuse of identity documents. If these allegations are true, then Crown would be facilitating money laundering for any number of nefarious reasons for tax fraud, drug running and even terrorism.

    My, my, my Malcolm Turnbull has been a busy man today.

    He has just “gatecrashed” the Polished Man event staged by Josh Frydenberg and Fisher MP Andrew Wallace.

    Back to the NBN, which is emerging as one of the bigger sleeper issues and is set to get bigger as more and more people are connected. The communications minister, Mitch Fifield, has responded to the latest complaint figures:

    The TIO report shows that overall complaints about the NBN represent just 1% of the 2.4 million users connected to the NBN. (27,000 complaints out of 2.4 million connected NBN users at June 30, 2017)

    The rise in complaints remains broadly in line with the rate of the NBN rollout. (121% increase in premises connected to the NBN, compared to a 159% increase in complaints).

    Australia’s Invictus Games team has been honoured at a reception at Parliament House, which allowed for a bit of human interaction between Malcolm Turnbulland Bill Shorten.

    Meanwhile, Chris Bowen said Labor would be “the adults in the room” (although the room at this stage is looking like an adult daycare) when it came to energy policy.

    Well what’s very clear is that the government is scrambling. We have policy on the run, we have an energy policy being put together with strings and Band-Aids. What is very clear and has been publicly confirmed by the Energy Security Board is that this policy that is being put together by the government has no modelling, we have no guarantees as has been made clear, and that this is being cobbled together in a desperate attempt to stop the Liberal party room going into meltdown and so that we can have an attempt, the latest attempt, at energy policy in Australia.

    Now this is a government which has believed in an emissions intensity scheme and then didn’t, within days. It is a government which told us the clean energy target would “undoubtedly work” and that it would put downward pressure on prices and reduce energy prices, and yesterday scrapped it. Now, all of a sudden, everybody is meant to automatically and suddenly agree that the government has got it right this time, on their 72nd approach – their 72nd attempt at energy policy in Australia.

    Bill Shorten and Mark Butler have plans for a press conference at a solar farm today, so you can see where Labor is taking this debate.

    Meanwhile, the prime minister is maintaining his (slightly annoyed) line to anyone who would question the national energy guarantee. From his doorstop press conference this morning:

    Labor’s regional communications spokesman, Stephen Jones, has also had a swipe at the NBN rollout, in the wake of the latest telecommunications ombudsman complaint report.

    Well it’s not OK. The people of Australia, the small businesses of Australia, are fed up with the government. The brags about its NBN project seems deaf to the complaints about what’s really going on. Missed appointments, connections that don’t work, services that don’t work. People are paying for a service that they simply aren’t getting and, when they try and raise a complaint, then they get the NBN ping-pong. They get bounced between the phone companies and the NBN – nobody taking responsibility.

    Paul Karp has a bit more on the Newspoll results on the marriage equality postal survey and what it all means:

    On Tuesday the Labor caucus resolved to push for Liberal senator Dean Smith’s private member’s bill to be used to legislate marriage equality as soon as possible if the yes vote wins.

    Turnbull this morning — would be pleased with Yes vote but "above all" sees turnout as vindication of postal survey policy pic.twitter.com/tJl498hdUj

    Just on Senate business, for those playing along at home, you may notice Peter Dutton’s citizenship reforms are well down the list. That’s a pretty big indication the Senate won’t be getting to them today, before the scheduled close of business just after 7pm. Which usually wouldn’t be a problem, except the pesky Greens, along with Labor, have passed a motion that gave the bill a deadline of close of business today, to be debated or struck from the paper. With the Nick Xenophon Team holding firm against the changes, telling the government to go back to the drawing board, it doesn’t look like Dutton’s changes will become reality anytime soon.

    The bells are ringing, signalling parliament is about to officially begin for the day.

    The House schedule can be found here.

    Looking outside of energy for a moment, the Senate has the government’s welfare reforms listed for debate today – they would be the ones that introduce the drug-testing trials.

    It is safe to say that the current UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Prof Philip Alston, is not a fan of the policy.

    The Australian government is conflating social protection and drug enforcement policies in a way that is counter-productive, unless the main goal is to stigmatise social security recipients. If the real goal is to reduce the use of illegal drugs, why start with the poorest members of society? Will there also be a policy designed to drug test and crack down on the well-to-do who spend far more on drugs, and receive all sorts of tax deductions, social security payments and other government benefits? Or is it only the poorest whose drug use the government feels it should punish through social security-based measures?

    As predicted, Labor has honed in on the “affordability” aspect of the national energy guarantee.

    Tanya Plibersektold Sky Labor would take a look at the policy but added:

    What kind of government proposes something as big and serious as this without doing any modelling and without doing a regulatory impact statement? I think it is a shambles and it is driven by their internal problems. I think they wanted to announce this much later this year but Tony Abbott has put pressure on them with his outbursts in public and so they’ve gone too soon without any modelling or regulatory impact statement.

    Has anyone looked up defensive in the dictionary lately?

    Here is a snippet of the AM interview between Sabra Lane and Malcolm Turnbull this morning.

    Side note – so far, well, at least as far as I can tell, government ministers have avoided calling it the Neg. It’s “the policy” or “what we are doing”. Take from that what you will.

    The treasurer, Scott Morrison, has also been sent out on the front lines and he’s been just as defensive as you would expect. Asked about the saving figures, which work out, best-case scenario, to about $2 a week (sometime between 2020-2030) he told the ABC the Neg needed to be considered with all the other changes the government has made.

    “This is not the only thing the government is doing. This increases certainty. In addition to that, we’ve got the initiatives on gas, to secure gas for Australian domestic demand, the work we’ve done with the retailers, the work we’ve done on reforming the regulation. All of this means people are getting discounts now that they wouldn’t have got a year ago, two years ago because of the work the government is doing. On top of that, always a relative choice. People will always pick what the Labor party is saying which has a 45% emissions reduction target and which would require $66bn worth of subsidies that you don’t need to pay to meet our environmental obligations that we’ve set out at 26%... There is a great light that has been shone on this. Australians have a clear choice: they can pay more for electricity under Bill Shorten or they can have lower prices under Malcolm Turnbull and the investment certainty that goes with it, that meets the environmental obligations. It’s a clear choice.

    To a sleeper issue now, but one which is annoying a lot *buffering* of, of, of *buffering* people.

    The telecommunications industry ombudsman has released the latest complaint figures for 2016-17, which Labor’s communications spokeswoman, Michelle Rowland,described as a “damming indictment” of the government’s roll out of the NBN.

    Just a fact of life, it is a bit like television. If you’ve got hardly any viewers, you won’t get a lot of complaints. With NBN, what we have now got, it is true. What we have now got is about 3 million people are actively connected on to the network. We are connecting more people every 10 days than Labor did in six years. So you get a lot more customers, they are rolling on and around 30,000, 40,000 a week. Clearly you are going to get more complaints but you know what? We aim to have 100% satisfaction. Can’t be achieved, I know that, but the goal is to ensure that the installation experience is a good one and obviously that people are satisfied with the service when they get it.

    The prime minister is also facing residual questions over Tony Abbott’sreluctance to accept the policy.

    Here was his response to that on Sunrise:

    We didn’t adopt the clean energy target. If we wanted to, we would have. We had reservations about it and what we have now is a recommendation from the energy security board which consists of the leaders of our energy market regulators and operators, the smartest people in the room, these other experts that everyone is telling us to listen to, this is where you find the engineering and the economics that is the guide to my government’s energy policy. The day of slogans, ideology and politics, we should put it behind us... Industry has recognised on a truly rational and objective approach, a level playing field backed by engineering and economics.

    Malcolm Turnbull is talking to Sabra Lane on ABC and is getting very defensive over the average saving figure and whether the government can guarantee it. The short version is, it can’t. But he has turned any questioning of that figure into an attack on the experts on the energy security board. That started yesterday, when Turnbull attacked Bill Shorten for “disrespecting” those on the board, when the figure was queried.

    All we have here is a calculation from the ESB. It has promised to do more modelling before Coag but, at the moment, the government can only point to a few lines. It says that should be enough. But given the amount of attention the government has focused on the affordability aspect during the power wars, it is not something that is going to go away anytime soon.

    The energy and environment minister, Josh Frydenberg, has attacked the states for expressing criticism of the national energy guarantee.

    “It’s bizarre for them to be openly critical when they don’t have the detail,” he told Radio National.

    The Neg is alive and the government has embarked on a sell that could teach Hollywood studio bosses a thing or two.

    The energy minister, Josh Frydenberg, was up before the sun hitting the airwaves with his brief of “affordability, reliability and responsibility”, the message having been slightly tweaked overnight to acknowledge the environment.

    What I am saying to everyone and to the premiers who sit around the table at our meetings; you appointed the energy security board. You appointed them as they are smart and you wanted that advice. They have given us the advice, why don’t we listen to it and follow it? Why don’t we listen to the experts we asked for advice knowing that this will mean energy is more affordable, more reliable and we will still be able to meet emission reduction commitments under the Paris treaty?

    I did ring him before party room and was upfront about [what the policy can do] and asked him to keep an open mind.

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  • What is the national energy guarantee and is it really a game changer?

    Politics editor Katharine Murphy explains what the Coalition’s new policy could achieve and what might stand in its way

    Climate and energy policy is confusing, and it’s been a toxic mess for more than a decade. Malcolm Turnbull says his national energy guarantee is a “game changer” and represents genuine opportunity to end the climate wars. So what is this policy, and is the prime minister right?

    Related:Malcolm Turnbull convinces party to unite on energy policy

    It is a carbon price … with a market mechanism to deliver emissions reduction. It’s just not very transparent

    Related:Malcolm Turnbull is playing a losing hand on energy policy | Peter Lewis

    Related:Coalition balks on Finkel target but will unveil energy and emissions policy

    A target of 26% on 2005 levels by 2030 for electricity suggests we really aren’t serious about meeting the Paris commitment

    Related:Dumping clean energy target is 'dealbreaker' for Labor's support

    Continue reading...
  • Winds have generated power for centuries | Brief letters
    Walsall’s heyday | Wind power | Elon Musk’s Hyperloop | Today programme | Worst deal ever

    “Walsall was never a pretty town”, according to Roy Boffy (Letters, 16 October); this may be true now but has not always been the case. Its handsome villas and public buildings were remarked on in 1834 by William White in The History, Gazeteer and Directory of Staffordshire and he believed it needed to yield to no other town in Staffordshire in beauty and elegance. During the 19th century, Walsall added more civic buildings, many built to help improve the life of working people. The 20th and 21st century have not been kind to the town but that is not a reason to forget its history.
    Cathy Schling
    London

    • Regarding Paula Cocozza’s article on “the resource that could power the world” (G2, 15 October), let us not forget that wind has indeed already powered the world in the political and economic sense, powering the sailing ships of naval and merchant fleets that set up the European empires that dominated the pre-20th-century globe.
    Beth Cresswell
    Hightown, Merseyside

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  • Malcolm Turnbull convinces party to unite on energy policy

    Prime minister wins party room backing despite Tony Abbott bid for delay, but policy may be resisted by states

    Malcolm Turnbull has secured party room backing to impose new reliability and emissions reduction guarantees on energy retailers and large energy users from 2020.

    But the emissions reduction trajectory, the most internally sensitive component of the reform, will require new legislation, and the government has been advised to implement the new scheme with the support of state governments passing complementary laws – which could render Turnbull’s reworked proposal dead on arrival.

    Related:Tony Abbott's climate frolic is strange and sad – and all about politics | Katharine Murphy

    Related:Coalition defends energy plan by attacking Labor's record – politics live

    Govt announcement an important step, keen to work together to make it work. With bipartisan support, it will provide investment certainty

    The Govt's plan, if well implemented, has the potential to provide greater investor confidence than a more complex CET may have.

    Related:Malcolm Turnbull is playing a losing hand on energy policy | Peter Lewis

    Continue reading...
  • The Guardian Essential Report, 17 October results

    This report summarises the results of a weekly poll conducted by Essential Research with data provided by Your Source. Some questions are repeated regularly (such as political preference and leadership approval), while others are unique to each week and reflect current media and social issues

    Continue reading...
  • Malcolm Turnbull is playing a losing hand on energy policy | Peter Lewis

    There are four main reasons why the government’s latest energy policy will not go down well with the public

    Right now, Malcolm Turnbull is giving his best impression of a poker player about to table a royal flush, but this week’s Essential Report suggests that he’s actually playing a losing hand when it comes to energy policy.

    It says much about the game the prime minister’s been playing over recent months that he appears to be overjoyed with the cards he’s picked up after throwing in the clean energy target. Or maybe that’s just his poker face.

    Related:Coalition's energy policy is here, now for the sell – politics live

    Related:A shift to clean energy will come but politics remain vile until the next election | Simon Holmes à Court

    Continue reading...
  • Coalition balks on Finkel target but will unveil energy and emissions policy

    Guardian Essential poll finds 65% support for doomed target recommended by the chief scientist Alan Finkel

    The Turnbull government is poised to unveil a new energy investment framework that will impose obligations on the electricity sector to reduce emissions consistent with the Paris agreement. It will also create new reliability obligations to ensure there’s enough dispatchable power in the system.

    Cabinet, and the government’s backbench committee on environment and energy, considered the government’s new policy on Monday night before a party room debate slated for Tuesday morning.

    Related:Cabinet meets to discuss Coalition energy plan – as it happened

    Related:The world is going slow on coal, but misinformation is distorting the facts

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  • World petrol demand 'likely to peak by 2030 as electric car sales rise'

    Wood Mackenzie predicts global oil growth will plateau about 2035 – earlier than some previous forecasts

    World petrol demand will peak within 13 years thanks to the impact of electric cars and more efficient engines, energy experts have predicted.

    UK-based Wood Mackenzie said it expected the take-up of electric vehicles to cut gasoline demand significantly, particularly beyond 2025 as the battery-powered cars go mainstream.

    Related:Electric cars key to driving change in UK’s energy supply industry

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  • Indigenous rights 'serious obstacle' to Kinder Morgan pipeline, report says

    Pipeline company downplaying major legal and financial risks of crossing unceded First Nations territory in British Columbia

    The controversial expansion of a pipeline that would carry tar sands crude from Alberta to British Columbia’s coast will be doomed by the rising power of Indigenous land rights.

    That’s the message that Kanahus Manuel, an Indigenous activist from the Secwepemc Nation in central BC, plans to deliver to banks financing the project as she travels through Europe this week.

    Continue reading...

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