Flat White

Is Canberra’s strongest sceptic set for the high jump?

30 May 2018

12:46 PM

30 May 2018

12:46 PM

The Australian parliament is replete with closet-sceptics of human-caused catastrophic global warming. But Craig Kelly actually speaks out on this issue, and he has over the years been particularly active behind-the-scenes. He is now likely to lose the endorsement of his party -– Malcolm Turnbull’s Liberal Party -– and be unable to run as a Liberal candidate at the next election. This is an extraordinary turn-of-events, and along with the recent sacking of university professor Peter Ridd, another indication of the growing intolerance within the Australian political class to any dissent on the issue of climate change.

Without Craig leaning on the Minister currently responsible for the Bureau of Meteorology, Josh Frydenberg, it is doubtful that I would have made any progress last year. Craig understands my issues with the electronic probes – he understands that the Bureau has put in place a measuring system that is likely to artificially generate more record hot days for the same weather. He has communicated this information to his parliamentary colleagues, which may be why at least half of them (on both sides of the house) are sceptical of human-caused catastrophic global warming.

It was also Craig who organized for Bob Carter and me to address a meeting back in October 2015 at Parliament House in Canberra. At the time I wrote that this was perhaps a world first: a meeting at which both government-funded alarmists and credentialed independent sceptics were present and given equal time to present.

Whenever I visit Canberra I am reminded that there are very few who control Australian politics.

I remember on one such visit challenging a member of the Press Gallery to write about some of the really hard issues – he replied that by just asking the questions that I was proposing he would be ejected, he would lose his job. When I challenged him further he invited me to a function that evening and showed me senior members of the Nationals and Labor party doing deals. While they may argue over detail on the floor of parliament when it comes to the big issues the deals are done elsewhere – and by both sides of Australian politics with the big-end of town.

The Australian electricity market might be in a mess, and wholesale prices might have doubled, but nothing is going to be done about it because both the Liberal, National and Labor parties are in the pocket of big business – particularly when it comes to this issue.

Craig has repeatedly pointed out the absurdity of allowing the closure of the Liddell coal-fired power station, and how this will further push-up the price of electricity.

If you think it ridiculous that he could lose his seat in parliament because he has been so-outspoken, that the long-arm of climate politics couldn’t reach this far, then start reading a bit more widely. There is an excellent new book by a professor from the University of Tasmania. In ‘Negotiating Climate Change: A Forensic Analysis’ Aynsley Kellow details how most of the national and international policy frameworks currently in place are about corporate and sectoral energy interests – and how ruthlessly they operate behind the scenes. Science is but a fig-leaf hardly justifying the rampant crony capitalism perhaps best understood in terms of ‘Bootlegger and Baptist’ coalitions.

A friend said to me recently, when are all the closet sceptics going to declare their real position on climate change? I replied when the relatively few who control Australian politics start doing what is virtuous, rather than what is in their political interests.

We know Peter Ridd was recently sacked from James Cook University for suggesting in the most straight-forward way that some of his colleagues may be just making stuff up when it comes to climate change impacts on the Great Barrier Reef.

Now we are about to lose Craig Kelly from the Australian parliament for seeking to understand and subsequently explain in the most straight-forward way to his own colleagues, that the Bureau of Meteorology may be just making stuff up when it comes to every year being hotter than the last. Taking a broader view, it has been explained to me in plain English that:

Before each federal election, sitting members of the Liberal Party need to be re-endorsed by their party.

Craig Kelly is about to be rolled in a factional-stack and be replaced by an ex-Labor mayor for attempting to expose the deceit within national energy politics.

No, that is not a mistake – the Liberal party power brokers are trying to roll-one of their most popular and electorally successful federal members and replace him with an ex-Labor Mayor.

Jennifer Marohasy is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs. She blogs at jennifermarohasy.com, where this piece also appears.

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