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Seasonís greetings Tuvalu, and thank you Mr Kelly

By Jennifer Marohasy - posted Friday, 28 December 2018


Halfway between Hawaii and Australia lies the tiny nation of Tuvalu, which according to popular mythology is slowly disappearing into the Pacific Ocean because of rising sea levels. Except a recent article at the ABC news website correctly explained that in the four decades to 2014, Tuvalu has actually grown by 73 hectares.Add New Article

How can this be? The mainstream news media reporting something factual – even though it contradicts their catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW) meme!

It all began with my favourite federal politician, Craig Kelly MP… a relentless warrior for all that is logical and reasonable.

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Craig Kelly and Jennifer Marohasy in Townsville a couple of years ago.

Mr Kelly always takes a keen interest in the detail of issues that concern his electorate in Sutherland just south of Sydney, and his objective of late has been fair electricity prices. This objective resulted in something of an obsession by Mr Kelly with the draft National Energy Guarantee legislation – the NEG. In fact, this objective, that became a concern, that developed into an obsession, brought down a Prime Minister. It also caused the ABC Fact Check team to take an interest in his speeches and recently declare him correct, at least on the issue of Tuvalu.

Let me begin this story on 13th August when then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull insisted that a meeting of the Coalition's Energy and Environment Committee, which is chaired by Craig Kelly, be in the prime minister's cabinet room in his presence at 9pm that Monday night … rather than as usual at 8am in a standard committee room, immediately before the usual party room meeting which is at 9am on the Tuesdays that federal parliament is sitting.

The NEG legislation had been in development for over one year, but Mr Kelly had only ever been given one-page summaries. From these, early in 2018, Mr Kelly had understood that the Paris Target would be for 2030 and could be backloaded, so much of the emissions reduction could be, for example, in a decade's time after the ever-promised improvement in the reliability and price of renewable sources of energy. Further, there would be no interim target, and the cost of the intermittency of the generators would be borne by the intermittent generators themselves. This meant that those ostensibly providing electricity to the grid were obliged to provide it when called upon, or else they would pay a penalty. These points were all important provisions in the draft legislation that Mr Kelly had lobbied for.

Then, there was rumbling that there would be an interim target, and that there could even be an annual emissions reduction target … that the Prime Minister was requesting as much.

This was in perhaps June, and Mr Kelly protested. "We don't need to make Paris more onerous than it already is," he complained to his parliamentary colleagues.

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Mr Kelly became further concerned when it became apparent in July that the cost of the intermittency of generation could be borne by the large industrial users. That is, when the wind didn't blow the bigger manufacturers would need their own backup … their own diesel generators.

These were all concerns that Mr Kelly made known to Mr Turnbull. But most importantly, he wanted to see the actual legislation – the text, the detail.

The meeting of the Energy and Environment Committee that Monday night – held in the room normally reserved for the Cabinet, and most unusually attended by the Prime Minister – lasted about two hours. By the end of it, seven members said they would support the Prime Minister and the legislation. Former Prime Minister Tony Abbot, now a backbencher and a new member of that committee, said he was opposed to it. Queensland Liberal-National MP Ken O'Dowd said he was undecided. That was also the position of Mr Kelly: he insisted that before he could endorse the NEG he needed to see the fine print – he needed more than a one-page summary.

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This article was first published at JenniferMarohasy.com.



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About the Author

Jennifer Marohasy is a senior fellow with the Institute for Public Affairs.

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