Friday 8 October 2021

The Phoney War.

Matt Canavan, unlikely fashion trend-setter,
cosplaying here as a worker. Rioters who
vandalised the CFMEU Melbourne offices and
clashed with cops a few weeks back eventually
adopted the same look. Très chic! Source

The Liberal-National civil war on climate change action among the two COALition parties ruling Down Under is on. Overseas readers – and maybe less-attentive Aussie ones – might benefit from a brief summary.


Although the same conflict probably exists at the state and territory levels, and indeed people like Matt Kean (current Liberal NSW State Treasurer and former Minister for the Environment) appear as strong supporters of climate change action, the media identifies two warring factions at a federal level: the Deniers and the Moderates.

The Deniers are typically said to include Barnaby “Chinless Wonder” Joyce (the Nationals leader and Deputy PM), Matt Canavan, George “Member for Manila” Christensen, Gerard Rennick, and Bridget McKenzie (yes, that one) – largely Nationals from Queensland. Craig “Specialist in Everything” Kelly, until his so far more nominal than real departure from the Liberal Party, was also an active COALition denier. The list now includes Keith Pitt (current Minister for Resources and Water).

The Moderates are mostly Liberal backbench MPs with urban constituencies like Dave Sharma, Fiona Martin, Trent Zimmerman, Julian Leeser, John Alexander, Julian Simmons, Angie Bell, Paul Scarr, Andrew Bragg, Tim Wilson, Katie Allen, Dean Smith, Jason Falinski, Celia Hammond and Bridget Archer, although National Darren Chester is often added together with Treasurer Josh Fraudenberg (Liberal).

An obvious limitation with that categorisation is that it assumes that characters like Scotty from Marketing and other high-ranking federal COALition pollies, like Minister for Defense Peter “Not a Monster” Dutton or Michael “Self-Combusting Piles of Manure” McCormack and David Littleproud, are more or less neutral in that conflict.

That’s a bit of a stretch, isn’t it? That video is from 2015. Tony Abbott was PM and Dutton still looked almost human (read more).


That should do as context.

Twitter seems to be one of the main battlegrounds in the civil war. It’s certainly a high visibility stage for a fight of the century.

An illustrative recent example. On this corner, Matt Canavan, the Mujahideen of Coal. “Deadset” as he is against a net-zero emissions target, Canavan jumps into action, attempting to obfuscate the public:

On the other corner, Jason Falinski, the Reason Kid, strikes back:
Okay. Canavan lets no silly scruples with truth get on the way of his Jihad on behalf of his beloved big mining friends. Scare mongering is only par for the course. Falinski corrects the record. Sounds good, yes?

Another example. Keith Pitt wants to saddle the Commonwealth with stranded assets for an eye-popping equivalent of up to 11% of the Australian economy! Now, I don’t know whether that was just a joke or whether Pitt’s mental health has been affected by the lockdowns or whether that is only a more extreme example of his boundless generosity to polluters, but – given that the IMF’s World Economic Outlook projects Australian GDP to reach US$1,617 billion for 2021 and the current exchange rate of $1.37/US$1 – that’s what he’s asking. Do the math.

You see, Alinta Energy managing director Jeff Dimery – poor, poor thing – had a really hard time refinancing his employer’s Loy Yang B coal power plant. So, by acting as “lender of last resort” for up to $250 billion to projects advancing collaterals bankers refuse to touch with a 10 metre pole, the Commonwealth must do their job for them.

Predictably, the deniers howled their enthusiastic support for such bright idea (Canavan barely stopped before patriotically wrapping himself in the flag and singing Advance Australia Fair, as he shook his fist at those bloody foreign banks), while the moderates (including here Fraudenberg) scorned such madness.

Deputy PM “Chinless Wonder”, who likes to pose as a “country accountant” – therefore, the example of humble, down to earth, sensible man of the people – without explaining how they are going to pay for that, says he is “sympathetic”, but hasn’t shown journalists any spreadsheet (in his defense, I’d say reporters have not asked him that; I think they are too shy).

“Self-Combusting Piles of Manure” and Littleproud also seem inclined to accept that proposal. (I’ll just say: Youse think that’s a good idea? Well, put ya money where ya mouth is. Lend ya own money, mite.)

That makes for good spectacle, doesn’t it? You know a good versus evil thing, smart versus dumb.
Scotty, however, did not dismiss it. It may still happen.

And while everybody’s attention is focused on those “battles”, Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Angus Taylor, and Minister for the Environment, Sussan Ley seem to be MIA or AWOL (journos apparently haven’t missed them). It’s like they had nothing to say about COP26 at all. In at least her case, that seems to be because she’s been too busy quietly approving whatever coal mining project lands on her desk:


All three highly contentious projects to be located in NSW, where Matt Kean – NSW’s supposed climate change champion – used to be Ley’s counterpart. As we say, you beauty!

Too much spectacle, too many headlines, too much noise, too little attention. Albanese and Labor are too stupid to notice that. And the Greens, sadly, trying to focus on everything, end up missing the important. 
With 23 days left before COP26, let’s hope at least foreigners keep a tab.
Morrison’s Australia should be declared a rogue state.

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