What does Make Australia Stupid Again want?

Via the Saturday Paper’s Mike Seccombe:

Clive Palmer is not delusional. Those too-good-to-be-true promises, the 151 hapless, hopeless candidates running in every lower house seat, the risible “shadow minister” titles, have been set up to create the illusion of a serious party with a broad suite of policies and deep interest in the disparate concerns of government.

The evidence suggests they are but a vehicle to harvest the votes of the politically ignorant and marginalised, a cohort described by one political professional as the “up yours” vote. And Palmer’s narrow goal is to ensure a right-wing government that will protect the fossil fuel industry, particularly the interests of coalminers in Queensland’s Galilee Basin, which includes himself.

Palmer’s association with coal and conservative politics goes back decades. He learnt his right-wing populist techniques at the side of the infamous National Party premier of Queensland, Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Later, having made his fortune in real estate and mining, Palmer became one of the biggest donors to the conservative cause in his home state. But the long, cosy relationship busted up spectacularly in 2012, in a dispute with the Liberal National Party government of Campbell Newman over access to the vast coal reserves of the Galilee.

The Galilee Basin is much more than just the proposed Adani mine. It covers some 250,000 square kilometres and has one of the largest unexploited coal deposits on the planet. Nine separate mega-mines have been mooted. The Climate Council has calculated that if all the coal in the Galilee Basin were burned, it would produce 705 million tonnes of carbon dioxide every year – roughly 1.3 times Australia’s total current yearly emissions. Exploitation of the Galilee’s resources would amount to a global climate catastrophe.

The biggest logistical problem for would-be miners in the Galilee is getting the coal to port. The cause of Palmer’s bitter falling-out with the LNP government was a decision to reject his plan for a rail line to carry his coal – and to charge other companies to carry theirs – in preference for two other proposals promoted by rivals: Indian mining giants GVK and Adani.

…the upshot is that if the Morrison government wants to have any hope of stymieing Labor’s policy agenda, much less winning the election, it needs the support of these two fringe parties. Or as Labor’s Penny Wong put it last week, the relationship between Morrison and Palmer amounts to a “marriage of convenience between an ad man and a con man”.

Mind you, Labor will preference Palmer candidates above Liberals in some 80 seats, which takes a lot of sting out of the gibe.

The motivations of the ad man are absolutely clear, but what about the motivations of the other party to that marriage of convenience? Why would a man whose previous parliamentary history demonstrated a studied lack of interest in the affairs of government spend $50 million, $60 million, $70 million – plus another $7 million promised as part payment of Queensland Nickel workers – to buy his way back in? As Bill Shorten suggests, Palmer’s not doing it out of altruism towards the Libs; he expects something in return.

That thing, says Christian Slattery, campaigner for the Australian Conservation Foundation, lies in the Galilee Basin. “He proposes two huge coalmines, one of which would be adjacent to Adani’s Carmichael mine. He has made application to the federal government for approval for that mine.”

According to documents submitted to the federal Department of the Environment and Energy by Palmer’s Waratah Coal, his Alpha North project would involve a series of open-cut and underground mines covering an area of 144,000 hectares, and would produce about 33 per cent more coal than the Adani mine.

The fortunes of Adani and Palmer are linked: Adani’s rail line would facilitate Palmer’s mine, and potentially others, getting coal to port.

The Morrison government is firmly behind the Adani project. Labor has been more cautious in setting out its position. Shorten, who once expressed opposition to Adani, is now evasive, saying his government would be guided by the science, and would not take any action that might involve sovereign risk.

What does Make Australia Stupid Again want? Coal.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the fouding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

Comments

  1. What does Make Australia Stupid Again want? Coal. – well, Make Aus Stupid Again should read Keep Aus Stupid Forever.When have we smartened up? Look at the politicians we keep voting in parliament.
    But Clive wants? To keep us stupid.

    • Stupid is better than evil (LNP) and the party welcoming an invasion (ALP). Stupid is looking quite attractive.

  2. The lack of climate change discussion in this campaign is genuinely sad. Ironically, our swift extinction will see us turned into the very thing that caused our demise…a fossilized geological layer of carbon, and Clive will make for a particularly combustible lump of it.

    • We had a climate change discussion a few years back, and action in fact, it cost the Labor government office because we the smart people of Aus didn’t want to know about it. Sure all us intelligent Aussies support action on climate change as long as it doesn’t cost us anything, well 10 of billions in lost revenue will have a bigger flow on cost per ca-pita than the carbon tax was ever going to.

      • Add that Aussies only support climate action if they don’t have to change their overconsumptive habits either. Look how popular large houses, SUVs and trucks are as well as ridiculously overpackaged manufactured food consumption. No one gives a s**t really.

      • mild colonialMEMBER

        i particularly love when people appeal to caring about our children or grandchildren. i have never seen this tactic work in my life.

      • mild colonialMEMBER

        but it will be interesting to see how Port Augutta, at 49 degrees this summer, votes.

  3. The likes of Clive Palmer and Barnaby Joyce ought to be plucked ducks by now.

    But this is Australia, so I look forward to the day when either of these chancers becomes the first President of the Republic.

    • No – an Oxymoron is 2 words that contradict each other like um lets see, oh yeah, like “Honest Politician”

    • kodiakMEMBER

      Exactly. And no, Australia isn’t lazy. The people are as stupid as you’ll find anywhere on earth.

  4. Excellent piece by Mike Seccombe.

    Are voters really so credulous as to accept the Palmer horsesh!t? Preferences will flow to the LNP so unless they get their greed and anti-science neolib fetish under control then we’re in trouble.

    • The politicians from the major parties have forgotten how to convey something simply and clearly. The press in Australia have forgotten how to call the politicians out on nonsense. There was a massive hole and Palmer has managed to fit himself into it very snugly indeed. I used to see his billboards when caught in traffic in Melbourne. They were big, bright and were designed to get people right when they were bothered. It was well done. The other impressive aspect is that he started the campaign well before the election was called. The advertising campaign has done a good job of wiping what memory people may have of him.

      • People are sick of being lied to and treated like fools, like Bill who tells NQ he supports Adani and then within 7 dyas is in Batman stating he doesn’t support Adani, and then comes back up north during the election and says he does support Adani

      • Palmer is still lying to people and treating them like fools. He’s just doing it in a more effective manner.

  5. I don’t get how Labor can justify a deal with Palmer, are they really that similar? It just makes me think maybe I should not put Labor above LNP or UAP, which is what I was going to do. I actually like Palmer’s ads/policies but of course he’ll likely be a very part time senator & we know his true reasons so doubt whether he’ll really be standing up for Aus.

    There can’t be enough water to sustain all those mines can there? If they suck that much up QLD will sink!

    • Hi Zulu, The Carmichael mine at least is not actually using that much ground water it is estimated to be under 1 Gigalitre pa, and what they are using is not from the GAB, despite what the lunatic greens are saying, Did you know Roxby Downs and Prominent hill are using GAB water? over 20 Gigalitres every year

      • Oh, I was under their impression they would only use water from GAB as not enough above ground. Didn’t know about other mines, didn’t think there were any other mines in that area. Yeah, I’m not across all the issues being a Syd boy, but like a lot of other city folk it’s going to influence who I vote for here.

      • Carmichael is not in the GAB, the aquifer Carmichael is in is separated from the GAB by the Rewan formation, in a worst case scenario there may be small amount leakage between the 2 aquifers but Adani have committed to capping sufficient free flowing bores (drilled by farmers and agriculturalists) in the GAB to overcompensate for any water used. Perhaps you could think about the Billions in royalties and the police and nurses that pays for when considering who you vote for ? But I’m afraid the Greens well funded mis-information campaign will say a lot of people who believe their crap.

  6. robert2013MEMBER

    Last time when Palmer got in, I heard and interview with him on the radio saying one of his important goals was to get ordinary people into parliament. I applauded him for that. If that’s still a motivation for him, then I wish him and his candidates the very best.

      • Indeed. To paraphrase that great wit, Winston Churchill:
        “Clive Palmer is an ordinary man. Indeed he has a lot to feel ordinary about”

    • “one of his important goals was to get ordinary people into parliament. ”

      At least he’s aiming higher than ON.

  7. lets see, the choices are One nation, the loonie greens, Scomo 2 faced Bill, or Palmer? Well I’ve already voted and yes Clive got my vote, not because I trust him but because I know if he gets into the senate his self interest will ensure he does everything he can to get the Galilee across the line. Regardless of what you morons think about coal we are economically Fk’d without the royalties and wages from the coal industry, especially here in Queensland. They had an article in Saturdays paper stating patients had waited up to 24 hrs to be seen in the SE’s emergency departments, and that is with the more than 4 billion pumped into the states coffers from COAL royalties, imagine stripping that 4 billion out, the doors to the emergency dept would be closed. And just to reiterate previous posts, this has NOTHING to do with climate change, the coal WILL be burnt regardless of who digs it up, just ask Adani’s competitor TATA power who gave up on the Galilee, they have done a deal with the Russians who are that keen to sell their coal they are building the roads and port infrastructure for free, this is about jobs and royalties.not climate change.

    • Jevons ghostMEMBER

      And since you are troubled by hospital emergency departments being swamped by people seeking re-assurance, why not get the local poohbahs to co-locate a LARGE after-hours general practice staffed by local GPs and triage the worriers through to them. Works a treat in Newcastle.

  8. So now its climate change instead of global warming..
    The climate has always changed. Ice age etc. Mostly to do with sun activity.
    The new daily is supported by labor or unions? The biggest catastrophe is endless Australia an d world population growth.

    All you labor and lib supporters need your heads read. How on earth can we reduce carbon by increasing population?
    Australia isn’t mature enough to even consider nuclear fmd

    • Ca-ching, Wow now you have really hit the nail on the head, that is the elephant in the room, unmitigated exponential population growth. even if we reduced carbon emissions by 20% today we would still be putting more carbon into the atmosphere in 30 years time when the current population of 7.7 billion is expected to climb to to 9.7 billion in 2050. And yes there have been at least 5 ice ages so I guess the sea has always been rising and falling, we just like to think things stay the same

      • TighterandTighter

        MIDM or else two paid goons. You don’t spell as well as 3d1k or have his wit.

    • Thankfully scientists are able to calculate the effect that pumping 40 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year has on warming the planet, so we dont need to listen to numpties like you. Increasing Australia’s already heavy reliance on coal is the absolute last thing we should be doing.

      • The issue isn’t about climate change, stooping the Galilee will have ZERO effect on carbon emission, although some say it will reduce emissions based on the fact the coal from the Galilee has a higher calorific value that that currently being burnt. It is a matter of who benefits from the income, royalties, tax salaries etc. I really don’t understand the dependence bit, I don’t recall anyone stating we should be come more dependent on coal, we are dependent on minerals for income and we are already dependent on coal for our electricity

  9. Jevons ghostMEMBER

    Ha! Back in the day the ED at the old Townsville General ran perfectly fine with ONE MO on duty. Time to throw out the TVs and soft furnishings from the ED waiting rooms and pipe in classical music instead. Just doing that will sort out the slackos from the sickos real quick like and save a few million that the morons can then spend on Light Rail. Then Adani can go back home with a clear conscience. Don’t know about Clive.

    • No waiting in the townsville ED thanks to the shrinking population, no jobs here, the waiting is in the SE growth areas, clearly a 5 billion dollar under river tunnel is much more important than lives. The piped classical music might work ? but it might be more effective playing political adverts non stop!!!!

  10. The only thing I agree with these clowns is nuclear power, but that’ll never happen. If he gets a seat again, will he even last the term? He doesn’t look very healthy.

    • Probably not if he gets into the senate, 8 years right? He will probably last until the Galilee has been opened up and he gets his Warratah coal mine going

  11. The no nuclear brigade shows how immature we are. We have 30% and can seek it but can’t use it

  12. Clive is silent on mass immigration. Why does a miner need mass immigration?

    It does not add up. At least Trump slashed the unemployment rate by deporting the illegals!

    drSmithy says the solution = brand new political parties rather than stopping billionaires from turning the ALP into puppets. He has his wish! Clive is a brand new political party!

    Crispin Hull says the biggest problem is the fact that billionaires can give an unlimited amount of money to the political parties.

  13. Sorry to be the one to tell you but we never were a Clever Country.
    Maybe we could have been moderately smart country, but I suspect even that train has left the station.
    The good news is that we’re leading the pack in our attempt to corner the market on stupidity
    So rest assured, if Stupidity has a trade-able value than Australia will be truly a nation to behold.