The Abbott government’s war on renewable energy has just stepped up a notch.
As Fairfax revealed on the weekend, the Coalition has prohibited the Clean Energy Finance Corporation — the so-called “green bank” — from making any more investments in wind power projects or, it has emerged, in small-scale solar. This follows the PM’s comments from earlier this year that wind farms are “visually awful”, and the Treasurer’s last year describing the turbines as “utterly offensive”.
Abbott’s obsession with undermining the renewables sector looks bizarre at the outset, and it’s tempting to lump it in with some of his other more out-of-touch decisions, such as awarding Prince Philip an Order of Australia.
But Abbott’s war on wind is not blindly ideological, and it makes a whole lot more sense when you follow the money.
Get Crikey FREE to your inbox every weekday morning with the Crikey Worm.
As Bernard Keane writes today, the energy sector donates about $2 to the Coalition for every $1 it gives to Labor. Power companies like Energy Australia, resource companies like Woodside and Santos and fuel companies like Caltex together donated just short of a million dollars to the Coalition’s state and federal divisions in 2013-14.
To those still confused about what the Abbott government stands for, and what underpins its policy agenda, we offer this definition from the Oxford dictionary:
“Crony capitalism: an economic system characterized by close, mutually advantageous relationships between business leaders and government officials.”