Last week, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) trumpeted the Labor Party’s work on the Omnibus Savings Bill, which included a $500 million cut for the Australian Renewable Energy Agency — although you wouldn’t have noticed it if you had read the CPSU’s press release:

“The CPSU welcomes today’s announcement that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will retain $800 million of funding under an agreement struck by the Coalition Government and the Federal Labor Opposition.

“The deal secures ARENA’s future and that of the renewable energy industry in Australia after the CPSU warned last month that abolishing the agency as part of the Omnibus Savings Bill would spell the end for the sector.”

The original proposal put forward by the government would have resulted in all of ARENA’s funding being cut, so the $800 million was a win, and the CPSU’s Michael Tull was quoted in the release giving the ALP the credit:

 “After enduring significant attacks over the last three years, today’s decision will provide a much-needed boost to the renewables sector in Australia. The CPSU acknowledges the contribution of the Labor Party in rejecting cuts to climate science across the board.”

A tipster tells us that on Thursday evening, before the Omnibus Savings Bill would be debated into the wee hours of the morning before being passed in the Senate, this dinner date was spotted not far from Parliament House:

“Ducked out to get some Thai for dinner from Kingston and who was sitting there but Left powerbrokers Anthony Albanese, Mark Butler and the CPSU National Secretary Nadine Flood.”

Was the dinner a chance to celebrate the bill, which would still result in cuts? Or was it just a shared love for Pad Thai?

Peter Fray

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