The Prime Minister has handled the “gas crisis” exactly right. Six weeks ago, he warned gas exporters to sort out domestic supply or he would do it for — and to — them. They haven’t, so today he will, via a “Australian Domestic Gas Security Mechanism”, which will halt exports if needed for domestic consumption.
In other circumstances — and certainly if a Labor government made the same move — this would be decried with the wildly overused phrase “sovereign risk”. But Turnbull has prepared the ground. He met again with gas industry executives last week and left the meeting saying they still hadn’t explained how they would guarantee domestic supplies. The government could not have been clearer to gas exporters that they had to produce a viable plan or face intervention.