Not content with causing the Grenfell tower fire, climate change is now killing Australian pensioners. Or, at least renewable energy is, according to the fourth and last Tony Abbott supporter in the Liberal partyroom, Sydney MP Craig Kelly. According to Kelly, renewable energy — contra unanimous informed opinion — has driven up power costs, meaning pensioners will freeze to death over winter. If you think this is a stretch, remember that Kelly has already compared wind turbines to “tabacco” [sic] and believes the Australian Medical Association is engaged in a conspiracy to deny the health effects of turbines, and that renewables drown children

One awaits Kelly’s revelations about the involvement of renewables in slavery, narcotics trafficking and terrorism.

Curiously, Kelly had nothing to say when the government moved to take away the energy supplement from pensioners, designed to address the very problem he’s been complaining about for years — higher energy prices for pensioners.  In fact, a check of Hansard reveals that at no point did Kelly lament what the government was doing in removing the energy supplement, despite the fact that it would make it more difficult for pensioners to meet their rising energy costs. Equally, Kelly had no words of welcome for when the government relented and kept the energy supplement, because Nick Xenophon forced them to as part of his price for supporting company tax cuts. Perhaps he’s actually unaware of the deal Scott Morrison did with Nick Xenophon, and thinks pensioners will be losing their energy supplement.

Still, Kelly makes a fair point: people on fixed incomes will struggle with rising energy prices. And it’s the Coalition that is responsible for the current surge in energy prices. The 15-20% price rises hitting east coast households should come with the label “Made in the Coalition Joint Party Room”. Australia had a low-cost, highly effective emissions abatement scheme — the Gillard government’s carbon price — but the Abbott government chucked it in for a war on renewable energy investment, some soil magic silliness and rhetoric about how coal was going to save humanity. Now, courtesy of the Coalition, we have the worst of all worlds — the fall in carbon emissions has been reversed, power prices are soaring and reliability is declining. Who would have thought the side of politics so prone to invoking “sovereign risk” and fretting about the impact of government policy on “investor certainty” would be responsible for the frightening critical investment out of Australia’s energy sector?

Kelly’s latest foray into fantasy is a classic example of projecting. He and his ilk, and most particularly his friend Tony Abbott, are to blame for pensioners freezing in their homes. And Malcolm Turnbull — the man who saved Kelly from the humiliation of losing preselection — and Josh Frydenberg are stuck with the problem of trying to fix the mess.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey

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