Oct 30, 2017

For a document with no substance, the NEG has earned a lot of fans

NEG is so miraculous that it's garnering positive reaction from both sides of the field; quite a feat for an eight page document with zero figures, writes economist John Quiggin.

John Quiggin


The generally positive reaction to the Turnbull government’s proposed National Energy Guarantee has been reminiscent of a Rorschach inkblot. This psychological test, popular in the 20th century but now largely discredited, required subjects to look at abstract symmetrical patterns and declare what they saw. Supposedly, a skilled tester could use the answer to determine the subject’s innermost fears, desires and psychological pathologies.

To bring the cultural reference up-to-date,  it is also reminiscent of Harry Potter’s Mirror of Esired, in which everyone sees what the they most desire. 

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9 thoughts on “For a document with no substance, the NEG has earned a lot of fans

  1. Wayne Cusick

    To me the NEG seems to favour existing generators over new generators.

    I can’t see how it will encourage investment into new capacity, of any type.

  2. Graeski

    A masterpiece of dithering as a political strategy. A document so vague that it can be re-interpreted to foil any meaningful attempts to address climate change while at the same time delivering maximum profit to existing (mainly coal-based) market participants.

    It’s already working as intended: sowing vast confusion, sucking the motivation out of climate change activists and destabilising the future of renewables. We’re no longer talking about how to fix the environment, now we’re talking about how to fix the NEG. A small but very significant re-focussing of attention.

  3. bushby jane

    Journalists like Katherine Murphy are such a disappointment like you say John.
    Surely Turnbull won’t be able to get away with scrapping subsidies to renewable energy when we know (but are not told by the MSM) that coal is subsidised. The continuing lie about SA’s power outage (never any mention of the outage caused by the Liddell coal power station last year) is never pursued by interviewers of Turnbull either.

  4. zut alors

    Thanks for calling out the Emperor’s new clothes.

    If my life depended on explaining this NEG announcement to someone I wouldn’t be capable – except to say it inspires nil confidence. Thankfully, the market (remember ‘The Market’, so beloved of Liberals?) will dictate what happens with our energy supply. I predict eager investment in renewables by the private sector despite the lack of rewards from our dinosaur government. Another example of the voters being more progressive than the dills in Canberra (as with same sex marriage policy).

  5. AR

    It is hardly surprising that the NEG nuthin’ souffle has attracted positive comment from most journos. who have the tek nouse & numeracy of a dead parrot – words woven wonderfully will beguile them every time.
    Personally I think that everything this current shower do in their final daze should simply be ignored.
    Unfortunately there is not much prospect of better when the Alternative Liberal Party takes office – beholden as they are to the same big donors plus the blue collar unions – aas well as being utterly bereft of the vision thang.

  6. old greybearded one

    My big concern is that yet again these bloody idiots have moved backwards, just a Howard did. He cost us a mint in lost renewable energy opportunities. This piece of bullshit will severely damage investment in the future schemes and could cost thousands of jobs. It is a subsidy for coal and apparently magically can get a coal generator on line in minutes so it can be dispatchable. What utter claptrap and the journos who swallowed it, and there are a couple of particularly lazy high profile ones on RN among them, are a disgrace to their profession.

  7. [email protected]

    While acknowledging his solar-thermal links, John Hewson knocked the NEGation out of the park on Q&A Monday night.

      1. klewso

        …. It’s funny how they have to turn their backs on ‘the old party’ – to become human again?
        Howard hasn’t and hasn’t …….

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