Some energy policy sense in Australia at last

Caption: The Greens learn about Australia’s new energy policy.

Now that Australia?s revolving-door prime minister-ship has done another spin, it?s time to see whether new PM Scott Morrison can find his feet or not.

The first signs are pretty good. Apart from the bizarre choice of notorious ?mincing poodle?, Christopher Pyne, as Defence Minister, Morrison?s made some solid choices. He?s extended an olive branch to leaders of warring factions, kept key ministers like Dutton and Cormann in place, and made some astute choices for new ministers.

One of his better choices is Angus Taylor as Energy Minister. Right out the gate, Taylor is making some sensible decisions. Quote:

Energy Minister Angus Taylor has set out the Morrison government?s new energy agenda that will ?relegate Australia?s Paris carbon emissions cuts to a third-order issue and prioritise slashing power prices and ensuring system reliability.

In his first interview since being appointed by Scott Morrison as ?the minister for lowering power prices?, Mr Taylor repudiated the idea, pursued by Malcolm Turnbull, that delivering certainty for energy investors required a commitment that the sector?s emissions would fall within Australia?s Paris Agreement target?

Mr Taylor, who was sworn in as minister on Tuesday, said meeting the government?s climate-change commitments was not part of his brief from the Prime Minister.

?I?m focused on getting prices down while I keep the lights on. I?ve got one KPI. I?ve got one goal,? he told The Australian. End of quote.

The Greens? heads will explode like so many over-ripe watermelons, of course, but ordinary Australians and businesses will breathe a sigh of relief, if they see their skyrocketing power bills come down. Quote:

The economist and former McKinsey & Co analyst said he did not favour any power-generation technology over another and was neither a ?climate sceptic? nor ?anti-renewables?, as claimed by Labor.

?At the end of the day, we just want to get prices down. We?re not going to get ideological about it; we just want to get the outcome. It?s very pragmatic,? he said. End of quote.

There is a well-known effect in polling, where respondents tend to give answers that they think are more socially acceptable. This was seen in the phenomenon of ?shy? Brexit and Trump voters. Similarly, opinion polls might ?show? that Australians are ?concerned? about climate change, but when day-to-day push comes to shove, people are more concerned about being able to pay their power bills. Quote:

The price safety net is based on the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission?s proposed default market price to replace unregulated standing offers. This was expected to save households $183 to $416 a year and typical small businesses $561 to $1457. End of quote.

The Greens and Labor may froth and rant, but at the end of the day, the hip pocket wins elections. Quote:

Mr Taylor, a conservative Liberal MP from country NSW, had been an internal critic of the NEG and resigned from the Turnbull ministry in protest against the shift of the party to the Left under the former prime minister.

He will attack Labor?s plan for a 45 per cent cut to carbon emissions as one that would force the closure of coal-power plants with no plan for energy security.

?Their focus is on batting away Greens party threats to its inner- urban MPs, not on developing ?evidence-based policy that will lower bills.? End of quote.

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