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Green energy economics

By Stephen Cable - posted Friday, 21 April 2017

Unlike the policy itself, the answer to this is what’s actually simple about this whole policy. It’s because it’s the part of the process that’s visible to all consumers, we all see our bill every quarter, pay our money and perhaps wish it were lower. It’s easy to point to a ‘greedy company’ or an evil CEO and blame them. Pointing to an expensive union maintained transmission and distribution system just doesn’t compute. Looking at state owned power generation systems and suggesting ways this can be done cheaper really doesn’t sink in. The general population generally don’t see these components or think about them and Australians as a whole don’t take day trips out to the power station for a picnic.

No. It’s far easier to throw out scary numbers like, ‘$7.2B in profits’ or ‘CEO paid $6.9M’, ‘21,000 customers have had their power cut off’. This allows a policy of emotion and victimhood not facts and real outcomes. It directs your gaze to a future utopia that The Greens can create if only they were running things.

Pointing at the competitive retailing component and recommending its elimination is like recommending that we only have one grocery retailer and nationalising it. Imagine what would happen to food prices and availability if one government run supermarket were the only supplier of food? Now where have I seen that before?


Another classic Marxist element of the presentation is the inclusion of the ever-present victim which is so essential to the left’s ongoing narrative. 21,000 households that had their power cut off last year. There is no mention of why. Some will no doubt turn out to be legitimate hardship cases and some will be delinquency. Chucking out a victim number doesn’t justify a policy but it does evoke emotion and it does give cover to government intervention. This is a key indicator of the future direction their policies will take because there is no end of victims that need saving and there is no end of wrongs that need righting.

For anyone who’s tempted to dismiss this as a fringe idea that won’t have any effect because they’ll never be in power, think again. Labor will likely shift their policy position to try and capture the Greens vote and if that means economic lunacy, then so be it. There is also a real possibility of one or more Greens MP’s in the Queensland Parliament after the next state election. If their vote(s) were required to form government then anything would be on the table.

In conclusion, governments the world over claim they can do all sorts of fantastic things, such as control the worlds temperature, protect everyone’s emotions, govern everyone’s speech and bring universal happiness. In the world of reality where we all live of course, governments can’t even do something as simple as balance a budget. Listening to policies from The Greens is a bit like listening to music on the radio these days. It all sounds the same. The themes, the subject matter, the beat, even the look. The reason is that it’s the same world view and ideology animating the writers, performers and producers. The ideology that runs through The Greens is the ideology of Marx and every policy they produce will reflect this no matter how much they dress it up. With them it seems like it’s impossible to have the green without the red.

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About the Author

Stephen Cable writes for Liberty Works and lives in Brisbane. He has an intense interest in the ideological contest between freedom and control that dominates our social and political discourse. Stephen strongly believes in free market systems, freedom of speech and smaller government.

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