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Byron Shire
April 19, 2024

Thus Spake Mungo: blimps

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Though no machinery arrived at Wallum this morning, contractors and police were on the development site at Brunswick Heads as well as dozens of Save Wallum protesters. 

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A quiet day in Bruns after arrests and lock-ons

Though no machinery arrived at Wallum this morning, contractors and police were on the development site at Brunswick Heads as well as dozens of Save Wallum protesters. 

Wallum showdown unfolds in Brunswick Heads

Around eight people have been arrested so far, since almost fifty police arrived at the Wallum development in Brunswick Heads this morning to escort machinery and other work vehicles on to the site. Police include local officers, members of the NSW Public Order and Riot Squad, and Police Rescue.

If Scott Morrison ever went back to his old job of promoting tourism and needed to ramp up the travel industry, he would put his money on blimps.

True, the gas-filled balloons have their drawbacks; the explosion of the Hindenburg was a bit of a setback. But surely they would be cheaper and more reliable than those new-fangled heavier-than-air machines?

Some of his colleagues would find even zeppelins a step too far and would prefer to stick to good old coal fired steamships. So Morrison would find room for them too. But those so-called ‘aeroplanes’ would have to rise or fall without government assistance.

And of course it helps that, by pure coincidence, blimps are the preference of many of his hand-picked backers on his COVID Commission who have a financial interest in the industry. So gas is obviously the go. A sensible middle course, obviously the best option, even if it is the wrong one.

A gas-led recovery may not make sense to the scientists and economists, who regarded gas as having become obsolete even before ScoMo’s latest thought bubble, but what would they know?

And the same applies to Morrison’s most recent attempt to devise an energy policy that he can trundle towards the next election. A gas–led recovery may not make sense to the scientists and economists, who regarded gas as having become obsolete even before ScoMo’s latest thought bubble, but what would they know?

And industry has made its own position clear by refusing to invest in gas, ready to transition straight from coal to wind and solar, which it sees as the real future, on the cusp of overcoming the final problems of storage which would provide the baseload the country needs.

And, confusingly, Morrison boasts that renewables are now commercially viable, so there is no longer a need for taxpayers to continue to subsidise them. To prove the point, Mike Cannon-Brookes has offered to build a renewable plant to fill any gaps which appear when the worn-out Liddell coal fired station finally closes – if in fact there are any gaps, which many doubt there will be.

But apparently gas and coal still need propping up, hence last week’s announcement that the new package of handouts to the lucky winners will include yet more government aid for the chimera of clean coal, carbon capture, and the promise that if the private sector won’t stump up for a new gas-powered plant, the public sector will.

This outstanding example of free enterprise in action is more than just another tweak in another flawed policy. It is a declaration that the line has been crossed; science, engineering and logic cannot get in the way of politics and self-interest.

ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, is to bring the clearly non-renewable resources of gas and coal into its arena. Similarly, the CEFC, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, will not necessarily finance clean projects

Even words are to lose their meaning if they get in the way of the coalition’s agenda. Thus ARENA, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, is to bring the clearly non-renewable resources of gas and coal into its arena. Similarly, the CEFC, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, will not necessarily finance clean projects.

There will be resistance; legislation will be needed for the changes. The opposition is unhappy, although it is not clear how hard the invariably cautious leadership of Anthony Albanese will push back, and the crossbench, as always, will dither and dicker. Like coal and gas, the Morrison plan may become a stranded asset.

But as announceables go, it has been generally well received by the mainstream media, and the business community is willing to give it a tick, if only because it gets them off the hook. After all, if Morrison is really so eager to pick up the tab, it will save them a lot of time and money.

And while private industry may not be prepared to do the heavy lifting – the funding, building and running of the contentious planned new gas and/or coal fired power stations – it can see a role in developing the infrastructure which will be required, whether the electricity comes from fossil fuels or renewables. So what’s not to like?

Well, mainly the planet. As mentioned last week, gas is not an emission-free fuel – it may be even dirtier than coal. It is certainly not the saviour, the fig-leaf Morrison can hide behind when he eventually has to confront the reality of his promises to honour the Paris agreement on climate change and the tougher goals that will inevitably follow.

The more sensible conservatives realise that even if gas can be brought on line it will take a while and will be a public cost

The more sensible conservatives realise that even if gas can be brought on line it will take a while and will be a public cost – and it will probably result in higher charges to consumers as the greedy industry will set the benchmark against international prices to raise prices in the local market.

And given that Morrison is now quite open that this is all about driving down prices – reducing emissions is barely an afterthought – it is at best a short term fix, and more likely little more than another distraction. Many more battles will be fought before a final solution to the long-running dilemma is found, if it ever is.

So even the Colonel Blimps within the government will be looking for more and better announcements before, during, and after the forthcoming budget. The party room is mollified – well, most of it. But the majority is still suspending judgment.

Any enthusiasm has come from the reactionary fringe, also known as the Murdoch press. Its propagandists have dropped any pretence of serious debate

Any enthusiasm has come from the reactionary fringe, also known as the Murdoch press. Its propagandists have dropped any pretence of serious debate – the current line is to dismiss the very idea of putting wind and solar above gas and coal. Fossils are the past, present and future – at least for the moment.

The Energy Minister, Angus Taylor, says that renewables are booming anyway – and they are. But the increase is coming overwhelmingly from the domestic market. The large-scale investment needed for industry has stalled, principally because the government cannot provide certainty about its long-term policies.

But apparently determined to display his commitment to the environment, Morrison was photographed molesting a reluctant wombat. He did not actually extinguish the marsupial, but it was obvious that it was apprehensive – as we all should be.

However Morrison was unfazed as he climbed back behind the wheel of his chosen Leyland P76 automobile to hurry home and review the footage on his video cassette recorder. It need hardly be said that he selected Beta over VHS. 

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  1. The technical and scientific elements of the argument show, pretty much overwhelmingly, that President Morrison’s latest brain-fart simply can’t achieve the stated objectives. CCS, for example, has been conclusively shown to be economically unviable. That might change in the future, but if you were prepared to accept that technology can find a solution to that problem, you probably should also acknowledge that technology is likely to find a solution to the battery storage problem (that batteries are still comparatively expensive) sooner rather than later. It would likely be far cheaper and way better environmentally for the LNP to give households with solar a new battery, but when you are twisting the world to suit an idealised position, all sorts of remarkable outcomes are possible – except those based on fact. One key fact being that AGL, the owner of the fabled Liddell power station, has long indicated it can replace about 850MW of the alleged 1,000MW that will be lost when Liddell closes and more than likely, the gap will be closed further, so the energy crisis President Morrison is “solving” is a fiction. But in the heads of Morrison supporters, none of the science or technologies matter at all. President Morrison has, again, backed Labor into a corner. Labor is really not able to totally reject the Morrison “plan” (it is not a policy), because to do so leaves the door open for Morrison to shriek during the next election campaign (which I believe Morrison wants sooner rather than later), that “Labor is going to kill manufacturing jobs in Australia and force up power prices”. Game over – most voters are not reading Mungo, or the Guardian or Crikey or the New Daily – they get their “facts” from Murdoch and that’s all they need to know.

  2. ScoNO is fully onboard with the Energy Transition, from one fossil fuel, the Coal, to another fossil fuel, the Gas.
    Thus ensuring that the Fossil Fuel Industry and Lobby will continue pouring the $millions political donations ( bribes ) into Liberal and National HQ. The IPCC in their last report stated that we had until 2030 to turn around the burning of fossil fuels if the world had any chance of limited global warming to 1.5 degrees. It means that we can’t be opening new coal pits and drilling new gas holes to burn more of the muck. But ScoNO as usual chooses to be deaf to what experts have to say when the topic comes anywhere near Climate. ScoNO ignored the expert advice from the group of retired Fire Chiefs and the Bushfire Catastrophe arrived on his watch, only for ScoNO to high tail it off to his bunker in Hawaii. The Climate Emergency is here and how does ScoNO respond, why of course, go drilling new gas wells. Gas is more potent to the Climate than ScoNO’s beloved ‘pet little black wonder rock’ that he fondled in Parliament. ‘How Good is Gas’, says the ScoNO. ‘Fantastic. Great Move. Well done ScoNO’ ,says AnGAS Taylor.

    • Joachim the climate emergency is here ?
      Fact check yourself ! now be sure to do your
      Research with a impartiality !! So that means refrain
      From reading any alarmist propaganda from the
      Guardian, the climate council who incidentally
      Have not been exactly on the money with Their
      Predictions have they Joachim ?? Better still
      Provide a example of a prediction that scientists
      Or the Guardian ,or Aunty , that has you know
      Come true .. ?? The fires are not unprecedented
      Nor the floods .. you just dont get it do you !!
      All these Predictions are computer modeling
      Hypothetical at best !! Sea level rises in Australia
      Where Joachim? Byron Shire Joachim??
      Where? i mean you talk the talk lots !!
      Provide a example Of the Climate emergency
      In the Byron Shire ?? Or better still the alarmist
      On this forum all of you were in full support
      Of it .. ?? Even if we closed down all industries
      It would not make ONE SINGLE bit of difference
      To Global Warming.. “cant believe it..”

      • Barrow old son, where the heck do I start with your rambling rubbish. I save the space in these very fine pages of The Echo, I’ll limit myself to your “the fires are not unprecedented” baloney. Go and read the NSW Bushfire Inquiry Final Report, 21st July 2020. It online for you to read. But here is what did happen and some words to describe the Fire Catastrophe that you won’t enjoy reading; unprecedented; driven by climate change; 2019 in Australia, the driest year on record; on a scale that we have not seen in Australia in recorded history; rainforests that have burned for the first time in recorded history. Barrow my man, keep up your good work in Denying the reality that The Climate Emergency is here and now, it will surely make it all go away.

    • “Virtue signaling while holding an electronic device That is made from fossil fuels and powered by rare earth metals that require significant fossil fuels to mine and process. Charged with electricity that is primarily fossil fuels ” irony “

      • Labor Party adopting the right policies for this Nation and its people’s Keith ? Unless you were in another country? labors policies going into the last
        Election was what got them trounced !!
        HOW MUCH MR SHORTEN ARE YOUR CLIMATE CHANGE POLICIES going to cost the taxpayer’s?
        Shortens response? When we finally got one !!
        Well less then if we do nothing on climate change.
        That just one of the blunders keith ..labor had 3 years to get accross its policies and what of it Keith ? Well people like you the ABC , the Guardian
        The project all far left, were stone faced and
        IN DENIAL. ! IN DENIAL that sounds familiar !!
        No keith Australia is not calling out for
        a labor- Greens policies at all far from it !!
        That’s why you are not getting anywhere keith ..
        In opposition for the next decade.. however we are
        All stupid right Mr Brandt??

  3. If Scott Morrison went back to his old job of trying to promote tourism and needed to push the travel industry up a ramp he would come up against some hard soverign borders.

  4. You gove Morrison too much credit for his techno knowhow. Blimps are far too modern. He would go for coal fired hot air balloons.

  5. Mungo, you were probably the person that waited instead of buying a BETA
    becauses you were too confused with how life works after university.
    Some of your articles are absolute dribble…………………..

  6. So, gas is back on the agenda as an energy source and Moe and his climate deniers, true to form, wheel out the hoary old ‘when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow’ nursery rhyme to sidestep accepted science endorsed renewable energy projects. On average, our country receives over 240 sunlit days a year and we are one of the windiest countries on earth. Nuff said! I have lost count of the number of energy policies this thieving lot have rolled out. Oh and fond Memories:-ABBOTT:-“If you elect us, electricity prices will go down. No more Electricity Bill”-Lie. Under Abbott, wholesale electricity prices DOUBLED. Gas? We pay a fortune for it because Howard sold it all to China, Japan and others for a few cents a litre-contracts going into the neva neva! 82cents a Litre at the bowser up here today. THIEVES!!
    All this crap from Screw Kelly, Gus Taylor, Joyce, The Undertaker (Andrews) and the rest of the Liberal climate deniers about subsidising renewables is pure hypocrisy. Never forget, EVERY coal-fired power station was built with taxpayers’s money (and therefore subsidised) and then (wait for it!) sold off by the Rorting Looting Liberals to the privates…result? Electricity prices soared! The fossil fuel industry is subsidised to the tune of billions EVERY year but all we hear about is renewal subsidies which are bugger all when compared? By the way who is Moe’s Chief of Staff.. John Kunkel of course, the former deputy CEO of the Minerals Council of Australia, the same group that thoughtfully provided a lacquered lump of coal for the then failed Treasurer to wave around parliament in the middle of a drought. If coal is so good why has the price dived? Why will not ONE investor go near it? Because its days are just about over. Oh one more thing trendsetters-THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS CLEAN COAL. Its an oxymoron for the Looting Morons,

    • Hi Ray, all well said. Those subsidised coalers and gassers are permanently on the ‘public subsidised teat’; damage to air, land and water, we taxpayers foot the bill; premature deaths and hospitalisation costs of damaged population’s health, we taxpayers foot the bill; The Climate Emergency reeking its toll via Bushfires, Drought and Flood, we taxpayers footing in large part those bills. And Morriosn’s Mushrooms / The Quiet Australians happily let themselves be brainwashed by ‘Sky After Dark’ et al that it only Renewbales that get “massive subsidies”. If subsidies do indeed need to be paid, then I’m all for it to be INVESTED to protect us from the existential threat that is continued Fossil Fuel burning.

  7. “Scamo from marketings” latest alternate energy fact Canberra bubble brain fart, has led to the rebranding of the LNP, it will now be the LPG Nationalminingcorporation. To better reflect it’s “Known policy”, at least for the remainder this week anyway!
    And the first 1000 new LPG supporters to respond to this new “Scamo from Marketing LPG” policy, will get the unwanted leftover Murdoch “Sky After Dark” and other Murdoch news media subscriptions for a year, so you will know what to think!
    And thats not all, a free set of steak knives as well and go into the draw for the unwanted framed autographed glossy photograph of “Divine, Credlin, Bolt” wall plaque!

  8. Our ScoMo loves looting & he’s taken on a no remedy act. Dangerous
    disasters world wide show Australia will end up looking like ‘the moon
    walk’ in space. Farms & environment in ruins along with human medical
    problems caused by gas. As well, gas is not at all a renewable re-
    placement answer. There’s no clean coal. There’s no safe ‘gas’… it’s a
    killer. Go check it out.

  9. An add-on. Michael Moore, documentary maker, in 2018 stated that
    he was going to start ‘fracking outside Trump’s luxury hotel & golf
    club.’ See also “Fracking in America” & others. Nb; our ScoMo did
    not ‘think up’ a plan to save this country – all he did was copy the
    current & previous U.S. Presidents ideals. Now it’s the Stars and
    Stripes for all.

  10. I see the Looting Liberals after 10yrs have decided to steal Labor’s fibre to the home policy-a bit late. Billions and billions wasted out on an outdated copper wire system that puts us 60th in the world on internet speeds. Can’t this mob of incompetents do ANYTHING right? I can recall Abbott clearly stating he wanted to ‘destroy the NBN’. Mainly to appease his mate Murdoch. Howard was the same he wanted to ‘stab Medicare in the back’. This mob of charlatans are hopeless when it comes to nation building projects. Great at corruption though…Morrison as Treasurer paying $30M to a Liberal donor for land worth $3M adds to multiple corruption questions. Forged documents. Water buybacks. Sports rorts. Covid app. Barrier Reef-400million to mates. Au pairs. Agenda C. Helloworld. Drought envoy and now he and Turnbull gives $60million to Rupert Murdoch for no apparent reason!

    • Ray, if it were us private citizens doing the sort of s**t that The LIEberals have been doing, we’d be in Court and put away in jail for years. But gotta hand it ScamMO, NO WAY will there ever be a ‘real deal Federal ICAC’ on ScamMO’s watch, so ScamMO can continue with his Corruption and never be held to account. Good lord, look at the latest Newspoll…How Good is Newspoll!, says ScamMO, as he reads his 65% satisfactions rating and ‘How Good are my ‘Quiet Australians’ says ScamMO in humble thanks. A quick spot on The NBN, it only taken The LIEberals 10 years and $51billions to realise that their 20th Century Copper Crapper NBN is bollocks and now they spending more of our collective hard earned to redo their Copper Crapper and start turning into fit for purpose 21st Century Full Fibre – that $27millions ‘donation’ to The Leppington Branch of The Liberal Party could have come in handy with the fibreing of The NBN, yes.

  11. Hey Joachim! Yeah…… I know a bit too much about what goes on behind
    the scenes of Turtle Island seeing as how I hold a Paugussett-Shawnee
    mix ‘official Enrollment card’ with the Sovereign Indian Nation. My uncles,
    cousins, & second cousins, stretch across the nation. State ‘recognition’
    came very early to my lot, but Federal is still being fought for. My parents
    met in WW2 & married here. Racism to the ‘red’ is even to ‘black’. The
    Clan Mothers keeps me posted.

  12. Very well put Ray, I don’t know how far your political affiliations go, although you may be aware of mine. I don’t think I could improve on what you have written, After the appalling years of the Abbott Govt., the endless lies and shameful withdrawal off services for the most needy members of society, continuous loss of wages for Aus. Workers, continuous tax-cuts for the rich, relentless attacks on our public institutions and I won’t even start on the billions they have cost the country on ignoring climate change, the continuous corruption revelations and how no-one is ever held to account, how are they still there? Have they uncovered some miraculous way of not only peddling bullshit, but getting away with it? Are they really that good at winning elections? Or is the Labor Party, (the only alternative Govt.), by trying to adopt all the right policies Australians are crying out for, just continually leaving themselves open for relentless scare campaigns funded by almost unlimited amounts of cash by vested interests, that are determined to keep the Coalition in Govt. Something has to change, we’re just not getting anywhere.

  13. The Australian government only installed a ‘Science Minister’ in August
    2018, Barrow. Tony Abbot believed we didn’t need one. ‘Keep them
    quiet’ is the call. Simple as ABC.

  14. KEITH DUNCAN -I could go on…the $60billion spent on Royal Commissions trying to shaft Gillard and Shorten-no convictions-Royal Commission in to batts-Labor innocent, No convictions. The $200 million Abbott spent on the plebiscite when we all knew what the result would be. And it was! Royal Commissions into Unions-not one conviction…all money to their Liberal lawyer mates who donate it back at election time.The 38billion spent by the Liberals fighting America’s wars under Howard, not counting Vietnam. Mad Barnaby’s $80million water buy back with Angus and his $700 a night with his girlfriend charged to the taxpayer-parliament was NOT sitting mate! As drought envoy (whatever that is) he clained nearly $700,000 in ‘expenses’. AWB-Iraq-nuff said. The millions charged to the taxpayers attending Liberal Fund Raisers at home and overseas weddings. Helicopters and military jets called up! The billions marooning genuine refugees on distant island out of sight, out of mind at $600,000 a refugee-effing MADNESS when added to the $400million Paladin refugee contract wangled by 2 blokes in a tin shed.-strong ties to the Liberals!! Oh and let us not forget the Member for Manila (Big George) charging it to us taxpayers, He had to pay it all back. The jobs for the boys and girls for those who lose their seats-all over the world! The auditor general (2019 election) was scathing in his criticism of the $220million regional pork grants to Un National Party seats.Yes I could go on for pages. And if you think you will get fast NBN FORGET IT. Only rich Liberals will be able to afford it. The lot of them should be in gaol. Labor pollies as well for letting them get away with it.

    • Dear Ray, you are describing a failed State run by some tin pot dictator. Oh wait, it is Australia you are describing, which according to our man Barrow is….. The Best Country in The World!

  15. You got it as good as the horse’s mouth, Ray. The once ‘may have
    been nominated as one of the best countries in the world’ goes on
    back to Whitlam. That leader ‘read the future’ & was ready for it.
    Our population-people – the ones who vote – have a lot to answer
    for. If people won’t be responsible for their ‘in-action’ then they
    deserve the fools they blindly follow.

  16. The ‘Raiding Liberals’ would be a comedy if it wasn’t so seriously stupid.
    Hi Ho! & get a little dirt on your hands, son. Showing somewhere in this
    country near you… “LABOR’S’ FIBRE STOLEN ANSWER” comes back
    to haunt ScoMo’s bugger up.


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