Page 2305 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 5 August 2015

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As I said, when local people are asked if they want their governments to lead this change, there is a resounding “yes”. I look forward to the ACT government continuing its nation-leading work on renewable energy, growing high-tech jobs in Canberra, and showing others the way. I hope that all members can get behind Mr Corbell’s motion to send a united call to the federal government that we expect better leadership from them.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.32): On 14 October 2014 the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, came out with a most astounding comment. He said, while opening a new $3.9 billion coal mine in central Queensland, that coal was “good for humanity”. He said coal would be the world’s main energy source for decades to come. Tony Abbott is, admittedly, one of the most conservative prime ministers this country has ever seen. Conservative politicians are proudly stuck in the past, and Tony Abbott demonstrated that through these comments. He is well and truly stuck in the last century, perhaps the century before. By these comments he admits he is not only conservative but also poorly read, poorly informed and poorly advised in the politics of climate change.

It is almost untenable in this day and age for a political leader of any country to pin their flag so tightly to the mast of a fuel source that is fast becoming to the planet what cancer is to human beings. It is bizarre that he is so blatant in his support of coal, given where the debate on climate change is up to. What is even more bizarre is his total alienation of the cause of renewable energy.

In June this year the Prime Minster proudly lauded the government’s success of reducing the renewable energy target, almost lamenting that the cuts were not deeper. He described wind farms as visually awful and proudly espoused that he had been able to reduce “the number of these things”, as if wind turbines were aliens landing from Mars and he was almost distressed that he was not able to stop more of them. He said:

Frankly, it’s right and proper that we have reduced the renewable energy target because as things stood, there was going to be an explosion of these things right around our country.

Abbott also passed judgement on the noise of wind farms saying:

… there’s no doubt, not only are they visually awful, they make a lot of noise.

He also raised the potential health impacts of “these things”. It is an old argument and a useful one for those who want to plant the seeds of doubt in the minds of locals living near wind projects. The coalition have moved during this term to further investigate the health effects of wind farms, stepping up their attacks on the industry in the face of no evidence of health effects. Another half a million dollars has been allocated to study low frequency noise nonetheless. One can only hope that, assuming the research into wind energy delivers the same outcome as it normally does, the

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