Greens in Shock at Australia’s “Rally Towards Reckless Renewables” – Watts Up With That?

Essay by Eric Worrall

The recent anti-renewables rally in front of Australia’s federal parliament appears to have encouraged leading opposition politicians to harden their stance on renewables.

Shock at call for moratorium on ‘reckless renewables’

 Marion Rae  February 6, 2024

The coalition has been accused of being out of touch with families and the climate for change by backing anti-renewable energy activists.

The Rally Against Reckless Renewables in front of Parliament House on Tuesday marked the start of the 2024 federal parliamentary year.

“Toxic rhetoric from Barnaby Joyce and other Liberal and National Party MPs at the rally today are stark reminders that the energy policy that lost the coalition the last federal election is alive and well,” Smart Energy Council CEO John Grimes said.

He said it was “outrageous” that Nationals leader David Littleproud backed the call for a moratorium on renewables, putting more than 60,000 Australian renewable energy jobs under direct threat.

Climate Capital Forum founder Blair Palese said the coalition’s campaign to suspend investment in decarbonisation was “reckless and shortsighted”.

“There is no time left for these delaying tactics and disinformation about the renewable transition,” she said.

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“There is no time left for these delaying tactics” is exactly the kind of arrogance which kicked up so much rural opposition.

I’ve previously spoken in person to some of the people who attended the recent rally, at previous events in Widgee, Gympie and elsewhere.

My understanding, initially many rural folk were not hostile towards renewables, but they wanted the powerlines to be buried underground. They were worried about EMF emissions, and were also worried overhead power lines would cause problems if firefighting helicopters and aircraft needed to access their land. They didn’t want their tranquil rural view and amenity wrecked by unsightly power pylons. They also wanted to minimise the risk of downed power lines starting fires.

Rural people told me the power company response to their polite concerns was all too frequently “sign this or we’ll get a compulsory acquisition order and seize your land anyway”.

When grassroots movements gathered momentum, powerline companies made more effort to communicate, but these outreach efforts were marred by allegations of hostile acts, like claims power company representatives trespassed on people’s land to conduct surveys without permission, and removed and confiscated roadside protest signs.

The large rural rallies I attended weren’t intended to be one sided. The organisers sent sincere invitations to politicians and energy company representatives. Leaders of the grass roots rallies I attended were genuinely shocked their invitations were ignored by mainstream party politicians whom they had trusted for years to look out for their interests. Frequently, the only politicians who cared enough about concerned rural residents to show up to meetings were politicians who strongly oppose the green agenda, politicians like One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts and LNP MP Colin Boyce.

This is very much a political mess of the greens own making. Green and mainstream political unwillingness to listen, and unconcealed contempt and hostility for country people’s concerns, has hardened the hearts of the Aussie rural community, and turned what was a polite request for a little dialogue into hardline opposition to green energy projects.


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