1. ScoMo’s magical bus tour to the deep north
PM Scott Morrison took a special bus tour up the Queensland Coast, except he flew in a plane because the bus was too slow, and the rest of the time he wanted to talk with Queenslanders, who weren’t to be found in the bus. Then he drank lots of XXXX beer and chomped on pies to show he’s a regular, fair dinkum
guy bloke. Junkee has more, lots more:
I liked Mark David’s rendition:
ScoMo’s real problem is that there are 30 federal seats in Queensland, 21 held by the LNP, with 8 on margins of less than 5 per cent. So he needs to hang onto them all. He didn’t come to Brisbane that I noticed, which is a pity, because you can’t win Queensland by ignoring the capital.
2. ScoMo buys a truce with Katter
ScoMo splashed cash all the way up the coast, apart from Brisbane, because he wants people to
love vote for him. However, the highlight was promising more than $200m to nail down Bob Katter’s support for his minority government. More accurately, he promised up to $180 million for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme on the Flinders River, Queensland’s longest which flows north to The Gulf, and a further $54 million to be spent on building Big Rocks Weir on the Burdekin River near Charters Towers in the first step of the massive Hells Gates Dam proposal.
This looks like a boondoggle that will have to be approved by the Queensland government, who strangely will want a feasibility study that shows up actual benefits. Still, ScoMo’s focus, if it goes at all past next week, is the near-term election.
It’s a big country up there. This is Katter’s Kennedy electorate:
Detailed map here. At 576,700 sq km Kennedy is more than twice as big as Victoria, which is 237,659 including water. Kennedy contains much of the Burdekin River Basin, which is 129,700 sq km, or 55% of Victoria:
Hells Gate Dam full on is a $5.35 billion project, which the Townsville Bulletin last month reported as at least 10 years away from construction.
Why? A recently completed feasibility study said the benefit-cost ratio of the project would be between $0.68 and $1.4 return on every dollar spent. As such, the project needs further work to de-risk it, do an environmental impact statement and a proper business case.
Currently the idea seems to be to grow sugar cane for ethanol on 49,000 hectares, and there is potential for electricity and pumped hydro. Hells Gate is 120 km northwest of Townsville, but is not seen as a water source for that thirsty city (population 173,800 with 8 per cent unemployment).
By annual volume of water I believe the Burdekin is the largest in Australia. However, it comes mostly via an average of zero the three floods per year between December and March. Big Rocks Weir is a subsidiary of Hells Gate, which is part of Katter’s dreaming of the Bradfield Scheme, but could provide water to thirsty Charters Towers, population 8,120.
There is plenty of electricity being planned and developed in NQ other than Hells Gate, and I’m not sure ethanol is what we need for future motoring.
The Hughenden Irrigation Scheme has also been the subject of dreaming, but again there is much local excitement but no business case and Qld minister Dr Anthony Lynham is currently outside the loop. There is something called the 15 Mile Project, a pilot project to grow 60 hectares of irrigated land for table grapes and 60 hectares of citrus crops.
3. Turnbull asks a question
Why me? The Party must be mad!
Phillip Coorey says, that’s easy:
- It was a combination of revenge for what he did to Abbott – and an ideological divide that has been growing since 2009 and is proving increasingly difficult to bridge.
That makes sense to me. It’s the difference between the ‘liberals’ and the ‘extreme conservatives’, somewhat similar to the Democrats and Republicans in the USA.
“This is a fight for the heart and the soul of the Liberal party,” says one moderate MP. “These people surrounding Dutton – these people are not Liberals, they are not conservatives, they are fucking reactionaries, and I have nothing but contempt for them.”
However, it goes way past 2009, back to the 1980s when it was ‘wets and dries’.
Any way, in our house we thought Turnbull was a bit of a fizzer on Q&A, and was let off easy by the audience and Tony Jones. More about pride and platitudes, the usual blather about jobs and growth, polishing his legacy.
His legacy includes:
- summary dismissal of the Uluru Statement from the heart, not mentioned,
- choosing to design and implement a third-rate NBN, not mentioned
- choosing political survival over the future of the planet and humanity on the NEG.
I can’t accept his blather about being ‘technology neutral’ when he thereby tried to accommodate the coal huggers who are determined to destroy the planet, whatever the cost. And three seconds in you could see that Snowy 2.0 was going to be held up for our admiration.
Turnbull said the ultra conservatives took the view “if you don’t give us what we want we’ll blow the government up”, he being the government in this case. I think he galvanized what he calls the “hard right” with the same sex referendum, but the crunch came with the NEG (National Energy Guarantee). Having had party room approval, Turnbull could have passed the legislation with Labor support, but couldn’t bear to do that with someone as evil as Bill Shorten, with Abbott and friends voting with Adam Bandt. There is a limit beyond which you can’t go, even to save the planet.
Turnbull’s worth will depreciate quickly over time. PJ Keating was onto him from the start:
Mr Turnbull was a bit like a big red bunger on cracker night, Mr Keating said.
“You light him up, there’s a bit of a fizz but then nothing, nothing.”
Keating said Turnbull’s attacks on his predecessors “make you choke on your Weeties”.
“He attacks Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott as ghosts, yet if you needed to know what Malcolm Turnbull truly believes in, what he would die in a ditch over, you would need a microscope to help you find it,” said Keating.
PJK never needed a bunch of staffers to write one-line zingers for him.
4. Political intrusions we did not need
I don’t have time to find all the links, but the NSW body politic is well rid of Luke Foley. When new opposition leader says “I believe Ashleigh” I think pretty much everyone does. Everyone, almost, also believes that David Elliott should not have used her story without her permission for political purposes.
Gladys Berejiklian should sack him to stop this cynical appropriation of other people’s misfortune, espousing a higher purpose while turning them into by-kill. Berejiklian said, no, that would make the whole thing political, showing how thick and/or twisted she really is.
And in Melbourne ScoMo was dog-whistling about the case of Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who is an Australian born in Somalia, who appears to have been deluded and paranoid, suffering from substance abuse and believing he was being chased by “unseen people with spears”.