March 1, 2014
The bleating fossil fuel industry is uses the Abbott Government to defend its short term profits under threat from the emergence of renewables (solar and wind), to evade environmental regulation at open cut coal-mines and to socialize the externalities such as public health.
Meanwhile the bleating farmers in NSW and Queensland get yet another handout or public subsidy in the form of drought assistance.
The justifcation for yet another exception to the end of the age of entitlement--recall the Cadbury chocolate factory in Tasmania---- is that drought is a natural disaster. Yet drought is commonly accepted in public policy circles as a normal part of Australia's weather, and a permanent element of the Australian landscape. Farmers are seen as the deserving poor.
It's called protecting the conservative base. The manufacturing and canning industry, in contrast, is union based and allowing union jobs to go the wall weakens the unions and an ALP still heavily dependent on the support of blue collar unions. The unionized workers are the undeserving poor.
So much for the level playing field and the hard line free market approach. Politics rules. That is clearly seen with Qantas becoming a political football in order to wedge the ALP over increasing the 49 per cent foreign ownership through amending the Qantas Sale Act.
Labor opposes changing this part of the Act (it is in favour of both increasing the 35 % limit on the stake by foreign airlines and the 25 % limit on an single foreign shareholder). So Labor is held responsible for the decline of Qantas and the loss of jobs and that destroys Labor's (union-backed) argument of "protecting Aussie jobs".
Despite the obvious public health issues caused by the fire in the open cut coalmine supplying the Hazelwood power plant (the air quality is very poor because of the particulates produced in the fire), the Abbott Government has announced a study into the health impacts of wind energy and continues to talk about the cheap energy provided by Australia's abundant coal reserves.