Combet: coal industry is safe


Coal safe?

Although how Greg Combet can promise this with a straight face when he plans to introduce a pointless price on carbon [dioxide], and his Labor party is tied up in a formal agreement with the Greens, whose policy is to wipe coal from the face of the earth. Anyway, an interview in The Australian gives us a few hints as to what Greg is about:

As part of its deal to secure government, Labor signed a formal alliance with the Greens, whose policies include the eventual phasing out of the coal industry, Australia’s biggest export earner.

But in an interview with The Australian, Mr Combet said his background as a former coal engineer, union official and MP with coal workers in his NSW electorate meant he did not believe his job was to shut down the coal industry.

“I don’t agree with that. That’s not part of my job at all,” he said.

“I am acutely aware of the challenges that this policy presents. But people jump to these absolute positions, and I just don’t think that’s appropriate.

“I’ve got a responsibility to support those people’s jobs. The coal industry is a very vibrant industry with a strong future. What you’ve got to do is look to how we can achieve in the longer term things like carbon capture and storage for coal-fired power stations.” [Impossible in the near to medium term – and hugely expensive.]

Greens leader Bob Brown has described Australia as being like a heroin addict “feeding the habit” of the world’s reliance on coal. The party’s stated policy is to oppose development of any new coalmines or the expansion of existing coalmines and to phase out all existing coal subsidies. It wants to work towards stopping the development and granting of export licences for all new coalmines.

But in a statement last night, Greens senator Christine Milne, who has the party’s portfolio responsibility for climate change, said she did not intend to rehash the policy differences with Labor as she sought to build “trust” with the new Gillard government. [In other words, sweep our policy under the carpet – for now – so we don’t expose our fundamental ideological differences.] “I have put in a call to Greg Combet to congratulate him and begin the exciting conversation,” she said.

“In the meantime, I hope we can all respect the delicate process of building trust between people coming from different policy positions so we can achieve the best outcomes possible for the climate.”

The Greens can almost sound vaguely reasonable sometimes, especially when they are pulling the wool over the eyes of the mainstream media – but believe me, it’s all an act. Underneath they are as radical as ever, and highly dangerous for Australia.

Read it here.

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