Energy is already a hot-button issue going into the next election cycle.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull narrowly survived a Liberal leadership challenge on Tuesday, brought on by dissension within the party over the National Energy Guarantee, costs and emissions.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews this week announced a Labor $1.24 billion solar-panel installation scheme ahead of November’s election to help homeowners bring down the cost of household bills.
The Nationals leader Michael McCormack said on Monday the party backed coal-fired power plants as “very much part of our thinking, part of our strategy, part of our support”. The Young Nats have proposed resurrecting nuclear options and mining uranium.
It’s political spitballing in a bid for poll success as electorates face rising fuel bills and stagnant wages.
Social media comments highlight the public concern. Is $900 a quarter for heating OK? Is $600 a month too high? What about $20 in electricity for a cold day? Should I shop around? Will it make a difference?
A few years ago there was a campaign run in the United Kingdom to encourage people to save on their energy bills. Everybody was urged to drop the thermostat, with every 1C saving about £60 (roughly $AU100) a year off a bill. The country was told to wear more layers inside, stop leaving appliances on standby, wash clothes in cold water … even reduce the use of power showers. The reason? Rising prices and fuel shortages.
Asking the Australian electorate to adopt this kind of energy austerity would be political anathema, especially when we like a toasty 22-24C room and have pensioners who are forced to choose between heating their homes and eating.
We need our politicians to find bipartisan ways for all of us to afford to heat/cool/run our homes and still eat. We need them to put the energy politics aside and focus on an energy policy that will give us long-term, sustainable sources for our heating/cooling, cars and businesses. It’s time the politicians thought more about our future than their political future.
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