“he does not know”

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Last updated on August 6th, 2017 at 06:48 am

Parliamentary exchange:

Mr GARRETT: My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Water Resources. Does the minister recall when he was a backbencher supporting a doubling of the solar power rebate? Is the minister aware that Labor has today announced a doubling of the solar power rebate, Labor’s solar home power plan? Does the minister agree with Labor? Does the minister still agree with himself?

Mr TURNBULL: The member in his question is referring of course to the House of Representatives environment committee report on sustainable cities. It is a very good report and I commend it to the honourable members on both sides. My understanding of the Labor Party’s announcement today is that it is not to double the rebate at all but rather to extend it. I believe it is still a maximum of $4,000 per household. If that is the case then they have not doubled it at all. It is exactly the same rebate. The rebate is currently …

(Mr Garrett interjecting)

Mr TURNBULL: There he is. The member for Kingsford Smith does not even know what his policy is. The rebate is $4 a watt up to a maximum of $4,000.

(Mr Garrett interjecting)

Mr TURNBULL: Is the maximum $4,000 or not?

Mr GARRETT: It’s pretty straightforward.

Mr TURNBULL: It is. He does not know. Mr Speaker, I cannot help the member for Kingsford Smith. He does not know what his policy is. If he cannot tell us what it is then I am afraid I cannot enlighten him.

See comments for more from Turnbull. Readers were quickly alert to Garrett’s goofiness; so was the ABC’s Michael Brissenden:

All reports are, they are working pretty hard in the Rudd office these days. Perhaps, though, they need to do a bit more work on the script. As one Labor insider said the other day, “It’s like an episode of the ‘West Wing’ down there, only we talk a lot slower and we’re not nearly as funny.”

Oh, I beg to differ. Long-time Garrett watchers have been giggling at his antics for years. From the same Parliamentary session, here’s some more comedy from Labor’s Jennie George:

Can you believe that a senior minister of this government dismissed the Al Gore movie An Inconvenient Truth as ‘just entertainment’?

UPDATE. On Nine’s late news, Garrett pronounced “reforestation” as “reaforestation”. I wonder how he pronounces “nuclear”.

UPDATE II. Consider me beclowned; Garrett’s pronunciation is correct.

Posted by Tim B. on 03/29/2007 at 01:49 PM
    1. Mr TURNBULL: I have a number of inconvenient truths to share with the House. The first one relates to the Labor Party’s allegedly new solar rebate announced today, which was described as involving a doubling of the rebate. It was clear in question time that the member for Kingsford Smith did not know what the policy was, but I have since found a transcript of the policy, which I had obviously read earlier. I am reading from Mr Rudd’s transcript. It says: “… we’ll be providing $50 million to provide [subsidies] rebates of up to $4,000 for homes right across Australia …”

      Well, the rebate maximum now is $4,000. So the rebate proposed is exactly the same. In fact, since the photovoltaic rebate program was put in place by the government it has provided $52 million to help householders, schools and community groups install solar systems on their roofs. The program expires on 30 June this year and the Prime Minister has publicly committed to extend it. So neither in the amount of money proposed nor in the rebate is there any doubling at all.

      What is so mystifying is that the member for Kingsford Smith asked the Australian people to trust him with the conduct of the campaign against climate change and he does not know what his own policies are. When taxed with that question, when challenged in question time, he sat there mute, clutching a piece of paper the contents of which he obviously did not know or understand.

      He did not utter a word.

      Posted by Tim B. on 2007 03 29 at 01:55 PM • permalink


    1. “An Inconvenient Truth” is pretty entertaining.  If you like watching cheezy movies with lousy props.

      Personally, I think Hollywood should have a special episode of this TV series, using “An Inconvenient Truth”.  THAT would be entertaining!

      Posted by The_Real_JeffS on 2007 03 29 at 02:06 PM • permalink


    1. The West Wing comparison might be close – at least as far as ALP tactics go.

      Watching Rudd a few weeks ago when he was under pressure over his Burke meetings reminded me of an episode of The West Wing. Specifically – if you are a bit of a fan like me – it was ‘Two Weeks Out’ from Series Seven. Short summary: a politician dogged by a problem that won’t go away decides to get the issue off the front pages by doing a ‘till you drop’ press conference. This way he wouldn’t have to answer any more questions on that issue – he wouldn’t stop answering questions until the journos walked away – and he didn’t have to face his opponent on the matter.

      In the characters words, “Answer every reporter’s question. Stay at the microphone until I bore them to death.”

      Link to script of episode

      Is it possible Kevin Rudd is taking cues from TV instead of the unions?

      /thinks it is possible to enjoy The West Wing while detesting the politics of the Dems

      Posted by Villeurbanne on 2007 03 29 at 02:20 PM • permalink


    1. Don’t you love it when government morons propose a solution (that’s already being implemented) to a problem?  I know my confidence level just soars.

      Posted by RebeccaH on 2007 03 29 at 02:47 PM • permalink


    1. I recall watching the Garrett/Lomborg stoush. Lomborg was cool, reasoned, very much on top of his subject and utterly credible, whilst Garrett was doing his well-known impersonation of a crackhead in extremis.
      When Garrett lost the plot completely and resorted to shouting and breast-beating, I remember thinking, and this cretin aspires to be a politician! Then I thought, well yeah, a Labor politician – that’d fit.

      Posted by Boss Hog on 2007 03 29 at 04:34 PM • permalink


    1. When Garrett lost the plot completely and resorted to shouting and breast-beating,

      Fanatics don’t take well to their faith being criticized.

      Posted by Rob Crawford on 2007 03 29 at 05:07 PM • permalink


    1. But, but, Peter Garrett is a super-hero, isn’t he? This portrait proves it!
      super hero

      Posted by percypup on 2007 03 29 at 06:08 PM • permalink


    1. #7 Intriguing hand gesture in that portrait suggests to me that the artist has included a secret message about Garrett. I will leave others to interpret this.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 03 29 at 06:18 PM • permalink


    1. #5 Boss

      I remember thinking, and this cretin aspires to be a politician! Then I thought, well yeah, a Labor politician – that’d fit.

      I have had similar thoughts. Often.

      Posted by kae on 2007 03 29 at 06:36 PM • permalink


    1. Can you believe that a senior minister of this government dismissed the Al Gore movie An Inconvenient Truth as ‘just entertainment’?

      Yeah, “An Inconvenient Truth” is infotainment,without the ‘info’.  As for Mr. Garrett, it was delicately described as

      His face and head did not go a shade of red at his gaffe today in parliament but he certainly looked like he was sitting on one of his testicles.

      Posted by darrinhV2 on 2007 03 29 at 07:07 PM • permalink


    1. Just entertainment.  I guess it’s entertainment if you like to watch children being scared.

      Posted by anthony_r on 2007 03 29 at 08:38 PM • permalink


    1. Government subsidies for installing solar panels reminds me of a great quote from PJ O’Rourke:

      Government subsidies can be critically analyzed according to a simple principle: You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn’t do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid.

      (from All the trouble in the world. The lighter side of famine, pestilence, destruction and death)

      Posted by Art Vandelay on 2007 03 29 at 10:17 PM • permalink


    1. In the Macquarie Dictionary reafforestation is spelt with a double f.

      Posted by splice on 2007 03 29 at 10:22 PM • permalink


    1. Gotcha!

      I knew this day would come – Mr Tim “Reafie” Blair.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 03 29 at 11:09 PM • permalink


    1. A beclowning moment from our exalted leader. Who do we sacrifice?

      Incidentally did you know that Winston Churchill reintroduced the word henpecked to the lexicon.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 03 29 at 11:26 PM • permalink


    1. The thing is the exchange happened mid-week and was not largely not picked up by the media. A disgrace.

      If Howard had such a farcical blunder, it would have been continuing wall to wall news.

      Posted by boxofmatches on 2007 03 29 at 11:41 PM • permalink


    1. Arr, it’s just a jumped up word fer tree-plantin’.

      Posted by anthony_r on 2007 03 30 at 12:05 AM • permalink


    1. Really makes you wonder what other “facts” this Blair character has been getting away with. Media Watch are currently levitating in ecstasy.

      Posted by Infidel Tiger on 2007 03 30 at 12:15 AM • permalink


    1. Out-pronounced by Peter Garrett – oh glorious day!

      The Tim has come
      To beclown poor Peter
      for mispronouncing reafforestation
      but he forgot ‘bout Pete’s
      very expensive education
      Tim was beclowned
      He’s from Werribee
      And Pete showed his knowledge
      Thanks to Ba-arker College

      How can we dance when Tim mispronounces reafforestation?
      How do we sleep when our ears are burning?

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 03 30 at 12:31 AM • permalink


    1. Enviroloonitis is a very dangerous contagion, especially for those brave enough to pace the wards, day after day, checking upon the terminally ill to bring us vital reports on its epidemiology. It’s Peter Garrett who’s got the raging fever. Tim just sneezed, that’s all.

      Posted by splice on 2007 03 30 at 12:39 AM • permalink


    1. As appalling as this is for Tim, at least he doesn’t have red hair.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2007 03 30 at 01:03 AM • permalink


    1. There’s sufficient confusion between reforestation and reafforestation to warrant dropping the use of the latter.

      More dictionaries prefer reforestation. Further, who ever heard of deafforestation?

      Garrett, like all his Labour colleagues, would not, of course, use a six syllable word when a seven syllable one is available.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2007 03 30 at 01:51 AM • permalink


    1. Make that five and six.

      Posted by ilibcc on 2007 03 30 at 01:52 AM • permalink


    1. 12 ArtVandelay:

      …when the government pays you to do something you wouldn’t do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid…

      Indeed. I recently explored the economics of installing Energex’s biggest home solar generator for about $20K.
      If it achieved Energex’s predicted savings on my power bills, it would take me 43 years just to recover the capital outlay including subsidy.
      A better plan was to invest that capital amount at 5% pa. About half the return on such an investment would allow me to buy the same amount of power, and the other half I could fritter away on booze for 43 years.
      And at the end of the 43 years I would have $20K in the bank instead of a rusting heap on the roof.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 02:35 AM • permalink


    1. #15

      A beclowning moment from our exalted leader. Who do we sacrifice?


      Posted by kae on 2007 03 30 at 04:31 AM • permalink


    1. #24

      And Skeets, the bloody thing wouldn’t LAST 43 years! Probably only last 10, 15 tops.

      Posted by kae on 2007 03 30 at 04:35 AM • permalink


    1. #26 Too true, Kae. Our kids’ solar water heater started to leak just after the warranty ran out and it’s not repairable.
      Anyway, even if it did last the distance, who wants 43-year-old technology on their roof?
      However, we should not be discouraging the moonbats from wasting their money. I don’t mind subsidising them if it makes them feel good.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 05:07 AM • permalink


    1. Where I live, we now have Level 5 water restrictions, with a ban on topping-up one’s swimming pool with reticulated water after April 10th.

      All fine and dandy, but the Managing Spouse (who votes either ALP or Democrats as the whim takes her) wants me to have installed a pool cover, and install a rainwater tank to fill the pool, in order to comply with the new “rules”.

      So, I gave the silly cow a lesson in economics:

      (1)  The pool gets topped up once per month over December, January, February and March, and usually in May, September and November, at 2,000 or maybe 3,000 litres per time.

      (2) Reticulated water, at the maximum “Tier 3” urban water wastrel rate, is $1.20 per thousand litres.

      (3) Ergo, every time I top up my pool (7 times per year), I’m putting in somewhere between $2.40 and $3.60 worth of water.  Seven times a year, that’s somewhere between $20 and $30 per annum.

      (4) Disregarding nonsensical local council and State Government rebates, the pool cover is going to cost me $1,200, and the rainwater tank a similar amount.  Call it $2,400.

      (5) When I told the Managing Spouse that I intended to continue filling up the swimming pool under the cover of darkness, and risk a $175 fine, she naturally exploded.

      (6) I replied that we faced these ludicrous Third World water restrictions precisely because of the ineptitude of the political parties for whom she has voted (and nullified my vote) over the happy course of our marriage, and that I was simply protesting by civil disobedience.

      The silence either means that I have her stumped, or else…….

      Posted by Kaboom on 2007 03 30 at 05:31 AM • permalink


    1. #24, 26: thanks very much for posting that analysis. It’s what I had always suspected but hard data like that is very handy when debating moonbats.

      Posted by Art Vandelay on 2007 03 30 at 05:48 AM • permalink


    1. #24 Mosquito:

      I have already undertaken the exercise that you have described.

      The conclusions are exactly the same….

      Posted by Kaboom on 2007 03 30 at 06:05 AM • permalink


    1. #24 Funnily enough, I made the same calculation for my home.  Unfortunately, at a lefty site I inhabit for kicks, when I mad the same point as you I was summarily told that I obviously consume far too much power, and any case the ALP will bring in subsidies.  Leaving aside the said subsidies that are already the subject of this post (and are already deducted before you get to the 20K), I was able to relish the fact that the forum I was participating in was dedicated to high end computer usage.  I loooove irony.

      Posted by entropy on 2007 03 30 at 06:46 AM • permalink


    1. Just a thought; knowing the way prefixes usually work in English, it makes sense that:

      afforestation = planting of trees to make a forest

      reforestation = planting of trees to replace a forest

      reafforestation = planting trees to replace an afforested forest

      In other words, reafforestation refers to one part of a cycle of forestry resource management.

      Posted by splice on 2007 03 30 at 06:49 AM • permalink


    1. #29, 30 & 31
      The figures I posted at 24 were from memory. I have just found my original calculations which you might find useful when arguing with moonbats.
      There is an interesting sting in the tail. In the unlikely event that my solar generator produces more power than I can use, Energex will credit me with only 8 cents per kWh because that’s what it costs them for coal-fired energy.

      Anybody that thinks solar power is free, or will save them money on their power bill, should take a close look at the actual costs.
      In my area of SE Queensland, Energex offers householders three sizes of solar generation systems.
      I considered the largest, the 2000 system. After a $4000 subsidy from the taxpayers it costs $19,462 including installation on your roof. Energex claims that the 2000 will generate 4000 kWh per annum in our area.
      I am paying 13.5 cents per kWh, so the solar generator will “save” me $540 per year.
      This means that it will take me 36 years to recover my outlay and an additional 7.4 years to recover the taxpayers’ contribution.
      That is, of course, provided nothing goes wrong with the system over the next 43.4 years. The system is guaranteed for 20 years.
      I have chosen an alternative.
      I have invested the $23,462 capital cost in a bank deposit at 5% pa.
      Keeping it simple, that will give me an interest return of $1173 pa. I can buy the 4000 kWh of coal-fired energy from Energex for $540 and have $633 pa left over to spend. Better still, I could save it and watch the magic of compound interest turn it into something worthwhile.
      Just on simple-interest capital costs alone, my “free” solar power would have actually cost me 29.3 cents per kWh—more than twice the price of coal-fired energy.
      But there’s more! If I generate a surplus with my solar generator, Energex will only pay me 8 cents per kWh. This is the price of coal-fired energy. The rest of the 13.5 cents they charge me is to cover “network costs”. So my “free” solar energy is actually costing nearly 4 times as much as coal-fired energy.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 08:06 AM • permalink


    1. Spare me, I hadn’t bothered to calculate the opportunity cost of the investment.  That makes it even worse!

      I think you should work on that a bit more, get it peer reviewed and send it off to the curious snail.  it might get published.

      Posted by entropy on 2007 03 30 at 08:13 AM • permalink


    1. #34 That’s an interesting idea, entropy.
      Can you be my peer?

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 08:39 AM • permalink


    1. Actually here is the link to the pdf where you can calculate the likely cost (warning – head tilting insanity on page 5).  I had actually underestimated.
      We use about 3000 kwh per quarter, 12000 kwh per year.  They don’t even make a unit big enough for that.  We are looking at having to install two units at $46,000 each (after subsidy), if we are to leave a margin.  You might be able to skimp a little on the second unit if you weren’t bothered with having to access the grid every now and again.

      Posted by entropy on 2007 03 30 at 08:41 AM • permalink


    1. ooooh, we would also have to cover about 39 sq metres of the roof with solar panels for each unit, which is a problem as the front of the house faces west.  But, I suppose if we coated one side for the morning power, and the other side for the afternoon power…..I guess that means I can get rid of every single one of the crappy tiles on my roof, and extend the eaves.

      Posted by entropy on 2007 03 30 at 08:47 AM • permalink


    1. #35 I think you need someone who is actually good at maths.  I must be doing something wrong above.  it can’t be that ridiculous. And yet I use 37 kwh per day…..

      Posted by entropy on 2007 03 30 at 08:55 AM • permalink


    1. Skeets, I’ll peer at it for you.

      Posted by kae on 2007 03 30 at 09:00 AM • permalink


    1. OK, its only half as bad as I thought – if I put in a separate solar HWS, and left the pool on the grid, I am down to 21.5 kwh. If I made the toddlers sleep in the total dark, and stopped playing on the net half the night,  or stopped Mrs Entropy watching Days of our Lives and the kids from watching ABC kids, I reckon I might be able to get down to 20 kwh and be able to get away with the one $46,000 unit.  It’s a bargain!

      Posted by entropy on 2007 03 30 at 09:06 AM • permalink


    1. #36 Thanks for the link. It introduces a lot more work to be done before publishing.
      We were not attempting to generate all our load.  In the last 12 months we have used 32000 kWh and the biggest unit offered by Energex was the 4000 kWh pa model. In any case, there are no storage batteries involved and when the sun don’t shine you have to draw from the grid no matter how big a system you buy.
      The outputs quoted in your link are much more expensive than those quoted to me by Energex. My figures were based on a latitude of 28°S. The Origin pdf does not seem to refer to a latitude anywhere but as the testimonials all come from the deep south, that would explain the lower PV outputs. Using the Origin predictions I would have to install a unit costing around $32k to get my 4000 kWh pa.
      To keep things simple, I have assumed that my loads would always exceed my PV output so I would never be driving the meter backwards.
      In fact, of course, this is unlikely to be true and much of the PV credit would be at 8 cents, not 13.5 cents per kWh.
      It gets worser and worser!

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 09:23 AM • permalink


    1. Thanks kae. I might just take you up on that.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 09:25 AM • permalink


    1. (Skeets, I’m an adminno at a Uni, that’s about as close as I get to being qualified; I peer at a lot of scholarly papers in my job!)

      Posted by kae on 2007 03 30 at 09:29 AM • permalink


    1. On the matter of peer review, we have a qualified actuary (head tilter) in the family. I showed her my original calculations and all she could come up with against them was that I had not allowed for a probable increase in Energex power costs over the 43 years.
      Without doing the sums, I think those increased costs could be matched by some compound interest calculations and some depreciating asset values.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 09:35 AM • permalink


    1. Kae, I would need someone to check my maths and my logic. You sound eminently suitable.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 09:37 AM • permalink


    1. Kae, you’re probably smarter than the lecturers and tutors anyway. You’re more than welcome to peer review any of my scribings if I ever write anything good.

      Posted by Ash_ on 2007 03 30 at 09:42 AM • permalink


    1. And kae, I have no tertiary qualifications so you will out-peer me by a long way.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 09:45 AM • permalink


    1. That’s OK Skeets, neither do I!

      I look after timetabling and the Bibliographic collection, AKA clawback. Oh, and “other duties as directed” by my supervisor.

      Posted by kae on 2007 03 30 at 09:49 AM • permalink


    1. Thanks for the compliments!
      Night all!
      Have a good weekend.

      Posted by kae on 2007 03 30 at 09:51 AM • permalink


    1. Good night from me too. A reminder to all you Mexicans to adjust your clocks in 24 hours and 2 minutes.

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 09:58 AM • permalink


    1. Oops! Maybe you did that last weekend?

      Posted by Skeeter on 2007 03 30 at 10:00 AM • permalink


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