Tamed Estate: Nine’s ‘Exclusive Survey’ by Liberal lobby associates as credible as Angus Taylor’s ‘clean coal’

by | Apr 24, 2021 | Tamed Estate

And all guns saluted the PM’s climate announcements. But while other countries are targeting green hydrogen production, Energy Minister Angus Taylor spruiks clean hydrogen, which keeps fossil fuels in the game. And the Oz found room for an Op-ed claiming that Australia’s and America’s policies are “not far apart”. Michael Tanner reports.

Devil in the detail

An “exclusive survey” from research company Resolve Strategic, the “first in a new initiative”, gave The Age/Sydney Morning Herald plenty to talk about. The survey yielded four articles highlighting strong support for the Coalition, despite its many shortcomings over recent months, as has been widely reported.

Voters back Coalition

PM marked down but voters won't stray

However, the devil is in the detail. The research group contracted to conduct the polling – Resolve Strategic – was founded by a Mr Reed, previously the director of research and strategy at CT group (previously Crosby Textor).

CT/Crosby Textor is a lobbying firm and consultancy with strong links to the Liberal Party, being involved with its 2010 and 2013 federal election campaigns, as well as Campbell Newman’s 2012 state election campaign. Mr Reed was also previously a senior research director at Newgate communications, another lobby firm with close ties to the Liberal party and big business as a whole.

As Crikey has previously reported, Resolve Strategic and Mr Reed have been the beneficiaries of two Federal government contracts, each worth north of $500,000, for market research – a “surprising” amount of money.

Nine’s chief political correspondent David Crowe disclosed in two of the four articles Mr Reed’s previous employment and his previous work with the Federal government. However, disclosing the close links the companies had to the Liberal Party would have given a stronger indication of how much weight to accord the research.

Action on climate?

The trumpets were out heralding Scott Morrison’s two-for-the-price-of-one twin announcements of $500 million towards climate action – the first half billion for low-emissions technology, in the form of hydrogen and carbon, capture and storage; the second $500 million to partner with foreign investors to develop this technology in Australia.

It made for great headlines, from:

The Herald Sun

ScoMo's $565 million plan

The Daily Telegraph

Clare Armstrong

The Australian Financial Review

PM sets path

Philip Coorey PM's global tech fix

The Australian

ScoMo's $1bn bet

and

Nicholas Jensen

However, as is so often the case, the reality doesn’t meet the hype.

The government announced $275.5 million for hydrogen production in regional areas; and $263.7 million towards carbon-capture and storage projects and hubs.

Hydrogen is a fuel that is energy-intensive to produce, but once produced it can be used similarly to gas, allowing it to be used in the absence of wind and sun, when renewables are less reliable.

However, while countries around the world are targeting an increase in green hydrogen production – that is, hydrogen produced and stored via renewables – Australia has set no stipulation that these funds be put towards green hydrogen.

Indeed, the morning after the announcement, Energy Minister Angus Taylor was on the radio spruiking clean hydrogen – typically a mixture of renewables and fossil fuels – but was evasive as to whether these would actually use renewables.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS), meanwhile, is simply ludicrous. As Crikey has reported, according to even the coal industry, CCS is “neither practical nor economic” as it makes coal more expensive. Nor is CCS particularly effective. But luckily for the coal giants in Australia, the government can call on our money to keep coal in the game, just a more expensive version; and a media to sell it as a “global tech fix” and a “clean energy plan”.

US, Australia on the same climate page?

The Australian even found room for an Op-ed describing Australia’s and America’s climate policies as “not far apart”. This in spite of America’s commitments to a 50% cut in carbon emissions by 2030 and net-zero by 2050, and a $2 trillion stimulus package with a significant proportion earmarked for decarbonizing the economy.

The Op-ed was written by Professor Simon Jackman, the chief executive of the United States Study Centre at the University of Sydney.

Simon Jackman

Australia, US not far apart

It sat well with the what-about-China line The Australian Financial Review and The Daily Telegraph were running.

The Australian Financial Review

Nick Hossack on China

The Daily Telegraph

Terry MCCrann China

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michael Tanner

Michael Tanner

Michael Tanner is completing a Doctor of Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy. His writing explores the intersection of economics, the media and public health. His writing has also been published in The Age. Michael’s Twitter handle is @MichaelTanner_

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