12 June 2024

Topics: UK election, Victorian Government paying off farmers for transmission lines, protestors

EO&E

 

Steve Price:

Welcome back, Steve Price in for Peta. Now let’s bring in our panel, Shadow Environment Minister Jonathon Duniam and senior fellow of the Menzies Research Centre, columnist with The Australian, Nick Cater. Welcome gentlemen, great to see you both. I must say, Nick Cater, I much preferred your Budapest background last week than where you are currently. Where are you? Clacton-on-Sea, where the hell’s that?

 

Nick Cater:

Come on, Steve. Clacton-on-Sea. Everybody knows Clacton is on the East Coast of Britain. It’s about an hour and a half by train from London. But the importance of Clacton-on-Sea, of course, is, this is where Nigel Farage is standing for the Reform Party and all the vibe I pick up here as he’s looks like he’s going to win.

 

Steve Price:

Well, he’s had a milkshake thrown on him at him and now cement, so he’s getting plenty of headlines in the UK. What are the polls saying? Is Farage really going to play a major part here, or is he just going to be a disruptor?

 

Nick Cater:

He’s going to be a disruptor. I think. I mean, in in the national polling they are neck and neck with the Tories at around 14 or 15 per cent of the vote. So basically, the Conservative vote looks like it’s being split the way it works, of course, is that it’s very hard for him to get actual MPs up. I mean, I think I’m fairly confident in saying he’s a strong place to win here himself. There are maybe three or four other seats, Barnsley, Boston, Hartlepool, few more you can pick around the country that are likely. So it looks like he will split the Tory vote and end up with very few MPs himself. But of course he’s arrived as a force and what he’s done is to show that you know ordinary, conservative voters if I can call them that are not happy with the way things have been going under Rishi Sunak’s Government and the ones before that. They want to return to more traditional values and to exercising things like Brexit and immigration.

 

Steve Price:

Yeah, immigration’s going to be the big issue. Jonathon, let’s talk about the Victorian Government. They’ve responded to this backlash over the roll out of wind turbines and transmission lines. The Age reported this week that they are considering $40,000 payments to compensate land owners for transmission tower eyesores it’s called, and under that proposal, a property owner can seek a payment if they can prove they’ve had a significant loss of visual amenity which won’t be hard to prove, I wouldn’t think. But this one really got me, Jonathon, if their land is within 400 metres of the project in regions of 200 metres in urban areas, this is going to cost a fortune. And then there’s also a payment for transmission lines going across your land that will last for 25 years and be indexed to inflation.

 

Senator Duniam:

It’s a good thing, Steve, it’s other people’s money because you can just splash that around as we’ve seen here. I mean, it’s obscene to hear reports of these payments. The idea that, you know, on top of the tens of billions of dollars that these transmission networks are going to cost to link these new renewable generation assets to the grid is just eye watering to say the least. What worries me though, is there will be a bureaucracy, a team of people that are going to go out and see whether your visual amenities being harmed in any way and whether you’re eligible for the payment. There will be a lengthy process. On top of that, you’ve got all the compulsory acquisition issues. The whole thing is a farce and this is why this whole renewables transition and ‘we will stop at nothing to get there’, is just such a joke. And this was demonstrated again in Victoria where you had Jacinta Allan saying, well, we will destroy a protected wetland to build a seaport to build the offshore wind farm. So again, we’ll trash the environment to save the planet. It is just madness, hypocrisy and it will not work.

 

Steve Price:

Nick, I’d love that job of going around and speaking to the great farmers of Australia and saying, mate, I reckon you’re going to be impacted here. Here’s $40,000 and don’t forget you can get $8,000 per kilometre if these lines go through your property. Good on you, mate. Then you can stay at the local pub, mix with the farmers overnight, go on to the next area. I’d put my hand up for that job.

 

Nick Cater:

Yeah. You know my impression, Steve, you know, travelling around the country, places like New England and Victoria, I think very few farmers are going to take it at $40,000. I mean, it is a permanent impost on the land. There’s no guarantee what happens to that land afterwards. There’s a danger, of course, from bushfires if those things collapse and the community feeling roundabout is so strong. I don’t know that there’d be too many farmers keen to take the money. I could be wrong, but it just goes to show this thing is a whole lot more expensive than Chris Bowen ever told us. Not that he ever gave us a proper costing. And we’re going to be paying for this, you know, from now to Kingdom come on our electricity bills.

 

Steve Price:

You’re worried you’re in a country with nuclear power, powering the thing that’s charging your phone? Are you concerned that you’re going to somehow get contaminated, Nick, while you’re there?

 

Nick Cater:

No, not at all. I should tell you if I could turn the camera, I could point to it. Just off there’s the sea over there and just off in the horizon is, I can see, two dozen wind turbines in the water. Great big things, great eyesore on the horizon there. Not one of them is turning. So how are they getting their electricity here in Britain? I don’t know. But look, I don’t think people are really concerned about nuclear power in the way they once were and right across Europe now it’s seen as the way forward if we have to get to that net zero goal.

 

Steve Price:

Yeah, Clacton-on-Sea doesn’t look all that sunny either. What about these animal riots activists? These morons that have vandalised the official portrait of King Charles, Nick, cover it with an animated character, Wallace from Wallace and Gromit. The group was protesting alleged animal cruelty at 45 farms certified by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. These people do themselves no favours. Who’s going to say yeah, I’ll support that.

 

Nick Cater:

Yeah, look, it’s atrocious, Steve. I saw that painting actually at the weekend. It’s a lovely painting and you know, in a very trusting British way, there’s no particular security around it or wasn’t up until this point. You know, we just don’t expect people to behave like this. But this is the interesting thing, isn’t it, they’re not actually out to win over converts like this. They’re just out to virtue signal, to make a noise to just be, you know there and showing how virtuous they are. They really not rather we the rest of us weren’t on board because that wouldn’t allow them to have their exclusively virtuous position. But I just think this is a you know, it breaks your heart really when you look at a painting like that and you see how much effort has gone into that by the painter, indeed, by the man who sat for it. I don’t know, throw the book at them. Catch them, put them in prison forever. That’s what I think.

 

Steve Price:

Well, Jonathon, I mean, you’ve had the same issues in Tassie with statues and we had the King George the fifth statue in Melbourne vandalised this week, the head of the statue cut off, the plinth splattered with red paint. These people are just lunatics, aren’t they?

 

Senator Duniam:

Of course they are, Steve. As Nick said, they’ve achieve nothing. There’s no outcome, there’s no different policy taken by relevant governments, the world doesn’t change, and they see it as a right of passage some of these people as well. They like being martyred. I mean, the number of times certain Green activists in Tasmania, for example, have marched outside the Magistrates Court here in Hobart and held a press conference to talk about how wonderful it is and it’s a badge of honour to have had the law book thrown at them. It is just part of their playbook now sadly, but the reality is we are desecrating national icons, parts of our history, I mean defacing the portrait of our monarch is something that is next level, but again at the end of the day, what does their cause get out of it? Nothing. Is the world a better place for it? No. But you’ve got police officers and courts dealing with these clowns that would be better off dealing with domestic violence perpetrators and other thugs in our community.

 

Steve Price:

100 per cent. Jonathon, Nick, thank you very much.