Perth has doubled its population to 2 million in the last 30 years, but it hasn’t changed much. The same old families still rule the roost and anyone from across the Nullarbor Plain is known as an ‘Eastern Stater’ or ‘someone from over there.’
The propagandists for the recently defunct Liberal government will say it was a matter of ‘time,’ as in Gough Whitlam’s ‘It’s Time’ campaign of 1972. This is not true. It was a matter of the monumental stupidity of the government.
I worked in mineral exploration during the last mining boom in WA in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Then it was mainly nickel the explorers sought. This time it was mainly, though not entirely, iron ore. This time, the resource was already there, thanks to the foresight of Sir Charles Court, former Liberal Premier of WA. They just had to dig up the rocks and put the iron ore on a ship to China. For years, the iron ore mines were marginal propositions supplying mainly the Japanese market. When the China boom began, the miners, mainly BHP and Rio, and later Fortescue, were ready.
Now, I wish to make this clear. The iron ore boom was the most stupendous boom in a century. WA had seen nothing like it since the gold rush at the turn of the 20th century. With the assurance of riches never seen before, Colin Barnett’s government began a massive spending spree: new hospitals (plural), a new football stadium, which neither the Dockers nor the Eagles has as yet called ‘home’ and Elizabeth Quay. Elizabeth Quay scaled new heights of idiocy. Contractors dug a huge hole in the Esplanade, on the Swan River, and eventually, after years of effort, filled it with water. The net result? More passengers take the ferry to South Perth. Not really worth
I don’t need to remind readers that the ‘climate change’ scam has been scientifically refuted. When predictions based on scientific theory fail to materialize it is usually the end of the theory. But zombie like, the idea of imminent (but always far enough into the future not to be immediately apparent) climate change catastrophe has a life of its own and no number of facts or reality checks seem able to put a stake through it heart.
There is a psychology involved here. It takes enormous integrity of character to disagree with the underlying beliefs of all your peer groups. Most people ‘won’t go there’. I have often heard people avoid confronting the failure of the catastrophic climate change theory, by claiming that eliminating fossil fuels and using renewable (i.e. unreliable) energy is somehow a good thing anyway. Depending on their sophistication, they will waffle on about saving the planet from carbon pollution (without distinguishing carbon dioxide from real pollution) or peak oil or reliance on OPEC. Of course, nuclear power, which produces no greenhouse gasses, will never be contemplated as a replacement to fossil fuel generated energy. But that’s another story.
The Adam Smith Club will host a meeting on Tuesday the 18th of April, 2017 at Bohéme Restaurant Bar, 368 Bridge Road, Richmond.
Alan Moran has been a prominent writer on regulatory matters for thirty years. He was the inaugural head of the Australian government’s regulatory review office and researched the issues in “think tanks”. Working outside and within the Victorian Government, he was a major participant in the disaggregation of that state’s monopoly electricity business into a dozen independent parts and in the creation of what later became the National Electricity Market.
Dr Moran has written many books and articles on the interface between climate change, energy and economic well-being. These include editing and contributing to the 2015 best seller, Climate Change: The Facts. His latest book is Climate Change: Treaties and Policies in the Trump Era. Dr Moran will address the Club on both his book and more specifically the causes and consequences of the closure of the Hazelwood power station. (BYO candles in case of post-Hazelwood blackout.)