Fear, deception and gravitas

Enjoying the election coverage? Essentially it is the day to day analysis of the political leaders of this country racking up the kilometres to appear in ‘strategic’ locations, with nodding sycophants behind them answering the same or similar questions as they did yesterday to the same tired and bored journalists who then dutifully make something out of the tedium, record it and send it back to base for consumption on the 6pm news. The next day the caravan moves to another ‘strategic’ location, with some different nodding sycophants and the practice will be repeated ad nauseum until 18 May.

There are interesting moments in an election campaign where people go off script, say something blatantly stupid or demonstrate in front of group of TV cameras that they are human and can, as a result, stuff it up. The human stuff ups and off-script ‘incidents’ are understandable, such as Shorten’s ‘correction’ to his no new superannuation taxes statement when he didn’t explicitly exclude the increased tax component of a superannuation policy that the ALP released 3 years ago. After all, actors spend weeks and months to learn their lines with expression and actions, we expect the likes of Shorten and Morrison to remember their lines (without knowing the sequence of questions) for every day of an election campaign with little notice, being away from home, keeping quiet on what policies they haven’t released and assessing if there are any holes in the other guy’s arguments that they can exploit. No wonder it sometimes doesn’t go as intended.

While Shorten demonstrated he can stuff it up, the Coalition has demonstrated time and time again it really has nothing left to contribute except their claimed ‘achievements’, fear, uncertainty and deception. When Shorten claimed as part of an emissions reduction policy that he will create a target of 50% of new vehicle sales (emphasis added) to be made up of electric vehicles within a decade, Morrison and the Coalition, despite their own government considering the same target, were all over the policy with negatives, creating fear and deception over the future of electric vehicles based on the current cost and ability to ‘refuel’ electric vehicles on the road today. True - Australia doesn’t generally have the infrastructure to ‘refuel’ electric vehicles within the same timeframes and levels of convenience as petrol or diesel powered vehicles in 2019, however as the ‘Historic England’ website reminds us
Today we fill up our cars with petrol from pumps at filling stations, but for the first 25 years of British motoring such things didn't exist. Instead, you could only buy petrol in two-gallon cans from chemists, hardware shops and hotels, as well as from garages. Then petrol filling stations began to appear.
Simple economics (allegedly a Coalition strongpoint) will tell you if there is a demand for the infrastructure the market will satisfy that demand, in this case probably using a combination of grid and renewable generation sources.

Society adapts to technological change. Almost every medium or large shopping centre has a mobile phone store in 2019, 30 years ago that wasn’t the case. It’s the same with time shifting a TV show. The VCR gave way to the smaller DVD recorder, which has given way to the Personal Video Recorder that has greater usability. A large number of people now prefer to stream content as required from the Internet on their touchscreen device rather than use a recorder at all.

Electric vehicles are coming regardless of if we like it or not and there are already recharging facilities available (albeit not necessarily at highly visible petrol sales outlets). Apart from the high profile Tesla ‘superchargers’, Queensland has the ‘electric super highway’ from Coolangatta to Cairns (and Toowoomba), Western Australia has the ‘RAC electric highway’ and the NRMA in NSW is also planning to introduce a network of electric vehicle chargers. Chargepoint and Chargefox also have apps that advise where their charging locations are (and handle the user payments).

The poor deluded souls rolled out by the Coalition parties during this election campaign claiming technology doesn’t exist to create an electrically powered ute, pull a trailer or travel a reasonable distance are simply wrong. The technology is already available. Toyota has already announced that all its vehicles (including utes) will have an electric (plug in or hybrid) option by 2025. RIvian, an US startup backed by Amazon, are openly discussing selling a battery powered ute in Australia by 2022 and Haval intend on having a battery powered Great Wall ute on sale in Australia before then.

The Toronto Transit Commission in Canada is currently taking delivery of 60 battery powered buses. They hope to reduce the current CA$90million annual diesel bill for their 2,000 buses to CA$0 by 2040 (although there will be a cost implication in recharging 2,000 buses). TTC believe that each bus will be capable of 250km between charges – which is considerably more than the average daily distance travelled by cars, utes and vans in Australia so the economics seem to stack up as well and will get cheaper as the technology matures.

The new tram system in Newcastle NSW runs on batteries with automatic recharging at tram stops while passengers are boarding and alighting and (where else but) Byron Bay already has a full size solar powered train that runs to a seven day a week timetable for about 3km each trip.

As the Coalition is getting electric vehicles so fundamentally wrong – you have to ask what other issues they are relying of fear and deception to address because they don’t have the answer (without splitting their political parties into pieces)?

Michaela Cash will probably take the 2019 election ‘blatantly stupid’ award from a long line of wannabes by trying to mimic Charlton Heston’s take my gun from my ‘cold dead hand’ speech with her comment.
“We are going to stand by our tradies and we are going to save their utes,” Ms Cash told reporters.

“We understand choice and that is what Bill Shorten is taking away from our tradies.”
A link to one of Heston’s ‘cold dead hand’ speeches is here. Is Cash, apart from not having a clue, lacking a certain gravitas?

What do you think?

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bruce bilney


Well Folks here we are with 9 days to go. How different a feeling from elections in the past, from 2016, from 2013, from 2010 when I first started writing here. Social media shows a sadder and wiser Australian community: regretful of our failure to act on environmental issues as shown in the state of our rivers and reefs, ashamed of our record on asylum seekers and our own indigenous peoples. No longer the Lucky Country, but one yearning to be New Zealand.

We have lost so much way in the last 6 years with the LNP selling off public assets, rorting, reversing Labor initiatives, and especially fomenting racist and ethnic hatreds, and militarism. And I weep inside constantly for our vanishing wildlife, because extinction is forever.

Greta Thunberg is absolutely right about extinction. But the great lead weight in my belly is from carrying the same convictions for all my lengthy life.

Anyway we will bloody win this bloody election, and then let us hope that people don't ever let such a mob as this into power ever again.

Our jubilation will be indelibly tainted with shame and regret, but nevertheless, I will take a fierce joy in the defeat of these terrible people. 


How many Rabbits do I have if I have 3 Oranges?