A rift is widening in Coalition ranks over renewable energy targets, with several Liberal MPs planning to publicly defy the party line by attending a Tea Party-style anti-wind farm rally at Parliament House in Canberra.
The rally is scheduled for June 18 and is being promoted through a clandestine group using a website called StopTheseThings.com, which provides no names of organisers or authorisations, but posts a picture of Tiananmen Square in an apparent effort to encourage defiance.
It also posts comments from contributors claiming God is on their side in their bid to rid the nation of wind farms.
Shock jock Alan Jones is certainly on their side and is named on the website as master of ceremonies for the upcoming event, which is being touted as the ”Wind Power Fraud” rally.
Some within Liberal Party ranks will be among the high-profile attendees at the rally, even though wind farms are integral to the Coalition’s commitment to a 20 per cent by 2020 renewable energy target. And they appear to be flying in the face of the party’s direct action on climate change policy.
Despite shadow environment minister Greg Hunt recently confirming the party’s commitment to the target, a growing number of opposition MPs have begun speaking out against it.
The StopTheseThings website lists NSW Liberal MPs Craig Kelly and Alby Schultz among the rally’s line-up of speakers as well as WA Liberal senator Chris Back. The Coalition’s star candidate to replace the retiring Mr Schultz in the seat of Hume, Angus Taylor, has also been recruited to attend.
Senator Back confirmed he intended to speak at the rally, but he was unaware of the website promoting it. ”I don’t tend to involve myself in crusades,” he said. ”I like to look at all sides of an issue and my concern here is about the health effects of wind farms.
”What I’ve been actively doing is pushing a case for there to be some good, medical research to be undertaken, together with a worldwide review of scientific literature on the subject.”
Mr Kelly said his involvement with the rally was yet to be confirmed.
The growing boldness of the rogue Liberals is raising suggestions that the Coalition is about to backflip on its commitment to renewable targets and wind farms.
”The Coalition is aware of the community concerns regarding wind farms. We have committed to a full medical research into the potential impact if elected,” Mr Hunt said.
”It is important that MPs listen to their communities. On the RET, there is no change to our support for the 20 per cent target.”
Victorian senator John Madigan (Democratic Labor Party) and independent South Australian senator Nick Xenophon will also be speaking at the event. In Parliament, the pair have co-sponsored an excessive noise bill in relation to wind farms.
Senator Xenophon said he was invited through Senator Madigan’s office and did not really know who was behind the anti-wind farm rally.
”I am happy to talk at the event and I will say that while I do believe something should be done about climate change, the economics of wind farms don’t stack up and neither do the environmental benefits.”
Organisers are reluctant to say who is behind the rally and the StopTheseThings website, which states: ”We are a kitchen table group of citizens concerned about what is happening across rural and regional Australia, by the harm being done by the wind industry, in partnership with governments.”
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding