John Englart

John Englart

Citizen journalist at No Fibs
John Englart has always had a strong social and environmental focus and over the past 10 years climate change science, climate policy and climate protest have become an increasingly important and primary focus of his work as a citizen journalist.
John Englart
I am involved in various Moreland-based community groups including Sustainable Fawkner where I blog on local and sustainability issues, Climate Action Moreland and Moreland Bicycle Users Group. I am also a member of Friends of the Earth, off and on, since 1976, and wrote the contribution on the Rides Against Uranium in the 1970s for the Friends of the Earth Australia book to mark the 30-year anniversary of FoE – 30 Years of Creative Resistance.
Photo: John Englart

Photo: John Englart

It should come as no surprise that the Australian public enormously favours development of renewables. This is seen not only in public opinion polling on the issue, but also the rapid take up of roof top solar presently on 1.4 million Australian homes.

Recent opinion polling (21 July, 2015) by Essential Research on renewables finds that 50 per cent of Australians think that the Federal Government should prioritise support for the renewable energy industry over the coal industry. Ony 6 per cent favoured priotising coal industry, and 28 per cent thought both industries should be treated equally.

Even amoung coalition voters 39 per cent favoured renewables to 14 per cent for coal, and 28 per cent equally.

Total Vote Labor Vote Lib/Nat Vote Greens Vote Other
Governments should prioritise support for the coal industry over the renewable energy industry 6{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 3{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 14{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 2{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}
Government should prioritise support for the renewable energy industry over the coal industry 50{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 56{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 39{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 89{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 56{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}
The Government should treat both industries equally 28{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 28{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 35{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 5{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 34{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}
Don’t know 15{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 13{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 12{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 6{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} 8{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}

In a second question voters were asked to assess where the Federal Government current priorities were with regard to coal vs renewables. Forty nine per cent said the Government prioritises the coal industry over the renewable energy industry, with 10 per cent says renewable energy sector were favourited and 13 per cent saying the government were treating both sectors equally.

A third question asked whether the Government gives enough support for sectors of the energy industries. In the survey 60 per cent believed that the Federal Government gives enough support to the coal industry and a majority think they do not give enough support to roof top solar (57 per cent), wind farms (56 per cent) or large scale solar (55 per cent).

The poll analysis says

“A majority of all voter groups think the Government gives enough support to the coal industry. A large majority of Labor and Greens voters think the Government does not give enough support to roof top solar (Labor 67{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}/Greens 79{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}), wind farms (71{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}/86{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}) or large scale solar (66{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}/82{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}). Liberal/National voters were more divided but were more likely to think the Government does not give enough support to large scale solar (26{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} enough/42{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3} not enough), roof top solar (33{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}/43{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}) or wind farms (34{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}/39{17ac88c265afb328fa89088ab635a2a63864fdefdd7caa0964376053e8ea14b3}).”

Carbon tax had minimal impact on electricity prices according to public opinion

Survey questions for the public opinion poll announced 28 July examined voter opinion on the Impact of the carbon tax on electricity prices, and whether electricity costs had increased over the last 12 months since the repeal of the carbon pricing scheme.

While we can clearly see removal of carbon pricing has resulted in a clear trend for carbon emissions from electricity to soar, especially from Victorian brown coal generators, Tony Abbott’s promise of an electricity bill price reduction of about $550 annual price reduction appears to have not washed with voters experience.

The essential opinion poll found that 51 per cent of people think their electricity bill over the last 12 months has increased, 33 per cent think it has stayed about the same and 9 per cent think it has decreased.

I think most people are aware that the retail and distribution companies have been gold-plating the transmission system which has been largely responsible for the electricity rises in recent years. This is a problem caused by poor governance and management of the electricity sector which the present Federal government is not addressing.

Q. Thinking about your electricity bill over the last 12 months, do you think you electricity bill has::


For the impact of the carbon tax on electricity prices only 21 per cent believe that the carbon tax had a big impact on electricity prices before it was repealed a year ago. 41 per cent think it had a small impact and 20 per cent think it had no impact.

Q. Do you believe that the carbon tax, before it was repealed last year, had a big impact, a small impact or no impact on electricity prices?:


Prime Minister Abbott is fond of saying his government had a mandate from the September 2013 election to ‘axe the tax’ and that the election was a referendum on the carbon price and Australia’s policies on climate change. But elections are won and lost on many issues.

The government had no a mandate for repeal of carbon pricing, and replace it with a token ‘Direct Action’ fund, when you investigate the climate related question results of the massive votecompass survey conducted during the election, and other opinion surveys which show enormous support for renewables and for action on climate change. I explained this in detail in my November 2013 article on Australian Public opinion on carbon pricing and climate change.

The Government has consistently wound back climate action policies including one of it’s first acts being the closure of the Climate Commission, Energy Efficiency Opportunities program repealed, appointing climate denial businessman Dick Warburton to undertake the RET review, Australia showing it is a climate leaner, not a lifter in international forums, budget cuts to science programs, to list but a few.