Andrew Bolt

Mar 2, 2011

If it’s bad, I will blame “greens”, even if they opposed it

If you believe one Herald Sun columnist, the Victorian desalination plant is "

If you believe one Herald Sun columnist, the Victorian desalination plant is “the greatest green folly in Victoria’s history“.

Which claim seems odd to me, since I recall the Greens vigorously opposing the plant at the time. Also other environmental groups (lower case “greens”).

The Greens in 2007:

Greens say desalination is a loser for the environment and water bills

Friends of the Earth have been long opposed. Likewise the Australian Conservation Foundation, and a coalition of environmental groups operating as “Watershed Victoria” with their Your Water Your Say campaign.

In fact, the Greens and environmental groups were the biggest opponents of the desalination plant. Where the Herald Sun columnist disingenuously pretends that “almost no journalists or academics even questioned this gigantic folly at the time” and concludes that the plant represents “what green madness, unchecked, can lead to”, it is clear looking at the record that there were many, many people campaigning vigorously against the proposal all the way through, and that the Greens and greens in general were those leading the fight.

And yet, if you believed his post, you’d come out with precisely the opposite impression. (Comments one poorly misinformed reader, “it is a very bleak picture indeed and a lesson to all , the ALP or Greens must NEVER be allowed to manage Victoria’s economy …or anything else”.)

Of course, since I’m sure he’s not deliberately misleading his readers, I await his correction, explaining that the word “greens” in his headline was a typo. Or that he has some strange new definition of “greens”. And that he recognises that the party he despises fought consistently and from very early on against the plant he despises, and he never meant to leave readers with the contrary idea.

Any moment now.

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46 comments

46 thoughts on “If it’s bad, I will blame “greens”, even if they opposed it

  1. Bashing the Greens again for the failure of something they actually opposed | Pure Poison

    […] You might recall a Southbank columnist back in March attacking the Greens for the problems with the Victorian desalination plant – even though they had opposed it. […]

  2. Jacob

    Bolt perhaps associates desal with his ‘warmist’ bogeyman Tim Flannery, who has advocated desal as a solution for protracted drought conditions. Perhaps AB thinks Flannery is an archetypal ‘green’?

    However, as Bolt lives and works in Melbourne, his ignorance of the overwhelming opposition to the Wonthaggi plant by just about every ‘green’ group going is inexcusable, for someone who fashions himself an astute political ‘insider’.

    And to then cast a blanket slur on all green groups based on his pig ignorance is absolutely shonky.

  3. both kinds of politics

    […] Posted by admin, on March 3rd, 2011 Bolt: Sure, they opposed it publicly. But I bet secretly the greenies wanted the big polluting thing… […]

  4. GavinM

    Actually Upyas is quite correct — Bolt isn’t blaming the Greens at all for this, yes, as usual, he’s spruiking for a Mitchell river damn as an alternative, and I don’t know enough about the pros and cons of that to argue the point, but having read the article and the comments, only a handful of the posters there are blaming anyone other than the ALP and it’s idea of “green” policy.

  5. monkeywrench

    “It’s Bolt’s view (and mine), that environmental or “green” concerns drove the Victorian Labor Party to choose a desalination plant over a dam.” If by “environmental” concerns, you mean the simple ensuring of an adequate supply of water, perhaps. But to label it a “green” issue when there are plenty of Greens opposed to the project is just more propagandising. There’s no limit, apparently, to your ( and Bolt’s) casuistry when you want to smear your favourite targets.

  6. returnedman

    It’s Bolt’s view (and mine), that environmental or “green” concerns drove the Victorian Labor Party to choose a desalination plant over a dam.

    It’s my view (and this is backed up by all sorts of evidence from all over the world) that the desal plant was pushed by very strong corporate interests. If you read anything by Maude Barlow (see above) you will discover that these water corporations are incredibly powerful and manipulative. Big Water is no different to Big Oil or Big Tobacco (or Big Booze).

  7. CJ Morgan

    While we may be somewhat inured to bulldust from a certain columnist, this story reaches new levels of mendacity – even for him. Is it actually legal for a newspaper to knowingly publish {EDIT}?

    The Greens are on record as being among the vociferous opponents to desal plants anywhere they’ve been proposed in Australia. The columnist must know this, as must the newspaper’s editor. So why publish what amounts to a bald-faced {EDIT}?

  8. returnedman

    Eponymous, have you read anything by Maude Barlow? I think you’ll think a bit more carefully about the nasty corporatisation of water (of which desal is a BIG part) if you do. That woman scares the crap out of me. For the right reasons.

  9. quantize

    ‘It’s Bolt’s view (and mine)’

    Shock, horror!

  10. Eponymous

    Green or otherwise building dams to solve water supply is a frigging stoopid idea.

    Climate change or not, Australia is prone to drought. If it doesn’t rain there is no water in the dam. It’s that simple. Desal is the only water supply option not coupled to the rain cycle, hence the popularity to politicians. Read the New Matilda article and comments I linked to above.

  11. RobJ

    [It’s Bolt’s view (and mine), that environmental or “green” concerns drove the Victorian Labor Party to choose a desalination plant over a dam]

    NO! The green thing to do would be to stop wasting water. I don’t think that Bolt believes his own rubbish, that you believe his crap is rather amusing..

  12. Upyasmum

    Let me try and explain.

    The term “green” is associated with topics related to the environment. For example, Jeremy, the green loans scheme wasn’t only available to Bob Brown, members of the Greens, the Australian Conservation Foundation or Watershed Victoria. The use of the word “green” was there simply to describe the environmental purpose of the loans. In fact, there are many times that “green” is used to describe things other than the Greens, the ACF or Watershed. It would be an exciting project for someone here to see how many they could list.

    It’s Bolt’s view (and mine), that environmental or “green” concerns drove the Victorian Labor Party to choose a desalination plant over a dam. Just so we’re all really clear on which political party Bolt blames for this choice, he refers to Labor on five separate occasions in his small piece. He refers to the Greens on no occasions. For additional clarity, that’s zero.

    How anyone could assume that this is a dig at the Greens is beyond me. But I’m not riddled with hate for Andrew Bolt so I could easily miss it.

    I should say: it is correct that the Green’s opposed the desalination plant. Bob Brown felt that collecting rain water that fell on our houses was the best solution to Victoria’s water and drought problems. Brilliant.

  13. Ravenred

    Wasn’t SO much through utilising the existing system. I suppose I’m really referring to getting it before it gets to that point, decentralising (as much as possible) localised non-potable water supplies. Storage of any reasonable sized amounts in built up areas is, however, a pain.

  14. fredex

    Frank, or others, if you want a link to the Greens policy on water for Adelaide [the one that puts desalination right down near the bottom of the list of options] I will provide such for you on request.

    Ta, Jeremy [wink].

  15. AR

    FrankC reminds me of a reformed smoker or drunk, railing against his former love.

  16. Jeremy Sear

    Frank, that’s beyond absurd.

    The Greens are not responsible for what the ALP chooses to do despite their opposition.

    If you want to know what the Greens recommend on water, check out their website. Reducing our wasteful consumption is a big part of it.

  17. fredex

    The Greens in SA commissioned a report on how to water proof Adelaide.

    The report used many criteria to rank the various options, costs, volume of water produced/saved whatever, ease of implementation and so on.
    The consultants then listed the options in order of merit.

    A desalination plant came near the bottom of the list.

    But we got one anyway.

    Pollies and big engineering type companies love them.

  18. Frank Campbell

    @J.Seer:
    “You cannot possibly blame them for the ALP taking an option they strongly opposed on the basis of general concern for climate change – particularly since they argued that it would make climate change worse.”

    There’s proximate cause and ultimate cause. The Greens drove climate hysteria, so it’s hardly surprising that a panicked government would go for desal. They believed the permadrought nonsense. Pure Flannery. What were the alternatives? More frocking dams? Ritual smashing of baths? Beer? Iceberg import? Free deodorant? A north-south pipeline?

    If you scare someone to death on the 10th floor, don’t excuse yourself by saying you told them not to jump. Especially when there’s no lift.

  19. Think Big

    Got home, turned on the TV and there’s Blot on channel 10’s 7pm project trotting out this very same meme.
    Apprently desal plants are all Tim Flannery’s fault because he once mentioned something about droughts and flick (that’s as far as I got before the remote saved me from any more of his poison.)

  20. quantize

    Of course they’re worried, this is the real reason they’re flapping and crowing, beating up racism and every wedge issue they can get their rats claws on…they might actually lose the debate to calm facts.

  21. rhwombat

    Q: The forces of Batshit Crazy have been having a bit of an outing recently haven’t they? What with Tones (Rabbot & 9), Mirrabelladonna, Poodle-bait Bernardi, Blot and the Murdochrats, Howard’s ABC and our local infestation of Capt. Colon, MoFo, PadRipper…and even Frank Campbell on PP (!), it seems that the Tighty-Righties are manning the bilge pumps with a vengeance. Could it be that they are worried? Nice!

  22. quantize

    ‘No wonder the voters are deserting progressive parties for the unlovely political corpses of the Right’

    Oh I laughed…encouraged by a poll or two are we?

    Let’s not pay too much attention to the gunshots going into feet on the collective Coalition ranks in the background..

  23. fractious

    Jeremy @22
    You cannot possibly blame [the Greens] for the ALP taking an option they strongly opposed on the basis of general concern for climate change

    Oh but he can Jeremy, he can…

  24. dam buster of Preston

    returnedman – the aquifers in Melbourne are not as suitable as in Adelaide. There is some work looking at it though.

    Sewer mining is being used for water for Royal Park, Princes Park and the Botanical Gardens. Smaller scale recycled water schemes do exist for rain water and sewer (in the South East there is an extensive scheme from Carrum and a similar one in Werribee)

    The issue with the stormwater is that you have to treat it as much as you do sewerage due to the high volume of dog shit (and other things). Also sewerage generally has a more constant flow rate and quality than stormwater.

    There will be more recycled water schemes turning up along the mornington peninsula as the Carrum plant is being upgraded to ensure the quality of the discharge at Boags Rocks is good enough. So much so it is good enough to use on other things like golf courses.

  25. Jeremy Sear

    “Sorry, but the Greens can’t duck all responsibility: the ALP believed the global warming hype. The desal plant was conceived at the height of Gore-driven climate hysteria.”

    You cannot possibly blame them for the ALP taking an option they strongly opposed on the basis of general concern for climate change – particularly since they argued that it would make climate change worse.

  26. returnedman

    What about the aquifer systems with regards to recycling stormwater? Aren’t they doing something like that in Adelaide?

  27. Daniel Bond

    Damn you Eponymous. I knew you’d beat me to that.

  28. Daniel Bond

    Ravenred,

    Although there’s a lot of storm water to be captured, it’s nearly impossible to do so (at least, out of the stormwater drainage system, which is what I assume you’re talking about). The stormwater drainage system is designed to move a lot of water out of built-up areas very quickly, and any capture system would have to be stupendous in scale to keep up. It’s just infeasible.

  29. fractious

    Shorter Frank Campbell:
    One day when I grow up I wanna write Blot’s stories for him.

  30. returnedman

    No doubt he doesn’t actually believe this stuff himself. I suspect he puts ever-more outrageous stuff just to see how many of his followers will actually check the facts for the themselves. How he must laugh at them!

  31. lindsayb

    it is hard to use rational arguments and reason against someone who just makes sh*t up.
    Fortunately for Blot, (to quote from JS Mill) “stupid people are usually conservative”, and his readership obviously lack the memory to recall what he was dribbling yesterday, the intelligence to analyse what he is writing today, or the insight to wonder why they listen to the pillock

  32. RobJ

    Hmmmm, too many words, howver:

    [Desal projects have plenty of critics but if we risk running out of water, do we have any choice but to consider the unpopular option, asks Evan Beaver]

    For a kick off we can (and should) reduce consumption.

  33. RobJ

    [Capturing storm water would also help somewhat for non-drinking purposes]
    Ideal for cooling power stations, washing, bathing, pretty much anything apart from drinking…..

    Actually, I might retract that after I read Eponymous’s link.

  34. Eponymous

    Ravenred: I’ve got strong opinions about water supply and have little faith in storm water harvesting. Happily, all my thoughts on the matter are neatly summarised in this article from New Matilda: http://newmatilda.com/2010/11/23/praise-desalination

  35. Ravenred

    Capturing storm water would also help somewhat for non-drinking purposes

  36. RobJ

    [greens->Bob Brown->no dams->no Mitchell dam->Desal plant required! BINGO!]

    That’s right, the major parties will not consider the OBVIOUS alternative:

    A) Stop being the biggest per capita users of water on the planet (especially when we have so little.

    in conjunction with:

    B)Recycling sewer water for drinking.

    There are other NO BRAINER things we can do like stop cooling our power stations with drinking water.

    Only the Greens have the solutions regardless of what that bullshitting twat claims.

  37. gssiam

    Now let me make this clear:
    I am not saying Bolt is liar or a fraud and might not have any journalistic integrity.

    I am not saying it but this article could under certain make me think that he is …

  38. Holden Back

    I’m a traditionalist: I’d like to see the Herald Sun start every ‘story’ with “Once upon a time . . .” It would give things a homely atmosphere.

  39. dam buster of Preston

    jeremy – This is the way it (I wont use the word ‘logic’ for the columnists argument)works:

    1. Bob Brown opposed dams in tasmania 20 odd years ago
    2. Bob Brown leads the Greens

    3. The Victorian State Labour Government changed the reserve in the Mitchell River from a potential dam site to a park
    4. Because of the dam not being constructed the Desal plant was required

    greens->Bob Brown->no dams->no Mitchell dam->Desal plant required! BINGO!

    Therefore it is all the Greens fault!

    stories start here

  40. Frank Campbell

    Quite true. So why did this monstrous waste of scarce capital get built? A plant which (if it’s ever used) will suck up fossil fuel electricity like an aluminium smelter…

    Sorry, but the Greens can’t duck all responsibility: the ALP believed the global warming hype. The desal plant was conceived at the height of Gore-driven climate hysteria. The Greens have devoted most of their energies not to the real environment but to prosecuting the case for “climate action”, always stressing the most extreme climate predictions.

    The bureaucracy actually tried to altar language during the drought: no more “drought”, “dryness” instead. Because “drought” was now normal. Just read Flannery pre-2009 for foolish predictions about permadrought (he wanted desal for Brisbane, FFS) Now we’re told tropical weather incursions will be more common in southern Australia. Prepare for floods.

    No wonder the voters are deserting progressive parties for the unlovely political corpses of the Right. Jesus Christ- just say the names and wonder about resurrection: Abbott, Ruddock, Bronwyn Bishop….

  41. couchy

    Why is that Kanye song Runaway going through my head about now?

  42. twobob

    alright, allright,
    he perpetually distorts the stories (or maybe headlines?) to mislead others.
    My hero, I would really love to meet him one day.

  43. Ravenred

    Facts in the Herald Sun ??????????????????

    No, they’re stories. Havn’t you got the memo?

  44. Barry 09

    Facts in the Herald Sun ??????????????????

  45. quantize

    Now, I’m not saying the columnist in question is a lying @sshole…but you’d be pretty hard to come to any other conclusion

    shame on him and the dribbling fools who swallow his shallow, factless idiotic ‘opinions’

  46. twobob

    I cannot post the words that adequately describe this {snips} contribution to honesty and reason. I cannot use raci$t to describe him or nor can I call him a lyre nor an a$$hole but he is without doubt a thin skinned calculator bandit who perpetually distorts the facts to mislead others.

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