THE SUN came up this morning so The Age felt obliged to publish another story about wind generators. This time it was one of those quality journalism investigations, the object being to identify Liberals who dislike the bloody things and want them nowhere near their homes. The conclusion to be drawn from the article is of a silvertail network working its clubby influence on Premier Baillieu, who has implemented restrictions on their construction. Miffed that Gaia has been cheated of her sustainable wattage, authors RoyceMillar and Adam Morton then draw bows long and longer to insinuate how this injustice was done.
Wind-power foe Lady Marigold Southey is “Premier Ted Baillieu’s second cousin”. The Waubra Foundation, which believes turbines may cause health problems, has “Liberal Party links through its creator, Peter Mitchell” whose son “once ran for the party”. Brace yourself, it gets worse because “director Michael Wooldridge is a former health minister in the Howard government”.
The Phage sleuths dig deeper to uncover the web of conservative intrigue. The Woolridges actually own property in an area where turbines have been proposed. How dare they object! Who do they think they are? Inner-city Greens, perhaps, opposing a tunnel under Melbourne Cemetery?
Then there is “former BHP bank chief Don Argus, a major Liberal party backer and personal friend of John Howard” whose opinion of turbines is not quoted but who is said to reside somewhere near a potential wind-farm site. As for the Mornington Peninsula, where turbines also have been banned, it is a known location “where several Liberal party (sic) heavyweights either reside or holiday.”
What more proof could anyone need? Especially when those with a kind word for turbines seem so reasonable, so rational, such honest citizens without an axe to grind.
One supporter is introduced as Bendigo City Councillor Keith Reynard, who thinks it is a really sad thing some local generators won’t be erected. Perhaps exhausted after tracing all those tenuous Liberal connections, Millar and Morton somehow neglect to mention that Reynard is an environmental scientist and, as his official biography notes, “the chair of the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance (CVGA)”.
Then there is the article’s other voice of reason, Paul Dettmann, who is introduced as “a sixth-generation Baynton boy” and nothing more. Well he is a bit more than that. Dettman is a principal in Greenhouse Balanced, a company that “pioneered the development of ecological credits, carbon offsets delivering a range of ecosystem services.” Naturally Dettman subscribes to the notion that “global warming has no boundaries and will impact the entire planet. It is everyone's problem and therefore everyone's responsibility.”
The Phage gives us none of this background on the two key witnesses for the turbines' defence.
And in neither case does it name the second cousins of either Dettman or Reynard.
What a devious and dishonest newspaper the Age has become.
UPDATE: The Sunday Age, which has just now gone online, reprints as an opinion item the bizarre speech Greens leader Bob Brown delivered a full seven days ago.With any other newspaper if would be safe to assume the "dear eathians" address was presented as confirmationthat Senator Treebeard is seriously touched. In The Age, however, it can only be read as an endorsement. How very, very sad.