Antinuclear

Australian news, and some related international items

COVID-19 Commission stacked with fossil-fuel bigwigs. Surprise surprise -they find gas is the answer

Transparency called for in fossil fuel-stacked COVID-19 Commission,  Independent Australia, Martin Hirst | 2 June 2020   Who’s running the country and where are they taking us? Dr Martin Hirst thinks the Canberra bubble is filling with gas.

IN THE LAST WEEK of March, right at the start of Australia’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the formation of the National COVID-19 Coordination Commission (NC-19CC). He said it would “solve problems” so “we all get through to the other side”.

Now, at the start of June, we have some idea of what the “other side” looks like according to the leading figures on the Coordination Commission. From what we can glean from the cheap seats in the bleachers, the future is going to be a gas — literally gas……

For a start, the NC-19CC is an energy sector lovefest.

The Commission chair is Neville (Nev) Power and he’s well connected to the Australian energy and mining industries. He is Deputy Chairman of Strike Energy Ltd and for nearly a decade was managing director and CEO of Fortescue Metals Group.

Catherine Tanna is the managing director of Energy Australia, ‘one of Australia’s leading electricity and gas retailers’ according to the helpful but rather anodyne biographies provided on the commission’s website.

The commission’s “special advisor” is the American chemical industry leader, Andrew Liveris, a former CEO and chairman of the Dow Chemical Company and on the board of a major Saudi oil company.

There are two other important members of NC-19CC: the head of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Phil Gaetjens and the head of Home Affairs, Mike Pezzulo. These are also political appointments — Gaetjens is a loyal fixer for Morrison and Pezzulo is Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton’s lieutenant.

Who does the Commission report to?

Australians first heard of the Coordinating Commission when Morrison announced it at a media event on 25 March, but he didn’t tell us how the members were selected, or why, or by whom.

Presumably, it was a “captain’s pick” by Morrison……

In mid-May, the Senate select committee that is holding an ongoing inquiry into the Government’s response to the pandemic requested Mr Power come and chat with it, but he didn’t show up. Instead, the PM’s protector, Phil Gaetjens and Peter Harris, the CEO of the Commission, came to block any real scrutiny of the Commission.

All that the senators were able to learn was that there are no rules in place for managing conflicts of interest and that the Commission’s members and advisors were being handsomely paid for their time and service. According to the transcript, almost every other question was stonewalled.

Apparently, the commissioners are also recruiting other people “through their own networks” according to Phil Gaetjens, but who remain largely unknown to the public — to help across various things to do with the economy re-opening.

Greens Senator Peter Whish-Wilson grilled Phil Gaetjens about the advice the commissioners might provide, but the PM’s advisor would only say that most advice would be confidential.

This has not satisfied a coalition of public interest watchdog groups who collectively issued a statement calling for greater transparency round the discussions and decisions of the NC-19CC………

I should mention that many environmental groups are concerned that the COVID-19 Commission is stacked with fossil fuel advocates, and with good reason. …… https://independentaustralia.net/politics/politics-display/transparency-called-for-in-fossil-fuel-stacked-covid-19-commission,13954

June 4, 2020 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming, energy, politics, secrets and lies

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