Abbott’s bizarre Facebook video
REBEL Liberals Tony Abbott and Kevin Andrews have released a provocative video challenging the government's energy policy and demanding taxpayers build coal-fuelled power stations.
The pair interrupted their Pollie Pedal charity bicycle ride through Victoria's Latrobe Valley to pose in front of the Hazelwood Power Station, which closed in March last year.
Mr Abbott said it was a tragedy the facility had been shut and implied, contrary to other evidence, this was the cause of a big jump in Victoria's wholesale power bills.
The video starring the former ministers - two of the Triple-A Gang with Eric Abetz - was posted last night just as it became known Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull had hit his 30th Newspoll loss. Many voters would have gone to Mr Abbott's Facebook page seeking a reaction to the accumulated defeats by Labor.
The video was a further taunting of Mr Turnbull on what the rebels believe is a campaign against the use of coal contained in the Prime Minister's National Energy Guarantee policy.
This morning Mr Abbott reinforced the video's message.
"What we should be focused on is being the best possible government and winning an election," he told reporters, dismissing the focus on opinion polling.
"We should be the party of low power prices and that means more coal-fired baseload power generation in this country.
"We should be the part of higher wages and more affordable housing and that means scaling back the current rate of immigration."
Mr Abbott as well as Pollie Pedal sources insisted the ride to Cooma in NSW had been planned six months ago and that it was a coincidence that the leg through the Latrobe Valley came the day the Newspoll would be published.
But clearly it was a coincidence that was too tempting to resist.
"For almost a century this power station and the other power stations in the region, using vast reserves of brown coal, have provided the economic power foundation of not only Victoria but much of southern Australia," Mr Andrews says at the video's start.
"This has been the basis of our economic success."
Then came Mr Abbott's turn: "Since this station closed about a year ago, wholesale power prices in Victoria have gone up by well over 80 per cent.
"It's a tragedy that this station closed. We can't afford to lose more coal-fired power stations closing soon. And what we've got to do is rebuild new coal-fired power generation here in Australia."