The upshot? Abbott became Liberal leader and later prime minister. Joyce eventually became Nationals leader and deputy prime minister. The destruction of a sensible national policy was their pathway to great power.
We’ve now had a decade of political posturing and parlour games on energy and climate change, and what has this achieved?
The price of electricity has soared. The lights have started going out on hot days in some states. And global warming is advancing relentlessly. The economy has lost competitiveness needlessly. The people have suffered an assault on their living standards pointlessly.
And as Australia goes through an endless summer with bushfires in April, the slow death of the Great Barrier Reef is just one of nature’s grim rebuttals of the ideologues and conmen who, even now, try to tell us that climate change is not real.
For the rest of Australia, for everyone from BHP to the Clean Energy Council, the National Energy Guarantee is a sign of hope for an Australian return to rationality.
For Abbott and Joyce and a handful of hangers-on, it’s a target.