Tony Abbott doesn’t know what “peak oil” is

After a dramatic week in Australian politics, we now have a new leader of the opposition. In this video from the 2008 Sydney Writers’ Festival Tony Abbott struggles with the “arcane concept” of peak oil. This would be funny if it wasn't so scary:

Hi Phil

I don't think it matters what Tony Abbott knows or doesn't know. He has consigned the liberals to electoral oblivion. This article (see URL below), written just before the liberals imploded, makes a lot of sense to me. Certainly Rudd will win the next election, maybe even gaining a majority in both houses. If so, opposition to Labor will be fragmented coming from a hotch-potch of the right wing, Greens, independents etc, who when all added up won't be enough to hold him to account. Meanwhile the energy crisis will steadily worsen and anybody who can get up and start talking sense will garner support - not along existing party lines, but along the new political (energy) fault line of climate and I am sure expensive oil. Lots of people will have to make some big adjustments in their attitude. Tony Abbott is an unpleasant anachronism and his irritating manner is going to have to be endured for a while. But ultimately he is irrelevant.

That is a great article.. very close to my view of the world.

And I agree with you.. the Liberals kept climate change off the agenda for a long time but the Liberal party is going to tear itself apart since there is fundamental disagreement among its members, supporters and leaders on what is now a core issue. The party doesn't know what it stands for and Rudd has the 'middle ground' with the Liberals well and truly wedged on this and many other issues.

I also fear the outcome where Labor controls the Senate but continue to hope that it is unlikely.. but could well be wrong.

In the meantime, I am still scared by what it says about our political processes that someone can end up leader of the opposition with absolutely no clue about 'peak oil' and can only mince his words about what neo-classical econonic theory says should happen with higher prices.

But at least politics just got unpredictable for a change.. it could be fun watching a political party implode as long as something better eventually takes its place.

Very interesting video and article!
This video was made in May 2008 - when oil prices were soaring upwards and genuinely frightening economic effects were being felt in outer-suburban real-estate etc. It's amazing that Tony hadn't appraised himself of PO at that stage, so I guess there's almost no hope of him retaining any wisdom on the topic since the time when the prices crashed with the GFC. (And he also won't have noticed them doubling again...)

John Ralston Saul, The Collapse of Globalism: and the Reinvention of the World, 2005:

"Ideology, like theatre, is dependent on the willing suspension of disbelief. At the core of every ideology lies the worship of a bright new future, with only failure in the immediate past. But once the suspension goes, willingness converts into suspicion - the suspicion of the betrayed. Our brilliant leaders abruptly appear naive, even ridiculous."

I can't see either Labor or Liberal control of the Senate at any time in the future.This last display by the the rabble in the federal parliamentary Liberal Party will advantage the Greens.

I've heard early this morning that Rudd is going to present the CPRS legislation to the Senate very soon (earlier than February).Another rejection would enable the trigger for an early double dissolution,probably to capitalize on the anarchy in the opposition.Rudd is more than capable of this sort of short term,inside the box thinking.

Again,the Greens would be the likely beneficiary.

Not that any of this folderol actually matters as the CPRS is a dog and I have little doubt that whatever comes out of Copenhagen will be an animal of much the same colour and usefulness.

If you want significant change in the political system,sharpen up your pitchforks.

Agreed. New political orders are normally set up with pitchforks. The writhings of the Libs merely demonstrates the death of the old Capital/Labour divide, that for years has been meaningless anyway. The politics of limits is coming into play and they will be be nasty, because the have-nots will be a bigger group and they are going to get even less than they have now. Pitchforks it is.

Don't put too much faith in the proletariat. The ones I rub shoulders with are dominated by their Limbic brain. There is no evidence of a cortex.

Am I mistaken in my belief that Abbott was a boxer? Oh me gawd! I understand now.