Scott Morrison is using the war in Ukraine to push the coal agenda

Prime Minister Scott Morrison is sending coal to war-ravaged Ukraine in a move that appears solely to benefit the fossil fuel industry, writes Dr Jennifer Wilson.

IN A PRESS RELEASE on March 20, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his government would donate 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal to Ukraine, in response to a ‘direct request’ for fuel, made through the Polish Prime Minister.

Morrison said:

And today, in response to a direct request from Ukraine, Australia will donate 70,000 tonnes of thermal coal. This will help Ukraine’s electric generators to operate and supply electricity to the power grid at this critical time. They need it before the end of May and we have arranged the shipment for that to happen and are working with other countries to make sure it can get to Ukraine. So it’s our coal. We dug it up. We fixed the boat. We put him on the ship and we’re sending him over there to Ukraine to help build up their resistance and give that encouragement.

The fuel will be supplied by Whitehaven Coal and will cost the government $28 million, plus likely staggeringly high delivery costs.

It is quite important that Mr. Morrison’s coal gift should be examined more closely, for reasons which will soon become apparent.

There is considerable skepticism from the public, if not the media, about the donation, including from Richard Denniss, chief economist at the Australia Institute, who tweeted:

Details on how the Prime Minister will deliver the coal to Ukraine are sketchy and so far the proposed logistics have not been questioned by the media. Will the coal be shipped to Poland and then transported by rail to Ukraine, for example, as the only Ukrainian port still accessible, Odessa, prepares for a Russian attack? Is it still possible to transport coal by rail across the Polish border, or is the infrastructure too damaged or at risk to function?

Did Morrison buy $28 million worth of thermal coal in Whitehaven that won’t reach its destination? Is this a fictitious coal ad that only serves to funnel public money to a major fossil fuel supplier?

It is a measure of the lack of faith in the Morrison government and its penchant for announcements that these questions even need to be asked.

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As Denniss suggests, doesn’t it make more sense to hand over the money than to bear the cost and risk of transporting the coal? ‘we dug up’ in a war zone?

Morrison announced:

“It was a request made to us and Australia is in a position to meet this request. This was also done to me through the Polish Prime Minister and we are very happy to be able to meet this need.

Why would the Polish Prime Minister ask the Morrison government to give coal to Ukraine? Is Poland exhausted?

Of course, giving money to Ukraine to source Polish coal would not benefit Whitehaven, which has generously agreed to donate $250,000 to the Australian Red Cross Crisis Appeal as part of its contribution to humanitarian aid.

It would be a huge relief to live in a country where questions such as those posed above have only been raised by conspiracy theorists living on the fringes. Unfortunately, this is not the country we live in today.

The Morrison government has a history of announcements that have gone nowhere, not the least of which is the mysterious $4 billion disaster relief fund that we had occasion to refer to recently, after catastrophic river floods in North and South East Queensland. None of these funds have been released, despite the dire need of many bushfire and flood survivors, and instead have earned some $473 million in interest for the government.

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Given what we know, it is by no means beyond the parameters of reasonable speculation that the Morrison government might have seen an opportunity to line the pockets of their Whitehaven friends under the guise of staging a fictitious expedition. of fictitious coal to a Ukraine in distress.

Of course, the intention to help may well have been present, the inconvenient reality that the form of assistance and its delivery may not be feasible is hardly the fault of the Morrison government, is it?

It would, of course, be a despicable move by the government to transfer public funds to Whitehaven, disguised as humanitarian relief for a war-ravaged country. Oh, that we lived under the authority of a government where such speculation was foolish and utterly condemnable!

But we don’t. We live under a government that has a long history of taking root. We live under a government led by a Prime Minister recognized internationally and nationally as a liar, including by his own colleagues. We live under a government that we cannot trust to act in the interest of its people, but only in its own interest and that of its supporters.

It is therefore important that we demand answers on this donation of coal, because if $28 million in public money has just been given by this government to the fossil fuel industry, we deserve to know.

Dr. Jennifer Wilson is an AI columnist, psychotherapist and academic. You can follow Jennifer on Twitter @NoPlaceForSheep.

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