Peter Van Onselen claims Julia Gillard is going to wedge Tony Abbott on electricity price increases by blaming conservative state governments.
There seems to be 2 prongs to this wedge strategy. The first is described by Gillard as “gold-plating” of the electrical network. Gillard compares the electricity supply as being the equivalent to a 10 lane highway when only a 2 lane one is required to meet rare peak demand situations.
The gold plating she is talking about has its genesis in a union campaign started a decade ago by a bloke Gillard recently appointed to a $350,00-a-year job with Fair Work Australia – former electrical union boss in NSW Bernie Riordan.
Riordan was the man who in 2004 forced the Bob Carr Labor government to impose the very reliability standards that Gillard is now claiming are responsible for the price gouging of Sydney families.
Former NSW Labor energy and planning minister in the Carr and Iemma governments, Frank Sartor, admits as much in his book The Fog on the Hill – claiming that because of Riordan’s lobbying he increased the reliability standards in NSW to prevent power shortages to consumers.
This followed Riordan’s first successful campaign against electricity reform in NSW, when he was instrumental in blocking Carr’s attempt to privatise in 1998.