Will the Solar Council’s campaign in Canning help bring down a prime minister?

abbott and solar panels

Will Abbott’s war on solar hurt his party’s prospects in Canning?

The heat is really on in Western Australia with the entry of solar energy in the Canning by election campaign. The seat which was recently vacated following the untimely death of then sitting member Don Randall, has become a focus for those looking for an indication of the electorate’s opinion on the government’s performance.

The previous incumbent was a popular representative and enjoyed a healthy margin in the opinion polls. However this has been whittled away in recent times due to the federal government’s incompetence, intransigence or bad luck, depending on your political point of view.

So much so that the Canning by election, scheduled for September 19, is now seen as a referendum on Prime Minister Abbott’s leadership. Insiders state that other contenders (Turnbull, Morrison, Bishop) are already circling, crunching the numbers should the accident-prone and anti renewables prime minister lose the seat.

The Australian Solar Council’s entry into the campaign through letterboxing, advertising and the organising of information forums is therefore regarded as critical. This as the government’s policies directly affect both those in the electorate who currently have solar power as well as those who are looking at solar energy to offset their skyrocketing electricity bills. With 50 percent of homes already having solar in the seat of Canning — and the vote on a knife edge according to the latest opinion polls — the Coalition is alarmed that the introduction of solar energy in the Canning by election may prove to be decisive.

Ostensibly apolitical — their recently distributed flyer saying they would support “any party” with a decent solar energy policy — the real target is the prime minister and his government’s “war on renewables”.

“Installing solar helps Western Australians cut a typical power bill by up to 65%,” said the Council’s election flyer. “The federal government is targeting solar by slashing the renewable energy target. We will support any political party with a good solar policy.”

A simple message and one likely to resonate with voters and aimed at the Coalition whose policies on solar energy have earned it the reputation of one of the most anti-renewable energy governments ever to hold office in Australia.

However the benefits of such an campaign for solar energy in the Canning by election are more than just electioneering. The campaign will help:

  • Raise the profile of solar energy in Canning and Western Australian.
  • Take the renewable energy fight back to the government.
  • Throw the spotlight on the government’s “war on renewables”.
  • Counter falsehoods on solar energy.

With the latest opinion polls showing the major parties running neck and neck, it is clear that the work of the Solar Council to inform voters is vital for the future of clean energy. Interested in playing a part in the solar energy in the Canning by election campaign by the Solar Council? You can contribute to their crowdfunding campaign here.


  1. Colin Spencer says

    Your tendency to bag the federal government over renewable energy subsidies does nothing to promote the efficacy of pv solar systems in the market place. All you are doing is making the consumer doubt whether solar is viable without expensive government subsidies.

    If, however, your aim is to use subsidised renewable energy as a political tool, well you may as well keep doing it. But the consumer will not be falling over himself to purchase millions more systems, if he is convinced that it is not a sensible investment.

    Sell the obvious benefits of solar on every roof-top, promise multiplication of benefits which will be reaped from upgrading to stored solar energy, and the order books will keep filling.

    If you are not all that interested in selling systems, just keep complaining, I am sure someone will get depressed enough to believe you, eventually.

  2. Isaac Lorca says

    Regarding the past comment,

    Worldwide and nationally, fossil fuels are by far much more subsidised than renewable energy…what we are seeing increasingly in the world today regarding energy (and not only in Australia) is just the consequence of some renewables being much cheaper than some fossil fuel alternatives (diesel generators in remote areas, peak power in hot days for sunny states as Florida or WA), not of any ethical movement or the like….
    Thanks Rich for the very interesting post.

    PS: I do think that to have different views about any matter does not justify to use any aggresive or offensive language. Many thanks

    • Hi Isaac,

      Thanks for your well thought through reply. However can you be more specific on where I have used aggressive or offensive language?

      Thanks in advance.

  3. Looks like the Canning by-election played it’s part in bringing down Abbot. The timing of the spill speaks volumes. Good call Rich.

    Not sure what Colin was on about. I think the article was accurately detailing that solar energy has reached a point that obstruction is a no-win scenario. That should provide significant consumer confidence about the viability of solar.

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