After storms left parts of South Australia without power, the government was quick out of the blocks to question the high use of renewable energy in that state. Michelle Grattan tells the University of Canberra’s new vice-chancellor Deep Saini that Malcolm Turnbull struck a rather unfortunate note.
“He didn’t go out of his way to say ‘well I really feel for the South Australians in this situation’, he got pretty quickly into the politics,” she says.
“The facts are, as we know them from the experts, that what happened in South Australia, the comprehensive black out, was in fact not anything to do with renewable energy and the high proportion of that in the South Australian system but rather it was because poles and wires fell over.”
With Turnbull’s standing with voters taking a fresh hit in the latest Newspoll, there is the danger that impressions about his performance will stick.
“You sort of wonder whether people have now got a feeling that Malcolm Turnbull is not performing well overall, that he’s not delivering enough or that he’s not seeming as though he’s the Malcolm Turnbull that we thought we knew. Maybe that perception has become ingrained and it’s hard for him to turn it around, even with short-term achievements,” Grattan says.
Authors: Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra