Uhlmann has the Energy!

FEDERAL POLITICS:

Respected commercial television politics reporter Chris Uhlmann will be the Albanese Government’s new energy minister following the shock resignation of Chris Bowen overnight.

In a late-night plan devised by the Prime Minister himself and with the full backing of the former minister, Uhlmann will leave Channel 9 immediately and will hold the position of Energy Minister from outside Parliament until he can be parachuted into Bowen’s former safe Sydney seat of McMahon.

Uhlmann was be sworn in at Government House this morning.

“They say pride comes before a fall” was Bowen’s explanation for the rapid turn of events in federal politics overnight that has dramatically ended his 18-year parliamentary career.

“Who would have thought that hours after I chastised Chris at a media call by debunking his views on renewable energy and sarcastically making the point that while it doesn’t rain every day, water can be stored in dams for later use that he would so brilliantly dismantle my whole understanding of the current blackout threats in particular and the energy sector generally.

“Chris used his segment on the Channel Nine 6pm news last night (at top) to explain so clearly and emphatically that the only way the nation could stop lights going out was, as a short-term measure, to keep running coal-powered power plants for as long as possible and repair ones that have broken down.

“He used graphs and everything. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a key issue sliced and diced with such surgical intensity. He was brilliant.

“All the figures were there up on screen showing the electricity produced by coal, gas, wind turbines and solar and they highlighted the absolute futility of my former government’s relentless push towards renewables far, far, far too early. To be entirely frank, I was humbled by the genius of his presentation.”

Mr Bowen said state energy ministers had begun phoning him moments after the Uhlmann segment was screened and most agreed that “our recent meeting on the power-supply crisis had been pathetically ineffectual”.

“We had sat around the table simply hoping that power from renewables would speed up in time to avoid any load shedding,” Bowen admitted. “The religious amongst us had even prayed. Someone from memory hoped batteries would become a thing. None of us saw what Chris so clearly observed with his unparalleled knowledge of the energy sector and with the forensic forward-thinking that only he possesses.

“More than one of the minister told me last night: ‘Chris made us look absolutely foolish tonight!’

“Several others phoned to say: ‘Who knew the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow!’

“People might think I’m disappointed at the turn of events overnight and I guess I am but it’s a total honour, believe me, to make way for someone of Chris’s ability and perspicacity.”

In Sydney, constitutional law expert Anne Twomey said the idea of a person holding a senior Cabinet position from outside Parliament was unusual but she could see no illegality in the move.

“Campbell Newman in Queensland was effectively the Premier in waiting although he wasn’t in Parliament at the time. He wasn’t in Parliament for long after that, mind, but that’s not important right now.”

As the new federal energy minister, Mr Uhlmann released a statement early this morning saying that while Labor was probably not his natural party of choice, he looked forward to working with other ministers in the socialist Albanese government to revitalise the nation’s energy sector “as quickly as possible with coal as an essential long-term component of that process”.

“Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has my full and total support at this point in time,” he added.