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“It’s not dissimilar from the one it’s replaced”: Morrison’s cabinet unveiled

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The Morrison cabinet has been announced and despite a shuffling of the chairs and a few new faces, the fresh frontbench appears to be more of the same.

It’s been speculated that a Labor-lite, moderate policy manifesto could come from Morrison. Yesterday’s cabinet announcement hasn’t done much to shatter that preconception.

“That’s because the reality is this cabinet is not dissimilar from the one that’s just been replaced,” says Tom Switzer, Executive Director at the Centre for Independent Studies.

 “The Liberal Party is a broad church of liberals and conservatives. My sense is the new PM has done very little to reach out to conservatives here.”

However the real test for the new Coalition will be energy policy. After Turnbull’s flagship National Energy Guarantee become the source of his  demise, it’s unclear how Morrison will conduct the sensitive juggle of getting prices down and reducing emissions.

“The NEG was very much a Morrison, Turnbull, Frydenberg initiative. So with Morrison as PM and Frydenberg as Deputy PM, it’s not clear what their agenda is now on energy.”

Many are taking Angus Taylor’s appointment to the energy portfolio as an indication that reliability and cost will be the superior priority. Meanwhile, the separation of energy and environment portfolios, fused together in Turnbull’s government, is thought to be a symbolic and tangible indication that a new era in electricity market reform is on the horizon.

“The fundamental problem that everyone needs to recognise, is you can’t be saying on one hand that you want to reduce emissions, and then on the other, that you want to reduce prices,” reiterates Switzer.

“If you’re truly going to decarbonise the economy, you have to increase the price. That’s why in virtually all liberal-democracies, it’s very difficult to decarbonise an economy.”

“Because the people in electorates, if they’re asked to choose between lower emissions and lower prices, they’ll always go with the latter.”

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