Parke defends Rotto wind power

FREMANTLE federal Labor MP Melissa Parke has gone in to bat for Rotto’s “beautiful” wind turbine after it was branded “ugly” and “noisy” by prime minister Tony Abbott.

The coal-loving PM got stuck into the turbine—which produces about 40 per cent of the island’s power and runs its desalination plant—on Alan Jones’ 2GB breakfast show last week, saying it had fueled his distrust of wind power.

On Thursday in parliament Ms Parke mocked Mr Abbott’s linking of turbines with health problems, saying his party had backed 10 inquiries into the sector, none of which found any evidence to support his concerns. “Ugly and noisy—well, I guess that’s a matter of personal judgement,” she said. “But I can’t imagine that there would be many people who’d join the PM in making that judgement about wind turbines, as compared to, say coal-fired power stations, diesel generators, or massive and unnecessary new roads like Roe 8 and the Perth Freight Link.

“Unfortunately, the prime minister’s pride in the fact that the recent diminution of the renewable energy target has, in his own words, stopped ‘an explosion of these things right around our country’, goes to the heart of his government’s dangerous irrationality when it comes to climate change and when it comes to renewable energy.”

She points out the turbine has helped the Rottnest Island Authority avoid burning 430,000 litres of diesel each year.

“We can forgive the addled but well-meaning and noble Don Quixote for tilting at windmills, but the prime minister should know better.”

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