Our democracy is an interesting beast in the case of a byelection; especially a byelection when the government has a slim majority.
With the rest of the constituency temporarily disenfranchised, the only opinion that matters is that of powerful interests, and the voters in a single electorate. How else are we to understand Wednesday's announcement by Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor of a new $600 million taxpayer-funded gas power plant in the Hunter?
The government is certainly not responding to diplomatic pressure from outside Australia. All of our economic peers have recently strengthened their pledges to speed the transition to net-zero emissions. Indeed, the Biden administration is actively renewing international efforts to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. With impeccable timing, the International Energy Agency released a report on Wednesday, Australian time, concluding that if we are to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, developed economies should stop fossil fuel investments now and transition to zero-emissions electricity grids by 2040.