News Election 2019 Spin Class: Busting open emissions policies and dental-care plans

Spin Class: Busting open emissions policies and dental-care plans

Paula Matthewson unravels the political spin from the week that was. Photo: TND
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At this point of the campaign, with only one week to go, the truth has truly been trampled in the rush to win at any cost.

If you’re not one of the two million voters who’ve lodged their federal election ballots early, it’s possible you’re still trying to sift the facts from the fibs to decide how to vote. This remains an almost overwhelming challenge, as politicians and their parties seem to have little care for whether their claims or counterclaims are grounded in reality.

This weeks’ Spin Class examines three more of the campaign fibs that are deliberately being peddled as fact by politicians and parties to mislead people into voting for them.

Australia meeting emission-reduction targets

One of the Morrison government’s most strident claims during this election campaign has been that Australia will achieve its greenhouse emissions reduction targets ‘in a canter’. However, not one piece of scientific evidence or statistical data backs up this claim.

Emissions are going down in only one area, the electricity sector, thanks to the growth in rooftop solar and increased use of large-scale renewables from wind farms and solar arrays.

But electricity only accounts for a third of Australia’s total emissions, while emissions from most of the other sectors – transport, agriculture, gas production and industrial processes – are still increasing.

Environment Minister Melissa Price released Australia’s latest greenhouse emissions statistics in late February, which did show a slight drop in emissions over the previous three months. However, the minister forgot to mention they’ve been increasing every year since 2013, which was when Labor’s carbon price was abolished.

Labor’s not-so-free dental care for pensioners

According to the Labor advertising shared on social media by health spokesperson Catherine King, the Opposition’s pensioner dental plan will provide access to free dental care for 3 million older Australians. You’d be forgiven for thinking this means Labor will make dental care completely free for aged pensioners.

It won’t. In fact, Labor’s policy will give access to $1000 of dental services every two years to aged pensioners and Seniors Health Card holders. The $1000 can be put towards the cost of examinations, X-rays, cleaning, fluoride treatment, fillings, extractions, root canal treatment and dentures.

Pipe floodwaters from north Queensland to save the Murray-Darling

According to the ex-deputy PM and disgraced Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce, along with arch conservatives in the commentariat, Australia can be made drought-proof by implementing an old idea to divert floodwater from the rivers of north Queensland to the dried-up regions of inland Australia.

The Bradfield Scheme, as it is known, would involve building new dams on rivers in north Queensland, along with a huge piping system under the mountains of the Great Dividing Range, which would redirect the northern floodwaters into the Murray-Darling.

According to Mr Joyce, the scheme would move water “from where we have too much to where not enough, from where there is an abundance to where there is paucity … If that water was to come down, we would have irrigation through western Queensland towns, through western NSW … You’d be able to fill up the Menindee Lakes and deal with your problems basically at the lower lakes”.

However, ABC Fact Check reports the Bradfield Scheme is a ‘pie in the sky’ concept that has been debunked many times – on scientific, engineering and economic grounds – since it was first proposed in the 1930s.

That would make it almost as discredited as that other boondoggle favoured by Mr Joyce, the inland railway.

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