Culture

The Government Might Be Appointing A Wind Farm Commissioner And Twitter Has Responded Accordingly

Next up: "Young People Have No Respect Commissioner" and "Commissioner For Cafes That Serve Drinks In Jars".

No longer just a serene roadside distraction that trick you into forgetting you live in a country that unearths coal with the delight and vigour of an old-timey gold rush pioneer or the rich Texan from The Simpsons, wind farms have become a top priority for the government recently. (But not in the good way).

Wind turbines and the renewable energy sector in general have always been a point of contention in Australia. Both major parties have shown such a lack of commitment to our Renewable Energy Target that Waleed Aly has called them out as having “a wilful disregard for the future of this nation”; wind farms have been openly criticised by our leading politicians for a number of years; and there’s currently a senate committee investigating whether we should have them at all. But much of this was brought into the spotlight last week when the Prime Minister told Alan Jones he thought turbines were “visually awful” (despite the fact he is not blind and should thus know otherwise) and argued they have “potential health impacts” (despite all scientific evidence repeatedly suggesting otherwise).

Now, as is so often the case, this very silly issue has rapidly escalated and we’ll all be forced to talk about it for awhile longer. This afternoon The Guardian reported a draft letter that was leaked from the Environment Minister Greg Hunt to the crossbench senators which suggests the government intends to appoint a “wind farm commissioner” to handle complaints from residents about turbines. It also details the idea of creating a scientific committee to investigate the unfounded claims that wind farms affect the health of nearby residents. This isn’t a new idea — the government already investigated it in 2013 and the resulting report concluded there was nothing to be worried about. In fact, when looking further into the matter on ABC Radio National, medical historian Laura Dawes found that the only sickness these turbines really produce comes from the anxiety that comes from thinking they hurt you.

So, you know, all this probably won’t help matters.

Naturally, as this news broke this afternoon, Twitter was all over it and quickly suggested some candidates for the Very Important Role:

Then, keen to help the government in their quest to create paid positions based on the content of an angry Boomer’s fever dream, everyone chipped in on ideas for further departments:

I mean, a lot of people. The hashtag soon trended in both Melbourne and Sydney:

It was a whole thing:

Importantly, none of these positions (including the original one) have yet been confirmed. After the leak, Senator David Leyonhjelm told Fairfax that some of the content of the letter had now changed, but he didn’t specify which portions. It’s probably safe to assume it won’t be much considering his Senate Committee’s Interim Report into the matter released around the same time calls for both “an independent expert scientific committee” and “a national wind farm ombudsman”. Even with a different title, the problem remains the same.

As this forlorn and introspective dog would tell you (I assume), sometimes all you can do is joke about these things:

Feature image via Daniel X. O’Neill/Flickr Creative Commons.