Gillard's first clue on carbon stance a worry
Under its climate change proposals, Canberra proposed an energy tax, rising to more than $18 billion a year - $900 per person.
Lower carbon dioxide emissions could only work if it includes the entire world, but ALP policy is a go-it-alone carbon tax. This is despite other countries rejecting Australia's economic hari-kari tax approach at last December's Copenhagen Conference.
The carbon tax has been deferred because sanity prevailed and the Liberals rejected it in the Senate.
However, legislation was passed requiring massive increases in renewable energy. Hazelwood Power boss Tony Concannon estimates this will cost 20-fold the price of conventional electricity.
Deferring the carbon tax left Canberra's Department of Climate Change with little to do other than to continue churning out propaganda and attending international meetings.
So DCC, ever optimistic about its ability to discover silver bullets, persuaded then prime minster Kevin Rudd to get it to recommend energy efficiency measures.
Those proposing the new inquiry may not have told Mr Rudd that he had just received a report (the Wilkins Review) from an energy review he had previously set up.
Nor that only four years ago the Productivity Commission reported on the same matter and that many other energy efficiency reviews are ongoing.
So the PM's Task Group on Energy Efficiency was born and its report is now due. As well as industry input, it was advised by a clutch of green zealots including the Climate Institute, the World Wildlife Fund and the ACTU's Sharon Burrows.
The task group wants information on "step changes" incorporating previously unknown efficiency measures.
Obviously nobody in government has been monitoring the gargantuan volume of reports on this that hit public servants' computer screens every day!
Those reports cover everything - buildings, energy production, appliances, transport - with schemes ranging from the mundane to the bizarre.
Unsurprisingly, the PM's task group also seeks out suggestions on how to "build capacity". That's code for more taxes to hire more activists to show ordinary people how to save money on energy. It represents the contempt government and its officials have for people's abilities to decide how best to run their own lives.
Many business submissions to the task group, like that of the Australian Energy Market Operator, were concerned that it would recommend measures destructive of Australia's superb wholesale energy market.
This underlines a risk with all these sorts of reviews. They are costly for taxpayers and the businesses which have to respond to them, but their real danger is if half-baked concepts get adopted. We saw that happen with the proposed mining super tax.
The task group could prove valuable if it devised sensible ways to rationalise the dozen or so Australian energy efficiency regulatory schemes already in operation. But this is an unlikely outcome from people who have promoted a succession of costly energy regulations.
Stopping further proposals that threaten economic harm by imposing new obligations on business will be an early test of new Prime Minister Julia Gillard's credentials.
Unfortunately, Ms Gillard's opening remarks as PM indicate a continued policy favouring carbon taxes, renewable energy regulations and other costly energy measures.