House debates

Thursday, 5 June 2008

National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) Bill 2008; National Fuelwatch (Empowering Consumers) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2008

Second Reading

4:46 pm

Photo of Jon SullivanJon Sullivan (Longman, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

In the interest of not delaying the debate, I will withdraw. I do not think that it is very wise for somebody to continue to make those assertions without presenting any evidence. If the member wishes to take offence on behalf of other members, that is up to him. Let me talk about some real evidence. On the Sunday program on 15 July 2007, Laurie Oakes, a respected journalist and a respected political commentator, asked Wayne Swan this question:

Can you guarantee if you win government petrol prices will fall?

Wayne Swan said:

No, I can’t guarantee that. But I can guarantee that we will do the maximum amount possible to make sure that people aren’t being ripped off.

What did Peter Costello say? He certainly understood that we were not saying that petrol prices would drop. He rushed out to give a doorstop interview at Petrie Square in Kew, where most of the major doorstop interviews have happened, and he said this:

Here is the Labor stunt machine at work. They want to pretend they are doing something on petrol—you ask them does it mean petrol prices will fall, no.

Peter Costello understood that Labor was not promising cheaper fuel. On the ABC AM program on 8 August a couple of weeks later, Kevin Rudd was being interviewed. Kevin was asked this question:

Will any of this lower the cost of petrol by one cent?

Kevin Rudd said:

What we can only agree is that we would have on the beat an effective competition policy watchdog. Again, I’m not in the business of predicting future global oil prices.

There is a whole range of things that I would like to talk about today. Unfortunately, we are being defeated by time. Among those things are: the rapid increase in the price of Malaysian oil; the misuse of market power by the major corporations with their shopper docket schemes, which the Service Station Association predict will put 3,000 independent service stations out of business; and the price benefits that will come from Fuelwatch, as predicted by a price analysis done by a non-captured analyst. However, in the interest of making sure that this debate concludes on time, that is about where I will leave it. Thank you.


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