House debates

Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Matters of Public Importance


3:47 pm

Photo of Nick ChampionNick Champion (Wakefield, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Manufacturing and Science) Share this | Hansard source

The assistant minister has had her turn. I didn't hear the interjection. She talks about regional people. I remember where I was on the night of the blackout. I was up in the Barossa Valley and, like other South Australians, we were trying to get everything ready. The power went out, and there we were, hunkered down in the living room. It was the middle of winter, so we had the combustion heater on and a good glass of red. We had the baby in the same room as us, and the dog was in the same room—the dog loved it. But I tell you what was so frustrating that night. Rather than the people of South Australia being able to get emergency messages from the Premier or the State Emergency Services or the CFS, instead, they had to watch the ABC, where, 45 minutes after the blackout, Nick Xenophon, who was in Canberra, ran into a newsroom and blamed renewable energy. That's what actually happened on the night of the blackout. Normal politicians—and those opposite are normal, everyday politicians—when there's a disaster, when there's a natural event, stay out of the news waves, don't make political statements, and support the government and its agencies at a time of peril. Nick Xenophon—so desperate is he to get his head before the cameras, such a prima donna is he—ran into a Canberra newsroom and delivered a farrago of mistruths and lies about renewable energy. This is the record of Nick Xenophon. How anybody can take him seriously, and how anybody can take his signs that are up around Adelaide promising to lower power prices seriously—you may as well believe in the magic pudding, in fairytales, that there's a bridge in Sydney Harbour which you can buy. It is just complete nonsense. Of course, he's not alone in the South Australian election. There are other people putting out complete nonsense.

On 11 October in 2017, it was exposed, 'SA Liberals concede energy plan alone won't slash bills by $300'. This was two days into the energy plan. Steven Marshall had conceded householders would only be between $60 and $70 better off as a result of his energy plan alone, rather than spruiking a $300 drop. So he was $230 out in his own estimates. It was such a debacle for the Leader of the Opposition, Steven Marshall, that Lainie Anderson, a columnist for the Sunday Mail, described it as 'one of the most stupid and/or devious policy announcements of recent times'. Lainie Anderson is no friend of the Labor Party, I might add.

Against this, you have Jay Weatherill, who's actually delivered an energy plan, with the world's largest lithium ion battery in Jamestown, a 150-megawatt solar thermal plant in Port Augusta, a state owned power plant with stand-by power for South Australian agencies, a $150 million renewable technology fund, stronger ministerial powers and stronger intervention in a market that wasn't working, because the national government made sure it wouldn't work.


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