House debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Matters of Public Importance

Energy

3:45 pm

Photo of Jim ChalmersJim Chalmers (Rankin, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Special Minister of State (House)) Share this | Hansard source

As the member for Shortland says, it's like turkeys voting for Christmas. Also, when the energy minister was going back and forth today saying prices would go up and down and investment would go up and down—he didn't really know what he was doing—that was a broader symbol of what's going on in energy policy when it comes to the government. Since this policy was announced, it was watered down a little bit yesterday. We had the Prime Minister put out a clarifying statement after the energy minister's confirmation about forced privatisations. There are all kinds of back and forth, all kinds of watering-down and weakening, and trying to pretend that they've got control of this key economic policy area. But I think the people of Queensland and the people of Australia know better. They know that this is a function, a symptom, of the deep divisions and dysfunctions on that side of the parliament not just on energy policy but right across the board.

It's long past time for the Queensland members and senators to go to the relevant ministers—like the member for Mackellar and the member for Curtin have done—and tell them it's past time for them to stand up and say: 'We've stuffed it up; we've got this policy horribly wrong. We don't want to see forced privatisation in Queensland or other parts of Australia. We got it wrong.' It's time to come to the table and talk about a real energy policy like the one the member for Port Adelaide and the Leader of the Opposition have announced, which builds on the National Energy Guarantee and some other important initiatives which will boost renewables and get prices down when it comes to power in our economy and in our community.

We've seen it before. When it comes to energy, there is generally a stirring defence of a policy, and then a humiliating backflip. It's time that we had that on this ridiculous forced divestment policy, for all the reasons raised by the member for McMahon and the member for Port Adelaide, and also because the Queensland people don't want your privatisation of public energy assets.

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