Tuesday, 23 March 2021
Matters of Public Importance
What a tawdry performance from the member for McMahon. What else would you expect from the member from McMahon? It was absolutely tawdry. He is the shadow minister who wanted to tax Australians out of existence. Now he wants to impose a carbon tax. We all know it. He only got the job because his predecessor was sacked. His predecessor, the member for Hindmarsh, was sacked. One of the member for Hindmarsh's own colleagues—he might be over there actually, who knows?—called him, 'as useless as a vegan in a butcher shop'. That's a quote.
Here are some more glowing reviews of the policies we're seeing from those opposite. We hear Tony Maher describing those policies as, 'a gratuitous insult to the workers and communities whose livelihoods depend on them'. That's been reflected in comments from the AWU. They took a very similar dim view to Labor's policies on energy. We had a former Victorian Labor minister who named the member for Hindmarsh as one of the two people who lost Labor the last election—I think the other one is just over there—thanks to their economy-wrecking targets. The member for Hunter had it right on this issue, when he was talking about energy policy from those opposite, 'It hasn't turned out very well for us'. Well, it hasn't, because the member for McMahon's got the job now, not so ably supported by the member for Shortland, who helped put together Labor's carbon tax with Greg Combet. We all know about that. A sneaky carbon tax now though. He's moved away from an explicit one. Now he wants it to be a sneaky one. I remember sitting, waiting to go on to be interviewed on ABC regional radio several years ago and there was a member for Shortland, who was asked about whether their policy was a carbon tax. He said, 'an implicit carbon tax'. That's what those opposite want to do.
When I look to whether a policy is working I look at the outcomes. What we're seeing is a record eight consecutive quarters of year-on-year CPI reductions—a 9.2 per cent reduction in the last 12 months alone. I did a comparison with what we saw under Labor and the time they were in government: 23 consecutive quarters of CPI electricity price increases. The best quarter, the lowest increase, was 6.8 per cent in March 2009. The worst was in June 2012—they were building momentum like a snowball—an 18.5 per cent increase in one quarter.
The average over their time was a 12 per cent increase. That's not over the whole time they were in government; that's each quarter. That is the comparison. We've seen a 50 per cent wholesale price reduction since 2018, in the time since I've been the minister. We've seen the lowest December quarter wholesale prices since 2014.
Unlike those opposite we are lowering prices, while they raised them. Of course, central to that is more gas into our system, unlocking supply, efficient transportation and empowering customers. We've seen a 40 per cent reduction in the gas price; it is 40 per cent lower than it was in 2019. This is delivering results. I'll come back to that in a moment.
Before I do, we are achieving that at the same time as we are reducing emissions. We beat our Kyoto era targets by 459 million tonnes—almost a year's worth of emissions. Over the last two years alone we've improved our performance on emissions by 630 million tonnes; that's the equivalent of taking every car in this country off the road for 15 years, but we don't have to do that. Those opposite would do that; that's the kind of policy they would champion. But we don't need to do that. We, indeed, will strengthen and do strengthen our economy as we bring down emissions. Between 2005 and 2018 our emissions fell faster than Canada's and New Zealand's; theirs were flat. Ours are now down 19 per cent. Indeed, in the domestic economy there is a 36 per cent reduction. We have faster reductions than Japan and the United States.
Mr Conroy interjecting—
I'll take that interjection. Those opposite hate our exports. The member for Shortland lives in a region that is a coal exporter, and he hates the coal industry.
Mr Conroy interjecting—