Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Questions without Notice
Madam Speaker, my question is to the Prime Minister. I remind her that the price of electricity has increased by 45 per cent on her watch and by 94 per cent since Labor formed government. Given that the carbon tax is due to go up on 1 July and again next year, and extend to diesel fuel for heavy vehicles next year, will the Prime Minister commit to scrapping this increase to give at least some relief to the cost-of-living burden on Australian families?
To the Leader of the Opposition: yet again we see the mendacious fear campaign continue. What he is trying to do in this question, as he has done around the country, is pretend to the Australian people that all increases in electricity pricing are somehow due to carbon pricing. That is not true; it has never been true. In pretending that it is true, the Leader of the Opposition is trying to pull the wool over people's eyes. In fact, the Leader of the Opposition has been the person who has been out there refusing to recognise some of the real drivers of electricity costs, refusing to recognise the contribution of the so-called goldplating to the system, not recognising factors—
Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Prime Minister was asked whether she would scrap the increase that is due on 1 July. That is the question she was asked by the Leader of the Opposition. She should answer it.
Thank you very much. I was asked a question about electricity prices, and the Leader of the Opposition specifically used global figures, not figures associated with carbon pricing, and that is the point. The Leader of the Opposition has been out there pretending to the Australian people that every increase in electricity is about carbon pricing. That is not true, has never been true. This is a campaign of falsehood. A mendacious campaign designed to mislead the Australian people.
The Leader of the Opposition well knows, if he wants to be truthful about this, that we have factors in electricity pricing, like the so-called goldplating of the network. He refused to speak about that publicly last year when I was working through, with premiers and chief ministers from around the country, what we could do about the design of the electricity market to make a difference for families. We did work that through. We agreed it in COAG in December, despite the Leader of the Opposition, during an issue of national importance, being out there talking nonsense about electricity pricing. We dealt with the central issues at the Council of Australian Governments in order to provide some relief for families.
Of course if it was just this false claim on carbon pricing, that would be one thing. But the false claims just stack up and stack up and stack up. I remind the Leader of the Opposition that he said during 2012:
I've just come back from China … and the last thing they want to do … is [hit] their people with a carbon tax.
Then he went on to say, 'China is never going to hit themselves with an emissions trading scheme.' As usual on carbon pricing: wrong, wrong and wrong. The Leader of the Opposition is pretending that other countries are not acting, when China has acted and countries around the world are acting. It is the Leader of the Opposition who is left behind with his falsehoods and his fear campaign.