Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Questions without Notice
Opposition members interjecting—
Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on how the government's energy policy will guarantee an affordable and reliable energy supply for hardworking Australian families and businesses across the country, including in my electorate of Capricornia? How does this compare to alternative approaches?
Mr Speaker, on a point of order, there was one part of the question early on that was hard to hear, so it might have been there, but I didn't hear any reference to the minister's portfolio in the question that was asked.
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources and Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. Will the Deputy Prime Minister update the House on how the government's energy policy will guarantee an affordable and reliable energy supply for hardworking Australian families and businesses across the country, including in my electorate of Capricornia? How does this compare to alternative approaches?
I do have to say, having heard all of that question, that is very, very lineball. I will rule it in order on the basis that it talked about businesses and the Deputy Prime Minister is responsible, certainly, for agricultural businesses. But I do say to the member it is very important that questions relate to ministerial responsibilities. I will hear the Deputy Prime Minister.
I thank the honourable member for her question. Of course, mineral resources have a lot of business in the seat of Capricornia. Mineral resources are very important for the seat of Capricornia.
What we also note, first of all, is that we do have a policy to make sure that, in the member's electorate, we keep coal-fired power going and we keep people in those jobs. It's vitally important that we keep over 1,500 people in Gippsland still employed. We want to keep them employed. We want to make sure in the member's electorate we have over 700 people employed in coal-fired power. In the Hunter Valley—I'm sure the member for the Hunter Valley would be interested in this—there are over 650 people. In the electorates of Paterson, Charlton, Shortland and Newcastle, there are over 600. In the Darling Downs there are close to 600. In the seat of Forrest there are 560.
There are all these blue-collar workers that we're trying to keep in a job. We're trying to keep blue-collar workers in a job. But, of course, to keep them in a job we have to keep base-load power going, because we have to make sure we keep those in Emu Park, Depot Hill, Allenstown, Sarina, St Lawrence, Nebo, these people in the weatherboard and iron, with affordable and reliable power—that we believe in the dignity of their lives so that they are able to get affordable, reliable power.
You ask for alternative policies. One of the greatest alternative policies, of course, comes from the vastly left-wing organisation, supported by the Australian Labor Party, called GetUp!. A hundred thousand dollars went to GetUp!.
Honourable members interjecting—
Mr Speaker, in terms of direct relevance, the Deputy Prime Minister's now responding to that part of the question that allegedly referred to alternative policies. I don't think that part of the question was read out loud.
It's good to see that they're clapping GetUp!. It's good to see that they stand behind GetUp!, because GetUp! believes in no more coal and no more excuses. Is this now the policy—no more coal; no more excuses? Is that now the policy for the member for Hunter—no more coal; no more excuses? Is that now the policy for the member for Shortland—no more coal; no more excuses? Is that now the policy for the member for Charlton? Is that the policy for the member for Paterson?
It's about time that people understood that the member for Maribyrnong has turned his back on blue-collar workers. He's chuckling away there, thinking about them losing their jobs. He's laughing about them losing their jobs. He thinks blue-collar workers are politically incorrect, and he sits back there in an arrogant fashion, turning his back on blue-collar workers. The AWU, who used to stand up for coal workers and used to stand up for shearers, now stand up for GetUp!. They have given up on Bourke and they are now residing in Balmain. They've given up on the Hunter Valley—and they've given up on your workers too, by the way, Member for O'Connor. (Time expired)