House debates

Monday, 20 August 2018

Questions without Notice


2:00 pm

Photo of Bill ShortenBill Shorten (Maribyrnong, Australian Labor Party, Leader of the Opposition) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that he will not be legislating his own energy policy because he cannot command the support of his own government in this parliament?

Photo of Malcolm TurnbullMalcolm Turnbull (Wentworth, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The government introduces legislation when it knows that it can pass through the House of Representatives. As I said today, we're not able to be assured of that at this stage. But I want to say this: what we have demonstrated is a commitment to bringing electricity prices down.

We're bringing electricity prices down. We've started to turn the corner on electricity prices, and today we've announced new measures, picking up from the ACCC report, for example, and creating a default power bill for households and small businesses. It's estimated by the ACCC that that would save customers on standing offers—and there are over a million of those around the nation—between $183 and $416.

What that is doing is taking the practical steps, based on the ACCC report, which we commissioned, to bring down energy prices. And we are prepared to take strong action, to use a big stick, to bring the big energy companies to the attention of the public and the customers that they should be serving, just as we did with gas, where we threatened to limit exports of gas. That resulted in an increase in gas availability on the east coast of Australia, a halving of the wholesale price of gas and, as a consequence, a substantial reduction in the cost of generating electricity. We are not afraid of taking on big business on behalf of their customers, and we will do so again. Our commitment is lower electricity prices. We have the measures to do that; they're working.

Opposition Members:

Opposition members interjecting

There's more work to do. On the measures we've announced today: these strong measures will enable us to do more to protect Australian families and businesses, and get their power prices down.

Photo of Tony SmithTony Smith (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Just before I call the member for Robertson, the level of interjections is already too high and I'm cautioning the members for Rankin, Newcastle and Griffith—again. I'm not going to keep repeating the cautions. I simply will need to take action.