House debates

Monday, 20 August 2018

Questions without Notice

Turnbull Government

2:34 pm

Photo of Ged KearneyGed Kearney (Batman, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the current Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that he's had five different signature energy policies, including two just today; he's planning on dumping his signature big-business handout; and his government is completely paralysed by infighting and chaos? Isn't it the case that Australians are paying the price for the circus that this government and its policies have become?

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Batman for her question. She should welcome today's announcements, because they will lower power prices. The ACCC is a cop on the beat. It conducted a 15-month inquiry. It was able to compel some 50,000 documents from the companies and shine a light on their behaviour. As a result, there were 56 recommendations. Today we are announcing important ones that have been welcomed by the ACCI, representing businesses across the country—including in the member for Batman's electorate—and by the National Seniors Australia group, representing many of their people who are struggling with their power bills. We're on the side of the consumer. Those opposite are on the side of the big power companies.

The member for Batman is a former union leader, probably like most on the other side. Do you think the member for Batman would listen to the words of the CFMEU president, who wrote, about Labor's 50 per cent target:

An increased Renewable Energy Target of 50% by 2030 will increase the cost of electricity for manufacturing and ordinary households while being a poor tool to reduce Australia’s overall global warming emissions.

Did you hear that? The union movement is telling the member for Batman, 'Stop all the worrying about emissions and think about people's power prices.' What about Ben Davis, the Victorian secretary of the AWU—the member for Maribyrnong's former secretary. He had this to say:

… the rush away from coal and gas-fired electricity power stations to renewables is a little unseemly in its haste because we are potentially crucifying hundreds of thousands of manufacturing workers.

Of those opposite, there is one member who is actually a conscientious objector—she's got her head down. Who do you think it is? It's the member for Paterson. Why? Because the member for Paterson is the daughter of a coalminer who holds an electorate in New South Wales's Hunter Valley. She told The Australian:

… she would support the construction of a new coal-fired power station.

Come on over, Member for Paterson! At the end of the day, we know what's going on over there. The Leader of the Opposition has sold out the workers he pretends to represent. He has done a deal with the Greens to protect his left flank. He is not supporting the blue-collar workers or the jobs of Australians that depend on cost-effective energy policies. Only the coalition will deliver lower power prices. (Time expired)

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

Before I call on the next question, I just want to address the House on that last question. I listened to the member for Batman, and her question, at the very beginning, had an inclusion or a lead-in with respect to the Prime Minister. I'm going to make really clear, having reflected through the answer, that I'm not going to allow that course to occur. If members are incapable of simply asking a question to the Prime Minister or a minister without adding in any other words, I'm going to sit them down and I won't be offering a chance to rephrase the question.