House debates

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Questions without Notice


2:46 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. I refer to his previous answer. Doesn't his answer mean that his government is seeking the power to privatise electricity assets in Tasmania, Queensland and Western Australia, and Snowy Hydro? If it doesn't, what exactly does divestiture mean for publicly owned electricity assets?

2:47 pm

Photo of Scott MorrisonScott Morrison (Cook, Liberal Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

I refer the Leader of the Labor Party to the statement issued by the Treasurer and the Minister for Energy, where it says very plainly on the second page:

The legislation will apply to government owned enterprises. In such cases any divestiture may be made to another government owned energy company where the two entities genuinely compete with one another.

It has nothing to do with privatisation. But, given he asked in relation to my previous answer and I made reference to the Queensland government retail electricity companies, he may be interested to know that Queensland government owned electricity retailers made $1.9 billion in profits in 2017, up 45 per cent on 2016. Talk about putting your hands in the pockets of hardworking Australians, with government-driven higher electricity prices out of the Queensland Labor government. The hide of Labor! Their cousins up there in Queensland in the state government are smacking Queensland retail customers in the electricity market around the head on a daily basis. The Labor Party should be joining us in standing up to anyone who would want to gouge Australians and do the wrong things by Australians.

I remember it was the same thing from the Labor Party when it came to dealing with section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act, when our government stood up for small business to level the playing field to ensure that small businesses got a fair go. You know who voted against them? The Labor Party. It reminded me of when our government stood up and said, 'We're going to make multinationals pay their fair share of tax.' You know who voted against that? The Labor Party voted against that. On this side, we're happy to stand up to anyone who wants to play the Australian people for mugs, and that includes the Leader of the Labor Party.