House debates

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Questions without Notice


2:05 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. Is the Prime Minister aware that yesterday Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington said about the government's plans to force Queensland to privatise its electricity assets: 'The Prime Minister's plan is out of touch. Queenslanders want lower power prices, but they don't want asset sales'? Isn't the leader of the Prime Minister's Queensland party correct when she says that the Prime Minister's plans are completely 'out of touch'?

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, the Leader of the Opposition refers to the LNP leader in Queensland, Deb Frecklington. I'll share with the House her statement:

LNP leader Deb Frecklington has welcomed confirmation that the federal government's legislation to prohibit misconduct in the energy sector will not allow Queensland's electricity assets to be sold. We welcome efforts to stamp out misconduct and ensure the lowest possible prices for consumers. Queenslanders want lower prices, but they don't want asset sales.

Then—this is what is difficult for the Leader of the Opposition—Deb Frecklington said:

Unfortunately, the Palaszczuk government has been using electricity as a secret tax for years. Labor is drunk on the revenue this secret tax generates and, according to its own budget, will rip off more than $8.5 billion from Queensland electricity customers over five years.

So which side is the Leader of the Opposition on? On the side of Queensland consumers or on the side of Queensland energy companies and the state government? She goes on:

Instead of lowering prices, the Palaszczuk Labor government is solely focused on profit maximisation and has allowed government-owned generators to abuse their market power and to price-gouge.

And she goes on—and this is probably the most relevant statement for the Leader of the Opposition from Deb Frecklington:

Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition's, reckless 45 per cent emissions reduction target will, according to Queensland Labor's own expert panel on renewable energy, cause the early closures of Queensland coal-fired power stations.

So Deb Frecklington has a lot to say today. She says that the Leader of the Opposition is sending power prices up for Queenslanders. She says, about the blue-collar workers in Queensland at those coal-fired power stations, that Labor is selling them out. And she says she's on the side of the Liberal and National government at the federal level, doing everything they can to lower power prices. This legislation is a test. This legislation is a clear test of the Leader of the Opposition. Will he continue to be a proxy for big business and big energy companies, or will he join with us in stamping out misconduct and ensuring the lowest possible energy prices for Australian families and businesses?