Thursday, 6 December 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister please tell the House which clause in his divestment legislation prevents the government from forcing states to privatise their electricity assets?
The legislation makes very clear that, when there is a divestment of a government asset, it will go to another government entity. The member for Kennedy stood up in this parliament less than an hour ago and sought to move an amendment to make that abundantly clear.
Government members interjecting—
On direct relevance: it was a very specific question. I asked the Prime Minister and, as he has done all day, he has given his energy questions to the Treasurer, but the question was very clear. So, whoever in the government can answer it: what clause prohibits the privatisation of state electricity assets? It's a simple question. It's a clause. One clause. Any clause. Santa Clause!
Section 4, schedule 1, item 1, page 25, lines 3 to 18 make it very clear that, if the body corporate is an authority of the Commonwealth or an authority of the state or territory, the court may order the body corporate to dispose of those interests in security or assets, and it goes on to another state authority. This is the amendment that the member for Kennedy was making clear: to avoid doubt, the court cannot make an order under subsection 3 for the body corporate to dispose of interests and securities or assets otherwise and in accordance with paragraph 3(a).
The question really is for the Leader of the Opposition. The Leader of the Opposition was not prepared to listen to the member for Kennedy, to hear his amendment, to debate his amendment, to vote on his amendment, to support his amendment, which would make absolutely clear that government assets, if they were divested, would remain in government hands. The member for Hume knows this, the Prime Minister knows this and every member on this side of the House knows this, but we have to ask the question: why is the Leader of the Opposition covering up for the big energy companies? Why is the Leader of the Opposition refusing to stand with Australian families, Australian pensioners, Australian small-business people and indeed some of the large energy users in the steel sector, in the aluminium sector, in the paper sector and across the economy? Why is it that the Leader of the Opposition is turning his back on the Australian people? There must be a reason. There must be an answer. We need to know why. The Australian people at the next election will know there's a choice between a Liberal and National government that stands on the side of Australian families and businesses and lower power prices and a Labor Party that stands with the big energy companies and wants to see their power bills go only one way—up. (Time expired)