Thursday, 6 December 2018
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Can the Prime Minister confirm that, under his discredited forced divestment laws, the government could force Western Australia to privatise its state owned electricity assets? Why does the Prime Minister want to make it even harder for Western Australians to make ends meet by forcing WA to sell off its electricity assets, which will make electricity even more expensive?
I can tell the member for Cowan that in Western Australia no government assets will be privatised under this legislation because, under this legislation, if there is a divestment at last resort of a government asset then it goes to another government entity. But I can say to the member for Cowan: if you want to do something for the people of her electorate and make their lives better off, then stand up to the Leader of the Opposition and his big new property tax, because there are 9,443 people in the electorate of Cowan who are going to be worse off as a result of Labor's policy. And what about Labor's big new retirees tax? What about that? In the electorate of Cowan, there are 3,173 people who will be worse off at the next election as a result of Labor proposing a big new retirees tax.
The hyperbole of the member for McMahon in this debate was very, very funny, because the other day on divestment he got up in the parliament and he started saying, 'I'm going to have to write to the government of Venezuela about this legislation.' I thought to myself: 'Venezuela—the Labor Party. The Labor Party and their union friends—they've already got the Venezuelan government as a penpal.' I discovered a letter from the CFMEU to the government of Venezuela and it's titled 'Comrade Daniel'. Let's remember: the Venezuelan election was described by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights as 'not in any way fulfilling minimal conditions for free and credible elections'. But what did the CFMEU say to the government of Venezuela about their elections? 'It's with great satisfaction that we've received reports of your successful presidential elections. We've observed the electoral process and we're satisfied with the transparency and the broad participation of its citizens.' There we have it—the CFMEU, known for its transparency and its adherence to the rule of law, praising the government of Venezuela and their elections for their transparency and adherence to the rule of law. The member for McMahon, the member for Port Adelaide and now the member for Cowan are not interested—
The member for Cowan talks about lower energy prices for the people of Western Australia. We on this side of the House have put together a piece of legislation which will see Australian families and Australian businesses better off.
My question is to the Treasurer. To the nearest billion dollars, what is the potential exposure of the taxpayer if, over summer, your government uses public money to underwrite coal-fired power stations or indemnify them against future carbon risk, as the energy minister has repeatedly foreshadowed?
The member for Melbourne has a very short memory, because it was a Labor-Greens government that provided a billion dollars to coal-fired power generators. The reality is that our exposure is through the support that we have been providing in a technology-agnostic way to new projects across the country, which have seen, as the member for Hume and the Minister for Energy have said, a pipeline of $15 billion of renewable energy projects being committed across the country. Our focus is on lower energy prices. If the member for Melbourne supported consumers, families and businesses in his electorate, he would stop with the antics in this place and get behind our legislation.