House debates

Monday, 18 February 2019

Questions without Notice

Prime Minister

2:49 pm

Photo of Mark ButlerMark Butler (Port Adelaide, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Prime Minister. Last week, the Prime Minister thumbed his nose at the Nationals and shelved the government's 11th energy policy since 2016 because he has lost control of the parliament. This week, the Prime Minister is again refusing to put his so-called 'big stick' legislation to a vote in the House. Isn't it clear that this Prime Minister will say and do anything to desperately cling to power?

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

We on this side of the House stand for lower power prices. We have delivered that. Through the good work of the member for Hume and this government, from 1 January this year, residential customers on standing offers saw falls in New South Wales of $200, in Victoria of $313, in South Australia of $270 and in South-East Queensland of $175. The question for the member for Port Adelaide and the Labor Party is: why are you on the side of the big energy companies against the consumers of Australia? That's the question for them. Why do they have a problem with legislation that is going to stamp out fraudulent behaviour? Why do they have a problem with legislation that targets dishonest conduct? Why do they have a problem with legislation that targets the behaviour of companies that are acting in bad faith? There are a series of penalties—and they're graduated—in this bill. The reality is: this legislation is tackling problems in the wholesale market, in the retail market and in the contract market.

As the member for Hume has pointed out numerous times, those on the other side have voted with the big energy companies time after time and we on this side of the House are putting in place the policies that are lowering power prices, investing in storage and ensuring that gas is available on the east coast of Australia. On our watch, record amounts of renewables have come into the system and there have been reductions in standing offers. We on this side of the House are lowering power prices. When those on the other side of the House were last in government they doubled power prices. The Australian people can trust only the Liberal and National government to deliver lower power prices.