Monday, 21 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister. I refer to his previous answer on climate change. Will the Deputy Prime Minister release the coalition agreement with the Prime Minister so that Australians may have transparent oversight over policy on climate change, including net zero emissions by 2050?
The Practice makes very clear that arrangements between the parties cannot be the subject of questions, so I can't see how the question is in order. It's a question that's regularly asked whenever the coalition agreement comes up.
Mr Stephen Jones interjecting—
Order, member for Whitlam. I'll hear from the Leader of the Opposition.
What I would allow the Leader of the Opposition to do would be to rephrase the question that referred to the previous answer. But the coalition agreement had nothing to do with the previous answer, and he can't use the question as a device to ask about internal party matters, which the Practice has made very clear cannot be the subject of questions.
My question is to the Deputy Prime Minister, and I refer to his previous answer. Should Australians have oversight, in a transparent manner, over why it is that this government refuses to adopt net zero emissions by 2050, unlike the National Farmers Federation, the Business Council of Australia, every state and territory government and every major business in this country, as well as all of our major trading partners, including all of the G7?
Our policies on climate are working, and they are working for the benefit of all Australians. We beat our Kyoto-era targets by 459 million tonnes. Our emissions are down more than 20 per cent from 2005 to December last year, compared to an OECD average of 6.6 per cent from 2005 to 2018. We should be proud of doing what we're doing and having achieved what we've achieved as far as climate action—responsible climate action—is concerned. But we will not, as Liberals and as Nationals, put in place policies that are going to jeopardise the jobs and livelihoods of Australians who depend on it. Indeed, we have put in place a manufacturing policy which is funding, which is investing in, which is backing and which is supporting those people who want an industry base, who need a job in our manufacturing sectors. Those manufacturing sectors have a high energy need, a great power input requirement, and we will back every step of the way the climate policies that not only back and support those jobs but, at the same time, keep household energy and electricity prices low.
The alternative is what Labor offer—Labor pulled at the nose by the Greens, pulled at the nose by the member for Melbourne. What they want to do is what they did when they were last in power—that is, put in place a carbon tax that will affect the price of houses, the price of new homes, and every household right across the nation.
Indeed, Australia has one of the highest rates of per capita investment in renewable energy technologies in the world. That might have escaped the attention of those opposite, but indeed we have. The Clean Energy Regulator estimates that a record seven gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity was installed in 2020. That was at a time, of course, when there was so much happening in this nation—recovery from bushfires, recovery from drought, a global pandemic—yet, despite that, we were putting in place policies that promoted renewable energy. We were putting in place policies that continued the investment by regional Australia. I mentioned farmers in my last answer, and farmers indeed stand ready to help deliver the assurance and insurance that Australia needs, as far as lowering our emissions even further is concerned. They are going to be one of the biggest inputs into making sure that we continue to lower emissions, and we will do that.
I said in my previous answer that we have the world's highest uptake of rooftop solar. One in four households has rooftop solar panels. That's thanks to the policies and commitments we've made as Liberals and Nationals, and we'll go on doing it for the benefit of future generations.