House debates

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

Questions without Notice

Energy

2:11 pm

Photo of Sussan LeySussan Ley (Farrer, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Women) Share this | | Hansard source

LEY (—) (): My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, in April when you were caught not knowing the cash rate you said:

I made a mistake. I'm human. But when I make a mistake, I'll fess up to it and I'll set about correcting that mistake. I won't blame someone else, I'll accept responsibility, that's what leaders do.

Prime Minister, given you've dumped your promise to cut power bills by $275, will you fess up and correct your mistake?

Government Members:

Government members interjecting

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! The Prime Minister will be heard. Members on my right! I give the call to the Prime Minister.

2:12 pm

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

ESE (—) (): I thank the Deputy Leader of the Opposition for her question. I don't seek to have a point of order on irony to rule it out, given the record of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, who made a bit of a mistake that led to her resignation from the front bench of the Liberal Party. But now she's back.

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker—

Opposition members interjecting

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! Members on my left! The Manager of Opposition Business will be heard in silence.

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

Reflection on a member, Mr Speaker: that was quite inappropriate. The Prime Minister should answer the specific question: does he stand by his promise on a $275 reduction or not?

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Thank you. Resume your seat. I'm listening to the Prime Minister carefully. I ask him to return to the question.

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

The fact is that those opposite knew that power prices were going up but they kept Australians in the dark. That's what they did. They knew about the price increase in March. They hid the increase in the default retail price for electricity, which for a small businesses in New South Wales increased by up to 19.7 per cent—in New South Wales alone. This is what our policy is aimed at—and we completely stand by the modelling that we put out by RepuTex. It showed—and this isn't a difficult concept—renewables are cheaper; if you have cheaper energy inputs, you get cheaper prices. RepuTex modelled the impact of Labor's plan on rewiring the nation, our plan on other elements of the grid, including using the safeguards mechanism that was established by the Abbott government when they were in government—

Photo of Sussan LeySussan Ley (Farrer, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Women) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker—

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Prime Minister will take a break. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will state the point of order, and I'm listening carefully.

Photo of Sussan LeySussan Ley (Farrer, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Women) Share this | | Hansard source

We know the Prime Minister has a bad memory—

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

No, resume your seat. I want to be very clear. I'm giving the courtesy to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition because of her title, and she's earnt that title. If I'm asking you to state a point of order, I ask you to state it and not give a statement. The Prime Minister will continue.

Photo of Anthony AlbaneseAnthony Albanese (Grayndler, Australian Labor Party, Prime Minister) Share this | | Hansard source

It's a pretty simple principle here. Everyone understands that, and no amount of bluster from those opposite will replace their failure of over a decade of inaction—over a decade of inaction. And the truth is that, if you have a plan for more renewables in the system because they are cheaper, you will have cheaper energy prices. That's what RepuTex modelled, but those opposite couldn't grasp that. That's why they produced 22 different policies, 22 shots at lowering prices and didn't nail any of them. The worst of all the ministers was the member for Hume, who failed completely and then, during an election campaign, went to the Governor-General to change the rules in order to hide the fact that prices would be going up on 1 July.

2:16 pm

Carina Garland (Chisholm, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Climate Change and Energy. What is the Albanese Labor government doing to address rising energy costs caused by a decade of climate and energy policy failure?

Photo of Chris BowenChris Bowen (McMahon, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Chisholm for her question and congratulate her on a win. We look forward to a long and substantial contribution in this House.

The answer to dealing with rising power prices is the same as the answer to reducing emissions—that is, more renewable energy, because we know on this side of the House that clean energy is cheap energy. We know the sun doesn't send a bill, and the wind doesn't send an invoice—something that the honourable members opposite haven't worked out.

Normally, I'd say the opposition doesn't have any ideas. But, to be fair—we always try to be fair on this side—they've got one today. Their answer to rising energy prices is to put more of the most expensive form of energy, nuclear, into the system. That's their answer. That's the Leader of the Opposition's big announcement today—that he supports the most expensive form of energy available: nuclear energy. Well done, well done.

Another part of our agenda, of course, is the climate bill before the House. This is the bill which locks in our emissions reductions target, makes them the law of the land and, importantly, sends the signal to the investors around the world that the 22 failed energy policy era is over. The country has one energy policy, and it is the policy in the law of the land. There's been a very wide range of support to legislate. We've got the Business Council of Australia calling for the legislation to pass and the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors—a range of groups, from Greenpeace to Rio Tinto, are all calling for the legislation to pass. A very broad coalition is calling for the legislation to pass.

There's a very narrow coalition opposing it though, and that's the coalition opposite. After nine years of denial and delay, they want to continue. They want to keep those nine years going longer. It just goes to show that you can change the face at the front of the shop, but they're still selling the same old dud product. This is the modern Liberal Party. What you see is what you get. They haven't changed. You can change from the member for Cook to the member for Dickson—maybe you could change again—but the product hasn't changed. They still don't accept the science of climate change. They still believe in denial and delay.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Manager of Opposition Business, on a point of order.

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

The minister was asked about what the Albanese Labor government is doing to address the power prices. Instead, we've heard this unstructured spray against the record of this side of the House.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations) Share this | | Hansard source

To the point of order, Mr Speaker: if I may complete the sentence that the Manager of Opposition Business cut short: 'What is the Albanese Labor government doing to address rising energy costs caused by a decade of climate and energy policy failure?' I think that makes it relevant.

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Further to the point of order, the Manager of Opposition Business?

Photo of Paul FletcherPaul Fletcher (Bradfield, Liberal Party, Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr Speaker, the question is really one for you: is it the case that simply by putting in—

Photo of Milton DickMilton Dick (Speaker) Share this | | Hansard source

Resume your seat. I understand your point. It is a question for me. Thank you for that. The question was: what is the government doing to address rising power costs given a decade of failure? I want to be clear on this. If that is the phrasing of the question, then it is entirely relevant for a minister to refer to previous decisions, to what has led to this decision. I am calling him in order.

Photo of Chris BowenChris Bowen (McMahon, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Climate Change and Energy) Share this | | Hansard source

The fact of the matter is that this is the modern Liberal Party—out of touch with the challenges of today. The biggest challenge facing our world is climate change. The biggest economic opportunity facing our nation is climate change. These guys didn't get it for nine years, and they still don't get it. You can change the face at the front of the shop; they're still selling the same old dud products.