Senate debates

Monday, 11 September 2023

Matters of Public Importance


5:09 pm

Photo of Matthew CanavanMatthew Canavan (Queensland, Liberal National Party) Share this | Hansard source

I know the Prime Minister hasn't been to a petrol station recently. He doesn't seem to know the price of petrol. But I have, and I know that in recent months many Australians have. They would have seen that diesel often now is at $2.30 a litre. How is it that everything seems to have gone up in price since we committed to this crazy idea of net zero? A fundamental fact is that if you commit to something like net zero you're not going to drill for oil, you're not going to increase the production of oil and gas, and so being able to fill up at the petrol pump is going to go up in price, just as it has.

There are some people that haven't been silly enough to sign up to this agenda, or at least not silly enough to do anything to get close to it. Countries in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia, and Russia are not doing anything to get near it, so they are still drilling for oil and gas. Thanks to our stupid decisions here, in Western countries, we have given them a blank cheque to determine the price of oil, the price of energy, across the whole world. That is why we're seeing our petrol prices go up—because Saudi Arabia and Russia are restricting supply at the moment. Brent crude oil prices have gone back over $90 for the first time since the height of the Ukraine war. That is happening because we in the free world are not taking the decision to produce our own energy resources. We're therefore dependent for our basic energy needs on dictatorial and authoritarian regimes. That is what is happening. And the price of energy influences the price of almost everything, because energy is pretty much what makes everything.

There is one thing I'd love people who advocate for net zero to say in this debate. I'd like someone just to map out some basic things about how we're going to do things in a net zero world. Take, for example, the manufacture of something called urea. Urea is a fertiliser that comes from natural gas. It is responsible for feeding half the world's population. Half the world's food comes from the fertilisers made from urea. It is made from natural gas. How are we going to make urea—how are we going to grow food for half the world's population—if we have net zero and we don't have gas? It's very easy to say 'net zero'. It's very easy to say, 'Let's have net zero emissions.' It's easy, isn't it? Well, it's not, because almost everything we grow, make and do in our society relies on the use of fossil fuels. Without them, people will starve. Without fossil fuels, we won't be able to go anywhere. Without fossil fuels, a lot of people will not have jobs. So an answer to those basic questions would be really helpful.

There's something you might notice, Mr Acting Deputy President, when you go down to the shops now. Obviously, everything's gone up in price, but, if you look closely, you'll see that those food items that require a lot of energy have gone up further in price. Things like milk, cheese, some forms of processed meat—they've all gone up further in price. How expensive is cheese these days? It's unbelievable. Again, the Prime Minister probably hasn't realised, but I certainly see it when I'm making some hamburgers for the kids and buying the cheese slices. It's ridiculously expensive. Why? Because those products require a lot of energy. It's a large manufacturing process and there's a lot of refrigeration needed to produce dairy products, so they're going up in price. This is the craziest policy that governments have ever adopted. We want to fundamentally change how we make, grow and travel within a generation. The year 2050, the year by which they want to have net zero emissions, is just 27 years away.

We're trying to restrict our emissions, pushing up our costs, but what we do here only really matters if other countries do the same, if the rest of the world acts as well. What's happened since the world signed up to net zero emissions at Glasgow in late 2021? Global carbon emissions have gone up, not down. Ours haven't; we're trying to do the right thing, so called. But China, India—Russia, as I've already mentioned—are laughing all the way to the bank. That's why, fundamentally, net zero emissions is a fraud and a scam. It is a total fraud and a scam which allows countries like China, India and Russia, who don't play by the rules in the world game, to get off scot-free and then take the jobs from Western countries. This is a massive transfer of wealth and prosperity from our nation—our country, our people—to those countries that never have and will not play by the rules. We are absolute mugs to fall for this scam but we're doing it time and time again. Eventually it will end in tears, because nations won't be able to reach net zero emissions. What will happen then? People will be very, very angry.


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