Senate debates

Monday, 27 November 2023

Regulations and Determinations

Competition and Consumer (Gas Market Code) Regulations 2023; Disallowance

4:19 pm

Photo of Malcolm RobertsMalcolm Roberts (Queensland, Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) Share this | Hansard source

As a servant to the people of Queensland and Australia, I once again find myself voting with the Greens in supporting this disallowance motion—although for very different reasons. This motion would stop the Labor government's gas code of conduct and price cap. The Greens are opposing it because they say it doesn't go far enough. One Nation says it should never have put in place at all.

You may remember nearly a year ago the Albanese Labor government rushed everyone from across the country back to parliament for an extraordinary extra day of sitting. This extra day of unscheduled sitting may have cost millions of dollars. We'll never know the true cost. When the Senate passed my motion to order the production of documents the Senate ordered the Labor government to disclose how much calling everyone back, because of their mismanagement, had cost taxpayers. Instead of the documents containing the costs, the government may as well have delivered an envelope containing a middle finger. 'We're not going to tell you' was essentially the response.

That extra sitting was to rush through the legislation to give energy minister Chris Bowen the power to effectively nationalise the entire gas market if he chose. Imagine giving that man power to look at the Sunday market. By executive decree, the minister for future blackouts, Chris Bowen, created these regulations imposing a price cap and a mandatory code of conduct dictating who could and couldn't sell gas in Australia, the terms and the prices.

Remember that this tin-pot dictatorship near nationalisation of the gas industry was meant to cut everyone's power bills. It has done nothing to bring down power bills and will likely only make things worse down the road. While the gas price cap was in place the wholesale prices continued to go up—they increased. Power prices got so high that state governments had to step in with direct bill relief with the federal government, taxpayers, paying for it. Mums and dads at home and small businesses are paying for it.

This flood of government subsidies has been huge. It hit roughly half a per cent for the most recent inflation figures. Q3 inflation was 5.4 per cent. Without all of the government bill relief it would have been 5.8 per cent, almost six per cent. While these subsidies might temporarily make electricity bills look cheaper, they're just a bandaid on the national electricity grid that's becoming increasingly unaffordable, unreliable and unstable. These coupons, rebates and subsidies will roll off over the next six months and more Australians will begin to see just how much the net zero push has ruined our country's most essential utility—keeping the lights on.

The Labor government fails to appreciate that when it comes to prices there are only ever two factors at play—supply and demand. Demand for electricity remains pretty steady on a predictable increase. That's not going to change until the government installs smart meters in everyone's house and it can turn off the power remotely. Remember, it's not technically a blackout if the government chooses to turn your smart meter off.

The only solution to power prices is more supply of cheap, affordable, consistent, stable, reliable electricity. The only forms of electricity that tick those boxes are coal, nuclear and hydro—not pumped hydro, which is a scam dreamt up in the net zero pipedream. It's important to remember why gas prices are so damn high. The government announced that coal is dirty—and that's a lie. Making reliable electricity from coal isn't allowed because they say it produces carbon dioxide—a natural trace gas essential to all life on our planet—yet burning gas that produces carbon dioxide is okay. That's what happens in the net zero, upside-down world.

Remember, wind and solar cannot deliver power when we need it. They need reliable sources to back them up. Gas is the only one available that's net zero cult approved. This huge boom in gas demand as coal is shunted to the side is leading to higher prices, higher power bills and instability of the electricity grid. The underlying cause of high gas prices is the demand due to the insane net zero pipedream, pushing expensive, unstable, unreliable solar and wind. Until the underlying cause is fixed, no bandaid can fix it.

The government has been meddling in the electricity market for decades to achieve political net zero agendas for the United Nations and the World Economic Forum. The answer to the problems isn't to meddle even harder. Meddling caused the problems. We don't want to meddle harder. There's a very simple fix to skyrocketing electricity bills—just ditch the renewable energy target and give a promise to the coal-fired generators that the government won't purposely try to send them broke, as they're currently trying to do.

In Collinsville in North Queensland there used to be a small coal-fired power station. As soon as the 2012 carbon dioxide tax came in—thanks to Labor Prime Minister Gillard and the Greens—it closed up shop. The manufacturing industry and hundreds of breadwinner jobs disappeared. The town is a shadow of what it used to be, and that can be traced back to the day they lost cheap, reliable, stable electricity. That's the story of the whole country ever since we began pursuing the net zero pipedream. Just as easily we can turn this boat around and stop this nonsense.


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