Senate debates

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Motions

Energy

4:09 pm

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

I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 898 standing in my name today, relating to coal-fired power stations, before asking that it be taken as a formal motion. I understand the amendment has been circulated, and I would also like to add two additional words—'base load'—before the word 'power' at the end of the sentence.

Photo of Anne UrquhartAnne Urquhart (Tasmania, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

Mr President, I think this is the third iteration of an amendment on this motion. On the copy that I have, I actually thought it said 'case load' not 'base load'. It's handwritten in pencil, and it was handed in after the commencement of the formal motions housekeeping.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I will facilitate the operation of the chamber by asking if leave is granted to amend the motion so that it reads in the amended terms.

Leave granted.

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

I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate calls on the government to facilitate the building of new coal-fired power stations and the retrofitting of existing base load power stations.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

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

Coal-fired power stations have been part of Australia's delivery of the power and energy that all Australians need. Liddell is in the hands of foreign ownership and is due to close down. Hazelwood has been closed down. Over a period of time now, we have seen extensive rises in the cost of electricity, and a lot of businesses are not able to afford to pay for this, neither are the general public, pensioners and small businesses. We need to keep up with the rest of the world.

Opposition senators interjecting

We are seeing 1,600 coal-fired power stations due to be built or being built around the world in countries such as China, Indonesia, Poland, Japan and Germany—to name some. We need to be progressive—

Opposition senators interjecting

if we intend to keep our industries and manufacturing here in Australia. We can supply the power needs that we have, otherwise we are going to shut down Australia to the rest of the world.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Order! I'm going to insist that there not be interjections during one-minute statements. It will delay the business of the Senate.

4:12 pm

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a brief statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Mathias CormannMathias Cormann (WA, Liberal Party, Minister for Finance) Share this | | Hansard source

The government's policy, the National Energy Guarantee, facilitates investment in all technologies, including coal, and also the retrofitting of existing base load power stations by market participants. The guarantee values dispatchable power like coal, gas and hydro. It also brings together energy and climate policy for the first time, and will facilitate a wide range of innovative solutions, combining technologies like coal or like solar and pumped hydro, as planned for Kidston in Queensland.

Coal will continue to play a key role in the electricity system into the future. Based on modelling by the Energy Security Board, under the National Energy Guarantee coal will provide 60 per cent of the electricity in the national electricity market in 2030. The National Energy Guarantee will help bring down the cost of electricity and improve the reliability of our energy supplies into the future.

4:13 pm

Photo of Andrew BartlettAndrew Bartlett (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a brief statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Andrew BartlettAndrew Bartlett (Queensland, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the Senate. The Greens oppose this motion for multiple reasons, which would take more than one minute to go into, but there are also a couple of very simple reasons. This would clearly make electricity far more expensive for people across the country, particularly for the battlers that are already being hit by so many of the other decisions that are being supported by the mover of this motion. Because coal-fired power stations have provided reliable electricity in the past, it does not mean that building new ones is the best way for the future.

It is clear and is already demonstrated that investing in renewable energy in a variety of means is delivering cheaper reliable energy for people across Australia, including in Queensland, as well as delivering the many, many more jobs that would come from this. This would be a massive waste of taxpayers' money. It would make electricity more expensive for everybody and also massively increase our greenhouse emissions at a time when we are already not meeting our Paris targets.

4:15 pm

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | | Hansard source

I seek leave to make a short statement.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

Leave is granted for one minute.

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | | Hansard source

The Australian Conservatives will be supporting this motion, but, because the word 'facilitate' means different things to different people, I'd like to clarify that our support is not built around the taxpayer rebuilding, or building or purchasing coal-fired power stations. It is for the government to get out of the way, to provide contractual and operational certainty and to get their bureaucracy out of the way to allow new entrants into the market that will make these determinations on a commercial basis. It has nothing to do with spending of billions of borrowed taxpayers' dollars in building new facilities. I want to put that on the record because I think it's critical that there's no misinterpretation about what the term 'facilitate' means from the Australian Conservatives' perspective.

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

The question is that motion No. 898, as amended, be agreed to. Last week I had numerous complaints from whips and tellers about not being able to do their jobs because of the noise in the chamber during divisions. I ask senators to keep their conversations at a lower volume.

4:23 pm

Photo of Scott RyanScott Ryan (President) Share this | | Hansard source

I remind senators that we have a number of divisions likely coming up. I will be ringing the bells for one minute.