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Tuesday, 12 September 2017
Page: 10037


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. This government is now in its fifth year in office, and the state Liberal government of New South Wales has been in office that entire time. Can the Prime Minister confirm that the average Sydney household is paying almost $1,000 more in power bills since this federal Liberal government was elected to office?

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:02): I can confirm to the Leader of the Opposition that during Labor's time in government electricity prices doubled. They doubled. And I can confirm that the policy errors the Labor Party made in government and continue to make at state levels continue to put our energy market, the sustainability of Australian businesses and the affordability of electricity in Australian families' homes at risk.

We know exactly what they did, and we saw another confessional creep-back today by the Leader of the Opposition on gas. We know that, when Labor was in government, they decided that we should open up the east coast to exports with no protection given for the domestic market. That was their decision. They took that risk. They were warned against it by the electricity market operator and by the energy department here in the federal government. They took that risk. They were warned.

The member for Port Adelaide first said he knew nothing about it. Then, finally, he confessed. And then—

Mr Shorten: Mr Speaker, a point of order on relevance. What about the $1,000 extra that Sydney householders are paying on his watch?

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat.

Mr TURNBULL: So the member for Port Adelaide confessed. But, as Mark Twain said, confession is good for the soul but bad for the reputation, and it definitely signed the member for Port Adelaide up to the group that put this extraordinary pressure on Australian businesses, on Australian jobs and on Australian families. We're taking the tough action to bring gas prices down, and they are coming down. They are coming down.

But we saw another confession today. They keep on coming. It's like a virus on the Labor side of politics. They're all being driven to confess. Not so long ago, the Leader of the Opposition stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his comrade the Premier of Victoria in opposing the exploration and development of gas under the state of Victoria—onshore conventional and unconventional gas. We've had every piece of advice imaginable from Finkel, from AEMO and even from the government saying that gas has to be explored and developed in Victoria. This was resisted by the Labor Party.

But now, in a blind panic, the Leader of the Opposition rushes out in front of the parliament and says: 'Oh, I've changed my mind. I think they should be exploring for gas in Victoria.' It's good to see he's putting his toe into the waters of the real world, but he's got to fully commit. (Time expired)