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Monday, 21 June 2010
Page: 3749

Senator FIELDING (Leader of the Family First Party) (1:57 PM) —I rise to speak on the Renewable Energy (Electricity) Amendment Bill 2010 and related bills. Family First supports renewable energy because we believe renewable energy will be an important component of the future energy mix. However, Family First makes a clear distinction between our support for renewable energy and our views on an emissions trading scheme. From Family First’s perspective, the driving reasons for renewable energy targets and an emissions trading scheme are totally different and it is a fact which the Rudd government continually overlooks.

The renewable energy targets, which were voted on last year and which Family First opposed, were based on the government’s emissions trading scheme—the same emissions trading scheme which the government has now shelved because it was a ridiculous and reckless policy. The Rudd government’s emissions trading scheme was based on a policy that assumed that increasing carbon dioxide emissions are the leading cause of global warming. But the Rudd government failed to provide credible evidence that Australia needed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, the renewable energy targets should have been driven by a completely different rationale and not solely by the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The only credible reason to support investment in renewable energy was that renewable energy will be an important component of the future energy mix. But by mandating renewable energy targets we are artificially creating a viable renewable energy market. I stress: it is artificial, because the renewable energy sources for generating electricity are not financially viable on their own. That is, energy sources that generate electricity from renewable energy sources are not financially viable on their own. And the bill we are debating today would just help prop up the artificial market even more.

Debate interrupted.