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Transcript of interview: Sunrise- Channel Seven: 9 November 2012: Big guns of politics



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Sunrise - Big Guns of Politics Friday, 9 November 2012 Errors and Omissions Excepted

Page 1 of 5 Sunrise - Big Guns of Politics | Media | The Hon. Joe Hockey MP

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TRANSCRIPT

THE HON JOE HOCKEY MP

SHADOW TREASURER

SUNRISE - BIG GUNS OF POLITICS CHANNEL SEVEN 9 NOVEMBER 2012

E&OE…………………………………………………………………………………

PRESENTER:

So can the Government bring the cost of electricity down? There are a lot of questions to be answered on this. Let’s try and find out from our Big Guns of Politics this morning - Environment Minister Tony Burke joins us from Cairns and in Sydney, Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey. Good morning and thank you gents. Joe, if I can start with you. Tony Abbott says the White Paper is three years too late and if the Government was serious about reducing power costs, they would scrap the whole carbon tax altogether. Is that the only solution the Opposition can offer?

JOE HOCKEY:

Well, it is a pretty good starting point. The whole object of the carbon tax is to increase the cost of electricity. That is its absolute objective! Let's not beat around the bush and let’s not pretend anything else. The carbon tax is there to increase the price of electricity and it is mission accomplished. Australians are paying more for their electricity, full stop.

PRESENTER:

Tony, consumer network ‘One Big Switch’ says the long-term reforms are good but consumers need help now. How will your proposal bring it down now right now?

TONY BURKE:

The Productivity Commission reckons there is $250 on a household bill in these reforms. They don't have to be incredibly long-term reforms. Some of the issues on pricing - if we can get agreement with the states - can happen relatively quickly. If you think about these pricing reforms, you can get

down to what it actually means. If you are someone who is really careful at the moment - making sure you’re using your electricity on off-peak and things like that and using it at the times when it should be the cheapest - you are not getting the full benefit. Effectively those people are subsidising someone who puts their air conditioner on 24 hours a day. If you can get those pricing reforms, the opportunity for people to be able to actively reduce their electricity bill happens straight away.

PRESENTER:

Joe, what do you think of this comment from the boss of AGL who says, in real terms, electricity is the same price today as it was in 1960? Have we overblown this?

JOE HOCKEY:

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No, why should it be? We are far more energy efficient today and hopefully in the production of energy we are far more efficient than we were in 1960. We have got extensive resources available. One of the things that I find a little hypocritical coming out of the White Paper yesterday is that it boasts about increasing the export of coal from Australia, and yet it wants us to reduce our use of coal in Australia. The Government is playing both sides of the equation. I thought the use of coal was increasing carbon dioxide emissions - that is why we are going down the path of all these renewable energies which are hugely expensive yet we think somehow it is terrific to send coal to the other side of the world so they can emit carbon dioxide in a cheaper fashion. It is sort of bizarre. The bottom line…

TONY BURKE:

I was about to come in behind you on the first half of that and say I can't agree more but then you added the political bit at the end. In terms of the comments that have been made that Kochie read out - I don't think there is anyone who looks at an ordinary household bill and could agree with that. You look at what has been happening over the last three years - well in advance of the carbon price -and those bills have been going up and up and up. Of all the bills people have conversations about when they come around, it is the electricity bill. I reckon those comments, Kochie, that you read out

from that bloke, are hopelessly out of touch.

PRESENTER:

Thank you for joining us gents. Appreciate your time.

[ENDS]

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