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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14468

Mr CONROY (Shortland) (15:32): What a pathetic effort from this generation's Bronwyn Bishop—talking with great potential but underdelivering every single time. I'm going to start with one simple question. This is a debate about climate change. Where is the climate change minister? She's back in witness protection. They rolled her out yesterday for a 20-minute press conference where the Minister for Energy wouldn't let her answer a question—mind you, I don't blame him after her performance—and they rolled her back into witness protection. Such is the commitment of this government to climate change that the Minister for the Environment doesn't turn up for the debate. That is the truth of how little this government takes climate change seriously.

This is a debate about a carbon tax—sure—but there is only one carbon tax and that's their ridiculous Emissions Reduction Fund. They have spent $4 billion of taxpayers' money to pay polluters not to pollute. That is a carbon tax by any definition. Let's look at some of the projects. They're paying a goldminer $1 million to build a gas-fired plant that the goldminer says they would have built anyway. They're paying $2 million to Rio Tinto to put in a diesel generator that was commissioned before they opened their fund. They've already cancelled 28 per cent of the projects they're funding under the Emissions Reduction Fund. Malcolm Turnbull said that this fund, worth $4 billion now, is a fig leaf for doing nothing. That is their entire climate change policy: paying polluters not to pollute.

Let's go to the so-called Fisher modelling. This piece of work, which should have been written on toilet paper, because that is the quality of that piece of work, puts the cost of storage at $200 a megawatt hour, despite the fact that Snowy Hydro says the cost of renewable energy, plus the cost of storage, is 70 bucks a megawatt hour. This so-called modelling says that the $263 carbon price will drive 50 per cent renewable energy. It ignores the land sector. It is utter rubbish. I say this to the government: if they are going to rely on that modelling, what does it say about their policy? Their policy, under this modelling, is a $92 carbon price and involves a $90 billion hit to gross national income. That is what their chosen modelling says about their policy. It is absolutely ridiculous!

The absolute truth is the government do not care about taking action on climate change. Just look at the Prime Minister's contribution on this topic. Since entering parliament in 2007, guess how many times Prime Minister Morrison has mentioned climate change.

Ms Butler: How many?

Mr CONROY: Thirteen times, in a 12-year parliamentary career! By contrast, he has mentioned 'Canberra bubble' 18 times. He's mentioned a combination of Sharks, beer and McDonald's 14 times! No mention of Engadine, but mentions of Sharks, beer and McDonald's. This is the level of commitment the government have to climate change: they don't even talk about it let alone take it seriously.

Let's look at their magical plan to achieve their target. This is their magical plan. This is their magical spreadsheet. Look at this—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Hogan ): The member for Shortland is warned on the use of props.

Mr CONROY: The Climate Solutions Fund. Malcolm Turnbull said it was a fig leaf. The battery of the nation, on its own business case, only works if you get 50 per cent renewable energy—gone. The electric vehicle strategy doesn't exist. The final one is 100 million tonnes on technology improvements and other sources of abatement. They might as well have labelled that column 'blind faith'—blind faith that they'll suddenly find 100 million tonnes of abatement through some other method. That is the level of the government's contribution to this debate on climate change.

The truth is we have a concrete plan. It is a concrete plan that will cut emissions by 45 per cent; a concrete plan that will lower power prices; a concrete plan that will deliver at least 86,000 jobs in renewable energy and hydrogen; a concrete plan that will make a strong contribution to international action on climate change; a concrete plan that says to our children and our grandchildren, 'You count, you matter, we take your future seriously and we will do something about it.' By contrast, we have a reactionary government only interested in short-term politics, who history will condemn as horrible, horrible people that did not care about their kids' future. (Time expired)