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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10245

Energy


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:10): My question is to the Prime Minister. I ask again: Prime Minister how much have power bills for Australians gone up since the Liberals formed government in 2013?


Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:10): Of course we have seen increases in power prices recently—of course we have!

Opposition members interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: They came down significantly when the coalition came into government and the carbon tax was abolished, but we have seen them going up again recently. The reason they have been going up is the impact of decisions taken by the Labor Party.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: The Labor Party can wave their arms around and shout as much as they like, but it was the Labor Party that allowed gas to be exported without any protection for the domestic market—none! They did not give any thought to the protection of the Australian market. They did nothing to ensure that gas would be developed onshore.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume his seat. Members on both sides will cease interjecting. The one thing I will disagree with the Prime Minister on is that members can't shout as much as they want. Anyone who continues to do so will be leaving under 94(a). The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order—I think I know which one.

Mr Burke: My point of order is on direct relevance. This question, as you know—

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will take his seat. I am ready to rule on the matter. Whilst it was a short type of question, the Prime Minister addressed the substance of it very early on and he's entitled to remain on the policy topic. The Prime Minister is in order.

Mr TURNBULL: The important focus for all of us here should be ensuring that Australians' electricity prices are lower and that electricity is reliable, not just today and tomorrow—and I have described the steps we're taking to ensure that—but in the years and, indeed, decades ahead. That requires careful planning. The Leader of the Opposition groans when you talk about 'careful planning', and well he might: he is a complete stranger to it. He has never thought more than a moment ahead in time. He is all tactics and no strategy. What he said about Liddell is typical. When the Liddell closure and the implications of that were made plain, he said, 'That's an issue down the track.' Well, that's what happened with Hazelwood. It closed on five months' notice, or a bit less, and we saw a massive gap in dispatchable power. Had there been proper planning in place for that, which should have started many, many years before, that gap in dispatchability could have been taken up by something else or perhaps it could have continued for a few more years. But the reality is that the market fell off a cliff, and it's households and businesses that are paying the price. The same lack of planning was seen over gas, when the member for Port Adelaide first said, 'We weren't warned,' then had to admit that he had been warned—he had to fess up. The reality is that of course they were warned and they ignored it. Why? Because it was another issue down the track. That's the problem with Labor: no plan, no confidence, all ideology, all idiocy.