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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10249

Energy


Mr COLEMAN (Banks) (14:25): My question is to the Minister for the Environment and Energy. Will the minister update the House on action the government is taking to ensure that Australian families and businesses have a reliable and affordable energy supply? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches?


Mr FRYDENBERG (KooyongMinister for the Environment and Energy) (14:25): I thank the member for Banks for his question. I know that he is deeply concerned about the pressure that households and businesses are facing by a less stable and higher priced electricity system. He is working to do everything possible to bring downward pressure on prices. That's why he supports the actions that we've taken on this side of the House, whether it's to ensure more gas is available to the domestic market, or whether it's reigning in the powers of the pole and wire companies with the abolition of the Limited Merits Review, which Labor sees fit to send to committee, or whether it's the actions and the concessions that we have received from the retailers, which will allow Australian families and businesses to get a better deal.

I am asked, are there any alternative views? We know that the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Port Adelaide have bumbled, have fumbled and have stumbled on the key question: what would they do with existing coal-fired power stations? We know that on that side of the House they have a policy to close Australia's coal-fired power stations. We know that they have sold out blue-collar workers in order to win green votes in the city. We know when the member for Port Adelaide was asked numerous times what he would do—keep them open or close them—he dodged and he weaved. He wouldn't answer. The piece de resistance was when the member for Port Adelaide went on Lateline. When he was asked by Emma Alberici, 'What would Labor do with the coal-fired power stations in Australia if you were in the same position as the Turnbull government?' He said, 'Well, we would put all the options on the table.' I thought this was a rare show of bipartisanship, but then Emma Alberici asked the next question: 'Can you just give me a yes or a no?' The member for Port Adelaide said, 'No.' Emma Alberici then asked him a very simple question: 'Why not?' The member for Port Adelaide said, 'No, I can't give you a yes or a no.' That's because the member for Port Adelaide wants a multiple choice question. He wants to say one thing to the blue-collar workers, he wants say another thing to the green voters, whose support he wants, and he wants to say a third thing to the press gallery. He can't give a simple yes or no answer on whether they would support existing coal-fired power stations. That's because the Labor Party is the party of higher electricity prices.