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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10269

Mr THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith) (15:43): Colleagues, who said this?:

I will not lead a party that is not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am.

That was the old Malcolm Turnbull, the bloke that used to get around in the leather jacket—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Kingsford Smith will refer to members by their titles.

Mr THISTLETHWAITE: The old Prime Minister, who used to get around on Q&A in his leather jacket, talking about climate change and effective policy on energy.

Who said this: 'Abbott's climate change policy is BS'? Now, of course, I'm using an acronym there for the last word in the title of this particular article that appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald on 7 December 2009. That, of course, was the old Prime Minister, who was speaking then of the member for Warringah when he was the Prime Minister, and the climate change and energy policy that this government had. The member for Wentworth, as he was at the time, said that he would:

… tell a few home truths about the farce that the Coalition's policy, or lack of policy, on climate change has descended into.

He then went on to describe in quite colourful language the member for Warringah's—as the then Prime Minister—climate change policy and what a complete joke it was. Once again, that was the old member for Wentworth. He's now adopted, holus-bolus, the policy that he once described as complete BS. Those were the days when the member for Wentworth had principles and believed in something. He was the bloke who actually crossed the floor to vote for Labor's Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme when he believed in taking action on climate change.

That was, of course, before he was elected to the leadership of the Liberal Party and before he did that dodgy backroom deal with the right wing of his party and the National Party, a deal, by the way, that he refuses to release publicly—so much for transparency. He sold out his beliefs and sold out the future of all our kids through refusing to take real action on climate change. 'Turncoat' Turnbull, the ultimate sellout, not only adopted Tony Abbott's view of climate change and energy policy but now actively advocates for it as his policy. He once described it as BS.

Australians are asking: what happened to the old member for Wentworth? What a disappointment he is—some might say a fizzer. The Australian people are suffering because this bloke sold out his principles on climate change and energy policy. I'm talking about people in my electorate—for instance, the pensioner who now can't afford to switch on their heater at night to warm themselves because of energy prices; the family struggling to pay their bill and having to enter into a repayment plan with their energy retailer because they simply can't afford the increase in the cost of their electricity; and the small business that has to go out of business because they can't afford to pay their energy bills anymore. In fact, in the city that I live in, the average energy bill has risen by $1,000 since this government came to office. All of this is because this government is in chaos and cannot make a decision about energy policy to guarantee investor certainty and bring on additional supply.

There are two basic reasons why Australians are facing a massive increase in their energy prices. One is that Liberal governments privatised the network. They privatised the poles and wires and the generators in New South Wales and Victoria and South Australia. Governments don't own them anymore, so they can't force these private companies to bring on additional supply. And guess what? Those companies are not investing in new supply because they know that the federal government have made a shambles of energy policy, are chaotic and can't make a decision. They can't make a decision on a clean energy target. The government actually asked Professor Alan Finkel, the Chief Scientist, to advise them on what they should do on energy policy. He issued a report, and the Prime Minister and the energy minister went away and then said, 'No, we can't adopt that. That's far too revolutionary for our party. Our party will never agree with a clean energy target. Go away and rewrite your report.' So Professor Finkel did. He went away and rewrote it, at significant cost to the taxpayer. He watered it down. And guess what? They still can't make a decision on it. They still won't make a decision on a clean energy target, and because of that all Australians are paying through the nose through their energy costs going up. It's an absolute disgrace. Because this government can't make a decision, Australians are paying for it.

Mr Deputy Speaker, I seek to table an article from The Sydney Morning Herald on 7 December 2009, 'Abbott's climate change policy is BS', by Malcolm Turnbull.

Leave granted.