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Wednesday, 27 June 2018
Page: 4127

Energy


Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:10): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Cormann. In an article in this morning's The Courier-Mail titled 'Coalition's own to kill energy Bill', it is revealed that opposition to the Prime Minister and Minister Frydenberg's energy policy is hardening, with a growing group of coalition MPs contemplating crossing the floor. Does he agree with business leaders who have warned that this growing group of coalition MPs will unleash, and I quote, 'a wrecking ball on the economy'?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:11): On this side of the parliament, we're committed to stronger growth and more jobs, and we will always do what is right by the economy, unlike those on the other side. Their own members are now embarrassed by the decision of the Leader of the Labor Party to increase taxes on small business.

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Cormann, please resume your seat. Senator Wong, on a point of order.

Senator Wong: The point of order is on direct relevance. The question was about energy policy, not about tax. The question was about the government, not about the opposition.

The PRESIDENT: I take your point. You've restated the question, Senator Wong. The minister has been speaking for 17 seconds and has a minute and 43 seconds to answer the question. Senator Cormann.

Senator CORMANN: Thank you very much, Mr President. My answer very directly to the question is that the coalition will always do what is right by the economy, will always take decisions based on wanting to deliver stronger growth and more jobs, and that is what we will do in relation to our plan for low electricity prices and more reliable energy supplies, unlike the Labor Party. Mr Ross Hart, the member for Bass, was so embarrassed by what Mr Shorten did yesterday to small business in Tasmania that he wasn't even prepared to back him up. What I would say to the good people of Braddon is: if the Labor member for Bass is not prepared to back up Mr Shorten's plan for higher taxes on business, don't vote for Bill Shorten's candidate in Braddon, because he will send your jobs overseas; he will drive your wages down. Not even the Labor member for Bass agrees with Mr Shorten's plan for higher taxes on business. In fact, this is what I would say to the Labor voters in Braddon: if you want a more sensible Labor leader, if you want a Labor leader that is not at war with business, put Bill Shorten's candidate last, because that would get us Anthony Albanese as the Leader of the Labor Party. Every Labor voter in Braddon who wants a change of leadership in the Labor Party, put Bill Shorten's candidate in Braddon last. Not even the Labor member for Bass is prepared to back Bill Shorten up, because he is reckless to the economy. It is Bill Shorten and the Labor Party that want to destroy our economy and want to destroy jobs.






Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:13): An article in this morning's The Australian entitled 'Coalition revolt on energy "risks wrecking economy"' confirms that former Prime Minister Abbott will cross the floor on the Turnbull government's National Energy Guarantee. Has Prime Minister Turnbull met with former Prime Minister Abbott to ask him to support the government's position?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:13): I take on notice what meetings the Prime Minister has had in recent times, but let me tell you: on this side of parliament, all of us—on the government side of the parliament—we will always do what is right by the economy, we will always do what is right by jobs and we are, indeed, a strong and united team committed to doing what is right when it comes to lower electricity prices and more reliable energy supplies, unlike the Labor Party. The Labor Party today is deeply divided. The alternative leader of the Labor Party, Mr Albanese, is concerned about Mr Shorten's war on business, and he's right to be concerned. Today, of course, we've seen that the local member for Bass, Mr Hart, is not prepared to back up Mr Shorten. Presumably, he's in the Albanese column. We want to know from Ms Keay, in Braddon: is she in the Albanese or the Shorten column? Is she in the pro-business or the anti-business column? Is she in the pro-jobs or the anti-jobs column? If she is supporting Mr Shorten's war on business, she should be put last. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator McAllister, a final supplementary question.



Senator McALLISTER (New South WalesDeputy Opposition Whip in the Senate) (14:15): Minister, The Australian article reveals that Senator Abetz and the member for Barker, Tony Pasin, in addition to former Prime Minister Abbott, are reserving their positions, and that former Deputy Prime Minister Joyce has refused to rule out crossing the floor. Isn't it clear that the Prime Minister is still held hostage by the extreme right of his party room while Australians pay for his government's continued policy paralysis?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister for Finance, Special Minister of State and Vice-President of the Executive Council) (14:15): The Prime Minister's position and the government's position in relation to the National Energy Guarantee are very clear. On the coalition side, we are all united in our resolve to ensure that we bring down electricity prices and that we improve energy reliability—unlike the Labor Party. The Labor Party, we know, have two factions. We've got the anti-business, war-on-business, socialist faction, led by the current leader of the Labor Party, Mr Shorten, and we've got the pro-business, pro-growth, pro-opportunity faction, led by—who would have thought!—Mr Anthony Albanese. Who would have thought that Mr Albanese would compete with Mr Shorten from the right? Who would have thought that that would happen? Mr Albanese is now the more responsible leader of the Labor Party. If Ms Keay can't say that she is in favour of Mr Albanese's position, Labor voters in Braddon should put her last.