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Wednesday, 16 September 2015
Page: 10406

Renewable Energy


Mr SHORTEN (MaribyrnongLeader of the Opposition) (14:25): My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister join Labor in adopting a policy to ensure that 50 per cent of Australia's energy is sourced from renewables by 2030?

Mr Hutchinson interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Lyons will cease interjecting.



Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:25): The questions from the Leader of the Opposition get worse and worse. He is highlighting one of the most reckless proposals the Labor Party has made. Fancy proposing, without any idea of the costs, without any idea of the abatement costs, that 50 per cent of energy had to come from renewables!

Mr Champion interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Wakefield has already been warned.

Mr TURNBULL: What if the reduction in emissions you needed could come—

Mr Conroy interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Charlton is warned.

Mr TURNBULL: more cost-effectively from carbon storage, by planting trees, by soil carbon, by using gas, by using clean coal or by energy efficiency? There are so many means of reducing emissions. Any rational person, particularly one seeking to be Prime Minister, would say, 'We will cut emissions in the cheapest possible way.' That is what anyone would say. The honourable member is proposing to cut emissions by having 50 per cent renewables, and he does not even know what the cost is.

Clearly, the object is least-cost abatement, and that is exactly what the Minister for the Environment has come up with with his Emissions Reduction Fund.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Members on my left!

Mr TURNBULL: The Labor Party can hoot and shout. I know they are disappointed. I know it breaks their heart that the Minister for the Environment has a good policy that is working. It breaks their heart because it offends their ideology, but I say to the honourable members opposite: you cannot confuse the means with the end. The goal is to reduce emissions. There are many means to that end, and all of them have advantages and disadvantages in different contexts.

The environment minister has developed a policy, an Emissions Reduction Fund, which does not just work in theory; it is working in practice. It works in practice as well, and that offends the Leader of the Opposition. He is so upset, because he wants to have an uncosted environmental policy: 50 per cent renewables. How much will it cost? No idea! Good heavens, it is back to the NBN! It is as though Senator Conroy has become the environmental policy adviser for the Leader of the Opposition. Really, if the Leader of the Opposition seriously wants to lead this country, he should propose policies, whether in the environment or anywhere else, which are carefully thought through and costed.