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Wednesday, 13 September 2017
Page: 10252

Energy


Mr BUTLER (Port Adelaide) (14:36): My question is to the Prime Minister. Just over three months ago, the Prime Minister described the clean energy target this way:

Well it would certainly work, there is no question it would work …

And:

It has a number of virtues, very strong virtues.

And, again:

… it has a lot of merit and as I say we will look at it very favourably …

Prime Minister, will there be a clean energy target, yes or no?

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: The members on my left! And right! The Minister for Social Services! The Treasurer! I remind the member for Hunter that he has already been warned. The Prime Minister has the call.



Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:37): As I made very clear, we are considering the 50th recommendation of the Finkel review, which is about a clean energy target. What we need to achieve in our policy is to ensure that energy remains affordable—becomes more affordable, in fact—that it becomes more reliable and that we meet our emissions reduction obligations. We have seen that there is a major problem in ensuring reliability. We've seen a big loss in dispatchable power following the closure of Hazelwood and have foreshadowed another big loss from the closure of Liddell, were it to go ahead, in 2022.

The renewable energy target, for example—and the clean energy target is an evolution of the renewable energy target—

Ms Rowland: An evolution?

Mr TURNBULL: Well, it is—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: Mr Speaker, they are able to shout and carry on as much as they like, but it is the facts that make them uncomfortable. The fact is that a clean energy target is an evolution—a refinement, if you like—of a renewable energy target. What the renewable energy target did not do—has not done—is to provide support for the storage and the backup that is required to make renewables reliable.

I know that this is not taken seriously by the Labor Party. The problem, however, is that blackouts and unaffordable power bills are taken seriously by Australians. And they know that they're the ones that have to pay for Blackout Bill. They're the ones that have to pay for the—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: Well, they do. They do have to pay—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume his seat. Has the Prime Minister concluded his answer?

Mr TURNBULL: Yes.

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business on a point of order.

Mr Burke: Mr Speaker, on Monday you made rulings about people being referred to by their titles. The revisiting of that term, I've got to say, is too cute by half. If we're going to descend the place into name-calling, it's not going to reflect well on anyone in the chamber, including those who engage in it.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I am very happy to address the chamber, if people cease interjecting. As the Manager of Opposition Business points out, my ruling on Monday, I hope he appreciates, was where I asked the Prime Minister to withdraw, and indeed I sat down the Minister for the Environment and Energy for not referring to members by their correct titles. The Prime Minister was not doing that on that occasion, as you know. I am not in a position as Speaker to rule out language when there is not a breach of the standing order with respect to addressing members by their correct titles. I do make the point, though, that I can only operate within the rules that are here, and it does cut both ways. I make that point.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Grayndler just might be uncharacteristically quiet for a bit, I think, and we'll move on to the next question.