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Tuesday, 14 February 2017
Page: 926


Mr BUTLER (Port Adelaide) (14:07): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer to his previous answer in response to a question from the member for Robertson. Last week in New South Wales, power was cut to households in the electorates of Bennelong, Reid and Robertson. Power was also cut to the Tomago smelter, whose usual power consumption is equivalent to almost one million households. This is despite the fact that New South Wales has the highest dependence on coal power in the nation. When will the Prime Minister stop blaming renewable energy and admit he has a national energy crisis on his hands?

Mr Laundy interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Reid is warned.

Mr TURNBULL (WentworthPrime Minister) (14:08): The delusion of the member for Port Adelaide is remarkable—really! This is a member from South Australia who described the blackouts in South Australia, including the one in September last year that cost Arrium—a business struggling to survive; a business where thousands of workers' jobs depend on its survival; on a knife's edge—$30 million. And what did the member for Port Adelaide describe it as? It was 'a hiccup'; just another hiccup! And he complains about one hiccup after another in South Australia. You are seeing businesses being put to the wall in his own state and his own constituents losing their jobs, and he does not think it matters. What about the owner of a seafood restaurant in Port Lincoln who said he had no trade for 2½ days—

The SPEAKER: The member for Port Adelaide, on a point of order.

Mr Butler: Again, direct relevance, Speaker—

The SPEAKER: The member for Port Adelaide will resume his seat.

Mr Butler: The Prime Minister had—

The SPEAKER: The member for Port Adelaide will resume his seat.

Mr Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Port Adelaide will resume his seat.

Mr Butler interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for Port Adelaide will leave the chamber under 94(a).

The member for Port Adelaide then left the chamber.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has the call.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: I am not going to have members openly defy my requests for them to resume their seat.

Mr TURNBULL: The honourable member, who is leaving the chamber now, simply cannot cope with the truth. The truth is that South Australia's experiment has failed. And it is all very well for the delusionists on the Labor side—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr TURNBULL: It is all very well for them to shout and yell. I do not think they would be shouting and yelling at the South Australian businesses that are here today, whose businesses and whose employees are being put at risk and whose competitive position is being disadvantaged, or the pensioners in South Australia who cannot afford to turn on the air conditioner because it is the most expensive power in the country and, when they can afford it, they cannot be sure that it will come on when they flick the switch.

There is no point in Labor denying the fact that every South Australian knows: if you introduce a massive amount of variable renewable energy, of wind or solar, into your grid, and you do so without proper planning, without the backup, without the firming power, without the storage, then you increase the vulnerability of your grid, and that is exactly what AEMO has said. It is precisely what they have said. So they have made the grid less resilient—more vulnerable to the blackouts that are destroying jobs across South Australia.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume his seat.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will cease interjecting. Has the Prime Minister concluded his answer? The Prime Minister has concluded his answer.