Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 30 November 2022
Page: 3973


Mr JOYCE (New England) (10:32): The Vienna protocol was the first back in 1985 and it led to the Montreal protocol of 1987. Between those two events the world managed to attract together enough people, about 43 countries, in the Montreal protocol for a seismic change in what was happening. It was self-evident that, especially in the Antarctic, we were seeing a depletion of ozone. There are natural ways that ozone is depleted but there was an acceleration of it, especially through things such as bromide and chlorine, which, if they get into the stratosphere, have a fundamental effect. One chlorine atom will destroy around 100,000 ozones. Ozone (03) is a triatomic molecule and it breaks it down to a diatomic, which is oxygen.

The only thing that can stop UVB getting through the atmosphere, which is an absolute kicker for skin cancer—and I have had melanoma twice—is ozone; that is the only way you will stop it. There were millions more cases of skin cancers. I think it was around about 800,000 further cancer deaths they attribute to the depletion of ozone. It was having an effect that actually progressed right to Tasmania. This was causing massive effects and we had to do something about it. I'm happy to say that we did and it is being reversed, overwhelmingly because the things that were depleting it were man-made. The classic ones would have been methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, methyl chloroform, chlorofluorocarbons and halons. These were used in propellants, refrigerants, and there were alternatives.

People talk about the science, and I'm completely versed in what this is. One of the things about this is that there was a methodical process that didn't destroy economies. There was also participation by every country. If major countries had been left out, it wouldn't have had any effect. It was able to be calibrated quite clearly. The modelling was very precise, and the correlation between the modelling and the actual outcomes was very good. It is, in essence, one of the great environmental wins. I would have to say it is one of the biggest environmental wins that the globe has achieved, because it managed to combine together.

Where the logic went into it was that there wasn't a depletion or a diminution of technology that the world was using. It was just smarter technology that got us there. I've seen the parallel that's been drawn by the Labor Party between this and renewables. I knew that would happen. It's completely different. Renewables do not have the capacity that baseload power generation has. I also note today the report that the Labor Party is hiding, into the economic effect, especially in the upper Hunter. I've got a copy of it here if they want to table it. I'd like them to table the rest of the report.

What we have to understand is that, in the sort of parallel mechanism of carbon reduction, if we're going to go to zero emissions—going away from chemistry and into physics—an electricity grid will not work. You only have to go marginally, fractionally, away from 50 hertz on the grid, and it just won't work. Having the grid work is like, as I said, balancing the electric pencil on your fingertip. Baseload manages to keep it balanced, but what renewables do, as a power source, is basically that they jump up and down on the pencil, and the pencil has times when it goes away from 50 hertz. If it gets too much, blackout. If it gets too little, blackout. We haven't worked out how to do it.

They always talk about batteries. The costing of batteries across the nation to maintain the grid is about $5 trillion. We don't have $5 trillion, and the batteries they refer to will do it for a few hours for a very small portion of power. Very efficient power is called low-entropy power. When it's inefficient, in physics, it's called a high-entropy release. The best way to think of it is as a balloon. Low-entropy release is letting the air out through the bottom, and high entropy is popping the balloon. It's very hard to store the energy from popping the balloon, but that is basically where renewables are, because they're intermittent. You have to have the capacity to combine them in such a way that they maintain the grid at 50 hertz. That's the same whether you believe in climate change or not. That's just pure physics, 100 per cent physics.

We saw in June that we got very close to the grid dropping out. As the call goes onto it, it's going to get very close again. This brings me to another thing. I hear that they're going to blow up Liddell—not figuratively but literally. They're going to put explosives in there and blow it up. That's one of the things that keeps the pencil on the tip of the finger. Once you lose that baseload power, you're going to create massive problems. It will happen. It's just like denying gravity or denying that chlorine turns oxygen from a triatomic to a diatomic. It just does. It's accepted. We haven't got to that point yet where we can take away baseload power. If we get to that point, we're just going to run straight into fact—and physics will beat narratives every day of the week.

Going back: there was a great technological advance. The Germans, the French and the English weren't really keen on going out of the propellants and refrigerants, and they created arguments as to why they should not. But what they did manage to do in a small period of time was get the efficacy of alternative products that did the same job without reducing the economy.

I want to go to what happens when you get it wrong. I have here a report commissioned by the Labor Party's Assistant Minister for Climate Change and Energy, Jenny McAllister. For a sudden and concurrent closure of all power stations in the Hunter Valley, which they requested be modelled, so they obviously must have belief in doing it, it talks about a 6.7 per cent additional unemployment rate. Hundreds of people would lose their jobs. Tens of millions of dollars would go. And this is a very small section—the Upper Hunter. They've had this report, but they've never told the Australian people about it, and they've never told the people of the Upper Hunter. They commissioned it, but they never told anybody, and that is sneaky. That is not transparency.

Just a moment ago they called for a censure motion. They talked about transparency and openness, but we have a report here today, and we want to see the report for everywhere. They've got one for the Upper Hunter. I'll bet you they've got one for the Lower Hunter as well—I'll bet you they have. I'll bet you there's a whole range of areas, because it's quite clear this wasn't done just for one area. What about Calare, Cunningham, Dawson, Flynn, Capricornia, Maranoa, Parkes and Gippsland? Were there reports for those? Where are their reports? I'll bet you they've got them. Mr Bowen should table them today, otherwise the whole theatre of what happened in the other chamber is merely that: theatre. And it only enlarges on one thing: hypocrisy, total hypocrisy. That is because people don't believe that, only at certain times, when it suits them, do they want transparency.

It is there. We've got it. We didn't make it up; we've got it. It is there; therefore, the people whom it affects are the people who are about to be kicked to the kerb, because the process of reducing propellants—be they chlorine, benzene or methyl bromide—was efficacious, diligent and appropriate, and it worked. And this was the great thing: it went from the Vienna convention, when they all came together and said: 'We think this should happen,' to the Montreal convention in 1987, when 43 countries were part of it. They then dragged Germany and England in to be part of the show. That was efficacious and it worked, but what we are going to be doing here in Australia, according to the Labor Party's own report, is something entirely different.

The rhetoric is that renewables are cheaper. They obviously are not. They are not cheaper—not until you put in massive pumped hydros. The cost of Snowy Hydro 2.0 is up to about $10 billion. When you're doing the relative marginal costing process and you put in your base-load capacity so you're comparing 24/7 power with 24/7 power, renewables are massively dearer because there's not that base load. What happens is that power is sold in five-minute blocks, and what they're comparing is the sale of one five-minute block of power with the sale of a five-minute block from a coal-fired power station, and they're not comparable. It's like saying that you can keep the lights on here for five minutes, or that the Tomago smelter needs to work for only five minutes a day or for certain five-minute slots during the day. The flux will congeal and they won't build another one; that'll be the end of it. It'll be gone.

We haven't got to the point in this nation of doing that. All we're doing is walking closer and closer to a massive problem. What will the problem look like? It'll look like Labor's report, which we've got. That's what it'll look like—just like that. So how do we do it? We want to participate in this. There's only one way we can do it, and every advanced economy is getting there. We've now got places like Thailand and Indonesia that have nuclear. That's the zero-emissions technology that does it. When people shake their heads, do they honestly think that Hitachi, Skoda, Rolls-Royce, General Electric, Westinghouse, a myriad of Chinese companies, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Indians, the French, the English, the Canadians, who are very advanced with it, the Argentinians and the Saudi Arabians—all these people—are dumb and we're the only clever ones? They're all stupid; we're clever. That's more than a paradox; it is just insane.

The world is moving on and we are going to be left behind. The manufacturing jobs we could have in this nation! They're looking at about a quarter-trillion-dollar-a-year economy that's going to come from this. We're just going to be left behind. We're going to sell them the rocks, but we're not going to build the power stations. That's just incongruous. Ultimately, we have to take the movement.

I'd like to commend the Australian Workers Union, who support this. And—I'll never do this again!—I'd like to commend the CFMMEU, who support this. They support going into these jobs. They say we should be part of it. The group of people who don't want to be part of it is getting smaller and smaller and smaller.

I'll tell you what the biggest argument is: 'Do you want a nuclear reactor in your area?'—a small modular reactor, the one that Rolls-Royce are building, that other stupid company that built things such as the Merlin engine for the Spitfire? Every time you fly, most of the engines there are Rolls-Royce engines. It's an incredibly smart country, just like Hitachi and just like Mitsubishi—all these other smart countries! A small modular reactor is going to do for the city of Leeds—503,000 people. The component part, the reactor part, 16 metres high and 4.7 metres wide, will be online by 2029. If I had the comparison between that—

An honourable member: 2030.

Mr JOYCE: 2029 is the latest report. If I have the choice between that and what its equivalent would be—which would be not hundreds but thousands of wind towers—I know which one I'm going to take.

We're fighting this war now around the town of Walcha with 550 wind towers. They pathologically hate them. I'm about to get 20 within sight of me, as high as Centrepoint tower in Sydney—40. There's not going to be one built at Manly Beach. There's not going to be one built at Cottesloe. And for that we get the transmission lines. If you ask the people of New England—and I did the survey—do they want a small modular reactor or more wind towers, guess what? It's unsurprising. Guess which one they want: the small modular reactor.

An honourable member: They don't exist; that's the—

Mr JOYCE: Well, that also is wrong. How do you think nuclear submarines work? They're small modular reactors. This is just like when we go through the facts with diatomic and triatomic molecules and what creates them and how UVB works. If you talk about the science, well, get with the science or get left behind by history. Ultimately you're going to see small modular reactors in islands, because they're so efficient. You're going to see them in Pacific islands and around the world. And we are going to get there. It will happen in Australia, inevitably, and when it does we'll just be saying, 'Yet another opportunity we blew.'