THURSDAY, 12 JULY 2018
SUBJECT/S: Perth by-election; ACCC report into Energy
PATRICK GORMAN, LABOR’S CANDIDATE FOR PERTH: We’re here today with the Shadow Minster for Climate Change and Energy, Mark Butler because Perth is a home to many big businesses, national and international, we’re big consumers of energy and it’s also home to many thousands of residents who are very passionate about climate change. We’ll be out later today, meeting with some of those residents and also meeting with people at the NAIDOC week celebrations at Ashfield oval, which will be a fantastic opportunity for Mark to talk to some of the great indigenous leaders in the Perth community. Today to talk more about the ACCC report it is my honour to introduce Mark Butler, the Shadow Minister.
MARK BUTLER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY: Thank you, Patrick. Bill Shorten and the Labor team are very regular visitors to Western Australia and I’ve been really pleased to be here over the last 24 hours, particularly with my shadow ministerial colleague, Jason Clare, meeting with oil and gas companies that are situated here in Perth and are such an important part, not just of the Western Australian economy but of the Australian economy more generally and those companies have indicated to Jason and to me how desperate they are for some policy certainty coming out of Canberra on climate and energy policy. That’s been a very valuable discussion for us.
I’m really pleased to be here with Patrick Gorman, I’ve known Patrick for many years. He’s an extraordinary candidate for the seat of Perth. I’ve very confident and hopeful that he’s going to win the by-election on the 28thof July and then will be an enormous contributor, not only to Western Australia’s interests and Western Australian politics but to the national political scene more broadly. Labor has a couple of great candidates here in Western Australia at these by-elections. Patrick and Josh Wilson in Fremantle, we have great candidates and we have great policies to offer the quarter of a million Western Australian voters who will go to the polls on the 28th of July. Malcolm Turnbull, by contrast, hasn’t even done those voters the respect of putting a Liberal candidate on the ballot paper either in Fremantle or in Perth.
Now as Patrick said, I’m keen to talk about the ACCC report that was delivered yesterday, a very important report into the energy crisis that has emerged under Malcolm Turnbull’s Prime Ministership. In just 24 hours this important report on Australia’s energy crisis has been hijacked by the coal zealots in the Coalition party room. Matt Canavan, Barnaby Joyce, Tony Abbott and others are trying to pretend that this report contains an endorsement of their ideological obsession of throwing billions of taxpayer dollars at building new coal-fired power stations. It’s quite clear that the report does no such thing. This is a serious and important report that deserves a serious response, not a decision to make this again aplay thing of the Coalition civil war on energy policy that we’ve seen play out for so many years now. We’ve been saying for some years, and this report confirms, that the national electricity market is fundamentally broken. It’s simply not working in the interests of Australian consumers and instead delivering mega-profits to a small number of energy companies; companies that were handed control over our electricity system through a series of disastrous privatisation decisions made by different State Liberal Governments over the past couple of decades.
If Malcolm Turnbull wants a serious national discussion about this report and about the energy crisis that has emerged under his leadership, seeing bills for households and businesses sky-rocket, then he needs to reject this fiction, being peddled by Matt Canavan and Tony Abbott and others, that this report somehow contains an endorsement of their ideological obsession with building new coal-fired power stations.
JOURNALIST: Have you read the report yet?
BUTLER: I’m working through the report now it’s 400 pages and it was only released over the last 24 hours and I’ve had a series of engagements, I’ve gone through all of the recommendations very carefully and read a number of parts of the report but I’m still working through those 400 pages. It’s a very important, serious report that covers a very wide gamut of issues that people have been talking about now for some years, particularly over the last few years, as this energy crisis has emerged under Malcom Turnbull’s Prime Ministership.
JOURNALIST: Bill Shorten hasn’t read it, he’s only half-way through the recommendations. Have you read all of the recommendations?
BUTLER: I’ve read all the recommendations, certainly and I’ve read summaries of important parts of the report but let’s be serious, this is a 400 page report that’s only been released in the last 24 hours and people like Bill Shorten and many others have a series of engagements through those 24 hours and we’re taking our time to get through the report as quickly as we can and will then move to engage with stakeholders about it but I’ve certainly read all of the recommendations thoroughly, I think I understand the thrust of the report, which is an important one, indicating that this system is just not working in the interests of consumers.
Thanks very much.