PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 16 SEPTEMBER 2019
SUBJECTS: Gladys Liu; energy policy; fuel security.
ANTHONY ALBANESE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY: This week Parliament begins with yet again no plans from the Government – to deal with the economic challenges; no real energy policy or climate change policy. And clouds, over not just Gladys Liu in terms of her failure to give a statement to the Parliament, but a real cloud over the integrity of the Prime Minister who remarkably said on Friday that he had never used the term ‘Shanghai Sam’, in spite of the fact that he used it at least 17 times. He used it four times in one sentence, it was clearly his thing inside of Parliament, outside of Parliament. And we have a Prime Minister who is failing when it comes to integrity and failing when it comes to providing the leadership that this country needs.
JOURNALIST: Just on the Government’s ‘Big Stick’ legislation that they are planning to reintroduce this week. You have said you will look at it, that you haven’t put off supporting it, what does …
ALBANESE: We haven’t seen it. It’s a good idea for public policy, to see legislation before you decide whether you’re for it or against it. But, I’ve got to say, the starting point is the title which is Orwellian. This is a government that doesn’t have a policy on climate change or energy, and has come up with a rather juvenile term, to be frank, of calling legislation Big Stick legislation. I mean we’re meant to be adults. And the problem for this Government is that it doesn’t have the maturity as a political organisation to actually come together with a coherent policy.
JOURNALIST: What do you make of what’s happened in Iran and what that means for Australian consumers? We don’t have under our IAEA obligations 90 days’ worth of fuel supplies. Is Australia at risk here because the Government has failed to meet its obligations?
ALBANESE: Australia, we have of course raised, not in this context, we’ve raised previously our concern about fuel security. That was one of the reasons for the shipping policy that we raised prior to the electoral loss, it was about fuel security. This is an issue for Australia and the government needs to deal with it.
JOURNALIST: Just back on that energy legislation, what does Labor need for it to pass – to support it?
ALBANESE: We’ll wait and see. But, one of the concerns that we have is the fact that it provided an incentive to privatise electricity assets. Now, the people of Queensland for example, have made their position very clear about privatisation of energy assets; as an essential component of day-to-day living. What we need from this government is an actual plan to get rid of – to put lower pressure on energy prices – what we’ve got at the moment is essentially, this is a slogan in its title. Well, we’ll wait and see if there’s any substance to the legislation and whether the issues that we raised previously, that led us to oppose the legislation, have been fixed. Thanks very much.