Jun 9, 2017

Transcript of television interview – Today Show

Subjects: Energy, Finkel report, terror laws, COAG, Saudi soccer team 

LISA WILKINSON: The shocking price we are all paying for our energy bills will be front and centre when the Prime Minister meets State and Territory leaders in Hobart today. On the table a proposal which could eventually see household bills fall by hundreds of dollars a year.

Joining us is now is Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne from Adelaide and here in the studio Shadow Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese. Good morning to you both.


CHRISTOPHER PYNE: Good morning Lisa.

WILKINSON: Christopher, I am going to go to you first, of course everyone wants to see energy bills fall. But this proposal is going to take until 2030 to have an impact. People want be action right now.

PYNE: Well Lisa the Finkel report will be released today by the Chief Scientist Alan Finkel. I think it’s a seminal moment for Australia in terms of energy prices and stability.

Certainly there will be effects from the recommendations of the Finkel report felt long before 2030, in fact felt almost immediately, if the Government and the opposition can work out a way of forward where we end the 10 years of argument we’ve had about energy pricing and energy stability and work forward with Alan Finkel’s report in a way that is positive for both businesses and households and most importantly the stability of the energy grid.

Because in a country like Australia we shouldn’t have these issues around energy. But we’ve got to get the policy settings right and I think this is a real opportunity to do so.

WILKINSON: Well let’s hope you’re right on the unity ticket but Anthony, the average household is spending $2200 a year. There are warnings this morning that this year alone that could go up by $600. People just can’t right afford these increases.

ALBANESE: That’s right Lisa, but we were told by the government when they got rid of the price on carbon that it would bring prices down.

PYNE: It did.

ALBANESE: What we’ve seen since then is a doubling of wholesale electricity prices. Christopher saying that it did is an insult to all those people out there who know what has happened to their power bills. So we need to get a plan that gets some of the politics out of it.

This government’s been prepared to play politics with it. What we’re saying is that we are prepared to be cooperative and get certainty into the system. An emissions intensity scheme is what should happen.

That’s what all the energy sector, that’s what all the economists say should happen. If the Government isn’t prepared to do that, but comes up with a second-best option then we’ll consider it in a constructive way.

PYNE: Lisa, since 2007 energy prices have gone up 140%. Almost all of that was under the Rudd-Gillard Government. The only time it’s come down was when it dropped after the carbon tax was abolished, so that’s the facts.

ALBANESE: Christopher, the problem you’ve got here is people know what has happened to their bills.

PYNE: I’m telling the facts. Since 2007 energy prices have gone up by 140% and the only time that energy prices dropped was when the carbon tax was abolished.

ALBANESE: People know what has happened to their bills. Don’t treat people like fools, Christopher.

PYNE: You can talk over me all you like Anthony but that’s what happened.

ALBANESE: It didn’t drop.

PYNE: It was the biggest single drop in 10 years.

ALBANESE: You’ve had a doubling of wholesale prices.

PYNE: You can talk because you know I’m telling the truth.

WILKINSON: Christopher, the problem is they’re going to go up 30% this year alone is the prediction.

PYNE: Because of the mechanism put in place by the Labor Party the price –

ALBANESE: You’ve been in government for four years.

PYNE: We are going to fix that with the Finkel report and I’m very disappointed that Anthony  immediately started attacking the Government rather than realising that people are sick of that and what they want is the parties to work out energy prices so we can either embrace the Finkel report, we can reduce energy prices or Labor can keep fighting about it when business doesn’t want them to and households don’t want them to.

WILKINSON: Alright, let’s move on, the threat of terrorism is high on the agenda today. This morning we have a new plan being put forward by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews who wants new federal maximum security prisons to hold Australia’s most dangerous terrorists. Now Christopher, are you going to support this?

PYNE: Look, Daniel Andrews is trying to push off to the Federal Government what is the responsibility of his own government. The truth is that the awful incident that  occurred in Melbourne earlier this week which cost the life of an innocent man was the result of a person being out on parole under Victorian laws that should not have been.

The Premier and the chief ministers and the Prime Minister are meeting today at COAG, the Council of Australian Governments and Malcolm Turnbull will talk very clearly with the state governments and chief ministers about the need to reform their parole laws and apply them in many cases. Daniel Andrews can try and push it off to the federal government but that man who murdered the innocent man in Melbourne this week should not have been on parole, and neither should have Man Haron Monis in NSW in a similar incident a few years ago.

WILKINSON: Alright, we are going to have to move on. I want to get a final word on the situation in Adelaide Albo. We saw the Saudi Arabian soccer team refuse to honour the minute’s silence for the two Australian women killed in the London terror attacks. Your response to that?

ALBANESE: That was a just a disgraceful lack of respect for not just the two Australians who were killed, one of whom was a young South Australian, but also all of those victims of that terror attack in London. There is no excuse here. This isn’t about culture. This is about a lack of respect and I thought it was disgraceful.

WILKINSON: I think most Australians would agree with you. Christopher, we are out of time but I figure between the two of you, you got about 50/50 today.

PYNE: Absolutely.

WILKINSON: Thanks very much, we’ll see you next week.

ALBANESE: See you then.