Statements by Senators – Energy, Monday 27 November, 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (13:48): I often hear calls in this place by some to end the subsidies on fossil fuels. I don’t disagree with ending subsidies. You know what? I support that call. But I urge those in this place to go one step further. If we’re going to cut subsidies on one energy source, why not do it on all of them?

So, yes, let’s cut subsidies on coal and gas, and let’s end the so-called renewable energy subsidies while we are at it. We’re continually told that renewable energy is the cheapest form of energy. So let’s see what the real cost of renewable energy is, rather than offering it at a subsidised price, and then let’s see if the public still supports it.

I suspect that, in time, the only thing renewable about renewable energy will be the cost. Let’s remove the smokescreen of subsidies and let the best technology rise to the top. We’re continually told that the public is on board with net zero. Well, I say: let’s find out.

Renewables, we’re told also, are cheap, while, behind the scenes, the government is propping them up with massive taxpayer-funded subsidies like the Capacity Investment Scheme, whereby taxpayers are underwriting bad deals with an undisclosed sum of money that cannot be revealed due to secretive commercial-in-confidence contracts. We love that one—’commercial-in-confidence contracts’! Minister Bowen, whatever happened to transparency?

I say that we should end the subsidies on all energy—all of it. Let the people and, most importantly, the free market choose. We have had enough of bureaucrats in Canberra and all around the country picking winners. It’s time to reveal the truth. Like I said, the only thing renewable about renewable energy technology is the cost.