Committees – Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee – Reference, Tuesday 7 November, 2023

Senator BABET (Victoria—United Australia Party Whip) (18:21): I rise here today in support of Senator Colbeck and Cadell’s motion—obviously, I do; you all know that. What is our nation’s electricity grid? It’s like a square peg in a round hole because it’s being forced to adapt to unreliable and inconsistent methods of electricity generation. That’s what is going on. We have this reckless push—that’s what it is—towards so-called renewable energy which is not renewable at all. What’s renewable about Chinese solar panels and wind turbines that end up in landfill at the end of their useful life anyway? That’s not renewable. It will only push up electricity prices, and we all know that. It’s smashing Australian land holders, farmers and fishers. Prime farmland and sea life are under direct threat from our nation’s ill-advised solar and wind transition. Farmers are facing compulsory acquisition or, even worse, having high-voltage powerlines imposed on them through their property, with no entitlement to adequate compensation.

A few months ago what did the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, say? Antonio Gutteres informed the world that we had moved from global warming to ‘the era of global boiling’. This guy is a nut case—that’s what he is—global boiling! It was all very dramatic. To me it was a little bit funny, and for those of us in the Senate who eagerly wait to find out what comes after ‘global boiling’, perhaps it’s this: perhaps next time he will come on TV and warn us about—I don’t know—global microwaving. How about that? Maybe he’ll tell us that we’ve entered the era of global molten lava. Who knows? I don’t know. Do you know? This guy is nuts. But he’ll be sure to come up with something dramatic in order to get a headline and keep the climate fear, which is what it is. It’s like climate fear porn in the news and top of mind for the misinformed among us. That’s what he is doing.

Personally, I don’t mind the term ‘global boiling’ because—do you know what?—tempers are boiling right now. Tempers are boiling at least in regional Australia, not so much in the inner city for the woke latte sipping lefty activists. But in regional areas, tempers are boiling. Farmers are boiling mad. They’re boiling mad about the government’s plan to litter the countryside—that’s what it is—with wind turbines. What do these wind turbines do? They destroy prime agriculture land.

Our very own climate high priest, Minister Chris Bowen, is telling our farmers that they must put up with wind turbines that are around 285 metres tall or something like that being plonked into their paddocks. If these hulking great turbines—these monuments to ridiculousness and madness—are not enough of a blight on the landscape, Minister Bowen is telling them that he’s also, potentially, going to crisscross their properties with 10,000 kilometres of transmission lines.

In the town of Oberon in New South Wales, the government is planning on erecting around 400 of these wind turbines. The City of Sydney has got 16 buildings that are more than 200 metres tall. Oberon in the Central Tablelands would have 400 turbines that are higher than that. For the love of God, doesn’t anyone care about the eagles? What about the eagles? Where are the Greens? Save the eagles! Apart from being an eyesore, the whir of just one of these monstrosities can be heard up to 10 kilometres away. Multiply that by 400 and you can start to understand why the people of Oberon are red hot about this issue. Let’s be honest: of course the eyesore won’t be seen from the Prime Minister’s residence, and the noise pollution will not be heard in Minister Bowen’s electorate or in any of the Greens or Teals members’ electorates either. The Oberon community believe—not without good reason, I might add—that the proposed wind farm will damage the value of their homes, farms and businesses, and they’re right. And for what? For nothing.

If Minister Bowen manages by some miracle to reach the end of his net zero rainbow, China will continue to increase their emissions—they’re not stopping—and will quickly swallow up whatever gains Australia has made. We don’t talk about China enough in this place, and we should. Here’s the kick in the you-know-what: we buy these wind turbines from China, mostly, who manufacture them with energy supplied by Australian coal. Ridiculous! Net zero—it’s this. It’s nothing more than a wealth transfer to the CCP and, as my colleague Senator Roberts likes to say, global predatory billionaires. That’s where it’s going. You can’t make this stuff up. You just can’t. It’s madness. No wonder Chairman Xi Jinping loves Australia so much—at least, he claims to. Few other things in life would give him as much to laugh about in his life right now than our energy policy. It’s nuts. We shut our country down and send everything to China, and they laugh at us.

Minister Bowen wants to plonk 40 new wind turbines a month in regional areas every month for the next seven years. He says that it’ll save the environment. No, Minister Bowen, it’s not going to save anything. It’s going to destroy the environment, and it’s going to ruin people’s lives. The pain being inflicted right now on the people of Oberon and all the other country folk across the country, from Queensland to Tasmania, needs to stop. It needs to end. If the government is serious about achieving net zero and if they’re not just a patsy for China, they could do it with nuclear power and have the added bonus of not destroying the lives and livelihoods of all the rural communities. The government’s stubborn refusal to even contemplate nuclear is frankly outrageous. It’s enough to make country people’s blood boil. There’s your global boiling—the country people’s blood is boiling. Listen to the concern of our farmers, Minister Bowen and Prime Minister Albanese. Rather than bullying them into accepting turbines and transmission lines that they don’t want or need, listen to them. Consider nuclear instead.

If you really want to shore up our power supply, for God’s sake stop this madness. Once again, I will commend Senators Colbeck and Cadell for their motion. We need to investigate and expose the reality of net zero. Let’s be honest for a second. Net zero makes net-zero sense when you’re using solar panels and wind turbines, which—once again—end up in landfill at the end of their useful life, and batteries that last seven to 10 years, if you’re lucky, and then also end up in landfill at the end of their useful life. What is the point of this? Nuclear energy is the answer. It’s something I hope all the adults can agree on. It’s the best way forward. If you believe in the garbage, lies and misinformation that says ‘CO2 is going to kill us all,’ I can tell you that it will not. It’s absolute garbage.