THURSDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2017
SUBECT/S: Clean Energy Target, Turnbull’s $122 million postal survey.
BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION: Morning, happy to take two or three questions.
JOURNALIST: Is it fair for taxpayers to be footing the bill to keep a coal fired power station running?
SHORTEN: I think before we get to the future of power stations in the 2020s, there is an immediate crisis in our energy supply system. There are two goals that we need to solve immediately. One is how to reduce carbon emissions, reduce pollution. The other goal of course, is how do we put downward pressure on prices.
I invite the Turnbull Government to stop playing the political blame-game and work with Labor in the national interest.
Specifically, we need to end the war against renewable energy from elements within the Government. We need to make sure that we adopt and design a fair dinkum Clean Energy Target. We need to look at pulling the trigger on gas supplies being exported overseas, and make sure that we have a sufficient supply for Australian industry. And of course, we now need to talk immediately about the development of a strategic reserve of 1000 megawatts to make sure that Australian industry and Australian households don't experience shortages this summer.
JOURNALIST: If power is so important, shouldn't it be canvassed during question time, will it be your focus today?
SHORTEN: There's no doubt that energy is a crucial issue. I would rather that we don't have to talk about Barnaby Joyce ever again, but the problem is this government has an acting Prime Minister, when Malcolm Turnbull flies out of Australia airspace tonight, which has an acting Prime Minister where there's a cloud over his legitimacy.
The Government wants to pretend that this is not a big issue. It is unprecedented for a government of Australia to be referring the Constitutional eligibility of its own Deputy Prime Minister to the High Court. The Government should have sat down with us and worked out a way of operating which didn't embarrass the Parliament. So we will not walk away from making sure that the Parliament, which is fundamental to our political system, is operating with integrity. And the Government want us to drop this topic, the problem is they've done nothing to satisfy us, or more importantly the Australian people, that the person who will be acting Prime Minister tomorrow is actually legally allowed to be the acting Prime Minister.
One more question, thanks.
JOURNALIST: What do you expect will happen if the same-sex marriage postal vote gets thrown out by the High Court?
SHORTEN: Well, there's two options the High Court will decide today and we will find out about 2:15. Let me just say that if the survey is upheld, Labor will continue to do what we've been doing before this decision, we will campaign most energetically, most passionately, for people to vote Yes in the survey. And then we would expect that upon the successful Yes vote in the survey, that the Parliament immediately brings a Bill to the Parliament to vote on, and a full, free vote.
In the event that the High Court determines that this postal survey, this $122 million waste of taxpayer money, is in fact illegitimate, I'll be calling upon Mr Turnbull to immediately allow a full, free vote, a full, free conscious vote of all MPs from the Government to match Labor's policy of a full free vote, and that we have a vote on this immediately upon the High Court decision.
What I also say is, if Mr Turnbull won't or can't allow a full, free vote in the Parliament, if we are elected at the next election, we will just get on with it. The Government will present a Bill and we have marriage equality within 100 days of the next election.