PARLIAMENT HOUSE, CANBERRA
MONDAY, 1 DECEMBER 2014
SUBJECT/S: Victorian election; Solar power; Renewable Energy Target; Tony Abbott’s cuts to renewable energy
The first thing which impresses me about you being here is - it reminds me of the mood I saw in Victoria on Saturday - people do make a difference in our political process.
Governments will not get a second chance, they will be punished - and that goes for both sides of politics - if people don't keep their word.
There is too big a trust deficit in Australia between the governed and the governing.
The fact we saw the unprecedented first-term government in Victoria getting turfed out to me shows that real people genuinely want to see that politics is connected to the lives they’re living.
Now, there couldn't be an issue which more clearly illustrates this than renewable energy and, of course, solar power.
Australia needs to be part of the solutions for our own citizens and, of course, in step with what's happening in the rest of the world.
Tony Abbott wants to take us backwards on renewable energy.
He wants to take us backward on the Renewable Energy Target. He seems a man trapped in the past.
I just don't mean trapped in his past as an Opposition Leader but he has a very sort of unmodern way of thinking about the world.
Talking to G20 leaders, they’re all embracing renewable energy. The rest of the world is embracing it.
He wants to have people believe and some sort of fear that what you believe in, what's motivated you to come to Canberra, that that isn't the mainstream thinking.
But you know better than me, there’s over a million households with solar panels on their roof.
People are doing that because they want to make their contribution to the environment, they also want to have control over their energy prices and we are seeing the impact that that's having.
Then when it comes to renewable energy more generally, Tony Abbott wants to make massive cuts.
He’s a fellow who likes to complain about everyone else: ‘if only the Senate would agree, if only Labor wouldn't oppose, if only I hadn't made promises before the election’.
He has got an 'if only' sort of riff. But he’s the one who said there should be, he agreed about a joint approach on renewable energy, then since the election, he's the one who has broken his promise.
He’s the one telling lies about the role of renewable energy. I just don't think he gets science.
He’s not a modern person and he doesn't get, when he said at the G20 when quizzed about Barack Obama's amazing speech on climate change, he said "I'm not interested in the sort of distant future of 16 years’ time".
I think all of us have aspirations to be there at that distant future.
The idea that Australians don't expect governments to do all their thinking for them, far from it, but what they do expect is the Government to have an idea about where this country is going.
To finish where I started, what you're doing is you’re standing up and for some of you with the long distances - Adelaide or Melbourne or Sydney or the Sunshine Coast or Perth - I really appreciate your presence here.
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