TED O’BRIEN – SHADOW MINISTER FOR CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY
INTERVIEW WITH LAURA JAYES, AM AGENDA
Wednesday, 23 November 2022
Topics: Domestic violence, energy crisis, skyrocketing power prices, balanced energy transition
Laura Jayes: Ted O’Brien, who joins me, Ted, thanks so much for your time. I didn’t know this about Karen Andrews and it just shows you doesn’t it that there are a lot of things going on in people’s lives that we just don’t know about.
Ted O’Brien: Isn’t that the truth? Laura, you know, I think what we’ve seen with Karen is enormous bravery there. This is real. it’s, it’s raw, and it’s overly prevalent. And this is why, as a parliament, we need to continue doing in a very bipartisan fashion, what we did in the last term, which is prioritise domestic violence and, and full credit to Karen Andrews for speaking so bravely in the house about it, and hopefully that sends a message to other people who have been victims of domestic violence, that they’re not alone and that the parliament stands as one to address this scourge.
Laura Jayes: Yeah. And it seems like this has certainly been talked about by major political parties and minor ones for the better part of I would say the last two terms, maybe three, first and foremost, but it is a difficult thing to eradicate. But can you sit here today and say that politicians actually get it? Obviously Karen Andrews does but is this a bipartisan priority?
Ted O’Brien: Look, I think it is. I’d go beyond saying bipartisan I’d say it it does unite the entire parliament, regardless of political stripe, and I can’t speak for every politician but hand on heart. I do think people get it. I really do. To different differing degrees of course, given people’s own lived experience, which is fair enough. But certainly in my time here in the parliament, I have only seen an enormous amount of goodwill among all parliamentarians when it comes to tackling this one.
Laura Jayes: That said, when you look at things like domestic violence leave which there was a bit of a debate around seeing Karen Andrews today makes you think, well, it’s such a minor thing to pass domestic violence leave. Many in your party. didn’t support it. Was that a mistake?
Ted O’Brien: Or all look up, you know, the party and individuals take positions for different reasons. And it’s not for me to to the sort of, you know, double guess that. I think one of the things that you said there is is something we need to really leverage. And that is, we’re speaking about this and over the last probably last decade, not just as a parliament, but as Australians. We are speaking about this. For too long. Domestic violence was something that went unspoken. But now we are trying to grapple with it. There are no easy solutions. But the starting point must be a very united focus on tackling the scourge. It’s what we did in government and I think the expectation will be that that’s what the current government does. And again, full credit to Karen Andrews for speaking out so powerfully I thought in the parliament.
Laura Jayes: Indeed. Let’s talk about two reports out today that we should take notice of one the OECD warning that we are in the worst energy crisis since the 1970s. At the same time, the CSIRO says Australians are facing hotter summers, longer bushfire seasons, less rain, and more droughts are sandwiched in the middle 10 is climate change and how quickly we move to renewables and how much it will cost so where do you sit between those reports? Renewables are the answer but not right now. Is that your position?
Ted O’Brien: My position is that we need a balance. And if we are to have an orderly transition to a decarbonised economy, you have to get things balanced. Otherwise either prices skyrocket, or you keep prices and extraordinary low but you don’t decarbonize the economy. It’s an ongoing balance. I read the OECD report I know CSRIO. I’ve read the reports this morning just in the newspaper. This is why we have a choice as a nation. Either we take a balanced, orderly approach to decarbonising the economy, or we go down the path that labor is now setting us on which is a disorderly path, which is leading to skyrocketing prices, a grid that is wobbling and is not reliable. And we don’t even know if it’s impacting on emissions. Now, this is a very different approach to that which we took as a government only in the last term where we saw prices come down for households businesses and industry.
Laura Jayes: Really? You can’t really rest your laurels on that looking at where we’re at right now?
Ted O’Brien: There’s there’s there’s no resting of laurels and nor should there be.
Laura Jayes: But the Ukraine war began before the election, we could have seen where this gas crisis was heading?
Ted O’Brien: Indeed the the Ukraine war did start, you’re right, before the election, and all through that time. As that tragic war raged, the Labor Party looked at the Australian people in the eye and promised them that they would reduce power prices for households $275 their bills would come down. Now that was in full knowledge of the challenge of the international crisis that we’re seeing in energy that was in full knowledge of the challenge here in Australia, Labor promised they would get prices down, they have failed. And they continue to fail because they have this extraordinary speed and scale of a renewables rollout, while at the same time killing off gas and welcoming a premature closure of baseload power. Again, you need to get the balance right. Renewables are important, but we need to set them up for success, not failure, labor is setting them up for failure by killing off gas and having the premature closure of baseload power.
Laura Jayes: Okay. Ted O’Brien we’ll have to leave it there, we’ll check in soon. Thanks so much.