Laura Jayes: The Greens say yes, it will eventually lead to no new coal and gas. Labor says that is not true. There’s also some reporting around whether this will make it much more difficult for labor to achieve its climate targets. The gas industry this morning is saying well, this might mean that there is more… sorry, less supply and therefore prices going up for business and residents. The Shadow climate change and energy minister Ted O’Brien joins us live now. Ted, thanks so much for your time. First of all, Labor not meeting their targets. Gas prices going up can both of those things be true.
Ted O’Brien: No, you can’t. You can’t square a circle like this. I mean, Labor and the Greens are all over the shop. They’re drunk with joy about having done a deal, but it’s going to be the Australian people that cop the hangover of this. Right now, everybody knows two things about the energy market. One, prices are going up, two. There’s a shortage of supply in gas. This deal makes prices go up even further and constrains the supply of gas even further. But they’re happy about it. They think it’s the greatest deal ever, but it’s going to have dire consequences for the Australian economy. Prices will go up investment will go down, emissions will be sent offshore and multiply. The Australian people lose this and so does industry but look Labor and the Greens they are absolutely delighted, for sure.
Laura Jayes: But you could have avoided this. You dealt yourself out of negotiations.
Ted O’Brien: We were very clear from the beginning. Laura and I say it again with you today. This is bad public policy, right.
Laura Jayes: So how do you square that away?
Ted O’Brien: Well, you might say business disagrees. There are some business associations who have supported the principle. Now a lot of those association’s members, they plan to just pass on the cost. I mean this is a carbon tax, that’s recognized now.
Laura Jayes: You designed it? It came from your side of politics? The safeguard mechanism was designed by Greg Hunt.
Ted O’Brien: It’s a cunning little trick of the Labor Party Laura. What they’ve done is… what they’ve done is they unwrapped the safeguard mechanism of the Coalition. They reused the same wrapping paper and they’ve wrapped up a carbon tax.
Laura Jayes: So what’s different from this and what Greg Hunt had proposed?
Ted O’Brien: A lot of things. So let’s start. Firstly, it is putting a hard cap on emissions, which means a hard cap on how much companies can grow in the Australian economy. This is gross cutting. So if industries want to grow over the long term, they need to keep looking overseas, not in Australia, right. They had a punitive tax.
Laura Jayes: Matt Canavan was suggesting that some of these companies might go to Russia instead. Really?
Ted O’Brien: Well I don’t know where they might go. But I’ll tell you what the market spoke yesterday Laura. The market spoke yesterday. These resource companies on the ASX were hit immediately, immediately by this. So the market is speaking this is going to have a dire costs and consequences on investment in Australia. And what was Chris Bowen’s response to that? Chris Bowen on ABC this morning, took his hands off the steering wheel and basically said oh that’s not my business. We are not interested in the economic consequences of that. And this is the problem. This is the problem. They do not balance the economy with the environment. And you need to balance those two. If you want to decarbonize the Australian economy you can’t decaptiate it, you can’t deindustrialise it. That’s what this policy does Laura and the Coalition won’t have a bar of it because it’s going to hurt the Australian people. Prices go up investment goes down and emmissions go offshore and multiply. We don’t like it.
Laura Jayes: You didn’t sign up to net zero. So how are you going to get there?
Ted O’Brien: Great question because this really comes down to what is the best pathway to take Australia from today to 2050. How do we decqarbonise? … This is a tough situation, so the Coalotion, we’re on the side of enterprise, economics, engineering we back technology to decarbonize. Now that’s what’s happening in other like economies.
Laura Jayes: Is it cost free?
Ted O’Brien: Is it cost free? You’ve got to get the balance right. You’ve got to get the balance right. When there are moving costs we’ve got to make sure the economy still grows . So if you look at our past record, the last term where the Coalition was in, right, were able to get emissions down. Over 20% of the 2005 baseline. That was 20% down, but the economy was able to rise by over 40%. And that’s why you’ve got to get that balance right. If you just take this as nothing more than a cost for the Australian people get the pain. And that’s where Labor and Greens they can celebrate all they like, but the Australian people and industry, that are going to hurt. And the Coalition unashamedly disassociates itself from this new taxation regime. It is only going to hurt the economy. Hurt the Australian people, jobs industry, especially regional communities.
Laura Jayes: Ted O’Brien, thanks so much for your time. Appreciate it.
Watch Ted’s interview below.