Subjects: QLD police tragedy; Labor deliver hollow energy deal; the government’s broken promise on a $275 cut to your power bills; gas supply; cost of living pressures.
I want to now bring in Opposition Leader Peter Dutton who joins us live from Toowoomba in Queensland. Peter, you were a police officer in Queensland for almost a decade. I’m so sorry for your community, your brothers and sisters there. It’s really tragic news.
Thanks David. Good morning. Look, it’s a shocking circumstance. It’s bad enough as a police officer going to a scene where you know there are firearms or there’s domestic violence or you’re walking into the scene which may be dangerous, but when you have a few police officers who are turning up to check an address, walking up the driveway, and they’re gunned down in a cold-blooded style; that will send a shiver down the spine of any police officer attending any job today right around the country.
The families will be devastated. The families, the loved ones of these police officers who said goodbye for the last time yesterday, they will never, ever recover from that, and of course, the police family is absolutely devastated. People will be scarred from the experience. Those that went to contain the scene last night, the special emergency response team officers who had to contain the area and then engage in this gunfight with these cold-blooded murderers. Everybody will be scarred as a result of this.
It’s a time for our community, for our country to come together around police and support them, and always remember that they go into the line of fire and into that danger zone so that we don’t have to. We should be very grateful for the work, the service and the sacrifice of these two officers yesterday, and spare a thought and a prayer today, for all of those in the police family.
Hear, hear. I think everyone around the country absolutely agrees with you on that.
All right, let’s move on. You’ve come out swinging at the PM and the plan to impose price caps on coal and gas producers to provide relief for some Australian households. Energy bills will go up 59 per cent next year. People need a break out there. By standing in the way of this, are you standing in the way of people getting relief?
Well David, I’m desperately trying to help those people who are most in need, and that is families – particularly those on fixed incomes – a lot of small businesses who are doing it really tough at the moment. We are up here in Toowoomba where you speak to manufacturers and to small businesses, they are really pushing things to the line.
Now, our country is going into a difficult period. As we know, inflation will go to eight per cent next year. The government predicts in their budget that unemployment will go up. People are paying more at the bowser, they are paying more at the checkout when they buy their groceries, and the government went to the election saying that they had a plan to reduce power prices and the Prime Minister promised on 97 occasions that he would reduce the power prices by $275. He’s never mentioned that figure once since.
The concern that we’ve got is if you start restricting the supply of gas, that will only drive the price up, particularly when you’ve got more demand in the marketplace. So, what the government should be doing is putting more supply into the system, working with the companies, not against them because I fear in this package that it’s going to actually drive prices up, and you’re seeing the response of companies now – Shell, as you had earlier in your package – talking about restricting supply into the market. This is an intervention into the market which is actually going to make it worse for families and for small businesses.
If manufacturing industries decide to just move offshore because it’s easier to do business overseas, or if companies decide not to invest in Australia, then you’re going to have a situation where we lose jobs as well and the emissions just are emitted, but they’re emitted offshore so there’s no net benefit to the global environment either.
You’ve described the scheme as a slow moving train wreck, but something does need to be done. I think what you’re saying is absolutely correct here, but you know, we’ve got the war in Ukraine driving up prices right around the world. I don’t know what the other option is. What is another plan?
Well David, in the budget, so only in October, two months ago, after the government had been in office for five months – they had a lot of time to work this out – I think everybody expected that the Prime Minister would lay out his plan in the budget, that’s how he was going to help families with cost of living pressures. But there was no such plan and the budget predicted, as you point out, that after two years of policy, Labor was predicting that their policies would increase power by almost 60 per cent and gas by over 40 per cent.
So, you’re right, there does need to be a plan and the government’s made every suggestion, talked about super profit taxes, all sorts of market interventions and they’ve flown kites over the last week.
Why I say it’s a slow train wreck and why this is a disaster and frankly a dog’s breakfast is that the government is making it up as they go. There’s no plan, there’s no forethought into this. They’ve sort of cobbled together a plan last week and the wheels are falling off. Over the course of the last couple of days, the Prime Minister admits he doesn’t know whether there will be any benefit to households. They’re now talking about a figure of $230, they won’t mention the $275 and they just can’t answer the most basic questions because they’re still drafting the legislation.
So, I just worry that at a time when we’ve got high inflation, when a lot of families have been on fixed interest rates of 1.8 or 1.9 per cent are going to go to something like 4.8 or 5.8, depending on what happens with interest rates over the new year. You’ve got an increase in all of the other cost of living pressures and the government’s just adding to all of that stress and pressure, and I just think it’s at exactly the wrong time.
They’ve got this industrial relations law change, which the unions are really happy with and small businesses are going to find it tough next year, and this will make it even tougher for them.
All right Peter Dutton, we’ll leave it there. But once again, thank you for your words today about the police and we are sorry for everyone that you know and that you’ve worked with.
Thank you so much.