Straight from the Senate - Issue 7
5.00pm | February 11, 2017
1. This week in the Senate I asked the government about their needless harassment of innocent Australians through their faulty Centrelink debt collection system. I spoke about the case of Anne Foley, a sixty-seven year old pensioner who told us she was issued with a $36,000 debt recovery notice and had her pension cancelled. Two weeks later Centrelink admitted to Anne that they had made a mistake and her pension was reinstated. Sadly, there are many cases like Anne’s, and many more where Centrelink has not issued corrections. In response to my question the Government refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing and instead defended their actions. Harassment of innocent Australians is not acceptable.
On Thursday, Senator Doug Cameron confronted the Government on their failure to provide policy solutions to deliver affordable housing for all Australians. While 55% of the demand for mortgages in a city like Sydney are from investors, Prime Minister Turnbull still refuses to accept Labor’s policy suggestion to phase out negative gearing to allow first home buyers to enter the market. Instead Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce suggested young Australians move away from their families and their jobs in search of cheaper houses.
Yesterday in the Resilience of Electricity Infrastructure in a Warming World Committee One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts again attempted to argue there is no evidence for human induced global warming. In response he received a lesson in scientific process from a climate scientist from the Australian National University (ANU). ANU Fellow and specialist in Photodetectors and Solar Cells, Dr Matthew Stocks, told Senator Roberts “I think you’re making a mistake involving the scientific process.” He then explained how scientists are able to confidently state the existence of human-induced climate change.
Today of all days, in the grip of a heatwave, we can’t waste time debating science that is settled. Having denied the findings of reputable agencies like the CSIRO and NASA, Senator Roberts’ contribution to the Inquiry is to brandish his manifesto of climate change denial and offer to email it to scientists. It’s an embarrassing contribution.
Unfortunately yesterday's performance from One Nation is just part of the problem. We are seeing a vacuum of leadership on energy and climate change from Prime Minister Turnbull.
We need to get on with the work of planning for a national energy market that delivers modern and reliable energy to meet the challenges of climate change. The renewables industry is already creating new jobs and supporting the transition to a low-emissions economy. We should be building on the expertise of the scientific community, businesses and community organisations that are already doing work in this space. Going back to coal, or denying scientific consensus, is not the answer. Labor has a clear plan to achieve a 50% renewable energy economy by 2030 and net zero pollution by 2050 through a well designed, market based scheme, and investment in renewable energies.