Government, Energy - Labor Hits Back At Renewable Death Claim
Labor is accusing a Turnbull government MP of scaremongering after he speciously claimed that renewable energy will cause hardship and death in Australia.
"People will die," said Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly in an interview on ABC radio, under the impression that renewable energy will raise people's bills and cause them to freeze to death or something. Mr. Kelly spoke of recent reports of people afraid to turn on their heaters because of the expense, and UN World Health Organization figures showing higher winter mortality rates when they don't.
But then he linked rising power prices to the Government's renewable energy target.
"There are $3 Billion this year being paid in subsidies for renewable energy, that pushes up the price of electricity to the consumer," Kelly said.
The opposition described these comments as insulting and scaremongering.
"This is another appalling intervention, not just by a backbencher, but the chair of the Coalition's energy policy committee," said Labor energy spokesperson Mark Butler. "This latest intervention by Mr. Kelly frankly makes his position as the chair of that committee, utterly untenable," he said. "If Malcolm Turnbull is going to maintain any credibility at this critical time of energy policy debate, he needs to act and he needs to sack Mr Kelly."
Kelly's claims precede Friday's meeting of state and federal energy ministers in Brisbane to discuss recommendations for change from Chief Scientist professor Alan Finkel. Mr. Butler points out that Dr. Finkel's recent review of the energy system did not blame renewables alone for rising power prices.
Meanwhile, the Australia Institute released its own report authored by Australian National University specialist Hugh Saddler which says that gas - not high renewable energy prices - are responsible for the latest stunning increase in electricity prices.