Member for Isaacs

2017 Seniors' Morning Teas - Mark Dreyfus QC MP

12 February 2018

I recently held at RSLs and community centres in my electorate of Isaacs five morning teas for seniors in my community.

I recently held at RSLs and community centres in my electorate of Isaacs five morning teas for seniors in my community. Held in Mentone, Mordialloc, Chelsea Heights, Carrum Downs and Noble Park, these morning teas are an opportunity for over-65s in our community to have a coffee, some cake and a chat with their local MP. I've held these morning teas for 10 years now, and, as they do every year, seniors in Isaacs came out in force, with 750 people turning up across the five events. I love these events because it gives me an opportunity to listen to the views and experiences of local seniors as well as an opportunity to thank them for the contribution that they have made to making our community the great place that it is. Most years, most of the people who come to these morning teas just want to have a cup of tea or a coffee, listen to students from our local schools sing and play their instruments, and perhaps have a quick chat about a local issue. This year was different. Again and again, those who came raised with me the issue of energy policy and how the government's failure to implement a coherent energy policy is pushing up their electricity bills.

I wish the Prime Minister could have joined me for these morning teas. He might have learned a lesson about just how smart and savvy the electorate is and why he shouldn't take them for mugs with his bluff and bluster and his hollow rhetoric about energy policy. If he had been there, he would have been told what I was told again and again, that he should grow a spine and commit to action on climate change and the energy crisis, starting with a commitment to implement a clean energy target as recommended by Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel.

He would have been told that, instead of letting energy policy be dictated by the member for Warringah and his muddle of conspiracy theories and misguided culture warriors, Australia's interestsand, indeed, Mr Turnbull's own political interestlie in delivering downward pressure on power prices and action on climate change.

Energy and climate change policy is a bipartisan issue in most of the developed world. In the United Kingdom, climate change policy has been bipartisan for years. It is long past time for this government to start listening to Australian business and Australian industry and give some policy certainty to energy and climate change policy by implementing, at a minimum, a clean energy target. In the absence of that certainty we are not going to see investment and we are not going to see the price falls that we need in the electricity bills of Australians. That is the message from seniors in my electorate. High energy prices are hurting good, hardworking Australians. And, if Mr Turnbull cannot or will not take action on the energy crisis, if he will not do his job and commit to an energy policy based on science and not conspiracies, he should step aside and let someone else have a go, because Australians deserve better.