Labor lies again. They promised us transparency.

Anthony Albanese is breaking promises left, right and centre. He needs to start focusing on cost of living issues and not The Voice.

Chamber: Senate on 14/06/2023


Senator RENNICK (Queensland) (17:50): We’re talking about broken promises. I want to first touch on the whole aged-care issue, which I think is worth noting. We were promised that there would be nurses 24/7 in aged-care homes by, I think, June 30 this year. That hasn’t happened. The minister, Anika Wells, isn’t prepared to actually state or even give a figure on the number of aged-care centres that do have full-time nurses. I’m personally not in favour of the policy; my view is that if someone is sick they should go to hospital. I think it makes it very confusing when you’ve got aged-cares centres acting as nursing homes as well. I think there needs to be a clear delineation, and I accept it’s not an easy thing to solve. But that was a promise that was made by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and the Labor government, and it is a promise I don’t think they are serious about keeping. The least that they could do—as I spoke about this morning—is give us a figure on how nurses are in aged-care centres on a full-time, 24-hours-a-day basis, so that we can gauge the performance of the Labor Albanese government. I think it is very disappointing that the aged-care minister, Anika Wells, won’t answer that question. That’s one thing we could talk about in terms of broken promises and accountability.

The other thing that I found very annoying was the release of the National Cabinet minutes. The current Prime Minister, when he was opposition leader, said that he would release the minutes of National Cabinet. He used that to wedge the Morrison government. I myself was never a fan of National Cabinet, and I also thought the minutes should be released when we were in government. Yet again, this is a case of saying one thing in opposition and another thing in government. I think this is another example of where the Albanese government—it’s not a hard thing to do. I’m sure these meetings aren’t that detailed or it’s that difficult to have a secretary in there to take the minutes, yet they refuse to release the minutes. Why is this so hard? Why can’t we have greater transparency about what goes on between the federal and state governments? The federal government pays billions of dollars a year in transfer payments to state governments, and I think we have a right to know how this money is distributed, the reasons behind that and the wrangling.

We can move to the cost-of-living issues. Of course, we never saw power prices decreased by $275. As a matter of fact, they are up by about $700, as at the last budget. Just last week, we saw the energy retailers saying that they’re going to put up energy prices again, coming into the new financial year, by between 28 to 30 per cent. That is enormous. It was another reckless statement, given that there is a massive energy transfer from reliable and cheaper baseload energy to renewables.

Here is another broken promise or lack of transparency. In an earlier set of estimates, I asked the acting environment minister, Senator McAllister, just how many kilometres of transmission lines we need to reach 82 per cent of renewables by 2030. The department couldn’t even answer that question. They have no idea how many kilometres of transmission lines are needed to reach 82 per cent of the grid. I think it’s absolutely absurd that you’re going to legislate to get to a 43 per cent reduction in CO2 by 2030. To reach that you’ve got to reduce baseload energy or get renewable energy up to 82 per cent of the grid, and you can’t actually say how many kilometres of transmission lines you need to do it. At least get some idea and have a plan. I can’t even get a plan out of the Albanese government.

I’ll say one last thing. This isn’t necessarily a broken promise or an issue of transparency, but I will have a crack at the Prime Minister because he had a crack at me for moving a motion to get the RRAT committee to have a look into the regional banking inquiry. This bloke doesn’t even know me. He doesn’t know anything about my past or my passion for regional services, and he’s dared me into saying that I won’t do anything for regional banks. Well, let me tell you right here, right now, that I’m going to be pushing for an old-fashioned public bank. Paul Keating sold the CBA. I want a new public bank. I want a state government insurance office or a federal government insurance office, and I want the Commonwealth government to offer interest-free bonds in lieu of superannuation. I’ll hold him to it.





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