A fiery exchange between Tanya Plibersek and Barnaby Joyce has left the former deputy prime minister accusing the government of “cuckoo land power policy”.
With time ticking for the federal government to find a solution to high energy prices before its self-imposed deadline of Christmas, Mr Joyce hit out at the Environment Minister on a Channel 7 panel for failing to explicitly lay out the plan.
Ms Plibersek said the government was “working very hard” with gas companies and state and territory governments to bring down the price of energy, but the long-term priority was to invest in renewable energy because “we know that it is the cheapest form of electricity in human history”.
Mr Joyce interjected, saying: “It’s not. It’s just not, that’s wrong.”
“It’s ridiculous saying it. Look at your power bill – that is the reality of it.
“If you want power prices to go down, don’t listen to the Labor Party – look at your power bill, it’s going through the roof.
“This whole renewable issue, making out like power is going to be free – it’s never been dearer before in our lives.
“It is ridiculous.”
Ms Plibersek said the issue was that the infrastructure was not in place, and once it was power bills would not spike to such high levels.
She blamed the former government for a decade of inaction, saying it was the reason so many Australians were now hurting.
Ms Plibersek said Mr Joyce had been responsible for “shutting power plants” before an alternative was established.
“What did you do to stop it?” she said.
Mr Joyce responded by saying: “You’re the government.”
Mr Joyce finished the exchange by saying Labor’s energy policy was “cuckoo land”.