Mr PASIN (Barker) (15:56): The member for Paterson is calling for certainty. The certainty that she is calling for is the closure of the Tomago smelter. That is the reality. When she talks to her grandchildren in the future, her grandchildren will be saying to her: ‘Grandma, why did you impose a 50 per cent policy renewable target that ultimately led to the closure of the Tomago aluminium smelter? Grandma, why did you do that?’ And she will say, ‘Well, Granddaughter, I was pursuing an ideological campaign and I was prepared to sacrifice the jobs of the Tomago smelter on the altar of that ideological campaign.’ That is what you will have to say, and that is fine. I for one do not want to pursue a certainty that means that, for example, those that work at Millicent at the Kimberly-Clark mill end with a certain future that sees them on the unemployment line. I do not want to see people in my electorate faced with the kind of certainty that the member for Paterson is quite comfortable with, which sees a massive deindustrialisation of our effort across this nation. What I want to see is a policy that backs Aussie jobs, and a 50 per cent renewable target does not do that.
How do I know that? I know that because I live in South Australia, and we have achieved a renewable penetration of some 42 per cent. I did not get the privilege of hearing the member for Port Adelaide earlier, but others have told me that he did not mention South Australia once—not one mention of South Australia in this debate. So to those opposite I say: why are you so embarrassed about the South Australian experiment? It is your experiment. It is effectively the real-time modelling of what you want to see. In fact you want to see it on steroids, because you would like to see it at 50 per cent rather than 42 per cent. But why are you so embarrassed? It is your policy. It is a 50 per cent renewable policy. We are well on the way in South Australia.
I will tell you why you are embarrassed: you are embarrassed because, like me as a South Australian in this place, you know that every time the station starts with, ‘Are the lights on?’ Those opposite have to deal with that as much as I do. I am sure the member for Port Adelaide gets asked at the odd barbecue or fundraiser in the state, ‘So are the lights on at home?’ We have to say, ‘Yes, they are, but unfortunately they are very expensive to keep on,’ because in South Australia we have the kind of electricity prices that you cannot fly a rocket ship over. I have employers who come to me on a daily basis and say: ‘Tony, this can’t be right. We’ve just got our offer for a new contract for electricity. It’s over a 100 per cent increase. There must be some sort of error.’ I say: ‘There is no error. That is the consequence of a Labor government in South Australia that idealistically pursues an agenda with no focus on storage.’ It was a government that thought, ‘The Northern Power Station—let’s blow it up.’
Relying so heavily on renewables means that when I go into homes to speak to pensioners on unrelated matters I see over in the corner a gas bottle and a burner. I think, ‘Surely not?’ So I work it into the conversation. I ask politely, ‘What is happening over there?’ They say, ‘That’s how we keep ourselves warm.’ I ask, ‘Why is that?’ They say: ‘That is because we cannot afford the electricity prices. We can’t afford to remain connected to the grid.’ Those opposite want to see pensioners huddled in a corner, as we see in South Australia, turning the Bunsen burner on to keep warm. This is the reality for South Australia. If you do not believe it, come with me. I will introduce you to these people. I will show you what happens when you pursue an ideological agenda and do not worry about the cost.
What do those opposite say? They say: ‘Don’t worry about jobs. It’s fine. Let’s pursue this.’ The member for Paterson really does surprise me because she comes in here to represent smelter workers. She has a reasonably sized coal industry in her electorate. But she says, ‘I want to pursue a 50 per cent renewables target.’ You have to be kidding me! It beggars belief. The only certainty they are talking about is the certainty that unemployment will abound— (Time expired)