Greens leader Richard Di Natale has attacked Liberal and Labor senators, calling them “dinosaurs” for their position on renewable energy.
Mr Di Natale did not hold back on the value of clean energy – despite the Q&A panels’ support for fossil fuels.
“Look at what the business community is doing. Don’t look at what we’re [the Greens] saying,” he said. “The business community is saying we know where the future is – it’s not in coal, it’s in renewables.”
“We have these dinosaurs holding us back,” Mr Di Natalie added, to resounding applause.
“When Malcolm Turnbull said to AGL we want you to keep open that dirty coal-fired power station for another few years, they said they don’t want it. AGL see the future and where the investment and the future. Politicians are in the way.
“This should be a good news story. We should be embracing it. It’s what the rest of the world is doing.”
It came after former Minister of Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan and Shadow Minister for Veterans Affairs and Defence Personnel Amanda Rishworth feuded over the price of electricity.
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“We’ve seen two large coal-fired power stations go out of operation the last 18 months and wholesale power prices have doubled,” Senator Canavan said.
“A few years ago there was a review done which the modelling said we would have wholesale power prices at 45 megawatts. They’re running at $300 over the weekend.
“We need to be focused on lowering prices. That’s what people want. It’s clear that the removal of those coal-fired power stations increased prices.
“Renewables can’t do it all the time, so we’re left with coal.”
Mr Canavan came under constant fire from Ms Rishworth – who noted the federal government’s implementation of the Finkel Review, which said a clean energy target would not only reduce pollution, but bring down prices.
“If we want to push down energy prices and pollution at the same time, we have to welcome investment in low emissions technology because we also have to meet our Paris agreement and companies know that,” she said.
“Companies are calling for this. Consumers are calling for it. It’s the time that we actually put this partisanship aside and actually got on with it.”
According to Ms Rishworth the Labor government is “willing to negotiate” with the Liberal government to ensure a system and a framework are set up that will work into the future.
‘Adani would kill the Great Barrier Reef’
Mr Di Natale and Mr Canavan butted heads once more over the proposition of a $1 billion loan to Adani of taxpayers’ money to develop the Karmichael coal mine.
“The reality is if this mine goes ahead we lose the Great Barrier Reef,” Mr Di Natale said.
“What a load of rot,” Senator Canavan retorted.
“This mine can’t go ahead. It just can’t go ahead. And certainly with Adani, a company that has left a toxic environmental legacy wherever it’s gone, it is a multinational tax dodger on steroids,” Mr Di Natale responded.
“All of you will be paying for this,through your taxes, because the government wants to throw a billion dollars at it.
“If Labor is elected the mine will be dead because no one will invest in it.”