Mon, 27 Nov 2023 - 10:28
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Shadow Minister for Science and the Arts

Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy

Manager of Opposition Business in the House




27 NOV 2023


TOM CONNELL: Joining me live is Shadow Government Services Minister Paul Fletcher to talk about the final sort of stint. But one of the things up for debate is around this gas code of conduct. Now that labor says it's got a deal on more gas, it's going to help alleviate supply of gas. But your party keeps saying we need but it needs the gas code of conduct not to be disallowed. Put us out of our misery. Are you going to disallow it with the greens or not?

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, let's be clear. This is this announcement that has been made by Chris Bowen today is really an admission that his policies are not working, that there is a shortage of gas, a serious shortage of gas. Look, we'll wait and see on the details. I certainly won't be announcing coalition policy on that here and now, but we're just very sceptical of anything that Mr. Bowen says because under him supposedly renewable energy is a priority. But we've seen renewable energy investment levels down 40% under this Government and now he's announcing that he's got a new deal supposedly for gas for the East Coast. We'll approach that with intelligent scepticism and we'll wait to see the details

TOM CONNELL: on those broad principles, though, if more gas will be delivered. And it's it needs this code of conduct which the gas industry hasn't loved but is happy to deal with. You wouldn't be standing in the way of that given, you know, the importance of this.

PAUL FLETCHER: Again, we will wait and see the details on this. Mr. Bowen, unfortunately, does have a track record and

TOM CONNELL: I can see a division.

PAUL FLETCHER: Yes, I think there is a division

TOM CONNELL: I think you're out of here.

PAUL FLETCHER: I think I've got to go. I'm sorry. It was.

TOM CONNELL: No, that's all right. Nice to see you. Don't stand in the way of democracy. That's my theory. Paul Fletcher. Short and sharp. Thank you.


You might have deja vu. It's a shadow Government Services Minister Paul Fletcher, who I dismissed a few minutes ago. The bells were ringing, but you've managed to pair I'm assuming we were talking gas and just that question again. So the principle if labor has secured supply, so you look at the details of it and it seems legitimate through this, partly having this mechanism to deal with. Surely, you'd be loathe to team up with the Greens to disallow it?

PAUL FLETCHER: Look, the fundamental issue here is that we know that gas is going to be a very important fuel for decades to come, both domestically and internationally. Yet Labor has been, both federally and at state government level, has been making it harder and harder to find new sources of supply, to allow exploration to proceed, to allow gas activities to proceed. And what we've seen now from Mr. Bowen is effectively an admission of failure in their policy settings. But look, again, I make the point we will wait and see the detail because this Government and Mr. Bowen have a track record of talking big, but the details are different to what they're promising.

TOM CONNELL: If the detail checks out, it's would you describe it as a good development though? 

PAUL FLETCHER: Again, I'm not going to be making that commitment until we have had a chance to have a look at the detail. 

TOM CONNELL: But you want more gas? Have more gas is coming back. That'd be good. 

PAUL FLETCHER: We need to see the detail. We need to see the conditions. We need to see the fine print 

TOM CONNELL: within gas as well. Labor has got this ability to raise what, 2.4 billion over the forward estimates. I think changes to the PRRT which the Coalition is going to oppose, even though the sector is fine with it. Is there another policy where a sector said, Yep, fine with that you've opposed before?

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, look, as Susan MacDonald our spokesperson on resources has said, as Angus Taylor, the shadow Treasurer, has said, there's a set of sensible conditions that we have suggested in relation to this. And again, it goes to this issue of how do we ensure that exploration activities can continue, that we can continue to have a pathway to be able to access the gas resources that Australia has and that need to come to market to serve people in the domestic market and to serve people internationally. So it's very much about supporting a continued pathway for exploration and discovery of gas,

TOM CONNELL: Albeit the sector seems okay with it anyway. A prominence laws. So these are the laws Labour is looking at on smart TVs, but they seem to have arrived on their principle. If you listen to Michelle Rowland that they will give a leg up to free TVs. So when you get your smart TV and you turn it on, free TV gets prominence, which as a principle Well, as a principle. Is that something that the coalition does not support that that's picking winners like that's a bit strange.

PAUL FLETCHER: We've been very clear on this since, in fact, I left the position of Communications Minister. We established a future of broadcasting working group to have a careful look at the policy issues here Labor said in May 2022 they were going to legislate on this. 18 months later, we still have not seen the details of the legislation. So as David Coleman, our very capable Shadow Communications Minister, has been saying, we will wait and see what the Government is proposing. 18 months in, we still haven't seen anything. So we will reserve our position until we see what the Government.

TOM CONNELL: But again, you have a principle on this and it seemed to be, you know, we wouldn't just pick one sector free TV. It gets prominence because within Labour's proposal paper it said this will give them advantage in the streaming world, which is kind of going to be everything right, that would go against your principle of, what you thought when this was proposed.

PAUL FLETCHER: There's been a lot of issues caught up and a lot of issues frankly, mishandled by this government. You talk about streaming. You've got the arts minister and the communications minister apparently not on the same page when it comes to Mr. Burke's idea that there should be an Australian content quota of 20% for streaming video. All of these things create uncertainty for investment and for the sector free to air subscription, streaming. And frankly, we've seen just a pretty chaotic approach.

TOM CONNELL: IR, finally it looks like that's going to be kicked off until next year. 

PAUL FLETCHER: Well, of course, the Senate has got a committee underway to look at the details of this multi hundred page bill that will report in February. But you know, let's be clear. At a time when we need improved productivity in Australia's economy, Mr. Burke is taking Australia back to the 1970s in terms of workplace relations. We've already had one very bad set of workplace relations changes passed the Parliament. Now he's got more. You can't really trust this guy in terms of what he says. We've got to leave it there.

TOM CONNELL: Paul Fletcher, thank you.