“Big stick” energy laws proposed by the Liberal government have been put on the back-burner for now. Energy companies found to be abusing their market power could be broken up by regulators under the new laws. The government says it’s about driving down energy prices, but most energy providers suggested it would have the opposite effect.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison conceded the new laws don’t have the required backing in parliament. Consequently, prior to the federal election they won’t be voted on.
Nationals Want Big Stick Energy Laws
Nationals MP Keith Pitt has savaged the government’s backdown, saying action needs to be taken on the big stick laws immediately.
“We have been trying to get action¬ on this now for years,” he said. “Cost of living is a massive issue right across the country and for businesses everywhere, but particularly in regional Australia.”
However Mr Pitt couldn’t garner support from his own team. National’s leader Michael McCormack refused to support an emergency meeting of MP’s to discuss the backdown.
“Embarrassing Backflip” on Big Stick Energy Laws, says Labor
Labor went on the offensive over the Government’s decision to shelve their big stick energy laws until after the election. Opposition Treasury spokesperson Chris Bowen suggested the backdown was due to the proposed laws just being rhetoric.
Bowen described the proposed big stick energy laws as a “fig leaf for the complete lack of energy policy at the heart of this government.’’
What Happens to Big Stick Energy Laws Now?
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg and Liberal backbencher Craig Kelly both confirmed parliament wouldn’t vote on the new laws. At least not yet. Rather, the Liberals’ campaign in the federal election will be the new platform.
“We will fight for it at every campaign booth,” said Mr Kelly.
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