All changes made to the description and title of this division.

View division | Edit description

Change Division
senate vote 2021-08-04#6

Edited by mackay staff

on 2021-08-06 11:14:40


  • Regulations and Determinations Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Implementing the Technology Investment Roadmap) Regulations 2021; Disallowance
  • Regulations and Determinations - Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Implementing the Technology Investment Roadmap) Regulations 2021 - Disallowance


  • <p class="speaker">Nick McKim</p>
  • <p>At the request of Senator Waters, I move:</p>
  • <p class="italic">That section 7 of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Implementing the Technology Investment Roadmap) Regulations 2021, made under the <i>Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011</i>, be disallowed [F2021L01043].</p>
  • The same number of senators voted for and against a [motion]( introduced by Tasmanian Senator [Nick McKim]( (Greens) on behalf of Queensland Senator [Larissa Waters]( (Greens), which means it failed.
  • ### Motion text
  • > *That section 7 of the [Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Implementing the Technology Investment Roadmap) Regulations 2021](, made under the Australian Renewable Energy Agency Act 2011, be disallowed [F2021L01043].*
  • >
  • > *Fifteen sitting days remain, including today, to resolve the motion or the instrument will be deemed to have been disallowed.*
  • <p class="italic"> <i>Fifteen sitting days remain, including today, to resolve the motion or the instrument will be deemed to have been disallowed.</i></p>
  • <p class="speaker">Larissa Waters</p>
  • <p>[by video link] Here we are again, disallowing the ARENA regulation that the chamber actually balled up in the previous sitting week. We have just disallowed this, and now the government is right back here again. The moral of the story is don't get in the way of the Morrison government and a bucket of public money for their gas donors.</p>
  • <p>Since the Senate disallowed the regulation last month, the government have made no effort to negotiate with anyone on what the ARENA funding programs might look like. If they had done, we might not be in this position today. We've pared back the disallowance to only stop the low-emissions fund that would shovel money at gas companies, who are in fact the future employers of many coalition MPs in this building. Those gas companies are the very same companies that also donate more money to the Liberals&#8212;</p>
  • <p class="speaker">James McGrath</p>
  • <p>I think we've lost connection with Senator Waters. While Senator Waters is dialling back in, Senator Brown, I'll give you the call.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Carol Brown</p>
  • <p>Thank you. I rise to speak on the disallowance of section 7 of these ARENA regulations. Labor have moved the same disallowance, and we will be supporting this motion. Labor are proud that we created the Australian Renewable Energy Agency&#8212;ARENA&#8212;in 2012 to help support technologies build our future energy system and create jobs for the future. While we invested $2.5 billion in ARENA in 2012, those opposite have tried to undermine, gut and abolish the integrity of ARENA for the past eight years. Labor support the sections of the regulations relating to the 2020 budget measures for programs including freight and industrial efficiency, regional microgrids and future fuels.</p>
  • <p>These revised regulations include new safeguards on the implementation of those budget measures. This is an omission that Labor and the Senate were right to disallow in the original regulations. However, section 7 of these regulations, attempting to force the Renewable Energy Agency to fund non-renewables, is just the latest in a series of moves by those opposite to undermine the integrity of Australia's climate institutions established by Labor and to circumvent the parliament by attempting to change laws via regulation. The object of the ARENA Act 2011 is to:</p>
  • <p class="italic">(a) improve the competitiveness of renewable energy technologies; and</p>
  • <p class="italic">(b) increase the supply of renewable energy in Australia.</p>
  • <p>Experts say that funding other technologies would be inconsistent with the object of the act and would likely be subject to legal challenge.</p>
  • <p>Unlike the Greens, who are ideological about technologies like CCS, Labor supports any new energy technologies where they stack up scientifically and commercially. But deserving non-renewable technologies should be supported in other ways and not be allowed to dilute ARENA's funding and expertise. For example : if the government had wanted to support CCS technologies, it shouldn't have abolished the CCS Flagships program and cut half a billion dollars of funding. We note that the concerns about the potential legality of going beyond the act via the regulation were even shared by the minister's party room colleague who chairs the Liberal-led Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Delegated Legislation. We also note that the minister had to remake these regulations after a humiliating defeat of the original regulations in the Senate just two months ago.</p>
  • <p>Labor created ARENA in 2012 and we will always protect it. We will protect it from becoming Mr Angus Taylor's slush fund because it is doing an incredible job, it has maintained its integrity, it has been able to provide jobs for Australians and it has been able to deliver returns on investment for taxpayers. Return on taxpayer investment is not the first thing that comes to mind when Minister Taylor has an idea. For every $1 invested by ARENA, the economy sees $3 leveraged. We want to ensure that the high rate of return continues. We will be supporting this disallowance.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Nick McKim</p>
  • <p>I thank Senator Brown for being prepared to make her contribution, although I do disassociate the Greens with her remarks about the Australian Greens! The point Senator Waters was making was that the Greens have pared back this disallowance to only stop the low-emissions fund , which would shovel money at gas companies, who are the future employers of many coalition MPs in this building. These gas companies are the very same companies that give more to the LNP, the Liberals and the Nationals in political donations than they actually contribute to the Australian people in tax. But today the Senate can stop that flow of money again.</p>
  • <p>Now, if the government had tried to negotiate with anyone, they would know that the Greens are fine with ARENA getting new money to spend on transforming industry, electric vehicles, freight and regional microgrids. That is why we are not seeking to disallow those specific measures in this regulation. The final key objection to the previous regulation is still present in section 7 of this latest executive order, namely that this regulation appears to be ultra vires&#8212;that is, beyond the legal power of the minister to enact. The new regulation, interestingly, goes to great lengths to make the case as to why the government thinks it is lawful&#8212;which itself is extremely revealing&#8212;but, of course, ultimately it is the courts , not the minister , that will determine whether it would survive or not. The word 'renewable' is in the name of ARENA. The act is limited to investments in renewable technologies, not polluting sources like gas. Even if they are miraculously low emissions&#8212;and anyone who has been paying attention knows they are not&#8212;they are most certainly 100 per cent not renewable.</p>
  • <p>As Senator Waters said in her last contribution, a regulation cannot operate on subject matter that is beyond the scope of the parent act. This is ultra vires&#8212;beyond the capacity of the minister to enact. The government is so desperate to give public money to its gas donors that it is willing to break the law to do it. The Parliamentary Library has advised that this appears to be beyond legal power, and even the Scrutiny of Bills Committee, which the government has the numbers on said the same thing. If this disallowance fails, the regulation will end up in the legal system. Hopefully, the Senate will strike it down and save everyone time and money. We can prevent what One Nation love to describe as a lawyers' picnic. We can prevent that, colleagues, by a vote here in the Senate this evening.</p>
  • <p>ARENA is a massive success story for this country. ARENA is the kind of thing that happens when you put the Greens into the balance of power with a Labor government in the House of Representatives. Greens in the balance of power in the House of Representatives and in the Senate delivered the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. They delivered ARENA for this country. They delivered a world-leading price on carbon, before Tony Abbott came and tore it apart. We can do this again, colleagues. If the Australian people vote the Greens into the balance of power, we can make the next government act more strongly and more quickly on things like climate change.</p>
  • <p>As a result of what happened last time the Greens were in the balance of power in the House, we've seen the cost of solar in this country driven down through ARENA's solar auctions. We've seen ARENA fund research and jobs for how Australia is going to succeed in this world where there is no place for coal, oil and gas. The greatest indicator of ARENA's importance and success is the unrelenting attacks this government has thrown at them.</p>
  • <p>On behalf of the Greens, I thank the Australian Labor Party and the crossbenchers, who we have worked with constructively and respectfully to try to save the original intent of ARENA&#8212;that is, to support genuinely renewable energy in this country. I genuinely hope today, and I offer on behalf of the Australian Greens our desire, that the Senate will support this motion so the government does not succeed in weakening this critical public agency, which is so important as we see the climate that sustains all life on this planet breaking down around us as we speak here in the chamber tonight. I urge the Senate to support this disallowance.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">James McGrath</p>
  • <p>Senator Waters, you've appeared back on screen. Do you wish to continue your contribution?</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Larissa Waters</p>
  • <p>Senator McKim was able to do that on my behalf, which I'm very grateful for. Thank you.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Jane Hume</p>
  • <p>The government is committed to supporting the future of jobs in our resources and manufacturing sectors while driving down our emissions. If successful, this disallowance will prohibit millions in funding for carbon capture and storage, which is essential technology for reducing carbon emissions in manufacturing and heavy industry. CCS is an accepted technology that is being invested in by the Biden administration, the UK, the EU, Japan, Singapore, Canada and Korea as part of their plans to reach net zero emissions. The IEA has said that CCS is essential to meeting climate goals. If successful, this disallowance will abandon jobs in our resources, energy and manufacturing sectors.</p>
  • <p class="speaker">Scott Ryan</p>
  • <p>The question is that business of the Senate matter No. 3 in the name of Senator Waters be agreed to.</p>
  • <p></p>