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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

PM faces power bill showdown

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Anthony Albanese is gearing up for a senate showdown this week when parliament is recalled to deal with the energy crisis.

National cabinet on Friday agreed to an “extraordinary” temporary deal to target soaring energy bills, that will impose a price cap on both coal and gas and offer subsidies to vulnerable Australians.

If the legislation was to pass, gas would be capped at $12 a gigajoule, and coal prices would not exceed $125 a tonne for 12 months.

A code of conduct would also be introduced.

The plan has been met with ire from industry, and the Coalition has indicated they will not support the deal when back in Canberra on Thursday, meaning the government will need the support of both the Greens and at least one other independent senator, whether it be Jacqui Lambie or David Pocock.

Senator Lambie said she didn’t want to “not support it”, but she was waiting for more detail from the government.

“I don’t think there is anybody that wants to stop relief going through, that’s for sure,” she told the Nine Network.

“It is not the relief bit that seems to be the issue, it is the gas and coal bit. But certainly we have intentions of supporting that on Thursday.”

Greens leader Adam Bandt said he and his party understood the urgency, and were prepared to work with the government “in good faith”.

He said while he supported helping Australians pay their power bills, it would be impossible for the Greens to support a plan that would compensate coal and gas corporations.

“It will be difficult for the Greens to support giving public money to coal and gas corporations at a time when we’re trying to meet our climate targets,” he told ABC Radio.

Energy Minister Chris Bowen on Sunday said those in positions of power couldn’t stand aside and do nothing.

“This is Australian gas on Australian soil, and Australians should pay a fair price but they shouldn’t be paying a wartime price,” he said.

Originally published as Albanese needs Greens, Lambie and Pocock onside for emergency energy bill

Read related topics:Anthony Albanese

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