John Story Discussing Victoria’s SEC on Sky News Australia

Written by:
24 June 2023
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On June 23, IPA Deputy Director of Legal Rights John Storey joined Peta Credlin to discuss Victoria’s SEC on unreliable energy.

All media appearances posted onto the IPA website are directly related to the promotion and dissemination of IPA research.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

Peta Credlin:

Joining me now to discuss that and more, the Director of the Legal Rights Program at the Institute of Public Affairs John Storey, and our Friday regular Chief of Staff to Pauline Hanson James Ashby.

Well, James, welcome to the program. John, I’ll start with you. Given your legal background, I mean, how much trouble is Dan Andrews and the Labour-aligned firm to Slater and Gordon in all of this with Ryan Meuleman’s now Supreme Court action?

John Storey:

Well, Peta, these events happened about 10 years ago and nothing has stuck to Dan Andrews yet so, look, I don’t personally think that will change any time soon.

I think the real lesson here is the issue with law firms and professional service firms maintaining their professional independence and neutrality. We’ve seen issues with PwC and their government contracts. We’ve now got these allegations. I don’t think these firms do themselves any favors, and this is across Corporate Australia, by getting behind government policies like the Voice and whatnot.

If a client comes up to these firms and says, “Well, I’ve got an issue, and it’s an issue with the government,” what confidence do they have that they have their best interests into account? I saw the press interview with the cyclist concerned. It’s clearly been a traumatic experience. I think Corporate Australia and the professional service firms need to stay out of politics and focus on their clients.

Peta Credlin:

I’m a little bit more hopeful, actually, something’s going to come out of this because I think the discovery process in the Supreme Court is pretty ferocious, and I am told when I was in Canberra during the week that there is things that occurred in and around that accident that have not made it into the public domain that lie or are currently stored in various departments. So think about the ambulance, think about police that will come out if it’s forced to under subpoena so let’s see what happens.

Okay, let’s get onto the Voice, shocker of a week, shocker of a fortnight, actually, for the government. I think their campaigns have gone from bad to worse, and it’s not just the published polls that are making it dangerous territory for the government, James. I think they’ve got a minister who’s struggling to cut through, caught out constantly on the detail, not just her, but also the Prime Minister.

I mean, I made the point the other night, he kept saying, and he did on the project, those on the Voice will be elected. Well, that’s not right. Their own campaign website says they’ll be selected, not elected. He says that the scope of the Voice will be very limited. Well, that’s not right again. All the constitutional experts are saying you can’t restrict it once it’s in the Constitution. Then you’ve got all of these radical campaigners for Yes, their history out there on social media is coming back to bite them. They want land grabs and reparations and treaties and all of that.

I think, James, that’s where Australians are focusing in. They feel like they’ve been dotted up until now, don’t they? And they’re finding out a hell of a lot more about this Voice and what they’re finding out, they don’t like.

James Ashby:

Yeah, and Australians should be concerned because, unfortunately, this is a design by radical Aboriginals, and that is why so many, just like you and I, Aboriginals out there don’t support the Voice to Parliament because of the radicals that will simply take up these seats in the Parliament.

I’m still struggling to work out whether Linda Burney is deliberately misleading the Australian voters or whether she’s just completely incompetent. I think in some cases it’s probably a bit of both.

But one thing is for sure, it was discussed until the wee hours of one early morning where the minister representing the Minister for Indigenous People in the Senate admitted that there is no level of, well, basically there’s no end to the scope in which the Voice will have a say on legislation that comes before the entire Parliament.

That not only goes for government bills, that goes for crossbench, that goes for the opposition as well. There will not be a piece of legislation that comes into the Parliament that the Voice will not have a say on.

Peta Credlin:

Now that it’s gone through the Parliament, of course, there’s the job of the AEC to run the referendum. We don’t know when it will be. I mean, everyone’s saying the smart money sort of mid-October. The PM has said he’ll announce it some time in August. I think that’s shifty in itself.

But you’ve got some insights, James, about the AEC process for the pamphlet. What can you tell us?

James Ashby:

Yeah. Well, we’ve only got a very short period of time, as you know. And I think the longer the campaign goes on, the more people will vote against the Voice.

But 28 days is not a very long time for those on the Yes side and those on the No to write their 2,000 words appealing to the Australian public. That’ll then be printed by the Australian Electoral Commission, and every Australian household will receive them as voters 14 days out from the vote. So there’s not much time, especially given we are expected to have that vote later in October.

Peta Credlin:

All right. Let’s go to one of the issues, well, one of the big issues driving inflation, that’s power prices, but it was also, John, a big issue in the recent Victorian election. This was the recreation cunningly called the SEC, the State Electricity Commission, the once government-owned power body in Victoria. This is anything but that, but they used the brand, they used the name.

This morning, former chief scientist Alan Finkel quit his role advising the government about the creation of this SEC in Victoria. He is concerned about the organization and how much work it’s actually getting done. The CEO admitted the other day that getting to 95% renewables in Victoria, as is the promise, will require a large uptick in billed rates. So read that as your bills are going to go up and up and up in Victoria. Quite an admission, isn’t it, John?

John Storey:

Well, no country has been able to successfully transition from reliable fossil fuels or reliable nuclear to unreliable renewables without enormous expenses, enormously higher energy costs for households. The idea that Victoria will buck that trend under the Andrews government is simply laughable. I mean, I’m a train commuter. The new Union Station out in the eastern suburbs took three months to build. In the meantime, everyone further down the line had to catch the bus.

The idea that in 12 years we will have built the infrastructure to replace the current energy system with 95% renewables is ridiculous and if it were to achieve, the cost would be absolutely enormous. And we’re not even a year into this policy, this sort of fake SEC and, yeah, the cracks are already showing.

Peta Credlin:

It is a fake SEC, but voters fell for it in November, I hate to say.

This transcript with John Storey talking on Credlin – Sky News from 23 June 2023 has been edited for clarity.

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