Liberal MP Links Winter Deaths In Australia To Renewable Energy

Craig Kelly - Renewable Energy

Craig Kelly | Image: NSW Liberals

Liberal MP Craig Kelly cranked up the anti-renewables rhetoric to 11 this morning on ABC’s AM, linking energy price increases to subsidies for renewables that he states will cause deaths this winter.

In an interview with AM’s Tom Iggulden, Craig Kelly said power prices pushed up by subsidies for renewable energy will result in some people being unable to heat their homes this winter, and that “people will die”. Mr. Kelly wants to see figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics on “excess winter mortality” to determine the impact.

Opposition energy spokesperson Mark Butler was not amused by Mr. Kelly’s comments.

“This is another appalling intervention , not just by a backbencher but by the Chair of the Coalition’s Energy Policy Committee,” he said.

Several posts have been published on Mr. Kelly’s Facebook page this morning referencing reports on deaths related to cold homes.

“In the UK an estimated 200 people die a day because they can’t afford to adequately heat their homes – I wonder what the number is in Australia?” said Mr. Kelly.

Policy Uncertainty A Major Power Price Hike Driver

While no-one will deny cold homes can kill the vulnerable, making renewable energy the scapegoat for electricity price rises and related deaths is misguided. Common themes in reasons for recently announced price increases given by energy companies were an uncertain policy environment and gas supply/cost issues.

The Finkel Review report states pressure can be taken off power prices if governments are able to agree on a new national energy policy.

Mark Butler says the Chief Scientist’s view that the major driver of current power price increases being policy paralysis at the national parliament level adds to a number of expert reports mentioning the same.

Earlier this week, modelling published by RepuTex indicates a Clean Energy Target (CET), recommended by Dr. Finkel and consistent with Australia’s Paris Agreement obligations, would not only reduce emissions but would also put downward pressure on power prices. Renewable energy will play a key role in achieving this.

The comments from Mr. Kelly came in the leadup to the COAG Energy Council meeting in Brisbane tomorrow. However, The Australian reports the proposed Clean Energy Target will not be discussed due to Coalition divisions over the policy.

The Coalition may not get a choice in the matter. The Advertiser reports South Australia has warned it will “declare war” on the Federal Government if it refuses to adopt the CET. As well as rallying the states, SA’s government will request the Australian Energy Market Commission model how a CET would be implemented if no progress is made tomorrow.

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.


  1. Pat Comerford says

    Is this grinning twat what the energy crises gripping Australian consumers has been reduced to. What a disgrace.

  2. Lyn Uthe says

    Mr. Kelly, we are not silly. The price of power rising off the scale is due to the infra-structure being let run down into such disrepair by alternative governmenits it is no longer feasible or affordable to do so in some cases. I do believe a Korean company is trying to repair turbines with their brand of blades. Hopefully this will work in the interim. Also, in any well run business or service, if people are fleeing it means a) the product is too expensive b) Renewables are the future, or we won’t have a future, and c) the power companies do not understand when your product is rejected en masse maybe you should look at the cost/sell margin. I am surprised at your comment re gas. We have gas, many wells under the ocean plugged. Again the problem is, Australians are paying so much because they are subsidising the export prices you agree to, which is peanuts compared to domestic prices. After all this, the bottom line is Climate Change is here, and we have only one choice and that is renewables.

  3. Aww, pretending to care about the poor.

    What have they done for the homeless in the last 20 years?

    How about, giving a $900 cheque to each poor voter every year to help out.

    And their plan to make the unemployed jump through more hoops (drug testing) will not kill people? And not cause more home invasions?

  4. Ian Murray says

    A new report from The Australia Institute, being released tomorrow, lays the blame on gas prices, not RE

  5. It’s a real worry when an elected politician can be so ignorant.

    • “politician can be so ignorant.”
      I wish it was ignorance, this would suggest educating them would help change their opinion.

      No, Liberals are simply doing their job and representing the very large companies that they represent, same ones who also donate large amounts.

      I am pretty sure it is well known that Liberals represent business, and the ones with the deapest pockets have the most say. They also want “small government” but i think they don’t mind large governance as long as they are in power.

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