“….Former trade minister Andrew Robb has taken an unprecedented and important step towards bringing the politicians who vandalised our power and gas systems before the courts.
I emphasise that Robb did not describe as “criminals” the politicians who put NSW, Victoria and South Australia at risk of blackouts and forced hundreds of thousands of Australians to consider installing their own generators or batteries.
But at this week’s Food Forum Robb did describe what happened as a “crime”. I believe it is the first time a former Coalition minister has used the word “crime” to describe the destruction of low-cost energy.
He did not discuss blackout danger but, if anything, that is a greater “crime”.
I emphasise that Robb did not say politicians should be prosecuted, but now the “crime” word has been used, if we have power blackouts in NSW, Victoria, or South Australia over the next two summers an enraged community is going to demand that the perpetrators of the “crime” — the politicians — be hauled before the courts.
As I have described previously there is a 75 per cent risk of blackouts in NSW and Victoria.
We are fortunate in Australia to have a section of the criminal code that covers politicians and public servants who make false statements or mislead the public. It sets out that if they are guilty of an offence they can be punished with 12 months jail. Every word uttered by ministers as they vandalised the network and created higher prices needs to be examined to determine whether an offence has been committed. It’s not my job to say they have committed an offence and, as is their right, the politicians will fight any prosecutions with great vigour.
The question for the courts to decide will be whether the community was told by the politicians that, to guarantee supply security, solar and wind installations required backup facilities and a reconfiguration of the power network, which the politicians did not undertake….” Gas crisis: Andrew Robb raises the stakes in power ‘crime’