The Morrison government has been accused of being ‘addicted to secrecy’ after it failed to publicly release Australia’s modelling on the impact of a net zero emissions target.
The Coalition’s own party member, Nationals Senator Matt Canavan, moved a motion on Wednesday obliging the government to release the economic and scientific predictions that their net zero policy is based on.
Mr Canavan’s proposal was supported by the Senate, and called on the government to release the modelling by 10am on Thursday.
But Thursday morning came and went and the Morrison government released nothing.
Labor and the crossbench, who overwhelming supported Mr Canavan’s motion, were outraged at the Coalition’s refusal to produce the documents.
“This government is addicted to secrecy. It's addicted to covering up. It’s addicted to not providing information to this chamber,” Labor Senator Penny Wong said.
“Time and again, the (Senate) chamber calls for documents, calls for information, and we see the government, refusing to provide them.”
“Naturally the Prime Minister does not want to release because he's allergic to transparency. But the main reason he doesn’t want to release it is because that (net zero) modelling is absolute crap,” Greens Senator Larissa waters said.
Senator Canavan also expressed outrage at the Morrison government’s move.
“We're only here in Canberra, thanks to the men and women that work hard and pay their taxes,” Senator Canavan said.
“We deserve to pay them back by at least being upfront and open with all the figures we’ve got on the table, so they can see whether they want to support us at an election.”
Camera IconSenator Penny Wong, who represents Anthony Albanese in the Senate, was outraged at the government's refusal to release the modelling. NCA NewsWire / Ian Currie Credit: News Corp Australia
Senator Wong moved a motion to probe the government about why it had refused to release the modelling.
But instead of answering any questions about the refusal, Finance Minister Simon Birmingham – who represents Scott Morrison in the Senate – spoke about the issues with the Labor Party until time ran out.
“This is an attempt by the opposition to be able to try to make more cheap political points,” Mr Birmingham said.
“Being part of the Labor caucus was a bit like having a political lobotomy. You can't speak your mind, you can’t think about some issues because they’re all off the agenda.”
By the time Mr Birmingham finished his speech, the allocated time for the topic had run out and the Senate was forced to move on.
Camera IconSenator Birmingham represents the Prime Minister in the Senate. Credit: News Corp Australia, Kym Smith
Senator Wong said that although Labor, the Greens, and Senator Canavan all wished to see the government’s net zero modelling for different reasons, the need for transparency ultimately transcended party lines.
“We don't agree on very much, Senator Canavan and I, but we do agree on this. We do agree that the government should provide the modelling,” she said.
After weeks of tense negotiations within the Coalition, the Nationals party is expected to announce their final position on the net zero target on Thursday evening.Internet Explorer Channel Network