Liberal MP Craig Kelly has again claimed renewable energy will kill Australians, claiming -- without supporting evidence -- that "people will die" this winter due to green power.
Kelly, a backbench MP from the Sydney seat of Hughes, aired the claim on Sky News on Thursday. In a discussion about power prices, he complained of renewable policies pushing electricity prices higher.
"People will die this winter because of policies that we have that subsidise renewable energy," Kelly said, citing reports that one in four people were afraid of turning on their heating because of price worries.
Kelly made similar claims in November last year, when he said renewable energy could be to blame for future child drownings. In a speech to parliament, the MP linked energy policy with rising power prices, and then claimed suburban swimming pools and swim centres were closing due to electricity cost factors.
"I hate to harp on this," Kelly said at the time, before adding,"if we raise the cost of electricity in this country, the burden is paid by those centres that pay the electricity bills and it's higher costs for swimming lessons".
"We cannot ignore that fact in this parliament that there are policies being put in by governments, both state and federal, that are increasing the costs of electricity, and by doing so, we increase the cost of kids' swimming lessons."
Kelly's claims are worth reporting because not only is he a member of the House of Representatives' standing committee on environment and energy, but he is also the chair of the Coalition's climate committee.
However, the MP for Hughes' comments were quickly hosed down by his Coalition colleague and deputy Prime Minister, Barnaby Joyce. The Nationals leader was interviewed on Sky soon after Kelly, and he said he did not agree with the claims.
"Our first focus has got to be making sure that people can afford power, now I suppose that's one of the issues that Craig was discussing," Joyce said.
"Whether I agree with the idea that it's responsible for the deaths of people, no I don't."
Kelly had also earlier called for Australia to exit the Paris climate agreement, which Joyce also rebuffed.
"We comply with our agreements," Joyce said.
"We're an honourable country, we do the right thing, that's what we're going to do. It's not excessive, it's 26 to 28 percent [emissions reductions] by 2030."
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