26 Mar | '2024

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! is Dr Seuss’s story of an ill-tempered grump who goes on a mission. The grumpy, old, green Grinch plots to ruin Christmas for the Whos in the village of Whoville. Australians know that story. Aided by his pet dog, Max, he meticulously designs a bright red suit to disguise himself as Santa Claus, and he breaks into the Whos’ homes on Christmas Eve while they sleep to steal everything they own, right down to their last crumb of food, and throw it off the nearby mountain.

What we have on the other side is the narrator and author of the energy story in this country, the Prime Minister and the energy minister, who are not just ruining Christmas for families, but every single quarter when they get their power bills. The energy Grinch effect comes as no surprise to households and families who have been suffering bill after bill under this Labor government after being promised $275 in energy relief. Instead, what do they get? What have they gotten? A government that they trusted and elected on the promise that they have delivered a shortfall of up to $1,027 to households. That is an increase—not decrease of $275—an increase of up to 39 per cent. Further, around 120,000 households are now on a financial hardship arrangement with their energy retailer.

That’s 59 per cent more than when the coalition was in government. That’s 120,000 households, Australian families, who are now on a financial hardship arrangement with their energy retailer. What is happening in South-East Queensland? On the Gold Coast? In Brisbane? The Sunshine Coast? $622 is how much the average increase is for South-East Queenslanders. That’s an increase of 36 per cent to their power bills. In New South Wales, bills have increased by up to $752. That’s a 37 per cent increase. In South Australia, electricity bills have increased by up to $696, up 34 per cent. How do South Australians afford it? In Victoria, electricity bills have gone up to $275, an increase of 20 per cent. The proof is in the pudding, in the numbers. In the Australian energy fairytale, right now, that those opposite live in, Dr Seuss and the Grinch are not listening to Australian families and businesses who desperately want power bills reduced.

Australians know that the character of the Grinch is certainly audacious. He’s got his own internal narrative going. His narrative is that he believes he’s true. He believes his way is the right way. In the movie the Grinch tries to unconvincingly talk up his wins many times with humour, with sarcasm, in a loud voice that changes with his mood. Yet in many jurisdictions we know that energy prices are still going up under his watch, under this energy minister’s watch.

In the book that I’m talking about, and the movie, the Grinch and Dr Seuss refuse to admit that their 2025 power price promise is dead in the water. It’s lying at the bottom of the mountain, smashed to smithereens, unable to be put together as a promise. Those opposite have already ruined one Christmas for Australians and they likely will again next Christmas, with high power prices. The PM and the energy minister owe Australians an unreserved apology for giving false hope that they would deliver on their promise to make life easier, when in truth life is now harder than ever before for everyday Australians. The Grinch energy effect I’ve described is well underway in this country, and Australians are left dreaming about the end of that movie where all is well and he abandons his isolation as has something to celebrate at Christmas with the Whos, which would be a $275 reduction in power bills for Australian families and businesses.

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