Federal Opposition Leader Peter Dutton has claimed Labor should have known it would be difficult to deliver an election promise to cut household electricity bills because the Ukraine war began before the policy was announced.
The claim is false. Labor announced the policy on December 3, 2021. Russia invaded Ukraine almost three months later on February 24, 2022.
Mr Dutton made the claim in two media interviews on October 26, the day after the Labor government delivered its first budget.
In an ABC radio interview, Mr Dutton said: “They blamed the Ukraine war yesterday for not being able to meet their $275 commitment. The Ukraine war had started before the election and the Labor Party made the commitment.”
Mr Dutton made a similar claim on the same day during an interview with ABC Breakfast TV.
“I think a lot of Australians thought they heard the prime minister say before the election that he had a plan to deal with the cost of living pressures. Everybody knew about the Ukraine war. The $275 promise was made knowing all of the settings – the Ukraine war had already started… it started before they made the promise,” he said.
When contacted by AAP FactCheck, Mr Dutton’s office acknowledged his timeline of events was wrong, but said Labor leader Anthony Albanese continued to make the promise after the Ukraine war began (see here, here and here).
Labor announced its policy to cut electricity bills by $275 in a media release published on December 3, 2021.
The release says a Labor government would “cut power bills for families and businesses by $275 a year for homes by 2025, compared to today”.
The report says Labor’s energy policies would create “an abundant supply of low-cost renewable electricity” that would cut residential electricity bills by $275 by 2025 and $378 by 2030 (page 19).
Russia declared war against Ukraine on February 24, 2022 – 83 days after Labor pledged to cut electricity bills by $275 – though tensions between the two countries were building for months before the ground invasion.
The Washington Post reported on December 3, 2021, for example, that Russia was preparing “a massive military offensive against Ukraine”.
However, Russian officials repeatedly denied war was imminent right up to the day of the invasion.
A Google search of keywords reveals Labor’s policy to cut electricity bills by $275 was mentioned many times across the internet before the ground invasion began on February 24.
Mr Albanese also mentioned the policy in parliament on February 17, when he was the opposition leader.
Peter Dutton’s claim the Ukraine war started before Labor announced its policy to cut household electricity bills by $275 is incorrect. Labor announced the policy on December 3, 2021. Russia invaded Ukraine 84 days later, on February 24, 2022.
False – The claim is inaccurate.