Peter Dutton (left) watches Anthony Albanese (file image)
Opposition Leader Peter Dutton (left) is carefully watching Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. (Mick Tsikas/AAP IMAGES)

Dutton muddles Labor’s energy promise timeline

William Summers November 4, 2022

Ukraine and Russia were already at war when Labor made its election promise to reduce electricity bills by $275.


False. Labor announced the policy on December 3, 2021, almost three months before Russia invaded.

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.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton
 Peter Dutton’s timeline on Labor’s election promise doesn’t correlate with reality. 

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”.

Media outlets reported the policy on the day it was announced (see here, here, here and here).

A power bill from an energy retailer
 Labor has promised to cut power bills for families by 5 a year for homes by 2025. 

The $275 figure originated from a Labor-commissioned report into the environmental and economic impacts of the party’s ‘Powering Australia‘ energy policy platform, also published on December 3, 2021.

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.

Anthony Albanese addresses parliament on February 17 (file image)
 Then opposition leader Anthony Albanese addresses federal parliament on February 17 this year. 

Mr Albanese also mentioned the policy in parliament on February 17, when he was the opposition leader.

On October 26, Mr Albanese told Sky News he stood by the RepuTex modelling behind Labor’s energy policy, despite a global energy crisis sparked by the Ukraine war.

On October 27, Treasurer Jim Chalmers told Sky News the Ukraine war had pushed up electricity prices but Labor’s promise of a $275 bill reduction for households “refers to 2025”.

The Verdict

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.

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