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Labor slams Scott Morrison’s electric vehicle lie, says it doesn’t plan to hike petrol prices

The opposition has again branded Scott Morrison a liar after he “made up” a Labor policy on live television that never existed.

Scott Morrison has “lied” in his claim that Labor would hike up petrol prices in order to drive more people to electric vehicles, according to the opposition, which says it has never outlined a plan to increase fuel costs.

The Prime Minister backflipped on his claims about electric vehicles “ending the weekend” on Tuesday as he announced a new future fuels and vehicles strategy that would expand EV and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure and assist businesses in setting up charging stations.

The policy does not include scope for rebates or tax breaks, and the federal government expects only 30 per cent of new car sales to be electric vehicles by 2030 despite a growing number of countries planning to ban the sale of petrol and diesel vehicles by the next decade.

The Morrison government’s plan would cost $250m and wouldn’t involve the government “telling people what to do”.

“The Labor Party likes to tell people what to do … that’s not my approach, that’s not the government’s approach,” Mr Morrison said.

He said his strategy wouldn’t “push up petrol prices (like) what Labor wants to do”.

“They want to put up your petrol prices and increase your cost of living to force you to make other choices,” Mr Morrison told Seven.

“We want to respect the choices people make. People want to buy electric cars? Fantastic, that is what our policy was at the last election … That is our approach to getting emissions down, not by forcing choices on people.”

Mr Morrison was called out by Sunrise host Natalie Barr, who said the Labor Party was not “forcing people” and had not taken a mandate to the last election but rather a non-binding target of 50 per cent.

Mr Morrison responded by saying that Labor was “going to put up the price of oil”.

Labor’s climate change spokesman Chris Bowen slammed Mr Morrison, stating his claims were outrageous lies.

“Not even in the 2019 election campaign did the LNP claim Labor policy would put up petrol prices, but Morrison is dishonestly saying it now,” he said.

“Desperately trying to justify his sledging of EVs – he’s lying again.

“A lie so ridiculous that he did not even say it amongst the quagmire of dishonesty that was his 2019 election campaign.

“It is more of Scott’s rot.”

Mr Morrison claimed he “never said” he was against electric vehicles despite saying they would “end the weekend” in the lead-up to the 2019 election.

In 2019 he said battery-powered cars would not “tow your trailer (or) tow your boat. It’s not going to get you out to your favourite camping spot. “

Mr Morrison said on Tuesday his criticism at the time was limited to Labor’s electric vehicle policy, not the technology itself, but he did not regret saying the opposition would “end the weekend”.

“I don’t have a problem with electric vehicles, I have a problem with governments telling people what to do and what vehicles they should drive and where they should drive them, which is what (Labor’s) plan was,” he said on Tuesday.

But Mr Bowen said Mr Morrison’s statement was a calculated election move.

“This is not a mistake, it is a calculated campaign designed to drive fear into Australian families and businesses who are doing it tough after Australia’s first recession in decades,” he said.

Labor’s electric vehicle policy plan that it took to the 2019 election was to make electric vehicles more affordable for Australians by exempting buyers from import tariffs and fringe benefits tax that it hoped would help meet a target of 50 per cent new car sales by 2030.

The Electric Vehicle Council estimates that a $50,000 Nissan Leaf would be $2000 cheaper without the import tariff.

And if that car is obtained through employment arrangements, the fringe benefits tax exemption would save employers up to $9000 a year.

More expensive models up to the luxury car tax threshold would benefit from greater savings.

Labor has yet to unveil its updated climate change policy that it will take to the 2022 election.

Read related topics:Scott Morrison


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