Liberal MP says electricity prices will cause deaths

High electricity prices caused by renewable energy policies will kill people this winter, according to Liberal MP Craig Kelly.

Mr Kelly said with renewable energy driving up electricity costs in the country, Australians would not be able to afford to heat their homes this winter.

The New South Wales MP cited an international study, funded by the UK Medical Research Council, which analysed increases in death rates due to variations in temperatures.

He also pointed to a study undertaken by Queensland University of Technology researcher Professor Adrian Barnett, which looked at death rates associated with abnormal weather conditions and occupant access to heating and cooling.

“The study established a link between cold homes in Australia and a corresponding increase in death rates during cold spells,” Mr Kelly said on his Facebook page.

“Professor Barnett’s studies have concluded that Australia’s death rate due to cold weather, which at 6.5 per cent is almost double that of Sweden’s at 3.9 per cent, is almost entirely due to internal temperatures inside homes.

“The internal temperatures of Federation or Queenslander-style homes during the Australian winter often drop well below 17°C, while Swedish homes usually remain at a stable 22-23°C whatever the weather.”

According to Professor Barnett, “Many Australian homes are just glorified tents and we expose ourselves to far colder temperatures than the Scandinavians do”.

Mr Kelly told ABC radio on Thursday that “people will die” as a result of renewable energy policies making electricity unaffordable.

This morning, there have been calls by the Labor MP Mark Butler to sack Mr Kelly for “scaremongering”.

“It sends a message that instead of taking a sober, evidence-based approach to energy policy at a critical time in the national debate on this question, the Coalition instead intends to continue their four-year-long crusade against renewable energy,” Mr Butler said, according to The Australian.

“If Malcolm Turnbull is going to retain any credibility at this critical time of energy policy debate, he needs to act and he needs to sack Mr Kelly as the chair of the Coalition’s energy policy committee.”

Mr Kelly said the Labor party was in denial and “can’t handle the truth”.

“The facts are, excess winter mortality in Australia is around 7000 people – that’s 7000 more people die during the winter months than rest of the year,” he wrote on Facebook.

“And the World Health Organisation estimates a substantial proportion of excess winter mortality deaths result from inadequately heated homes.”