Tuesday, 5 July 2011
The other deception that this Prime Minister relies upon to justify a carbon tax is that the rest of the world is acting. I will tell you what the rest of the world is doing: it is massively increasing its carbon dioxide emissions—by 500 per cent in the case of China; by 350 per cent in the case of India—and it is laughing at us inflicting on ourselves an unnecessary new tax that will be nothing but an act of economic self-harm.
Standing orders must be suspended because this is the biggest structural change in our economic history and it should not be foisted upon our people, rushed through this parliament, without this Prime Minister giving a much better account of herself than has so far been managed.
She says it is very important that we have a price signal on so-called carbon pollution. The whole point of a price signal is that if the price is not high the signal does not work. That is what she has to explain: just how high this price signal is going to be. If you cannot trust this Prime Minister to tell the truth, you cannot trust this Prime Minister to get the details of the biggest tax change in our history right. If you cannot trust this government to install pink batts for free without causing fires in hundreds of roofs, you cannot trust them to introduce the biggest tax change in our history. If you cannot trust this government to build school halls without rip-off after rip-off, you cannot trust this government to get the biggest and the most complicated change in our history right.
Look at what this government have done to the live cattle trade. Haven't they shown a great deal of competence! Haven't they shown a great deal of skill in execution! Haven't they shown the kind of attention to detail that you would like to require of a government that have now embarked upon the biggest and the most complex change in our history! That is why we need the Prime Minister in this parliament now, that is why we need the parliament recalled and that is why we need the parliament to scrutinise the carbon tax changes—because we cannot trust this government to get anything right, let alone the biggest and the most complex change in our history. This is the most incompetent government in our history. They cannot be trusted to get right the most complex change in our history.
Members opposite know that this Prime Minister and this government are going to get it wrong. Let's face it—this is the Prime Minister who talks to the Greens much more than she talks to her own backbench. This is the Prime Minister who talks to the Independents much more than she talks to the union officials who know what is going on with workers' jobs in our country. If she spent a bit more time talking to Paul Howes and Tony Sheldon about the carbon tax and a bit less time talking to Bob Brown, she would not be getting it so very, very wrong.
This coalition will be the voice of the voiceless—that is what we will be in this parliament. As former Prime Minister Paul Keating so memorably said: 'If you don't understand it, don't vote for it. If you do understand it, you will never vote for it.' We need to scrutinise this carbon tax. We need more democracy, less hypocrisy. We need more scrutiny, less spin. That is why this suspension should be supported. (Time expired)