Wednesday, 10 October 2012
Clean Energy Amendment (International Emissions Trading and Other Measures) Bill 2012, Clean Energy (Charges — Excise) Amendment Bill 2012, Clean Energy (Charges — Customs) Amendment Bill 2012, Excise Tariff Amendment (Per-tonne Carbon Price Equivalent) Bill 2012, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment (Per-tonne Carbon Price Equivalent) Bill 2012, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment (Per-tonne Carbon Price Equivalent) Bill 2012, Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge — Auctions) Amendment Bill 2012; Second Reading
I rise tonight to speak on the Clean Energy Amendment (International Emissions Trading and Other Measures) Bill 2012 and the raft of associated bills. These bills seek to link the complete insanity of Australia's carbon tax with the even greater insanity of the EU's ETS and abandon the current floor price. With this legislation, is it any wonder that the public think that this government speaks with a forked tongue and they simply cannot believe a word that it says?
Let us go back to the start. We all remember a week before the last election when the Prime Minister stared down the lens of a camera and said words that she will always be remembered for:
There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.
Let us not forget the Treasurer's promise before the last election, when he said:
No, it's not possible that we're bringing in a carbon tax. That is a hysterically inaccurate claim being made by the coalition.
We know and the public know that the only 'hysterically inaccurate claims' are those made by the Treasurer about his budget forecasts. But here we are today debating amendments to a tax that we were told was not possible. Here we are debating legislation that seeks to abolish the floor price on the carbon tax, when this government has said over and over again that the floor price is absolutely critical to the carbon tax legislation. Just look at what the Prime Minister said on 13 September last year:
The bill also provides for a price cap and a price floor to apply for the first three years of the floating price period.
This will limit market volatility and reduce risk for businesses as they gain experience in having the market set the carbon price.
Well we've put in a floor price and a price cap to provide some confidence over the first few years about the potential variability of the price.
Then, on 28 September last year, the climate change minister said, referring to the carbon price:
This will reduce risks for businesses as they gain experience in having a market set the carbon price.
Let us not forget the Minister for Finance and Deregulation, Senator Wong, who said on 28 February this year:
It is the case that our policy does include a price floor which acts as a safety valve for investors in low-emissions technology by establishing a minimum price for the first few years …
The list goes on. The member for Isaacs, on 1 August last year, said:
For the first three years of the flexible price stage, safety valves … will be built into the system to avoid price spikes or plunges. This will reduce risk for businesses as they gain experience operating in a carbon-constrained environment. This is particularly important in the early years when price uncertainty will be at its highest.
And let us not forget the Leader of the Greens, Senator Milne, who has said:
Establishing a floor price is critical to certainty, as is sticking by an agreement …
She has also said:
Getting rid of it—
the floor price—
would not only be a blow to business certainty but … blow a hole in the budget.
Senator Milne has also said:
If you allow the volatility that has occurred in Europe, you get … chaos in the system.
Chaos! We have seen complete chaos from this government from day one.
There are three possibilities with these statements: (1) the government do not have a clue about what they are doing, (2) they have been completely deceptive and misleading the public or (3) a combination of both. My money is on the last. It is no wonder that the Australian public thinks the government speak with a forked tongue, when you look at these examples. It is no wonder that the Australian public no longer trusts the government. It is no wonder that the Australian public does not believe a word that comes out of the mouths of the government. It is no wonder that the government are in complete chaos.
The entire carbon tax is built on an edifice of lies to deceive the public. One of those lies—