Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Questions without Notice
I am used to the opposition coming in and misrepresenting circumstances around the world. Now they are prepared to come in here and misrepresent policy statements by President Obama. It is quite a remarkable thing that the opposition would come into this parliament and do that—misrepresent a statement by President Obama. No-one who has followed this debate could possibly come to the conclusion that the member for Indi has come to—that the statement by the President of the United States in any way endorses or backs in the 'subsidies for polluters' approach that the opposition has endorsed. President Obama is not talking about that. President Obama, with the congress that he works with, has to take a regulatory approach. It is no secret that the American congress tried to find a consensus around carbon pricing and, because of the hyperpartisanship there—which has infected the opposition here, getting their tactics as they do from the Tea Party—that the American administration was not able to find that consensus in congress. President Obama has decided to take a regulatory approach about emissions intensity from things like power stations, not in any way an endorsement of or comparable to the opposition's 'subsidy for polluters' plan.
What is remarkable here is that the opposition now comes into this parliament day after day and puts questions to me, saying, 'Why isn't Australia's carbon pricing scheme more like someone else's in another part of the world?' I have taken questions about the scheme in New Zealand, for example. This is a complete reversal of a major section of the opposition's fear campaign, because they used to wander around the country and come into this parliament saying no-one in any part of the world was acting. We were the only people acting. How foolhardy was it for Australia to go it alone, they used to say. That was a very strong part of their fear campaign. Now they come into this parliament instead and say, 'Can we have a scheme like someone else's?' You cannot pursue both lines of argument. Yes, we are tackling carbon pollution. Yes, the rest of the world is tackling carbon pollution. Yes, the political party getting left behind by the tide of human history is the Liberal Party. You used to be better than this under Prime Minister Howard when you believed in rational economic principles and an emissions trading scheme. Now, under this Leader of the Opposition, for a bit of cheap politics you have turned your back on that and you should be ashamed of it.