Monday, 14 July 2014
Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, True-up Shortfall Levy (General) (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, True-up Shortfall Levy (Excise) (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Customs Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Excise Tariff Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2014, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) (Transitional Provisions) Bill 2014; Second Reading
I say to the member for Melbourne that what happens is that commercial enterprise enters the frame—not government, not legislation, not taxation and not regulation. Private enterprise enters the space. This is what we have and will continue to see.
Vector, a power company in New Zealand, are running an amazing trial—financing techniques. No-one has even spoken about them in this chamber. In the not-too-distant future, as storage capacity and lifetime increases, we will see companies like GE and Macquarie Bank, which have entered this space in substantial quantities, offer financing packages so that the daily fee for having solar, thermal, fuel cell technology, wind—whatever it may be—will beat the price of day-to-day electricity. It is the same theory that the carbon tax and the ETS apply to but it is happening through a market mechanism that is not an ETS.
Economists love markets; that is true. They also love textbooks. I was an economist before spending 23 years in business. I know that in the real world you do not live and operate in a textbook. Has anyone mentioned the market manipulation of the ETS program in Europe? No, they have not. It is convenient not to. How many economists would it take to change a light bulb? The answer is no answer—they pay someone to do it. They do not operate in the real world. They hire an electrician. People in the real world, the small-business operators, try to change the light bulb themselves. I just find it so frustrating. I have no doubt I will be followed by the member for Melbourne, who will espouse ideology to me. Che sera sera, because I come from the real world; I come from the world of family business.
The member for Fairfax spoke on the amendments that are being moved, and I would like to touch on those, because the Minister for the Environment spoke to those in his opening speech. The $1.1 million penalty will be included in the original bill's complementary amendments. The amendments ensure large supplies of regulated goods—electricity, natural gas, synthetic greenhouse gases. They must pass on their cost savings. They impose a penalty on electricity and natural gas suppliers equal to 250 per cent of any cost savings they do not pass on. They require electricity and natural gas retailers of bulk imports of synthetic greenhouse gases to inform the ACCC and customers of how they are passing on the cost savings.
The amendments are currently being finalised and will be moved this afternoon. But they are all aimed at one thing: getting out of the expense side of not only small, medium and big business—business irrespective of size—but getting out of the expense side of the family home. In just the same way that small business operates with budgetary constraints in mind, so do family homes. And the families in Reid have spoken loud and clear. They spoke at the election. They spoke to me in the lead-up to the election and they have spoken to me post-election. Whilst I said at the start of this speech that there is no MPI today but how important this was—and I have made comment in this chamber before that some of the behaviour here at times reminds me of kindergarten—that MPI space between 3.20 and 4.30 every afternoon reminds me a lot of kindergarten, because it is a time when fairy tales are told. It is a time when history is rewritten.
The history is clear—the history and the impost on business irrespective of size, in the electorate of Reid and right across Australia. The jury is in. Irrespective of what those opposite want to stand and argue—that yes, they are still terminating the carbon tax and want to move to an ETS—that was the policy they took to the last election. That was the policy resoundly dismissed and defeated at the last election. To argue any differently is quite simply political spin. I rise today to commend the minister and speak in support of this bill, and I look forward to the political groundhog day that we have had since 9 September last year finally coming to an end, when this is hopefully passed in the Senate, so that we can get out of the expense side of business irrespective of size and households in my electorate and right around Australia.