Thursday, 24 February 2011
Questions without Notice
Emissions Trading Scheme
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister now finally concede to the Australian people that, in the first year alone, the carbon tax she ruled out in August and ruled in after the election will increase electricity prices for struggling Australian households by an additional $300 each year above any other increases?
What the shadow Treasurer well knows is that we announced a mechanism today; we did not announce a dollar price today. Any attempt by the shadow Treasurer to make assumptions about figures is an attempt to cause fear, an attempt to mislead. Every Australian should recognise the opposition for what it is: an opposition with no policies or plans to make a real difference to climate change.
Let me say this to the shadow Treasurer: I understand pricing carbon will have price impacts and I want to be very upfront about that with the Australian people. Indeed, the reason you price carbon is to have price impacts, so that high-pollution commodities cost more and low-pollution commodities cost less. Then the market will adjust, people will innovate and there will be change to a clean energy future with more low-pollution solutions for our Australian economy and for the people of Australia. There will be price impacts. Because we are a Labor government, because we believe in fairness, we will ensure that this carbon price mechanism works fairly—
Every dollar that is raised by pricing carbon will go to assist Australian households and businesses make the adjustment and go to funding programs that tackle climate change. But, if we are going to talk about impacts on Australian households, then let’s see some political honesty from the opposition for the first time. The opposition came into this parliament today and they voted against a $1.8 billion flood levy, saying that they did not think that the Australian people could afford to pay that. What they did not tell you today is that they stand for $10.5 billion of expenditure on climate change programs that will not work. That is $10.5 billion that the Leader of the Opposition, if he were Prime Minister, would be ripping out of the purses and wallets of hardworking Australian taxpayers.
Over on that side they stand for $10.5 billion of expenditure which would be ineffective; pollution would continue to rise and there would be no compensation. On this side of the parliament we stand for the most effective mechanism to price carbon which will transform our economy at the lowest cost. It will start on 1 July 2012, compensating Australian households so that the carbon price works fairly.
We will be working to deliver a price on carbon. We know those opposite have no courage, no convictions and no plans for the future, except to rip $10.5 billion off Australians to pay for their ineffective programs. We will leave them mired in their divisions as we get on with the job.