Wednesday, 19 June 2013
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Climate Change, Industry and Innovation. Will the minister update the House on international action to tackle climate change and international carbon markets? How do the most recent developments compare with predictions?
I thank the member for Moreton for his question because, as the House heard earlier, overnight China started its first emissions trading scheme to reduce carbon pollution in the large southern city of Shenzhen. It is an extremely important development. They have started an emissions trading scheme. They have introduced carbon pricing into their economy. Carbon pricing in China. The Leader of the Opposition said it would never happen—no way in the world. After his insightful visits to China, he really got a good word, really got an insight into what was going on! Yet again the Leader of the Opposition is totally wrong. How humiliating to go visit our No. 1 trading partner, spread mendacious rubbish about their plans, tout that to the Australian community and deceive them.
The fact of the matter is that China is introducing emissions trading schemes to put a price on carbon. Like Whyalla, Shenzhen city has not been wiped off the map. I am reliably advised that Shenzhen is doing just fine today. The lights are on. People are going to work. People are going to shop for groceries. There have not been unimaginable price increases. In fact, I am reliably informed the price of a roast duck has not skyrocketed to $100 as some fool like Senator Barnaby Joyce might have predicted. This is extremely important. The stock market has not crashed either. In fact, the stock market closed up on the first day of emissions trading.
I am failing to see the reference as being unparliamentary in reference to making a comparison to a senator in China. That is how I took it listening to it in the context. That was why I was struggling; I did not see where the unparliamentary nature was. But, if the Deputy Leader of the Opposition wants to—
Honourable members interjecting—
The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. As I have stated on more times than I care to recall, if you want to have a dictionary of 'unparliamentary', I am not sure any of us will ever utter anything again in this chamber. I had asked the member for Indi earlier to withdraw the one word that we consider to be unparliamentary. The rest is taken within the context. I was struggling myself to see the context; but, to assist the House, I will ask the minister to withdraw.
The fact of the matter is that the scheme that started in Shenzhen overnight covers about 600 companies responsible for about 40 per cent of their greenhouse gas emissions. It is important that the House be aware that China intends to launch further emissions trading schemes like this in this year in places like Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai.
I am asked by the member for North Sydney for the price. I understand the units traded for about $5 overnight compared to an Australian business that is emissions intensive and trade exposed experiencing an effective carbon price of just $1.30 a tonne. That is the price you should be comparing it to. The economics of it is a bit complex, and I know the member for North Sydney struggles with numbers, but he tries his best.
Really, the claims of the Leader of the Opposition about the action taken by China are ridiculous. He said, 'China is never going to hit themselves with an emissions trading scheme'—absolutely wrong. More mendacious claims. The fact of the matter is that the rest of the world is tackling climate change, Australia is working with them and we will remain committed to it. You are looking increasingly silly. (Time expired)