House debates

Monday, 14 July 2014

Statements by Members

Climate Change

1:54 pm

Photo of Clare O'NeilClare O'Neil (Hotham, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I want to put on the record today that I was in this chamber and a member of parliament when my own country took a leap back into the past. We have a climate policy in this country that works. We have just been through one of the hottest summers and hottest years on record and yet emissions in this country are declining, with a price on carbon.

Those on the other side argue that they want to replace it with a system that no economist will stand behind—a policy that will see polluters, the biggest polluters in this country, get paid cash by Australians to continue their polluting. We have heard from a few people in this institution that the best thing for Australia to do is wait to act on climate—that we should wait until more than the scores of countries that have already put a price on carbon go ahead and do so. What any climate expert will tell you, no matter what their political stripes, is that the faster we act on climate the better for Australia.

When we have an economy free of a price on carbon, businesses all over the country make decisions that will see our economy grow more carbon intensive into the future. We choose to build more roads instead of rail and we lose sight of the importance of efficient buildings and appliances. These decisions lock us into a carbon-intensive pathway that will last for decades. It means that for every day we have no price on carbon, our economy becomes more carbon intensive, and the more expensive it will be for us to ultimately act. I want my constituents in Hotham to know where I stand—and that is on the side of my child, their children and all of our grandchildren for a cleaner Australian economy.