Thursday, 6 December 2018
Over the past fortnight we've seen very disturbing riots on the streets of Paris, in France. Protesters have taken to the streets because of increased taxation on their motoring. I hope that we never, ever see scenes like that on the streets of Australia. Therefore, as we go into the next election, I call upon the Australian Labor Party to fully disclose to the Australian community how they are going to achieve their plans for an economy-wide 45 per cent emissions reduction target and what their plans are for the transportation sector. What will the Labor Party's plans mean to the person that lives in an outer suburb of one of our major cities or in a regional area, to get to that 45 per cent emissions reduction target?
At the last election, one policy that the Labor Party were able to sneak under the radar was a plan to reduce the average CO2 emissions of our car fleet from 180-odd grams of CO2 per kilometre travelled down to 105. The question is: how would this be achieved? What form of punitive taxation does the Labor Party have planned for our car buyers to achieve that policy? Transportation makes up 18 per cent of our nation's CO2 emissions. The Labor Party cannot walk away from this. They have to disclose this to the Australian public so that people know what they are voting for and so there are no surprises if they should take office.
Previously, the Climate Change Authority estimated that Labor's 45 per cent emissions reduction target would require a carbon tax of $135 a tonne. What does $135 a tonne do to the price of petrol? It increases it by 40c a litre. We have seen riots in France over a few euro cents, the equivalent of less than 10 Australian cents. We have seen riots in France because of that. Yet we have the Australian Labor Party with a policy that, to reach that goal, is going to require a carbon tax on petrol at the equivalent of 40c a litre. People may be prepared to pay an extra 40c a litre. They may be happy that this is their contribution to taking action on climate change. If that's the case, the Labor Party has an obligation to spell out, crystal clear, what they are going to do.
What about their emissions standards? What do they seek? What is their goal for the emissions standards of Australian cars? Are they going to have the same policy as before of basically putting these punitive taxes on any large cars? How does it work for someone who lives in a regional area, who travels country roads and is likely to run into kangaroos and all types of other animals straying onto the roads, if the Labor Party says, 'If you want a large four-wheel drive to drive on our country roads, we are going to punitively tax you'? I don't know. I don't know what their policies are. I know what their goals are. The Labor Party have said, 'This is the target that we have,' but they have not said how they're going to get there. They owe it to the Australian people to come clean, to disclose what those targets are and how they're going to get to those targets. Otherwise—I hate to say this—I fear that we risk seeing what we've seen on the streets of France in the streets of Australia.
This is why we need to give people the option and let them know, when they go to the ballot box, exactly what the policies are. How much will the carbon tax be on petrol when someone goes to the bowser? What are you going to do to someone who wants to buy a large four-wheel drive? How much more will you put up the taxes? If it's nothing, say so. Be very crystal clear about it.