Monday, 22 February 2010
Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Bill 2010; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010; Australian Climate Change Regulatory Authority Bill 2010; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Charges — Customs) Bill 2010; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Charges — Excise) Bill 2010; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (Charges — General) Bill 2010; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS Fuel Credits) Bill 2010; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS Fuel Credits) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2010; Excise Tariff Amendment (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) Bill 2010; Customs Tariff Amendment (Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme) Bill 2010; Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Amendment (Household Assistance) Bill 2010
I understand that under the standing orders there is an automatic division of these questions. Therefore, the only issue for the opposition is, presumably, a pursuit of its case. I am getting further advice as to whether or not there will be divisions on this issue. It is clear that the opposition’s position on these questions is quite spurious. It is not as if they do not know the contents of these bills. It is not as if they do not know the intent of the government. It is not as if they do not know their own minds because they have already declared their position on all of these questions.
These bills give effect to the amendments to the previous set of bills that were dealt with in the Senate. Those amendments have been put into legislative form. The amendments entered into by the Liberal Party in December—the Liberal Party as it was in December under the leadership of the former Leader of the Opposition, Mr Turnbull—give effect to the agreement and commitment made after wide consultation on those matters. What we have here is a position where the opposition is effectively seeking to repudiate those previous arrangements. The long and the short of it is that the previous decision the opposition took on these matters should now not be followed through in this chamber. It cannot be said that this is because of the complexities of the bills. Purely and simply, this is a political stratagem being pursued by the opposition to give effect to the political statements that Mr Abbott has made repeatedly that the opposition does not support action on climate change and it will be opposing the bill. We understand that.
The effect of this is to formally recognise the opposition’s view that it should defeat these bills. But they are not going to be straight with us and say that this is clearly the position they are going to put. They are going to provide every possible tactical instrument they have to frustrate consideration of these measures. I think the opposition should be honest with this chamber. They are not going to vote for these bills. They are going to seek to have these bills defeated and they will clearly vote against them. But to go through this device, this ruse, which is so unusual in the Senate, is clearly a measure of the hypocrisy of the Leader of the Opposition. He says he wants to be the straight shooter. He says he wants to be the plain man’s politician. What we have here are old-fashioned Liberal Party tricksters up to it again. They do not want to state their position, as clearly as they have publicly, in this chamber. They ought to just vote against the bills. We will be dividing on this measure. I am not going to waste the time of the chamber. We will be dividing on this question, and we will be calling you the hypocrites and frauds that you are.
That the bills may proceed without formalities.