Senate debates

Wednesday, 24 February 2010


Economics Legislation Committee; Reference

5:52 pm

Photo of Barnaby JoyceBarnaby Joyce (Queensland, National Party, Shadow Minister for Finance and Debt Reduction) Share this | Hansard source

I will tell you what is a risk: the risk is the ETS. The risk is the government that would do that. The risk is the people who bring in such things as the ceiling insulation program. You are the risk and your risk is epitomised by this ETS. That is the risk that the Labor Party is to the Australian people. In this Disneyland like trip, which was the ETS, that is Labor Party management par excellence. That is where the risk is, and the Australian people will see what a risk you people are—what an absolutely hypocritical and disastrous outcome the Labor Party would be.

It is your policy, isn’t it? It is your policy to bring in this ETS. It is your policy to rejig the Australian economy. It is your policy to make people poorer. It is your policy that you believe you can cool the temperature of the globe from a room down the corridor from this chamber. Now that is not only unbelievable; it exemplifies risk. It goes to show you that nothing else the Labor Party tells you you can take seriously, because that is who they are. In this fanciful world they live in, the fanciful world of an ETS, the fanciful world of $245 billion in gross debt, the fanciful world of ceiling insulation, the fanciful world of Labor Party economics, that is the risk they are to the Australian people. That is why the Australian people are marking you down on your economic credentials. That is why you are polling down. They are a wake-up to you.

We are going to make sure that they see more and more and more of you on this issue. We are going to watch with some interest as Prime Minister Rudd and Mr Swan and Mr Tanner come into the House and laud the benefits of this massive new tax. We are going to watch with interest. I challenge Mr Tanner to come into the other place tomorrow and talk to us about the benefits of the ETS and how this is a good outcome for the economics of our nation and how it is going to help us pay back our debt. I challenge Mr Swan, once he gets off his puerile little statements, to have the courage and conviction to talk about the ETS and what a great outcome it is. But, no, Minister Wong, they are going to leave you high and dry, because that is what they do to you, and they are doing it right now.

I do believe that Minister Wong believes in this policy. I disagree with it, but I do believe she believes in it. But the others are such philosophical mercenaries, such absolute drifters, such economic illiterates, that they would devise this massive new tax for a complete rejigging of the Australian economy, they would lay it on Minister Wong’s lap and when it blows up they would all run away. And that is exactly what they have done.

They did it, and we are going to pursue them for it. This tax has gone absolutely pear-shaped. I will watch with interest to see whether Mr Rudd, Mr Swan and Mr Tanner field questions in the other place about the benefits of the ETS. Let us try them out. They want to talk about conviction; they want to talk about who is a risk. Let us see if they do that. Let us put the weight back on them. Let us see whether they actually go in and support you, Minister Wong, or whether they leave you high and dry.

I look forward to going around the seats of Dawson, the Hunter Valley and Flynn, and in marginal electorates, and explaining to them what the Labor Party has in mind for them. It is a moral issue of the Labor Party’s times. It is not the moral issue of our time; it is the moral issue of the Labor Party’s times. And it will personify the Labor Party’s times, as brief as those times will be. When the Labor Party’s times are over, so too will be the ETS. That is what is so important. When the Labor Party, the government of this nation, is finished, then that is the only time we can safely say that the ETS is finished. So we must finish the Labor Party’s role in government to finish the ETS. It is as simple as that.

But what you will see are the so-called halcyon days of the global crusade led by the Prime Minister as it all falls flat on its face after Copenhagen. We will see where this goes next. We will judge the mettle of Mr Swan, we will judge the mettle of Mr Tanner and we will judge the mettle of Mr Rudd to see if he truly is a man who knows where both of them are and whether he wants to go forward by coming into the chamber and prosecuting his case for the delivery of the ETS. This personifies his economic credentials. I am interested to see. But they will not. They will dwell on the puerile, they will dwell on the minimal. But they will not dwell on their major economic policy, the global issue, the moral issue of our times.

So I say to all people: judge them by what they do and judge them by how they act. Do not judge them by the vaudeville spectacle that is currently provided for us in the other place every day at question time. Judge the Labor Party by the ceiling insulation debacle. That is what we should judge them by. Ask yourself this question: if they could not successfully get fluffy stuff into ceilings without creating a national crisis that is going to cost tens of millions of dollars to fix, that ended up costing people’s lives and that has burned down in excess of 100 houses without this sort of calamity—watching the Labor Party is like the further escapades of Calamity Jane—how do you reckon we would be going under a Labor Party ETS? How do you think the world would now look under an ETS?

What an absolute farce. Even now they do not have the capacity, the intestinal fortitude, to walk into the chamber. If Mr Rudd is over the ETS he should walk in and say, ‘It is over; I am finishing it. I am not going forward with it.’ If he was a man of ticker, that is what he would do. But he will not do that. He plays this funny little game where he is sort of for it but he wants it to quietly die. It is really remarkable. This is what the people see. They are starting to encapsulate their view of Mr Rudd, Mr Swan and Mr Tanner through their view of the ETS. They are saying: ‘That is who they are; they are the ETS—the extra tax system, the enormous tax system.’ The CPRS was initially the ‘cunning plan’ to get a double dissolution and ‘RS’ is what the economy would be if they got there. That is what it was all about. The polls were with them at that stage but now they have become something else. They have morphed—gecko-like. They have morphed into another form of creature.


No comments