Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Clean Energy Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Income Tax Rates Amendments) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Household Assistance Amendments) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Tax Laws Amendments) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Fuel Tax Legislation Amendment) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Customs Tariff Amendment) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Excise Tariff Legislation Amendment) Bill 2011, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Import Levy) Amendment Bill 2011, Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (Manufacture Levy) Amendment Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Unit Shortfall Charge — General) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge — Auctions) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Unit Issue Charge — Fixed Charge) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (International Unit Surrender Charge) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Charges — Customs) Bill 2011, Clean Energy (Charges — Excise) Bill 2011, Clean Energy Regulator Bill 2011, Climate Change Authority Bill 2011; First Reading
The height of arrogance. But I do have to give it to Mr Dreyfus: at least he was honest enough to go out there and to say that he thinks a carbon tax will be good for your business. The Prime Minister should have that same courage if she really believes in this package of legislation. She should have the courage to go to the public and say: 'This is great. You'll never be happier. You might think you're happy now, but it's nothing compared to how your life will be under a carbon tax.' If that is what she really believes then she should go out there and she should sell that. I think I know what the result would be. But, if by a miracle, the government should happen to win that election, I think everyone on this side of the chamber would respect that verdict: the public would have clearly spoken, the public would have been given an opportunity to have their say—and we of all people would recognise that.
But, even if that highly unlikely scenario happened, we would still insist in this place on decent scrutiny. We would still insist on proper Senate scrutiny. We would still insist on five months of scrutiny of legislation of a significant magnitude. Even if the end result would be that the parliament would pass that package, this chamber, this parliament, has a job to do: to scrutinise this legislation. And it is the opportunity for that scrutiny that this government has sought to deny on each and every occasion—whether it be in the other place or whether it be in this place.
The most recent reason rolled out as to why this legislation must be passed, why it is so urgent, is the Durban conference. We were a little sceptical before the Copenhagen conference that there would not have been great hand-holding, rejoicing, embraces and universal agreement as to how to proceed in relation to climate change. We were a little cynical about that, and it did not come to pass. I have my doubts that it will come to pass at Durban, as well. But let me tell you, Mr Deputy President, I am not too fussed by what anyone at Durban thinks. I am not too fussed by what any other government who is represented there thinks. What I care about, what everyone on this side of the chamber cares about, is what the Australian people think and what the effect of this legislation will be on them. We stand here for the Australian people: we stand here for jobs, we stand here for growth, we stand here for business—because business employs people—and we stand here against unnecessary increases in the cost of living. This legislation deserves full examination, and it is for the reasons I have outlined that we contend that this legislation should not be taken together, that it should be taken in seriatim. I commend the motion.