Senate debates

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Matters of Public Importance


4:41 pm

Photo of Richard ColbeckRichard Colbeck (Tasmania, Liberal Party, Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | Hansard source

No, it is not because of the Aussie dollar, Senator Sterle. The steel rescue package only commits them to the retention of a fraction of their existing business. One of them is already closing down a smelter. The other one told us yesterday that their Whyalla smelter is on watch—it has 12 months. That is what is happening under this government. They bring out a steel transformation plan, but it is a bit late—because they have already transformed the steel industry. They have turned it from an industry where the two major companies were worth $8 billion at the top to one where those two companies are worth only $3 billion. That is a transformation all right.

They come in here and they want to talk to us about truth. The real truth is that you cannot trust this government. You cannot trust what this government says. It does not matter what arguments they try to put here in the chamber or what arguments they try to put outside. This is the government which promised the Australian people, 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.' All of them were elected on that promise. Every single one of them was elected on the promise, 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.'

Then we come to the 'year of decision and delivery' and what are the deliverables? A carbon tax and a mining tax. They are the key deliverables for this government—new taxes. Then, when they start talking about the offsets to the mining tax, the reality is that they are going to spend more than they raise from the mining tax. What sort of fiscal responsibility is that? How can they come in here with any credibility? 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead'—we have just passed a carbon tax and now they want to pass a mining tax.


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