Senate debates

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Questions without Notice: Take Note of Answers

Carbon Pricing, Live Cattle Trade

3:15 pm

Photo of Sean EdwardsSean Edwards (SA, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to take note of answers given by Senator Wong. In one of her answers she made reference to the inaugural appearance of my colleague Senator Birmingham on Q&A last night. I must say that, when she awarded Senator Birmingham's performance a second to that of Senator Cameron, I was astounded because if you had not been a participant in the Australian political race or an observer of it you would not have known whether Senator Birmingham had two of his other parliamentary colleagues sitting alongside of him in Senator Cameron and former minister in a Labor government Graham Richardson. I thought they all put in a very good performance in a great critique of this current Labor government. On that basis I thank Senator Birmingham for his leadership in that debate on the ABC.

I do also concur with Senator Birmingham's remarks asking where this mysterious $7.8 billion is going to come from. We ask questions of the Labor Party or the Minister representing the Minister for Energy and Climate Change about where it is going to come from. Apparently it is not going to come from anybody, but we are going to have this compensation package which is going to fix anything anyway. Every time we ask a question about Pete's Fish Farm or the Blair Hotel or the clubs in South Australia or Western Australia or Queensland, we hear it is just going to be fixed with assistance. I notice that there was reference to 300,000 pensioners getting compensation but no reference at all the clubs of those community organisations which rely so heavily on the energy costs. There is the fact that the impact of rising energy costs—which we all acknowledge by your very own modelling, as Senator Birmingham quite rightly pointed out—varies from state to state but is a massive impost on small business.

The jig is up. I reckon Robert Gottliebsen belled the cat this morning in his 10:49 AM article, 'Why the carbon tax does not work'. He refers to:

A group of Nobel laureates and other top experts who combined to form the Copenhagen Consensus believe that the world's emphasis on emissions reductions by carbon pricing and similar mechanisms is simply not going to work. They propose a cheaper but more radical global solution.

The Labor Party and their policymakers should listen to that. The article goes on:

The Copenhagen consensus was formed in Denmark to bring together top global knowledge to determine the best way to allocate funds to solve particular problems.

Gottliebsen says of the group:

When it comes to carbon, they concluded that because electricity had become essential to the current living standards of a vast number of people on the globe, simply pricing electricity at higher levels would not make an enormous difference to usage.

They said this in reference to people trying to climb out of their poverty:

They concluded that the most economic way to reduce global poverty was to make sure that pre-school children have sufficient nutrition. Without pre-school nutrition, adult capabilities are greatly reduced and they are much less productive members of the community.

This is a big issue for those on the other side and I do not hear it acknowledged at all. We need energy. This is sort of the carrot and stick approach except the government has the stick. I commend the report to everybody. They conclude by summarising that standards of living will be increased with the use of energy. However, we need to do development and research for better ways of renewable energy rather than to tax out of existence what we have.

Just in reference to Senator Wong's other answers, she talked about the tax cuts and the asset write-offs and the carryback of losses. I can guarantee you in my business experience a one per cent tax cut on a business that is not making any money. Pete's Fish Farm at Kalangadoo is not making any money. (Time expired)


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