Senate debates

Monday, 11 September 2017


Product Emissions Standards Bill 2017, Product Emissions Standards (Excise) Charges Bill 2017, Product Emissions Standards (Customs) Charges Bill 2017, Product Emissions Standards (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2017; In Committee

5:36 pm

Photo of Cory BernardiCory Bernardi (SA, Australian Conservatives) Share this | Hansard source

by leave—I move Australian Conservatives amendments (1), (2) and (3) together on sheet 8249:

(1) Clause 7, page 5 (after line 4), after the definition of mark, insert:

  motor vehicle:

  (a) means a vehicle that uses, or is designed to use, volatile spirit, gas, oil, electricity or any other power (not being human or animal power) as the principal means of compulsion; and

  (b) includes a vehicle not designed for use on public roads or not permitted to be used on public roads.

(2) Clause 7, page 5 (lines 7 to 10), omit the definition of product, substitute:

  product has the meaning given by subsection (5).

(3) Clause 7, page 6 (after line 4), at the end of the clause, add:

(5) Subject to subsection (6), a product means a thing (including a substance or mixture of substances) that is:

  (a) manufactured; or

  (b) prescribed by the rules for the purposes of this definition.

(6) A product does not include a motor vehicle.

Note: For the regulation of emissions in relation to road motor vehicles, see the Motor Vehicle Standards Act 1989.

I won't delay the Senate unnecessarily. The purpose of this amendment is to ensure the government is true to its word in only intending to apply the scope of this bill to whipper-snippers, lawnmowers, outboard motors and other areas it has expressly identified, but expressly excluding vehicles. Vehicles are the highest source of emissions, but the government has sworn off regulating vehicle emission during this term of government. This amendment is to find out whether those are weasel words or a carved-in-stone position for both the government and the opposition.

If the coalition are so clear there is not going to be a carbon tax on cars, despite their consultation underway on noxious emissions, they can support this amendment. Similarly, colleagues in the Labor Party who attacked the government in July for proposing a carbon tax on cars can join the Australian Conservatives today in putting that concern to bed. Similarly, I would say to the Nick Xenophon Team: the auto industry is also advocating for certainty. What better certainty than contractual certainty? That is what we will help. I'm well aware that the Motor Vehicle Standard Act relates to road vehicles. This is the proper place, therefore, should the government wish so, to regulate emissions from on-road vehicles. Due to the act not concerning off-road vehicles, be they tractors, earth-moving equipment, mining equipment and the forklifts prolific throughout warehouses in Australia, they're not necessarily captured by the Motor Vehicle Standard Act. We want to make it absolutely clear that this act that we're debating today cannot be applied to them either.

In short, the Australian Conservatives do not trust a government, this one or an alternative government, responsibly using the minister's power to impose regulations on low-cost goods that might have health-effecting emissions. The government might say that the proper course is disallowance. Well, by its rhetoric in June, when they invoked the ghost of the king of pop Elvis Presley, the only way to ensure a carbon tax on cars is dead, buried and cremated, or the closest thing to it, is to put it in law—that it will not be coming through in this regime. We cannot allow carbon taxation or emissions regulation by stealth, given how hotly contested the political space has been on this topic.


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