Thursday, 20 June 2013
Questions without Notice
(—) (): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Conroy. I remind the minister that, since Labor's carbon tax was introduced almost a year ago, 30,000 Australian manufacturing jobs have been lost. These jobs include more than 1,000 jobs lost at Ford and Holden, 790 jobs lost at Boral, 300 jobs lost at Amcor, 170 jobs lost at BlueScope, 160 jobs lost at RPG Australia, 150 jobs lost at CSR in Sydney, 130 jobs lost at Queensland Alumina in Gladstone, 100 jobs lost at Kerry Ingredients in Melbourne, 100 jobs lost at Caterpillar in Bernie, 70 jobs lost at Windsor Farm Foods in Cowra, 70 jobs lost at Rosella, 60 jobs lost at Grain Products Australia in Tamworth, 30 jobs lost at Cigweld in Preston—and I could go on and on and on. Will the minister take any responsibility for the 30,000 jobs lost due in part to a carbon tax that has only made it harder for Australia to make things while making absolutely no difference to the temperature of the globe? (Time expired)
I thank Senator Joyce for that question. The facts about the carbon price, jobs creation and business success seem to be completely lost on those opposite. The scare campaign, as we have just seen again, is alive and well. After nine months of a carbon price that is working to bring emissions down—
Honourable senators interjecting—
The scare campaign is alive and well. After nine months of a carbon price, it is working to bring emissions down, working to create clean energy jobs and working to support families, pensioners and businesses. The fact is that, in the last 12 months, 186,000 new companies were registered, according to ASIC figures. That is an average of over 14,000 new companies created each month. The fact is that, since the introduction of the carbon price, the number of companies going into administration went down, not up. The facts are that, since the start of the carbon price on 1 July last year, more than 158,000 jobs have been created. That is more than 20 every hour since carbon pricing started. Australia has retained one of the lowest unemployment rates in the developed world. The economy grew at an annual rate of 3.1 per cent in the year to December, and average weekly earnings grew by 4.6 per cent last year. Business investment has continued at very high levels, with almost $270 billion confirmed investment in Australia's resources industry alone. It is in the pipeline, according to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics. (Time expired)
Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. We know what pipeline the Labor Party have put into Australia's economy. Given that the carbon price in Europe is just $6 per tonne, given that the minister cannot explain why persisting with the price will do anything to affect the climate, why is the government increasing our price from $23 per tonne to $24.15 per tonne? Why is this government putting Australian jobs even further at risk by paying this higher price?
The wrecking ball is back. The python is back. The wrecking ball and the python are back. There is an article that the Leader of the Opposition often refers to. But if you read past the misleading headline of the article—and I understand that for those opposite reading is not in their nature, other than reading the front pages of the Australian, as if that is research—what you find is a government committed to supporting jobs and the transition to a low-carbon economy. The response of those opposite is to bury their heads in the sand. Putting a price on carbon and starting the transition now is the most cost-effective and fair way of reducing pollution—and those opposite know it. The clean energy future package represents one of the most important industry and innovation policies this nation has ever seen. It will drive a deep economic transformation. (Time expired)
Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. How can the minister, who owes his place to the Transport Workers Union and Tony Sheldon, support a tax that its own union calls a 'death tax'? Does he have the same views as his own union, or does he have different views to his union? Does he believe in people who actually drive trucks, or does he only believe in people who sit on seats in Canberra?
Around $15 billion will be invested in creating the jobs of tomorrow, most notably in manufacturing. For example, the $1 billion clean technology investment programs have provided over $120 million worth of grants to manufacturing companies to lower their pollution and improve their competitiveness. For example, JBS Australia will slash energy costs by $1.1 million a year—
Mr President, I rise on a point of order on relevance. We are actually asking about an issue. I know he has evaded relevance on everything else, but this is actually about the industry that he is supposed to represent, which is the trucking industry, which is the transport workers. Can he guide his answer to something vaguely to do with the group that he is supposed to be here representing?
If I could just make it absolutely clear to Senator Joyce: I am here representing the people of Victoria, who have elected me. I am a very proud member of the Transport Workers Union and have been for many, many years, Senator Joyce. And I want to wish you luck—
Honourable senators interjecting—
Senator Conroy, resume your seat! When there is silence on both sides, we will continue. If you want to chew up question time by interjecting that is your choice. You are not doing yourselves any justice with the interjections that are taking place. They are disorderly.
As I was saying, JBS Australia will slash energy costs by $1.1 million a year and reduce its carbon price liability by almost $800,000.
Senator Joyce interjecting—
Order! Senator Conroy, resume your seat; Senator Joyce is on his feet. I will not give you the call, Senator Joyce; I will give you the call when there is silence. If people want to continue to interject they are taking up your time, Senator Joyce.