Wednesday, 28 November 2018
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) the sharpest ever drop recorded in Australia's greenhouse pollution occurred during the two-year period of the carbon pricing mechanism, and
(ii) during the carbon price, inflation was contained, the economy grew by 4.7% as emissions dropped by 8.2%, compared to the two-year period before the carbon price; and
(b) supports the widely held position of economists, industry and environment groups that an economy-wide carbon price is the lowest cost, most effective way to reduce pollution and encourage investment in the industries of the future.
In the wake of the global financial crisis, lower economic activity had an impact on emissions—not a carbon tax, which shifted emissions and jobs overseas. The repeal by this government of the carbon tax resulted in residential electricity bills dropping by up to 10 per cent and cost-of-living savings to households of $550. The government does not support a carbon tax or a carbon price. A carbon price would drive up electricity prices, lead to job losses and impact on our economy.
The government are working hard to bring down electricity prices and are reducing emissions in line with our commitments under the Paris agreement. The government has the right mix of policies to address climate change and keep our economy strong. Both emissions per capita and the emissions intensity of the economy were at their lowest levels in 28 years in the year to March 2018.
Labor notes the hypocrisy of this motion coming from the Greens. When Labor attempted to legislate an economy-wide carbon price in 2009, it was the Greens who sided with the Tony Abbott-led opposition, who voted it down in an act of vandalism that has gone down in the annals of climate change infamy. Labor took comprehensive climate change policy to the last election and we will do so again next year, and no amount of grandstanding by the Greens will cause the Australian people to forget that, when push comes to shove, the Greens choose political opportunism over practical climate action every time.
It seems that we have that contribution from Senator Chisholm referring back to the 2010 decision to institute a carbon price as political opportunism—political opportunism in 2010 when we worked with the Labor Party, when we worked with the progressive Independents and we got what the International Energy Agency described as model legislation for combating climate change.
Senator Chisholm, why is it that you won't defend what was then and remains now a piece of legislation that, if adopted by this parliament, would put us on track to tackling dangerous climate damage? Why is it that you walk away from that legislation? Why is it that you don't defend it? Why is it that you go back to 2009 rather than stand up and defend what we did together in 2010? You should be proud of that achievement. We are. We worked together. We got action done, and you seem to be ashamed of it. You should be ashamed of yourself for not having the courage to stand up for what was a great piece of legislation. (Time expired)