Thursday, 28 June 2012
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to her statement in this chamber that Sweden will have a carbon price of $130 a tonne; Switzerland, up to $60; Norway, $53; and Ireland, up to $37. How does the Prime Minister reconcile that statement with the finding of the Productivity Commission, on page 50 of its report into the carbon tax: 'No country imposes an economy-wide tax on greenhouse gas emissions .' Is the Productivity Commission wrong?
To the Leader of the Opposition: I have answered questions like this in comparable terms from the opposition before. I would ask the Leader of the Opposition to direct his attention to the facts: that a number of economies have carbon pricing; to the fact that 850 million people live with carbon pricing; and to the fact that new nations are agreeing, in their domestic economies, to put a price on carbon. Nations such as the Republic of Korea have agreed in recent times to putting a price on carbon in their economy. We have also seen pilot programs being developed in provinces in China, and these are joining the scheme. Countries across the European Union and a number of American states—and of course we are talking about very sizeable economies—also have carbon pricing. And the list goes on.
On 1 July, when our nation moves to carbon pricing, we—more than 20 million of us—will join 850 million other people on our planet who live in economies with carbon pricing. People will of course see tax cuts, family payment increases and pension increases and a nation with a clean energy future. What they will not see at any point are any of the predictions of the Leader of the Opposition come true.
Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Given that the supposed carbon prices that the Prime Minister constantly refers to are, in fact, just narrow taxes on items like oil and petrol, when will the Prime Minister stop misleading the Australian people and start telling the truth?
No amount of spin or use of insults from the Leader of the Opposition actually changes the facts. The Leader of the Opposition cannot come to that dispatch box and deny 850 million people live in economies with carbon pricing. He cannot do that. He cannot come to the dispatch box and deny that the Republic of Korea has just agreed to have an emissions trading scheme. He cannot come to that dispatch box and deny that in Europe nations have lived with carbon pricing for many, many years. And he cannot come to that dispatch box today and guarantee that his prophecies of doom will come true.
I would be very interested as to whether or not the Leader of the Opposition was prepared to clearly say in this parliament, 'Whyalla won't exist at the end of Sunday.' He said that publicly. Will he say it in here? Will he say in here that the coal industry will cease to exist on Sunday? Will he say in here that there will be astronomical price rises? Will he verify in here his statement that the nation will be in a permanent depression, that a wrecking ball will destroy our economy? The list goes on. No, of course he will not, because the Leader of the Opposition has been out there talking about snakes but actually peddling snake oil on carbon pricing.