Wednesday, 20 June 2012
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Senator Wong. Has the government taken any steps to monitor or assess the number of jobs that have already been lost or not created in anticipation of the introduction of the carbon tax? If so, how many jobs and job opportunities has the carbon tax already cost the Australian people?
I thank Senator Bernardi for the question. I was anticipating a question as to whether or not the recent announcement from News Limited was also as a result of the carbon price, but I am happy as always to answer a question about employment. I would make two points. The first is that the Treasury modelling has been demonstrated to be correct in its analysis of projected electricity impacts; given where the price rises have come in, they are broadly consistent with the Treasury modelling. The Treasury modelling shows very clearly that we can put in place a carbon price, we can grow our economy, we can increase the number of jobs and we can reduce our emissions from what they would otherwise be. We know that we can continue to increase employment, our incomes and the economy with a carbon price. Indeed, that was why, when you were in government, your government actually committed to a carbon price. I would also make this point. When it comes to jobs, this government, since it was elected, has seen the creation of over 800,000 jobs in Australia. We have an unemployment rate with a '5' in front of it. I know Senator Bernardi and those opposite want to come in and trash-talk the economy, talk down the economy, inspire fear and dent confidence, because you are always more interested in your own political position than the success of the nation, more interested in your own political position than the success of the Australian economy, and your conduct demonstrates that day after day. So, if you want to come in here, Senator Bernardi, and say that an unemployment rate with a '5' in front of it is a bad thing, you do that. If you want to come in here and say 800,000 jobs have been created since you came to government, then you do that. But the facts speak for themselves. (Time expired)
Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I note the minister did not come anywhere near to an answer to my question, but I will try again. I refer to the government's and the Greens' claims that the introduction of a carbon tax and putting a price on carbon dioxide will create many thousands of new green jobs. Will the minister tell the Senate how many new green jobs the carbon tax and pricing carbon dioxide are expected to create, and how does the government define a 'green job'?
I again refer to the Treasury modelling, which the senator may dismiss, but it was one of the most extensive and robust economic modelling exercises ever performed in Australia. What it shows is that, with a carbon price, we can continue to have growth and, as importantly, we can decouple growth from carbon pollution. The modelling not only projects income growth and strong economic growth, with GNI—gross national income—projected to grow at 1.1 per cent per year to 2050; it also sees 1.6 million new jobs created by 2020. That is the Treasury modelling prediction.
I understand that Senator Bernardi believes that climate change is some sort of left-wing conspiracy. I understand that he does not believe it is real; he thinks it is a left-wing conspiracy. We actually agree with former Prime Minister Howard: a price on carbon is the most sensible way to reduce pollution. (Time expired)
Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Is the minister aware of reports from the United States that the administration's definition of green jobs includes college professors teaching classes on environmental studies, clerks at bicycle repair shops, antique dealer employees, Salvation Army workers who sell used clothing, garbage disposal workers and even oil lobbyists if they are engaged in advocacy related to environmental issues? Once again I ask: will the minister advise the Senate what the government's definition of a 'green job' is?
he should maybe send an email to the President of the United States. What I would say to the senator is what I have said before: we see, with the Treasury modelling, increases in employment with a carbon price.
Mr President, I rise on a point of order on relevance. I have asked the minister whether she will advise the Senate what the government's definition of a 'green job' is. I do not need a rambling preamble.
The reality is we already see clean energy jobs in this country and we anticipate more. We already see increased investment in renewables, in the wind sector and in solar energy generation, all of which have increased as a result of the policies of this government and all of which are projected to increase in the future.