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Wednesday, 23 November 2011
Page: 13697


Mr CHRISTENSEN (Dawson) (09:51): I rise to highlight a serious problem in my electorate of Dawson—a serious problem, in fact, for the entire country. It is that this government, the government of this democratic country, simply refuses to listen to the people. It does not seek the opinions of people, does not listen to the opinions of people and goes out of its way to silence the opinions of the people. There is no better example of this than the debate that occurred on the toxic carbon tax. But the people did have their say—or, at least, the people of my electorate of Dawson had their say, because I gave them that opportunity. This is what they said: 'We hate the carbon tax.'

Last month I sent to every home in the electorate a carbon tax ballot with the simple question: 'Do you support the Gillard Labor government's carbon tax? Tick yes or tick no.' There was no argument presented for or against, just the question. A lot of the ballots came back with comments written on them, which were mostly along the lines of, 'We may not be able to stop it, but thank you for at least letting us have our say.' A staggering 6,010 people who are on the electoral roll in Dawson returned the ballot. The result was a resounding 94.1 per cent of people voting against the carbon tax.

You might think that the result is due to the fact that Mackay's economy is reliant on the coalmining industry, and Mackay is the centre of Dawson. Yes, the result for Mackay itself was high—94.4 per cent opposed the tax—but in the Townsville part of my electorate the result was also high: 90.9 per cent were opposed to the carbon tax. The result for the Burdekin, a sugar producing region, was that a whopping 96.7 per cent were opposed. What about the Whitsundays, a region dependent on tourism with the Great Barrier Reef, islands and the Conway National Park? Even there, 93.1 per cent of people were opposed to the carbon tax.

So, wherever you go in North Queensland, they hate the carbon tax, and they were trying to tell the government that. Yet the Minister for Regional Australia wrote a piece in the national press telling us all that they love this tax in the regions—and that was after he had visited Mackay and got the message there. What an absolute joke!

I went looking for a demographic that liked the carbon tax, and I could not find one. Ninety-four per cent of men were against it; 94.2 per cent of women were against it; 93.5 per cent of the young, those aged 18 to 40, were opposed to it; 93.5 per cent of the old, those aged 61 to 70, were opposed to it; and, among those aged 70 to 100, 95 per cent were opposed to it.

What do the Laborites out there in the community—the few who are left—say that about the ballot? They reckon it is not a true representation. A total of 6,010 people responded, and that is about six times the sample size that is taken in national polls for the entire country, yet still the government refused to listen to what the Australian people had to say. But soon they will be forced to listen, because, come polling day, the people will be heard.