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Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Page: 5270

Carbon Pricing

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:28): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to his own economic note of three days ago, where he said that only the biggest polluters, less than 1,000, will pay for the pollution they emit. I ask whether the Treasurer agrees with the Prime Minister that Ross Garnaut is 'a serious economist' and whether he therefore agrees with Professor Garnaut, who has just said:

Australian households will ultimately bear the full cost of a carbon price.

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:29): I think that Mr Garnaut has produced an excellent report. It is the policy of those on this side of the House that the biggest polluters will pay the price on carbon. We will use every cent from that price paid to assist households and to assist industry. There could not be a clearer contrast with the other side. The other side want to tax households to pay big polluters. That is the policy on that side of the House. And the authority for that is not Professor Garnaut; it is the member for Wentworth. The member for Wentworth, in his interview last week, made the point that a direct action policy such as they have is the policy that you have when you are not serious about dealing with climate change.

Mr Pyne: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. The Treasurer was asked whether he agreed with Professor Garnaut or the statement by the Prime Minister that only the big polluters will pay. He was not asked anything about any member of the opposition. I ask you to draw him back to the very straightforward question that he was asked.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will directly relate the material he is using to the question.

Mr SWAN: The government has a policy of a market based mechanism. It is the most efficient mechanism; it is the least cost mechanism. Those on the other side of the House—

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order!

Mr SWAN: I know why they are so embarrassed. It is because the shadow Treasurer used to have a policy for a market based mechanism as well. He used to support the member for Wentworth on a market based mechanism. We know when he changed his mind, because he went on Twitter and asked everybody to tell him what his convictions were.

We on this side of the House support a market based mechanism that will price carbon for the 1,000 largest polluters and use the revenue to assist households. What they want to do is to increase the tax on average taxpayers and give the money to the biggest polluters. We have not seen a serious policy from those on that side of the House in 3½ years.

The SPEAKER: The Treasurer will relate his remarks to the question.

Mr SWAN: The shadow Treasurer last year was found to have the biggest costing bungle seen in political history. He now expects to be taken seriously in this House.

Mr Hockey interjecting

The SPEAKER: If the member for North Sydney would be quiet he would learn that I asked the Treasurer to return to the question. But he is so noisy that he cannot hear anything other than himself. The Treasurer will directly relate his remarks to the question. Those on my left will sit in silence.

Mr SWAN: Those on that side of the House are so bereft of policy that there is nothing left for them to do but to run baseless scare campaigns. That is what they are doing with question after question.