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Wednesday, 23 March 2011
Page: 2925


Mr ABBOTT (Leader of the Opposition) (2:00 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister, and I ask this question on behalf of the thousands of people gathered outside Parliament House today who the Prime Minister would not talk to. I ask the Prime Minister: will she seek a mandate for her carbon tax before she introduces legislation into this House? Will she seek to make the next election a referendum on her unnecessary new tax?


Ms GILLARD (Prime Minister) —I thank the Leader of the Opposition for his question. On the question of attending the rally outside Parliament House today, I am not aware that I was invited. But, as I understand it, the Leader of the Opposition did not lack for red-headed company at that rally. He had a red-headed friend out at that rally, so I am sure he would not have missed me.

Let me turn to the substantive question that he has asked me about talking to the Australian people and campaigning for climate change action. The Leader of the Opposition seems to have forgotten that he sat in the Howard cabinet for years—a truly remarkable feat—and that he used to claim the Prime Minister as his political mentor. He sat in that cabinet day after day making decisions for the Howard government. Let me remind the Leader of the Opposition that amongst the decisions the Howard government made was their decision to go to the 2007 election arguing for an emissions trading scheme. The Labor Party also went to the 2007 election arguing for an emissions trading scheme and we went to the 2010 election arguing for an emissions trading scheme.


Mr Christensen interjecting


Ms GILLARD —We understand that the Leader of the Opposition wants to continue his scare campaigns. He only knows one thing, which is to scare people, to try to make them afraid, and to deny the future. He has no positive policies and plans. What is remarkable is not his hollowness, because that is well-known; what is remarkable is that he would march away from the legacy of the Howard government at such a speed—march away from Prime Minister Howard’s commitments to an emissions trading scheme and march away from the Liberal Party philosophy about the power of the markets.

The Leader of the Opposition may be stuck in this denial and in his inability to make up a policy for the nation’s future, but we are not. We will get on with the job of leading this nation to a clean energy future. If you care about the jobs of the future, you want to price carbon. If you care about the environment, you want to price carbon. That is precisely what we will do.