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Thursday, 18 August 2011
Page: 8625

Mr SCHULTZ (Hume) (16:30): I rise to speak with absolute disdain about the latest attempt by the Labor-Greens government to sell the carbon tax that the Australian people do not want and did not vote for. Over the last few weeks, my offices in Hume have been inundated with requests from constituents asking where they can return the taxpayer-funded carbon tax propaganda booklets that have been hand-delivered to households across the electorate. People are rightly outraged by the sheer hypocrisy of the Rudd and Gillard governments. The Labor Party once condemned taxpayer funded advertising as a cancer on democracy but, true to form, this Labor government has gone back on its word, sending out millions of propaganda pieces wrapped in environmentally unfriendly plastic wrapping. As I have always said, never trust what Labor says; always look at what it does. Where are all of the pro-environment groups such as Friends of the Earth and GetUp!? I would have thought that they would be screaming from the treetops to condemn the amount of carbon-neutralising forest that was cut down to make the millions of 20-page booklets or the emissions pollution created from the petrochemically produced plastic wrapping. In my book, silence equals complicity. Not only did the Prime Minister deceive the electorate before the election by stating, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead,' but her government has now spent $4 million on the 20-page propaganda booklet as part of the overall $25 million taxpayer funded advertising campaign to sell its carbon tax, which not a single Australian voted for.

Propaganda is exactly what this material is. I took the liberty of getting the Oxford dictionary definition of 'propaganda' just to make sure I was right, and it is as follows:

… information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote a political cause or point of view.

You can take the girl out of the Socialist Alliance but you cannot take the socialist out of the girl. The Prime Minister's carbon tax pamphlets are blatant propaganda pieces. There is no doubt this is information being used to promote a political cause or point of view, nor is there any doubt that the information contained in the pamphlets is biased at best and misleading at worst.

In the Yass Tribune yesterday, contributor Brian Millett, a person I do not normally agree with, summed up the biased and misleading portion of the carbon tax propaganda pieces:

The document claims that Australia generates more pollution per person than any other developed country including the United States.

This is certainly a frightening claim which becomes fairly meaningless when it is appreciated that Australia's population is about 7% of that of the US and is spread over a huge area with over 22 million Australians against more than 320 million Americans in a similar area. Australia's pollution, when viewed from this perspective, is almost nothing at all and is only 1.5% of the world's total greenhouse gases—and certainly not worth a radical carbon tax.

Mr Millett, your 'musings' are spot-on for a change. Australians are sick and tired of this government's wasteful, hypocritical and reckless spending on pro-carbon-tax propaganda. Perhaps if Australians send their pamphlets back to the Prime Minister she will get the unbiased message from the Australian people, 'We don't want your pamphlets; what we want is an election.' I can say to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that I have reports from a number of post offices in my electorate who tell me that they are getting 'return to sender' parcels of these things back to them, and their junk mail boxes at the letterboxes in the post offices are overflowing on a day-to-day basis. I thank you for the opportunity to raise the issue.