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Thursday, 21 June 2012
Page: 7490

Carbon Pricing


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:02): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer the Acting Prime Minister to this letter from TRUenergy advising customers in Melbourne of electricity price rises from 1 July of up to 15 per cent. The letter states, 'The increase is largely related to the introduction of the carbon price by the Australian government.' Will the Acting Prime Minister apologise for falsely claiming that the carbon tax represents a tiny fraction of the increase in electricity prices from 1 July?


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:02): I thank the Leader of the Opposition for that question. He has continued his long misrepresentation of the impact of the carbon price on electricity prices. I have not seen the letter, but I certainly will study it and look at it very closely. But I made the point in the House yesterday that Treasury modelling shows that nine per cent will be the increase for the average bill. That has been there in the Treasury modelling, and it has been what has been put forward by the energy regulators around the country in the last few months.

I also went to great lengths to say to the House over the past couple of days that, if you take, say, the state of New South Wales, over five years there has been an increase in electricity prices of something like 80 per cent in that state. That 80 per cent increase has nothing to do with carbon pricing. The increase in New South Wales has been exactly in line with the Treasury modelling, but we had the shadow Treasurer going out and saying that these big increases in New South Wales were all the result of the carbon price, a blatant misleading of the parliament.

The fact is that the opposition have no interest in the facts. They will quote any amount of dodgy modelling. They came in yesterday, talked about the Master Builders of Australia and quoted a figure which assumed a carbon price of $46 in 2020, as opposed to the $29 price that we have in our modelling. The truth is that the overall impact on prices is 0.7 per cent—less than 1c in the dollar. The truth is that our economy will continue to grow strongly with a carbon price, and we have seen the IMF backing the design of our carbon price just this week. On top of that, we have the opposition coming into this House and crying about the cost of living but then coming in and voting against the Schoolkids Bonus.

The truth is that there will be an impact on prices from the carbon price. It will be 0.7 per cent on average. It will be greater in some areas, like electricity prices, and less in some other areas. But the opposition will continue to come into this House to run its scare campaign. We have seen the Leader of the Opposition running away from his earlier predictions that Whyalla would be wiped from the face of the earth. We have seen him running away from his predictions that the price rises are unimaginable. He is walking away from all of those things. He has now moved to the python squeeze. As I have said on a number of occasions, he is nothing more or less than a snake oil salesman.


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:05): Madam Deputy Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. I again quote TRUenergy's letter: 'The increase is largely related to the introduction of the carbon price by the Australian government.' I ask: who is misleading people? Is it TRUenergy or is it the Acting Prime Minister who is misleading the public about the real cause of electricity price increases?

Ms Macklin interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Minister for Families, Communities and Indigenous Affairs is not assisting.



Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:06): The Leader of the Opposition has been around this country making all sorts of extraordinary claims which are blatantly untrue. Whyalla, he says, is going to be wiped from the map. We have a member of this House who is going to Whyalla on 1 July: the Special Minister of State. I challenge the Leader of the Opposition to join him there, just to see whether it has been wiped from the face of the map.

Of course, we have seen this exaggeration right across the board. You cannot trust a thing that the opposition say. They do not have a policy, other than one which will impose a burden on households of $1,300 per household. Then they come into the House and pretend that they are interested in and concerned about the cost of living, and they vote against the Schoolkids Bonus. The truth is that there is nothing about the opposition that is any alternative framework for Australia. All they ever do is run scare campaigns and say no.

Mr Abbott: Because the Acting Prime Minister said he wanted to study the letter, I seek leave to table it so he can see the truth, which is that the price rises are due to the carbon tax.

Leave not granted.