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Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Page: 10116


Dr MIKE KELLY (Eden-MonaroParliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) (17:04): Before concluding the contribution I began earlier today in this debate on the Clean Energy Future package of bills, can I say that some of the submissions we heard from what I would call the 'flat earth society' in the matter of public importance debate put me in mind of the old Army expression 'Lead, follow or get out of the way.' What we know is that during those 12 Howard years when the chance was there for leadership nothing was done in this space. In fact, shamefully, our renewable energy capacity in this country went backwards during those 12 years, from 10 per cent to nine per cent. So that 12 years of opportunity was lost, no ratification of Kyoto, complete abrogation of responsibility.

Then this government came into power in 2007 and the very first act that Kevin Rudd did as Prime Minister was to ratify Kyoto. Before the rest of us had even been sworn into our portfolios that ink was drying. It was a fantastic step forward. So the opportunity was there then for the opposition to follow and, I must give them credit, there was a time when they did. There was a time when Malcolm Turnbull and Ian Macfarlane lined up and engaged constructively with the government to move this ball forward. Then, of course, came the coup, a coup driven by the desire of the Leader of the Opposition based purely on politics and his ambitions to become Prime Minister, so that opportunity to follow was lost.

Now here we are in this parliament where there is an opportunity for this opposition to just get out of the way. Effectively they have made themselves irrelevant in this debate. They have absconded from the field when we had an opportunity to engage through the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee and they did not engage. I ask for the opposition to just get out of the way now that they have made themselves irrelevant. Go home over this weekend, have a look at your children and your grandchildren and think about their future and think about how you want to be remembered. What will be your legacy and where will your name be in relation to this vote when this debate is done? (Time expired)