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Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Page: 10150

WYATT ROY (Longman) (19:30): Yesterday the Labor government introduced 18 bills that will give effect to the introduction of the carbon tax from 1 July 2011. The introduction of the bills to this House represents a breach of trust and wilful disregard for the Australian people. The bills represent a major change in this nation—one where the Australian people have been denied their fundamental right to have a say. Since the Prime Minister announced that there would be a carbon tax in February of this year in direct contravention of her promise just days before the last election, my office has been inundated with concerns about the tax and the effect that it will have on families and local businesses.

Unlike this Labor government, the coalition has been listening to the forgotten Australians about their views on the carbon tax. My friend and colleague the Leader of the Opposition joined me last week in Longman to hear the views of people in our community about the carbon tax. Over 200 people arrived to take up the opportunity to speak directly with the alternative Prime Minister. Even after all the taxpayer funded advertising and announcements this government has had, it was clear from the questions asked at the forum that the people of my community continue to be unsure about what this tax will mean for them. They simply do not trust the Labor government when it tells them they will not be worse off. They do not trust a Prime Minister who promised there would not be a carbon tax under the government she led.

When the government sent out its glossy brochures with patronising words about how everything would be okay after this tax was introduced, hundreds of people in Longman simply threw them out, left them unopened or dropped them off in my office unopened. I have a mountain of them in my office. Hundreds of people have signed the anti-carbon-tax petition. But still the government will not listen. There are, however, two things that the people of Longman are clear about: that the cost of living will go up and up and up for families and that they have been denied their fundamental right to have a say on a reform that is going to have a major negative impact on Australia's economy.

My community is not wealthy. It is made up of hardworking Australians who have the aspirations that Australians have shared throughout history: being rewarded for hard work, building a better future for their kids and simply trying to get ahead in life. But with the spiralling cost of living that most people in Longman are experiencing they cannot be confident they are going to be rewarded for their efforts or that they are going to be able to leave a more prosperous future for their families.

A mother of five children stood up at the forum to address the Leader of the Opposition. Although she was not an avid follower of politics—she said, 'I am still in the land of babies and nappies'—she urged politicians to be mindful of the impact that their decisions had on her and her family. She said that Canberra had to understand that decisions made here had a big impact on her family. This is the basic truth that the Labor Party have forgotten. A pensioner stood up and said his life was getting harder and harder and the cost of living just kept increasing. He was concerned because he was already living week to week on his pension and was very worried about what it would mean when the carbon tax was introduced and electricity prices inevitably went up.

When I ran for parliament I said I wanted to give the locals in my community a direct voice with the key decision makers in Canberra. I want to thank the Leader of the Opposition for directly listening to the concerns of the locals. While the Labor Party is walking away from the people they claim to represent, we in the coalition are keen to hear the views of Australians. In my community they are telling us loud and clear that they do not want this tax. I am yet to have one business owner tell me that a carbon tax is going to inspire confidence in the marketplace, make their business thrive and prosper and make it easier for them to employ people. They are worried about what it will mean for their families and they are worried that increasing costs will drive their already struggling businesses to the wall.

My community was grateful that the Leader of the Opposition took the time to listen. This Labor government should listen as well, and members opposite should be true representatives of their communities and say no to this tax.