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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11448

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (17:49): I move opposition amendment (1) to the Clean Energy Bill 2011:

(1) Clause 2, page 1 (line 8) to page 5 (line 3), omit the clause, substitute:

2 Commencement

(1) The provisions of this Act commence on a date to be fixed by Proclamation.

(2) A Proclamation for the purposes of subsection (1) must not be made until after elections have been held for the 44th Parliament and the Parliament has met.

The purpose of my amendment is to restore a measure of integrity to our tarnished democracy. It is to give members opposite a chance to make honest politicians of themselves.

What my amendment does is provide for the carbon tax package of measures to commence after the elections have been held for the 44th Parliament. My amendment says it will be up to the new government after the next election to decide whether or not to proclaim the carbon tax and whether or not the carbon tax will come into force. In other words, it will be up to the people of Australia, voting at an election, to determine the fate of the carbon tax—and that is as it should be. This tax is the biggest carbon tax in the world. This change is the biggest tax change in our history, and it should not come into force without first going to the people, asking them and getting their consent.

A change as big as this should have a mandate. As is absolutely clear to this parliament and to all the people of this country, there is no mandate for what this government seeks to do now. If this parliament has a mandate for anything, it has a mandate not to introduce this tax. That is why the amendment that I am moving is so necessary if democratic integrity is to be restored to our system. As the Prime Minister is constantly reminded in this parliament, she said five days before the last election:

There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.

Mr Mitchell interjecting

Mr ABBOTT: Let me repeat it for the benefit of the rather raucous member opposite. The Prime Minister said, five days before the election, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.' That was the commitment that the Prime Minister made on behalf of every single Labor member of this House.

Mr Mitchell interjecting

Mr ABBOTT: She made that commitment on their behalf and I am giving this parliament and those members, including the raucous member opposite, the chance to turn what would otherwise be a lie into a truth. I am giving members opposite the chance to turn a lie into a truth, to make honest politicians of the Prime Minister and themselves by deferring the actual proclamation of this carbon tax until after the next election. We had the member for Moreton today say very publicly that he was determined to keep faith with the people of Moreton by ensuring that the person they voted for as Prime Minister at the 2010 election stayed in that job. The amendment that I am moving now gives every member of parliament a chance to keep faith with their electorates. When the Prime Minister made that promise five days before the election she was not doing it as a private person and she was not doing it as just the member for Lalor; she was doing it as the Leader of the Labor Party; she was doing it as the leader of every member opposite. So if they want to keep faith with their electors they will support this amendment, because it is a contemptible thing for a government to say one thing before an election to win votes and do the opposite after the election to stay in power.

I say to members opposite: if they want to stand up for truth in public life, if they want to stand up for the jobs of their constituents, if they want to stand up for truth-telling and if they want to ensure that the Labor Party really is the party of truth-telling, they will back this amendment. In the end, my amendment is not about whether you support a carbon tax—obviously I do not; some people in this parliament do—this is about whether you support democracy and whether you support integrity in public life. That is why this amendment should be supported by this parliament. (Time expired)