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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11481

Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (20:16): I want to quote a Labor politician in my next comment, and that is former New South Wales Labor Premier Morris Iemma. On 21 July he summed up the feelings of many when he was quoted as saying:

… Labor's platform for re-election in 2013 is environmentally marginal, economically costly and likely to lead Labor to a historic electoral train wreck.

Ka-boom! That is my contribution—the sound of the train wreck. It is happening tonight and it is going to happen into the future. He went on to say of the carbon tax to the Australian:

"One thing is sure—it won't change the world, but it could change the government"—

His remarks are precisely why federal Labor needs tonight to support the amendment to the Clean Energy Bill 2011 and accompanying bills to make commencement of the carbon tax contingent on a proclamation of the next parliament. The article went on:

Mr Iemma accused the Gillard government of betraying the Hawke-Keating legacy of economic reform, instead embracing the environmental policies of the Greens' agenda.

"We embraced economic growth, and the benefits of economic growth, in the Hawke Keating era, but we're fighting this battle on the Greens' turf, not our turf. Bob Brown wants to replace the Labor Party as a major party."

…   …   …

He rejected the government's view that Australia's carbon tax was similar in scope to actions being taken by other countries.

Members opposite should listen to Mr Iemma:

"Every day there are reports of growth and development in China, its growth in emissions will far outstrip our total emissions," Mr Iemma said.

"The carbon tax at best reduces the rate of increase of emissions slightly."

Indeed, even the Gillard government's chief promoter of the climate debate has admitted even a global effort to cut carbon emissions would not lower temperatures for up to 1,000 years. Chief Climate Commissioner Professor Tim Flannery said on 25 March:

If the world as a whole cut all emissions tomorrow, the average temperature of the planet's not going to drop for several hundred years, perhaps over 1000 years.

If, as Professor Flannery declared, cutting all, not merely reducing, emissions will do nothing to cool the planet then why on earth are we going down this path? This slippery slope to economic despair—

Government members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Murphy ): Order! The member will be heard in silence.

Mr McCORMACK: Indeed I should be, Mr Deputy Speaker, because they could learn a lot from what I am going to tell them. This slippery slope to economic despair and job losses, this rocky road of higher electricity, gas, fuel and grocery prices—

Ms Rishworth interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: I know you might not care about it but, I tell you what, your constituents do—will strain already stressed everyday household budgets to the limit. And all this for what? Certainly not to help the environment. A carbon tax will not lower global temperatures by one degree, will not lower sea levels by one millimetre. If, as the member for Melbourne so hysterically foretold in his speech in this debate, the seas are rising due to the catastrophic climate change, why is it that so many of the doomsayers are still happy to live on the ocean's edge? For every alarmist scientist after their next funding grant who will tell you we are facing 'dangerous climate change', I can show you a salt-of-the-earth generational farmer who will be just as convincing with his assurances that the only thing which changes is the weather. 'Of droughts and flooding rains', as Dorothea Mackellar put it so well.

But back to Mr Iemma, who said:

"… the Greens' agenda is anti-growth and anti-investment. Lower growth and lower investment leads to lower incomes and fewer jobs."

The article went on to say, and I hope those members opposite who are from New South Wales are listening to this, that Mr Iemma said:

… New South Wales would be particularly hurt by the carbon tax in smelting steelworks and manufacturing in western Sydney.

He could have easily added agriculture, horticulture and a whole host of other worthwhile endeavours in the Riverina. He said:

"Voter reaction ranges from unease and uncertainty to outright hostility. I went down a coalmine myself recently and all the guys I spoke to were uncertain of their futures."

Mr Iemma also offered federal Labor some sound advice:

"We should always be standing shoulder to shoulder with steelworkers and miners and factory workers before we stand shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Bob Brown and Christine Milne."

To Mr Iemma I say: hear, hear! Rest assured we on this side will stand shoulder to shoulder with this country's hardest workers. Rest assured we on this side will not seek to curry favour with the Greens and their economically damaging and fiscally irresponsible policies. The article also said:

Mr Iemma's comments reflect the growing concern of many Labor politicians in private.

So tonight those Labor backbenchers so justifiably worried about their political futures would do well to support this opposition amendment.