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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11503


Mr MITCHELL (McEwen) (21:43): I rise to oppose the amendment that the opposition has brought forward. When we sit down and have a look at this, we see that this is the culmination of a debate that has been running for almost two decades. For 20 years we have talked about climate change and taking action on it. We have seen something like 35 parliamentary inquiries into climate change since 1994. There has been a lot of discussion about this and so far the only people taking action—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr MITCHELL: I will happily readdress that question for the tuckshop raiders over there. Before the last election we had a climate change forum in my electorate, and I said strongly that I support action on climate change and I support cutting pollution. But where was the Liberal party candidate? He did not even have the guts to front up. I have said that before and I will say it again: he did not even have the stomach to front up.

I would like to address some of the things that have been said earlier tonight in this debate. The member for Curtin came in here and said—

Mr Craig Kelly interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Hon. Peter Slipper ): The honourable member for Hughes has had an opportunity to contribute to the debate. He will remain silent. The member for McEwen continues to have the call.

Mr MITCHELL: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. The member for Curtin said that Prime Minister Howard took the GST to the election. Well, in the 1998 election it was Labor that actually won the majority of the vote. So by their standards, the standards that the member for Curtin brought forward earlier tonight, they should never have introduced it because they never had a mandate. But, suddenly, that is a bit different. Those opposite should remember that the ALP scored over 50 per cent of the vote in the 2010 election and the National Party, the combined extremists over there, 3.34 per cent.

They talk about honesty in the election, and the Leader of the Opposition is saying we should hold off on this until after an election. This is the same opposition leader who said we should have a plebiscite on the carbon tax. Again, they are trying to say that we should have a democratic right to do nothing, but when it came to the plebiscite what did the opposition leader say? These were his exact words in the HeraldSun on 20 June: 'Mr Abbott told 3AW he would not accept the plebiscite—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! Firstly, the member for McEwen must remember he ought to refer to the Leader of the Opposition by his title and not by his name. And now I gather the member for Mackellar is seeking the call on a point of order.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Yes, thank you very much, Mr Deputy Speaker. I have searched through all the amendments that have been moved that we are debating and I cannot see a reference to a plebiscite anywhere. I ask you to get the member to come back to the topic of the amendments.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: This is a very wide ranging debate—in my view, regrettably too wide ranging, but we are discussing a broad range of amendments. The honourable member for McEwen has the call.

Mr MITCHELL: Thank you, Mr Deputy Speaker. Maybe the member for Mackellar might want to go back and listen to the speeches tonight. Her friends have mentioned—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, the member for McEwen will focus on the amendments before the House.

Mr MITCHELL: Certainly, Mr Deputy Speaker. The plebiscite was mentioned earlier tonight, just before the dinner break. It was the Leader of the Opposition who said that even if the plebiscite came out supporting a carbon price he would not agree with it. So he does not agree with the election result that we won, he does not agree with abiding by a plebiscite that he wants, and now he wants us to sit there and do nothing.

Mr Baldwin: Do you agree that you promised not to introduce a carbon tax?

Mr MITCHELL: The only thing we can agree is that that suit should have gone in the 1980s with you! This debate on these amendments is ridiculous. We cannot keep sitting there and listening to these people trying to stop taking action on climate change. This is about ensuring our nation's future. It is about ensuring our kids' future. It is about ensuring where we go in the future. If we have a look at the two parties and what they have said—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Mr Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: prior to your assuming the chair we had a different Deputy Speaker in the chair who limited the terms of the debate quite considerably. While it is true that there was a wide-ranging debate earlier, the ruling of the other Deputy Speaker narrowed the debate. Unless we have a ruling to the contrary, I think that the member has to be pulled right back to the very strict meaning of the amendments as moved.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I congratulate the member for Mackellar on a very good try. The member for McEwen has the call and his time has almost expired.

Mr MITCHELL: I will just remind the member for Mackellar that tonight she admitted they are not interested in the national interest; they are only interested in polls.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: I said no such thing!

Mr MITCHELL: And let's remember that their idea of action on climate change to save the Great Barrier Reef was to cover it in shade cloth. (Time expired)