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Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Page: 6980

Carbon Pricing

Mrs MARKUS (Macquarie) (14:14): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer the Acting Prime Minister to the statement of the managing director of Autocast and Forge foundry—Australia's largest independent foundry, operating in Western Sydney—that the threat of the carbon tax is one of the factors gutting manufacturing in Australia. Why is the government persisting with a new tax that will apply the python squeeze of higher electricity prices on Autocast and Forge foundry, endangering the livelihoods of its over 100 employees?

Government members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Order! The Acting Prime Minister has the call, and people behind him are not assisting him being heard in silence.

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:15): I thank the member for her question. This is a very important economic and environmental reform. Successful countries in the 21st century will be those that use energy efficiently and those that are driven by renewable energy. This is a reform which has been recognised, as I quoted before, by the IMF as being absolutely critical to economic success—

Mr Randall interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Canning will remove himself from the chamber under standing order 94(a).

Mr Randall interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Canning is very close to being out for a day.

The member for Canning then left the chamber.

Mr SWAN: The IMF Managing Director has said overnight that this is the best and most comprehensive route to reduce environmental damage and to galvanise clean energy development and deployment by the private sector. This is confirmed by experience in many countries. The IMF says that comprehensive carbon pricing policies can effectively reduce emissions at least cost. And she goes on in that vein. This is the reason the government has put in place this fundamental reform.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order under standing order 104. Prior to the word 'directly relevant' being inserted, it was required that the answer maintain a link to the substance of the question. To comply with the new standing order the Acting Prime Minister must relate to the question as asked by the member for Macquarie, not read out a diatribe which is irrelevant.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Mackellar will resume her seat. She was doing all right until the end of her point. The Acting Prime Minister has the call.

Mr SWAN: In doing this, there is an impact on the price level in the economy, and that is why we are providing additional assistance to households and also additional assistance to industry. We do recognise that. But this is a fundamental reform to build the resilience of the Australian economy for the future. In the same way that the great reforms that were put in place in the eighties and the nineties have contributed to our resilience today, this is a reform which will do this tomorrow. This will build the strength in our economy by driving the investment that is required in energy efficiency as well as in renewable energy.

Those opposite want to run around the country exaggerating its impact. They do not care about the impact of this; they just care about the politics. They want to run a scare campaign which bears no relationship to the facts. The fact is that the Leader of the Opposition—

Mrs Markus: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The member for Macquarie will resume her seat. The member for Macquarie might be aware that the standing orders only provide for one point of order, and one point of order has already been taken on the question.

Government members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Or one point of order on relevance. I think the member for Mackellar was making a relevance point of order under the standing orders, so I am not going to allow the member for Macquarie to take the point of order. The Acting Prime Minister has the call.

Mr SWAN: The Leader of the Opposition has been running around the country preaching doom and gloom—all of it is wrong. All of the material about its impacts is out there in our modelling and it is confirmed by decisions that are taken by regulators—for example, the electricity regulators. All of the rest of it is simply exaggerated hype and a political scare campaign. The Leader of the Opposition thinks that he can somehow get to government by not having any policies, just by running a fear campaign. The fact is, running a fear campaign will not be enough for the Leader of the Opposition, because the public are onto him. He is the most aggro, aggressive, political person in this country. It is turning off the Australian electorate—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Acting Prime Minister will return to the question.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I simply make the point that the Acting Prime Minister is defying your ruling from earlier on on the question and the answer, and he cannot be allowed to simply to slag and bag the opposition.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Acting Prime Minister has the call and will return to the question before the chair.

Mr SWAN: Yes, and I do return to the point made by the IMF. The IMF finds that setting both an initial price and the pathway for future carbon prices is important to create stable incentives for long-term clean-energy investments. The IMF goes on to say that the level set by the government in our Clean Energy Act is a very good model and the price is appropriate— (Time expired)