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Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6102

Senator JOYCE (QueenslandLeader of The Nationals in the Senate) (15:01): I move:

That the Senate take note of answers given by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation (Senator Wong) to questions without notice asked by Opposition senators today.

It is interesting that this is the minister who is supposed to represent the Labor Left; who is supposed to be a person who can stand her ground; who is supposed to be part of the reason, you would imagine, that the Labor Party did not take on what was obviously the eminently wise immigration policy of John Howard. But since Minister Wong decided that John Howard's policy was the one that she wanted to support, and obviously all the Labor Left colleagues agreed, obviously led by Senator Evans, we now have to rely on that same strength of character, that same commitment, that same stoic nature to be able to guide us through part and parcel of the introduction of the carbon tax.

It is going to be quite perplexing as we see the bills that are coming through at the moment. I was talking today to a substantial farmer from South Australia, the minister's state, who is going to have to pay approximately $35,800 this year for the carbon tax. I was trying to work out what I would tell this farmer that they are going to get for that. What exactly do farmers get for that expenditure? If they turn on the television set they might presume that they get Craig Thomson back. Maybe you get him for that, I do not know. You would be surprised what you can buy with that sort of money. He knows the value of what you can buy on a credit card. Maybe you could get that. Maybe you could get whatever we are seeing on the front page of the Australian at the moment with the AWU and the issues pertaining to that. Maybe that is what you get for the sort of money that is on offer from the carbon tax.

We have to realise that what this is actually going to do is go to a very vulnerable section of the economy, a section, especially in agriculture, that cannot pass on their costs. They will either have to absorb the costs by a lower standard of living or by putting people off. If they are putting people off, I do not quite know how this is assisting regional Australia. They tell us today that they have been the champions of regional Australia. One suspects that they are the champions for regional Australia in the same manner that Minister Wong is the champion of the Labor Left. How she has failed so miserably in trying to look after the issues of the left wing of the Labor Party is how miserably they are looking after regional Australia. They are great at the rhetoric, but they are not so good at the delivery.

Since the Labor Left is really a defunct organisation now, has no real meaning, no purpose, no strength of conviction, no ability to stand on its own two pegs; seeing they are now pointless—

Senator Sterle interjecting

Senator JOYCE: I congratulate Senator Sterle because he is part of the Right and the Right run the show. You are to be congratulated, Senator Sterle, for the way that you have rolled the Labor Left, backwards and forth, backwards and forth, backwards and forth, and shown what an absolutely pathetic organisation they have become.

Senator Thorp interjecting

Senator JOYCE: It is good to see a new senator in here who gave her maiden speech merely a couple of weeks ago—and it was great to listen to it—as part of the Labor Left. But within merely days they have been rolled on one of their key policies. This is the sort of conviction, the stoic nature—

Senator McLucas interjecting

Senator JOYCE: Senator McLucas: there is another person from the Labor Left who was absolutely rolled, backwards and forth, complete and utter doormat to the Right. But we must congratulate Senator Sterle and congratulate Minister Conroy for rolling over Minister Wong, for rolling over Senator Douglas Cameron, for rolling over all the Labor Left and making them look like complete and utter imbeciles without even a philosophical soul. But they will, apparently, be able to look after regional Australia; they will, apparently, be able to look after people with the carbon tax. They cannot even look after themselves. They cannot even stand up for themselves. How on earth can they stand up for anybody else? How on earth could they look after anybody else? In complete hypocritical format we have seen people such as Senator Evans tell us that the greatest thing he ever did—not one of the greatest things he ever did, not amongst the greatest things he ever did, but the greatest thing he ever did—was to wind back the Pacific solution. He is of the Labor Left, you see, but he got rolled. So what we have now is a complete capitulation.

There is another person who is in the Labor Left who is a reflection of the stoic nature, the absolute will of iron, the undoubted character. That person's name is Prime Minister Julia Gillard, another person who has that will of iron, that insurmountable character that can be totally relied on. But we do not quite know anymore whether she has been rolled or not because we do not know what she believes in— (Time expired)