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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 5475


Senator WONG (Minister for Climate Change and Water) (6:56 PM) —I wonder whether I could perhaps just indicate the government’s view on where the passage of this legislation is. The estimate from the Clean Energy Council on the investment forgone per week is around $2 million as a result of this bill not yet being passed. We are very keen to have this legislation passed, and we have worked hard. I acknowledge the approach of the crossbenchers and the opposition to seeking passage of this legislation and negotiating amendments. I appreciate we have very different views about what should be included. I respectfully submit to the chamber that those views have been well ventilated. The differences of opinion of individual parties and senators have been put on the record on a number of occasions.

Obviously, it is entirely a matter for the chamber how it wishes to proceed with this debate. I respectfully suggest that what we are now doing is not actually debating the amendments but debating a whole range of different issues around climate change. As the Minister for Climate Change and Water, I think the chamber would note that I am not averse to having that debate—I am quite up for that debate—but I am asking the chamber to consider whether we could expeditiously deal with the amendments in light of the fact that senators have put their parties’ positions and their personal positions on this issue very clearly, given the genuine public policy merit in the passage of this legislation. It is legislation that I think demonstrably, despite our differences of opinion about aspects of it, does have the support of a significant number of senators in the chamber.