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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 675

Senator BARNETT (5:47 PM) —In speaking to the motion to take note of answers given by Senator Evans today in question time, I make it very clear that either Prime Minister Julia Gillard has lied to the Australian people or she is a puppet of the Australian Greens—or indeed both, and I believe it is the latter and that I can prove it in the next few moments by putting evidence to this Senate. Senator Milne said not so long ago, ‘It is happening because we have shared power in Australia.’ Senator Milne, the Tasmanian senator, confirmed on the record that they have shared power in Australia. We know they have already signed a deal. The Labor Party have signed an agreement with the Australian Greens and these are the consequences. We are now going to see a carbon tax. But I believe that is a fraud on the Australian people and that the government deserves to be censured.

What has been proved today is that there has been no consultation with Labor Party members. Senator Sterle is now leaving the Senate chamber. He should be here to listen to this, because we know that there has been no consultation. The only consultation that has taken place is that with Senator Bob Brown and the Australian Greens. Senator Milne has proved it herself by putting it on the public record. We know that Senator Brown and Prime Minister Julia Gillard have a very close relationship. We saw that in the press conference last week. There was a big smirk, a big smile, on Senator Brown’s face. He was acting as though he was in charge. Guess what. He was. He got what he wanted: he got the carbon tax. We know that is going to be a killer of Australian jobs. We know there is going to be an increased injection into the cost of living. It is a double whammy for Australian families, for the Australian people.

I want to reflect on this total backflip by Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Just prior to the election, she looked square into the eyes of a reporter and said, ‘There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.’ She did not just say, ‘There will be no carbon tax.’ She said there would be no carbon tax ‘under the government I lead’. That is what she said and she made it very clear, hand on heart. Now she has broken her word, with this great deception on the Australian people. In fact, it is a fraud. The fact is that there should be an election prior to proceeding with this decision. There is no mandate for this carbon tax. They have promised, they have made a commitment and she has broken her word. Integrity for this government has gone out the door. Honesty has gone up in smoke. What are the consequences?

Let me take it back to Tasmania. In Northern Tasmania, down near George Town, for example, we have companies employing hundreds and hundreds of people. We have Rio, TEMCO and hundreds of industrial and manufacturing workplaces. I want to draw to the Senate’s attention the recent comments of Paul Howes, the head of the Australian Workers Union, who is very much doing this for his best interests and the best interests of the Australian Workers Union. Why isn’t he standing up to oppose this carbon tax? In fact he is doing the opposite. Mr Paul Howes is a grub of a man. But he is worse than that: he is a viper in the bosom. He could not care less about the people, about the workers at Rio. He is doing this for vengeance, for the interests of himself and for the interests of the Australian Workers Union. He does not care about the workers and the working families at George Town and other parts of Northern Tasmania.

On record I ask Mr Howes to come clean and say how the carbon tax will help the people and the workers of Rio and to get off his high horse and stop being a viper in the bosom and start acting in the interests of his workers. Then people would have a little more respect for him. What about the people at TEMCO and elsewhere? What about the communities in the rural and regional parts of Tasmania? They are hurting. What about in Scottsdale, where they are going to see a 6½c increase in the price of petrol? What about the $300 to $600 increase in the price of power for the people in Scottsdale? They are already hurting. They need jobs. Unemployment has gone up in the north of Tasmania. This Labor government, with the Greens in control, is trashing the Australian economy in a similar way to that in which the Tasmanian Labor government, with the Greens, is trashing the Tasmanian economy. Enough is enough. We say no. Come clean and be honest and go to an election before bringing in this rotten carbon tax.

Question agreed to.