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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 694

Senator WILLIAMS (8:06 PM) —Senator Furner, you might as well do the hokey-pokey. When Australia produces 1.4 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases—550 million tonnes approximately—you are going to bring on a tax to reduce it by how much? Let us say 100 million tonnes. Let us say that Australia’s production is going to go from 550 million tonnes back to 450 million tonnes. In the meantime, India and China alone by 2020 will be producing another five billion tonnes—‘b’ for billion—and our 100 million tonnes is going to save the Great Barrier Reef and save the world! This is outrageous.

But let us get back to the whole crunch of this matter of public importance and what the Prime Minister, Ms Gillard, said. Let me give you some quotes. My colleague Senator Birmingham has already quoted this. Ms Gillard, in an interview with Jon Faine on 20 March 2009, said:

I think when you go to an election and you give a promise to the Australian people, you should do everything in your power to honour that promise. We are determined to do that. We gave our word to the Australian people in the election, and this is a government that prides itself on delivering election promises. We want Australians to be able to say well, they’ve said this and they did this.

Is that true? No, it is false. Another quote from Ms Gillard comes from the ABC’s Lateline on 16 June 2009:

We’re always there delivering our election promises. That’s important to us. And we’re always there acting in the national interest.

I can give you more. At a press conference on 20 March 2009, Ms Gillard said:

…we will deliver in full the election promise we took to the Australian people—

Senator Nash —But.

Senator WILLIAMS —Exactly, Senator Nash: but. We know what happened prior to the 21 August election: the promise that a Gillard government would not bring in a price on carbon—a carbon tax.

Senator Nash —Can you say that again, Senator Williams?

Senator WILLIAMS —Just prior to 21 August, Ms Gillard, the Prime Minister, said, ‘We will not bring in a carbon tax.’ I quote Ms Gillard again:

Look, we’ve said we would work through options in good faith at the committee …

A committee was formed after the election, and they were going towards an understanding that Mr Windsor would seek to participate in that committee as they prepared to break their election promise. The journalist asked, ‘So you’re not ruling it out then?’ Gillard replied:

Well look, you know I just think the rule-in, rule-out games are a little bit silly.

That is a comment made by Ms Gillard on 16 September 2010. Let me quote the Treasurer, Mr Wayne Swan, on the carbon tax:

We have made our position very clear, we have ruled it out.

That was on The 7.30 Report on the ABC on 12 August 2010. The journalist asked, ‘Can you tell us exactly when Labor will apply a price on carbon?’ Mr Swan replied:

Certainly what we rejected is this hysterical allegation that somehow we are moving towards a carbon tax. …We reject that.

On Channel 10, on 15 August, came the statement ‘There will be no carbon tax.’

I will give you one example of what this tax will do. Our cement industry produces 10 million tonnes of cement in Australia each year. For every tonne of cement, we produce 0.8 of a tonne of greenhouse gas. So the industry produces 10 million tonnes of cement and 0.8 million tonnes of CO2. We also import two million tonnes of cement. In China, where they produce more than a billion tonnes of cement every year, they produce 1.1 tonnes of greenhouse gas per tonne of cement. While Australia’s 10 million tonnes of cement produce eight million tonnes of greenhouse gas, 10 million tonnes in China will produce 11 million tonnes of greenhouse gas. So what are we going to do? If the Greens get their way, this industry—$26 a tonne, eight million tonnes of greenhouse gas, 14 factories, more than 1,800 jobs plus all the truckies and transporters and everyone who relies on the industry—will have $16 million of tax on it. Goodbye, cement industry. Goodbye 10 million tonnes of cement and eight million tonnes of gas. We will then import it from China, where it produces 11 million tonnes of gas. And this is going to save the Barrier Reef. This is going to lower sea levels. This is going to cool the climate.

This proposal is absolutely outrageous—putting a tax on energy and on industry, costing jobs. You people in the Labor Party—the 26 of you out of the 32 senators in the Labor Party who have come from the union movement—will be held accountable when those jobs are gone, when those people lose their industry and their jobs are transferred overseas. They will look to the Labor Party and say: ‘You are so weak you were run over by the Greens. The Greens rule you, the Greens will continue to rule you and you will destroy those industries. (Time expired)

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Crossin)—Order! The time for discussion of the matter of public importance has expired.