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Monday, 21 March 2011
Page: 1321


Senator RONALDSON (5:28 PM) —From someone whom I admire that was a quite remarkable speech. From the man who has driven Operation Sunlight and from the man who has protocols named after him—by me, I might add, but still supportive—to come into this place and avoid the key question is quite remarkable. Senator Faulkner can scurry out of this chamber, but not once did he explain why his own leader, five days out from the election, said, ‘There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.’ Senator Faulkner neglected to talk about that.

Senator Barnett quite rightly said that the Australian Labor Party is now apparently using the ‘dog ate my homework’ defence. ‘The Greens forced us into this’—that is another absolute untruth. There are only three reasons that the Prime Minister made those comments five days out from the election. One reason was that she supported a carbon tax but she knew she would lose the election with a new tax and she told a complete untruth to win her way back into government. I am not allowed to use another word in this chamber, but I will use the phrase ‘complete untruth’.

Another reason was that she was happy to tell this untruth because there had already been a grubby deal done with the Australian Greens before the election. The Prime Minister went in with her eyes open, but the Australian people most certainly did not. The third reason, which is the most unlikely one, is that she knew it was bad for Australian families and she did not want one. What put paid to that was the desperate deal she did after the election to make sure we had a carbon tax. If she did know it was bad for Australian families and that is why she ruled it out, how can she front up to the Australian people again to do a grubby deal to get herself back into a false government? They are the only three options.

I will look at my patron seat area of Geelong, which takes in Corangamite and Corio. I thought Richard Marles, the member for Corio, had a little bit more to him than he has been exhibiting in the last two weeks on this issue. Everyone knows the member for Corangamite is completely devoid of any common sense but I thought that Richard Marles, the member for Corio, might have had some. To look at the comments of Richard Marles in the last two weeks in trying to defend this appalling tax and the effect it will have on Geelong just beggars belief. In a remarkable acknowledgement two weeks ago, he said he would be working overtime to protect jobs under a carbon tax. So two plus two equals four and he knows there are going to be job losses under this tax. In an opinion piece today that talked about Point Henry, where a thousand people are provided with jobs in that area with Alcoa and other employers, he said:

I would be lying to say that the atmosphere in the Point Henry lunch room right now is sanguine. A better description might be nervous. And they have a right to be.

‘They have a right to be’—that is Richard Marles, a member of the executive of the Australian Labor Party, acknowledging that the workers at Point Henry have good reason to be nervous. What Darren Cheeseman and Richard Marles need to do is not talk about these matters, but do something—


Senator Carol Brown —Madam Acting Deputy President, on a point of order: I ask that the senator refer to the members by their correct titles.


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT —I did not hear what you said, Senator Ronaldson, but if you could observe the usual propriety when referencing members of the other place.


Senator RONALDSON —I thought I had mentioned both the member for Corangamite and the member for Corio, but if I did not I will mention them. Rather than working overtime to save jobs under a carbon tax, surely the members for Corio and Corangamite should be working overtime for the workers in Corio and Corangamite to stop the carbon tax? Why don’t they work overtime for that? They will be damned, as they should be, for destroying jobs in Geelong.

I heard Senator McLucas parroting across the table today the nonsense that everyone is going to be compensated and that only the big polluters will pay. Hello? What do you think will happen with the costs? Where will the increased costs go, Senator McLucas? I will tell you where they will go: to Australian families. How will they feel that? Through 6.5c per litre in petrol—(Time expired)