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Tuesday, 7 February 2012
Page: 54


Senator BOSWELL (Queensland) (15:21): We have all returned from a break. One of the great things about having a break of four weeks is that it gives us a chance to reconnect with our families, do all those sorts of things and relax. It also gives us the opportunity to go out and talk to some of our constituents. I have done that over the past two weeks, and I can tell you: there is a disaster looming out there. I have spoken to food processors, fishing operators, fish processors, and people right across the whole spectrum of the manufacturing industry, and there is a universal cry: 'The dollar is high and it is killing us. I cannot make my factory work anymore.' When we put the carbon tax on—and I have been able to tell them that the carbon tax on industrial use is far more than 10 per cent—they say, 'This won't work anymore.' One particular person told me, 'I am going to take all of my primary product, I am going to put it in a fridge, I am going to send it to China to have it processed and I am going to bring it back, and I will be able to sell at a cheaper price than I can at the moment.' He does not get any joy out of putting 200 people out of work, but he says, 'I can't make it work. I've got investments that will not give me a return, and I can't make it work.' That is happening all over the manufacturing area.

To prove my point, 130,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since 2008. This is the highest number ever recorded. Yes, we have a great economy. It is a great economy; it is one of the best economies in the world. It is so great that even you people cannot kill it. You do your best to drive the economy down. You do your best to put a carbon tax on it. You do your best to increase costs. But this economy is so great and this country is so tremendous that even the Labor Party—a wholly owned subsidiary of the Greens—cannot kill it. But do not come in here with crocodile tears and say, 'Aren't we terrific.' The economy is going well despite you, and it could go a lot better without you. Everyone knows that. To prove my point, by 2020 $32 billion is going to have to come off the GDP. That means the economy will not grow by $32 billion. But when you get to 2050, it is $1 trillion—and these are government figures. We are not fudging the figures; these are government figures. I can refer you to the papers where the government has issued them. That is what the carbon tax is going to cost Australia: $1 trillion by 2050 and $32 billion by 2020.

Even the Treasury modelling that the government holds up so high is saying that carbon tax will reduce real wages by one per cent by 2020, or the equivalent of $600 a year for someone earning $70,000. These are the tradies—the aspirational voters the Labor Party want to win back. I can tell you: you are wasting your time. It is $460 million to the car industry. What is the point of putting a $460 million tax on a car industry and then crying that you are going to have to subsidise it? Don't you see that a $460 million impost on a car industry is a tax? That is why they are coming to you and asking for some support. There is $460 million worth of lead in the saddle of the car industry. And then there is Qantas with tax of $115 million. All of this adds on to costs. I can tell you: the economy will not have collapsed on 1 July, but it will be sandbagged and there will be a lot of weight in the economy's saddle, but it will survive despite the Labor Party and the Greens. (Time expired)

Question agreed to.