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Williams, Sen John
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: TAKE NOTE OF ANSWERS
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- Start of Business
- Commonwealth Commissioner for Children and Young People Bill 2010
- Environment Protection (Beverage Container Deposit and Recovery Scheme) Bill 2010
- Tax Laws Amendment (2011 Measures No. 9) Bill 2011
- National Health Amendment (Fifth Community Pharmacy Agreement Initiatives) Bill 2012
- Third Reading
- Australian Research Council Amendment Bill 2011
QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE
(Abetz, Sen Eric, Evans, Sen Christopher)
(Polley, Sen Helen, Conroy, Sen Stephen)
(Brandis, Sen George, Evans, Sen Christopher)
Great Barrier Reef
(Waters, Sen Larissa, Conroy, Sen Stephen)
(Macdonald, Sen Ian, Evans, Sen Christopher)
(Sterle, Sen Glenn, Ludwig, Sen Joe)
Cape York: Heritage Listing
(Boswell, Sen Ronald, Conroy, Sen Stephen)
Solar Hot Water Industry
(Madigan, Sen John, Wong, Sen Penny)
(Fifield, Sen Mitch, Wong, Sen Penny)
- Gillard Government
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: ADDITIONAL ANSWERS
- QUESTIONS WITHOUT NOTICE: TAKE NOTE OF ANSWERS
- Arbib, Sen Mark
- Evans, Sen Christopher
- Abetz, Sen Eric
- Xenophon, Sen Nick
- Brown, Sen Bob
- Brown, Sen Carol
- Brandis, Sen George
- Hanson-Young, Sen Sarah
- Lundy, Sen Kate
- Fifield, Sen Mitch
- Cormann, Sen Mathias
- Bernardi, Sen Cory
- Williams, Sen John
- Fierravanti-Wells, Sen Concetta
- Cash, Sen Michaelia
- Polley, Sen Helen
- The PRESIDENT
- Arbib, Sen Mark
- Australian Meat and Live-Stock Industry Act 1997: Livestock Mortalities During Exports by Sea
- Australia Post
- Australian Customs and Border Protection Service
- Commonwealth Grants Commission
- Australian Landcare Council
- AUDITOR-GENERAL'S REPORTS
Thursday, 1 March 2012
Senator WILLIAMS (New South Wales—Nationals Whip in the Senate) (15:03): I move:
That the Senate take note of answers given by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research (Senator Evans) and the Minister for Finance and Deregulation (Senator Wong) to questions without notice asked by Opposition senators today.
We want to go to the issue of trust and the credibility of this Prime Minister and this government. In the Adelaide Advertiser today there was the headline 'Faceless men overrule Julia'—of course, referring to Ms Gillard, our Prime Minister. The last paragraph of the article says:
On Monday, Labor MPs somehow thought this devious and incompetent woman could still win the public's trust.
Two days it took for that fantasy to be destroyed.
The article also talks about the situation around the planning to bring former Premier of New South Wales, Mr Carr, into this place, so that he could be the foreign minister—but the denials are there. We talk about credibility in this place. We have those famous words: 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead.'
It was a very interesting answer from Minister Wong today talking about the 'voluntary emissions trading scheme in Japan'. I wonder how many contribute to it. I wonder what it is achieving. Why have we not heard details of it? Senator Boswell interjected—a very clever interjection—'Why don't you give Australia a voluntary emissions trading scheme?' No, it has to be the compulsory one—the broken word.
But it goes on. There was the commitment to Independent for Tasmania, Andrew Wilkie—oh, the poker machine reform. You can imagine them sitting around the room after the August 2010 election: 'Mr Windsor, what would you like?' 'I would like to see the multiparty climate change committee formed and of course money for regional Australia'—and that includes $500 million to go to the Perth airport road that was classified as regional Australia. 'Mr Wilkie, what would you like?' 'I would like poker machine reform'—stamped; guaranteed. And what did he get? The reneging.
That is why the former Speaker of the House of Representatives was moved from the Speaker's chair and put onto the floor—to sure up the numbers for the vote in the House of Representatives. It was no surprise when Mr Slipper took on the Speaker's job. It was something that I had predicted for six months—that Mr Jenkins would be forced out of the Speaker's chair for an extra vote. Of course, what brought it on was the betrayal of the Prime Minister's guarantee to Mr Andrew Wilkie. And here we talk about credibility. This is the very issue: the credibility of this government. That is why the polls are like they are. People have lost faith. They do not trust this government and they do not believe the things that they promise—the things that they never actually deliver to the people.
A classic example is the solar hot water rebate. I go back to when they had the $8,000 subsidy for installation of photovoltaics—introduced by the Howard government. Of course, it just went out of control. There was something like $56 million budgeted and it blew out to something like $300 million or even more. People were putting in a 1kPA—or whatever the measurement is—solar hot water system for free. It cost about $8½ thousand to install one in a house for those smaller 1kW systems. They got an $8,000 subsidy, and away went the budget. It was totally out of control. Mr Garrett was the minister responsible, and he just pulled the curtain down on that. I am a great fan of solar hot-water systems, because they represent good value. Over time they will pay for themselves. Where I live we get a lot of sunlight, sadly too much sunlight at times during the dry season. But the return on investment is far more effective than it is for photovoltaics. It is a good system. A lot of people work in this industry. It is now very effective as it has been designed and improved over decades. Yet the plug has been pulled on that: another broken promise.
I turn to trusting the government on its expenditure. What is the greatest expense of all? The greatest expense is the NBN, the deal that Senator Conroy did with former Prime Minister Mr Rudd, the defeated challenger, on an aeroplane. Where was the cost-benefit analysis? There was none whatsoever. It was pursued in this place and in the House of Representatives, but no cost-benefit analysis will be carried out for the biggest expenditure ever in the nation's history—up to $50 billion. Who knows where it is going to end? We do not know what the benefit is going to be, because this government is hiding behind that very analysis. The Independents who would not vote for it want to hide it as well. This is where the credibility of the government has been blown apart. The people of Australia have turned away from the government and hence they cannot wait for an election.