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Monday, 21 November 2011
Page: 9003


Senator PRATT (Western Australia) (15:07): We have been over the issue of modelling in this chamber again and again and again—sigh. We have well and truly flogged the life out of this issue, and yet the coalition really had nothing to show for itself in this question time. We have been through the modelling again and again with Meghan Quinn in our Senate committees, and she has done an absolutely wonderful job of demonstrating the depth of that modelling. It is modelling that shows the economy will grow with a carbon price. It is modelling that shows jobs will grow.

Senator Ian Macdonald: Why did Julia promise not to bring it in if it's so good?

Senator PRATT: It is modelling that shows—sigh—that Western Australia will continue to grow. In fact, it will grow at a pace that outstrips that of other states.

Senator Cormann also seems to think that we should not do anything if the rest of the world is doing nothing. Well, the rest of the world is not doing nothing. Yes, there are diverse policies based on the assumption, but what we are basing our modelling on is the assumption that countries will meet their pledges. The most efficient thing for us to do is to price carbon. Every credible economic commentator has said that pricing carbon is the right way to go. In fact, there are many in the opposition who have made public statements over and over again to that effect.

This nation has let out a huge sigh of relief that we can now move on this issue, but those opposite fail to recognise this and are again flogging this dead horse. The modelling on this legislation, which has already been passed, has been done and it has been exhaustively debated. The Treasury modelling does not depend on the United States putting a price on carbon by 2010. It is a desperate response from those opposite. They cannot accept that their arguments simply do not stack up. Our assumptions are based on other nations honouring their pledges to manage their emissions as planned. We know that costs will be passed on through our economy. Indeed, it does not really matter how you manage your carbon; there are costs that will be passed on through the economy and that is what our modelling assumes.

This is real-world modelling, not simply a made-up policy from the coalition, who seem to want to deliver higher taxes to us. Those opposite argue that they do want to meet our climate obligations but they have no econo¬≠mically efficient plan to do so. They are also driving uncertainty into the economy, but we need certainty for our investments in renewable energy and for investments in terms of electricity prices. Those opposite seem determined to have a vision for higher taxes for this nation—that is all. It would be economically irresponsible to overturn this policy.

This government has a clean energy plan that is comprehensive. It is a good plan for reducing Australia's carbon pollution and for promoting the clean energy technologies of the future. The coalition has no plan to price carbon and to do so in an economically efficient manner. A failure to price carbon is a big problem for our economy because it introduces uncertainty into our economic investments. If you assume that climate change is real, as I do and as those opposite seem not to, then you know that the sooner we act to price carbon the more econ­omically efficient it is. It will give our economy time to adjust. So I have great confidence in this nation's future when it comes to the issue of pricing carbon.