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Monday, 21 November 2011
Page: 9005


Senator POLLEY (TasmaniaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (15:18): It is amazing how those on the other side will not let go of the issue of carbon pricing. We saw it again today in question time. Yet again, Senator Cormann asked the same questions of the minister which he has asked time and time again. He asked the same questions along the same lines through the estimates process, asserting that the modelling that we have adopted is reliant upon the US having a price on carbon by 2016. He knows that that is not correct. He knows what the facts are. But he thinks that if he comes into this chamber and is repetitive with this line of questioning somehow he will pull the wool over the eyes of the Australian public. But they are not that silly.

Let us put on the record what President Obama has made very clear about climate change. He says it is real and the US is committed to playing its part in cutting emissions. President Obama has acknow­ledged that climate change is a long-term issue and the US will be looking for further ways to reduce emissions in the coming years. The Gillard Labor government's carbon price will drive real, long-term change and will allow the market to find the best ways to reduce carbon pollution at the least cost. In contrast, Mr Abbott's direct action plan is a short-term, fig-leaf policy that will be incapable of meeting Australia's five per cent target by 2020 let alone more ambitious targets into the future.

Let us talk about some of the places that have already acted on climate change. Let us talk about the 32 carbon trading schemes around the world. Let us list some of them. I know some of those on the other side do not like to hear the facts so that the record can be corrected. Let us talk about what is happening in the European Union. Let us talk about what has been happening in Norway since 2008. Let us talk about Switzerland and the action that they took in 2008. Let us talk about New Zealand. If I recall correctly, we had the New Zealand Prime Minister in the other place not so long ago. I think you will find that the New Zealand government is a conservative government.

Senator McEwen interjecting

Senator POLLEY: Yes, I think you are right, Madam Whip. They are a conservative government and they have acknowledged climate change, unlike those on the other side who are still trying to deny that there has been any change at all in the climate. Some of those on the other side do not accept that there has been a change in the climate and the effects that that is having on the economy.

Let us also talk about the USA and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Let us talk about the seven eastern states that have adopted it and taken action. Let us talk about California and the Western Climate Initiative. Seven western states and four Canadian provinces have taken action. In China, five provinces are undertaking a trial towards a national program. And there is South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and India. Shall I go on? I do not think I need to. I think the point has been made.

This government has taken the action that is needed. The Australian community appreciate the action that has been taken and they know that they are going to be compensated. Yes, there will be some costs involved. But this program is also about ensuring that the 500-odd biggest polluters are going to have to pay. But what those opposite are about is continuing, as I said, their scare campaign. The business community wants certainty. It wants to know that it is going to be able to operate in the best interests of not only their shareholders but also the Australian community. It wants some certainty for the future. Those opposite have been caught very short. It does not matter whether you are talking about a carbon price, the mining resource tax or even offshore processing of asylum seekers. We know from the record that Mr Abbott and those people opposite will dismiss any expert who does not fit in with their mantra. We know that the Australian community wants more detail about their policies, not just the $70 billion black hole that they made— (Time expired)