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Wednesday, 16 March 2016
Page: 2125


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (15:17): I indicate to Senator Nash that I will not keep her long. I just want to congratulate CSIRO on the wonderful work they have done for Australia over many years. I want to congratulate the current management of CSIRO on the way they are now directing the work of that august organisation towards the things that really matter.

I have sat in this chamber for years, hearing Labor and Greens people indicate that the science of climate change is settled. It is a mantra you keep hearing from Labor and the Greens. If that is correct, why are we wasting Australia's rare taxpayer dollars on science that 'is already settled'?

Senator Kim Carr: You really do demonstrate your ignorance, don't you?

Senator IAN MACDONALD: I say what most Australians say. There is a science that, according to Labor and the Greens, is settled. We need those scientists to get on and work out how you can ameliorate the impacts of climate change, how you can build resilience and how you can build recovery. CSIRO management is quite right in directing its limited resources towards those things that matter, not to continue looking at the science, which Senator Carr and Senator Whish-Wilson keep thrusting down my throat as already settled. It is all settled, according to them.

I repeat that Australia emits less than 1.4 per cent of the world's carbon emissions.

Senator Hanson-Young: I can't believe Senator Sinodinos—

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Tell me I am wrong. Is that not right?

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: I ask senators to direct their remarks to the chair.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Through you, I ask Senator Hanson-Young: please tell me. Am I wrong? Does Australia not emit only 1.4 per cent of the world's emissions of carbon? It is a pretty simple question to ask the senator who is interjecting. Is there something wrong with that? Are my facts wrong? No answer, so I assume those facts are correct. Australia does emit less than 1.4 per cent of the world's carbon emissions.

Let's say we reduce Australia's emissions by 1.3 per cent of global emissions—that is, just about shut Australia down. Turn off the lights here and stop every vehicle moving in Australia. If we did that, what is a 1.3 per cent reduction in the world's carbon emissions going to do for what I am told the science is settled about, which is that the climate is changing? I know the climate is changing. It has been changing for decades, centuries, eons. But Senator Hanson-Young is always very quiet. Tell me the 1.4 per cent is wrong. Tell me what would happen if you did shut down Australia's 1.4 per cent? What would that do? No answer. These are such simple questions, and you never get an answer about them.

I am delighted that CSIRO are now directing their research and their science to dealing with the changing climate of the world, not continuing to waste money on science which Senator Wong, Senator Carr, Senator Siewert and Senator Hanson-Young tell me and have been telling me for the last five years—interminably—is all settled. Let's use the money that we give to CSIRO to actually do something positive about climate change.

I know the facts always hurt in this chamber, particularly when they are incontrovertible, but there is no loss of employment in net terms at CSIRO. The same number of scientists and support people will continue to be employed. It is just that they will be directing their attention to things that really matter for the Australian people. That is, how you can address the issues of the climate, which we all can see is changing.