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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 2622


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (15:06): Mr Deputy President, I move:

That the Senate take note of the answers given by the Minister for Finance and Deregulation (Senator Wong) to questions without notice asked by Opposition senators today.

As honourable senators know, there will be an election in Queensland on Saturday. I am not going to tell the Senate that the carbon tax, the Labor Party's toxic tax, is the only issue in the Queensland election because it is not. There are many more complaints that Queenslanders have about Labor than just the carbon tax, but there is no doubt that it has been one of the most important issues in the Queensland election campaign. Whatever else may befall on Saturday, the Queensland election will be, among other things, a referendum on the carbon tax. I expect that Queenslanders will send a message to Canberra long, strong and clear that they do not want this tax.

How appropriate it is, therefore, that it was in Brisbane six days before the 2010 federal election that Prime Minister Gillard stared down the barrel of a television camera, perched on the cliffs above Kangaroo Point, and uttered those immortal words: 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.' Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, was the venue of the lie.

The effect of a carbon tax on the Queensland economy will be devastating. I know Senator Mason is going to speak—no doubt with his customary eloquence—about debt. But I want to say something about the effect of the carbon tax on jobs in Queensland. I refer in particular to the Queensland government's treasury modelling, tabled by the Queensland Treasurer, Mr Andrew Fraser, in August 2011. This is a document which bears the imprimatur of the Queensland government. This is what is projected by the Queensland Labor government's own modelling: it says that the difference in employment in Queensland with a carbon tax as opposed to a scenario where there is no carbon tax will be a difference of 41,000 jobs. There will be 41,000 fewer jobs as a result of the carbon tax. That is what the Labor Party itself says. I do not mean any disrespect to your state, Mr Deputy President, when I say that this is the government that caused Queensland to fall behind every state in the country, including Tasmania, in the middle of a mining boom! How do you do that? How can you manage the Queensland economy so badly that it was the worst performing economy—worse even than Tasmania, which has been reduced to an industrial museum by the Labor-Green alliance in that state? Queensland did worse in the middle of a mining boom! It takes rare genius to do that. But wait for it, Mr Deputy President: the Queensland Treasury's own assessment is that the difference in gross state product in Queensland as a result of the carbon tax is some $28 billion. The Queensland gross state product will be $28 billion less in the out years as a result of the carbon tax, according to the Queensland Treasury.

Mr Deputy President, I see you inquiring into my eyes and asking: why is it that Queenslanders are so infuriated with this Labor government? It is not just the catastrophe of the state health system. It is not the fact that the roads are in disrepair. It is not the fact that government services cannot be delivered. This Labor Premier and this Labor Treasurer, who are so incompetent that they reduced Queensland to sub-Tasmanian economic performance in the middle of a mining boom, are also complicit in introducing a carbon tax which will wipe $28 billion—on their own estimate—off the Queensland gross state product and cost 41,000 Queensland jobs. And they are proud of themselves. Let us see what the people of Queensland have to say about that on Saturday.