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Wednesday, 17 August 2011
Page: 4620

Senator LUDWIG (QueenslandMinister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Manager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister Assisting the Attorney-General on Queensland Floods Recovery) (10:42): I will start by addressing your first question, which was put some 15 minutes ago when you first started. As an aside, I know that you are struggling in your filibuster to remain focused on the amendment. Notwithstanding that, why I come to the conclusion that you oppose any action on climate change is clear. You have no department, no legislation and no rigour around the model you propose. Plus, if you look at your direct action policy, you do not have any rigour around that either, nor do you have protections for agricultural land.

Senator Milne: No regulatory body; no negative list.

Senator LUDWIG: You have nothing—thank you, Senator Milne. All of that is why I come to the conclusion that you oppose any action on climate change. It highlights that all you are now doing is filibustering the legislation.

I go now to the only question you have asked all morning, which I have answered three times now, just to make sure that it is plain to you. This is an amendment everyone agrees to. It provides in clause 56 those matters, those criteria, that can be taken into account. That is, clearly, the protection that is provided. That is why you proposed it, that is why you agreed to it and that is why we also concede that it is reasonable to include it. It provides the list of matters for the case where, as the bill reads:

In deciding whether to recommend to the Governor-General that regulations should be made for the purposes of subsection (1) specifying a particular kind of project, the Minister must have regard to whether there is a significant risk—

that will now read 'material risk'—

that that kind of project will have a significant adverse impact on one or more of the following: …

And that list will now include the item we are now debating.

In addition to all of that, what you fail to appreciate—or maybe you do—is that you are now focusing on excluded offset projects. If this bill eventually passes—I would hope today, although that seems to be skating away—it will mean that we will have positive lists. In other words, we can focus on the positives rather than the negatives. You have remained focused on the negatives not the positives. I understand why you continue to the focus on the negatives. You do not want this bill to pass. You do not agree that this bill will provide the types of benefits to landholders and the farming community that they can participate in. You want your direct action policy to win so that you can share the confetti that it might have, but it does nothing for the environment, it does nothing to reduce carbon pollution, it does nothing with any rigour, and with no department it cannot have much legislative support.

I will not take up the whole 15 minutes, as this is an important amendment. We agree to it and it should pass. It would be in the best interests of all of us that we do not filibuster. You have been filibustering all morning on this. We have ranged quite widely in this debate, which has been an opportunity for you to get it all off your chest, so now let's get on with it.