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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 7840


Ms RISHWORTH (2:39 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer.


Mr Sidebottom interjecting


The SPEAKER —The member for Kingston will resume her seat. The member for Braddon. I am not sure the early flight gets him back home. The member for Kingston has the call.


Ms RISHWORTH —Why is it so important that business gets the certainty it needs from the implementation of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme and what has the reaction been to other proposals?


Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —I thank the member for Kingston for her question. It is the case that from day one of the Rudd government we announced our intention to introduce a cap-and-trade scheme. It is the case that we have had a green paper, that we have had a white paper and that we have had extensive modelling. It is the case that there is legislation that has been before the parliament for some time. And through all of that discussion with the Australian people, and most particularly with the business community, there has been one theme. What the country needs, what the business community requires, is certainty. They require certainty because they require certainty for investment. Investment, of course, goes to the very core of job creation in a low-pollution economy. What the government is doing is putting in place a scheme which will set this country up for the future. And what we get from those opposite is just a completely negative approach. What we have seen in here today is how divided and how delusional they are—completely divided, completely delusional and completely incapable of constructing an alternative policy which goes to the very core of future prosperity in this country and where our children and our grandchildren will get jobs.

You would think, when there is such a big issue of such national importance, that those opposite could rise above their division and come to the table and do something constructive. But they have not done that. They have got the hide to come into this House and pretend that they have a policy when they do not. Just today in the House two of the questions have been from the National Party, who are absolutely opposed to any scheme at all. We have seen both sides of the argument already. Business want to move forward with confidence while those opposite want to leave them in the past. They want to chain business to the past by their refusal to discuss and put forward a positive alternative. That is the problem we have, because there can be no certainty when those opposite do not have any alternative amendments—and they do not. And, of course, there can be no certainty when there are no targets. It was made very clear when their shadow minister, Mr Danny Price, who does not sit in this House but who appeared with the Leader of the Opposition, said that there would be moving targets and that there could be fewer permits if things changed in the electricity industry. Of course, what that means is that, if things were to change in the electricity industry, the rest of the business community, the rest of the economy, would pay the price. This scheme that the government has put forward is in the national interest. Those opposite are voting against certainty, confidence and jobs—and for that they should be condemned.