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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 7843


Mr TURNBULL (2:52 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the answer of his Minister for Resources and Energy just a moment ago, where he confirmed, as has Senator Wong, that the government is in the midst of negotiating major changes to the design of its emissions trading scheme. How can the Prime Minister justify demanding the parliament immediately approve an emissions trading scheme which is plainly and admittedly incomplete and under construction?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —It is a sad thing to watch a leader’s credibility disappearing through the carpet. A leader’s credibility disappearing through the carpet on something as important to the nation as climate change, and with profound consequences for the Senate, is a tragedy for us all, because it goes to whether or not we are going to have certainty for business and certainty for the economy for the future.

What I say to the Leader of the Opposition, as he lifts the volume in order to camouflage the absence of substance in his contribution to this debate, because his leadership authority has collapsed on climate change and across the board, is as follows: if those opposite were serious about having a policy position to advance in the Senate debate on the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme, why did they not move an amendment? Where is the policy? If those opposite are serious about change to the legislation, where is the policy; where are the amendments? Neither of them exist, because this is one huge political fig leaf to cover up one core political fact—it is to paper over the terminal divisions within the Liberal Party. That is what it is all about. The fact that they cannot summon up a common position to take decisive action on climate change—20 months into this government’s life and through multiple reports in the public domain about our course of action for the future—demonstrates one thing and one thing alone: a collapsed leadership.

What we have seen today, as I said in my earlier remarks, is the return of the Liberal Party old guard on climate change. We see a victory for Wilson Tuckey and all the voices of the past on climate change and we see the Liberal Party abandoning what this nation needs for the future on climate change. We will get on with the business of reforming for the future, as the Liberals languish in the debates of the past.