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Wednesday, 30 May 2012
Page: 6234


Mr BRIGGS (Mayo) (11:02): I will continue on from where I left off last night, when I was interrupted by the adjournment of the House. I was making the point that this is a terrible piece of legislation. It is probably one of the most insidious aspects of the Labor and Green alliance that we have seen in this hung parliament. Long-term damage will be done by this allocation of some $10 billion of Australian taxpayer money, which will be allocated for projects which have not met commercial viability tests, which the market will not fund, and which will distort an already existing market for renewable technologies. It is widely accepted that in renewable energy markets those companies and entrepreneurs who have already invested much in those technologies will be damaged. Those people have already put their own capital and work into creating these circumstances.

The member for Melbourne nods his head—he accepts that. The member for Melbourne knows better than the market does! The member for Melbourne knows exactly which of his mates, which industries, he would prefer to fund with $10 billion of Australian taxpayer money. That is exactly what this is all about. This is part of the sorry deal that the Australian Labor Party have made, much to their shame. We know that there are good ministers in that government who are increasingly stepping out of this deal, who no longer want to be associated with it. One of the ministers at the table, I know, is increasingly uncomfortable. I say, good on that minister, for some of the hard policy decisions he has forced through the Labor caucus in the last week. Good on you, Minister Grey. Good on the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and good on the Minister for Resources and Energy for standing up for good public policy in this nation against the vested interests of those on their left who are putting so much pressure on their base with their idealism, which is outside of the reality of how you need to govern this country.

This will be one of the worst legacies of this Labor government—this Labor-Greens alliance. The minister at the table knows it. That is why he is slowly but surely making his views the real policy views which need to be taken to ensure that this country is successful in the future. We know that the Greens approach to Australian public policy—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Grierson ): Member for Mayo, I remind you to confine your comments to the legislation before the House.

Mr BRIGGS: I am, Madam Deputy Speaker; very much so.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I am listening very carefully.

Mr BRIGGS: This is a Greens wish list. This is a Greens desire. The new leader of the Greens, Senator Christine Milne, is taking the Greens even further to the left. I never thought I would see someone—she has taken over in recent days—take Bob Brown further to the left. We know there is not a lot of happiness in the Greens, because we have read about it recently. There is not a lot of happiness with the new leadership team.

Dr Leigh: I rise on a point of order. Deputy Speaker, the member for Mayo is defying your ruling, which was very clear. He should restrict his comments to those that are relevant to the bill before the House today.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Mayo, I encourage you to confine your comments to the cognate bills before the House.

Mr BRIGGS: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I understand the embarrassment of the member for Fraser. For a so-called economist to be standing by this piece of legislation he must be ashamed of himself. You must be ashamed. You can hand back the little prize that you got a little while ago—

Ms King: I rise on a point of order. The member is now impugning another member. I ask him to withdraw or go back to the substance of the debate.

Mr Tony Smith: On the point of order, the members opposite are clearly trying to curtail debate. If they want to use this tactic they will find that it will become a habit through this debate.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Member for Mayo, before you continue, you have had two advices from the chair. I would like you to refrain from personal comments and to confine your comments to the legislation before the House rather than to the tactics.

Mr BRIGGS: Madam Deputy Speaker, I am being completely relevant regarding this legislation, because we know that there are members on that side who are very uncomfortable with these pieces of legislation, for very good reason: because it makes no economic sense. We know how much this Labor government have wasted over the last five years. Now we are going to hand them $10 billion to give to their mates in the Greens as a little reward for the support in keeping them in government. That is what this bill is all about. It is a shameful waste of Australian taxpayers' money. That is why there is so much sensitivity from those on the other side, trying to interrupt coalition speakers on this bill—because they know this will hang over them for a generation of Labor MPs who have stood by this piece of legislation.

One of the other issues that I will touch on, briefly, as I have been interrupted on so many occasions during this contribution, is that it strikes me as passing strange, in relation to the appointment of the CEO of this organisation, that the CEO's remuneration will not be set by the Remuneration Tribunal. I wonder how the member for Melbourne stands by that in his electorate? Presumably we will see an NBN-style CEO payment of about $2 million a year. I wonder if the member for Melbourne will go out to his electorate and tell his Green constituents that—that the member for Melbourne's piece of legislation, that he and Senator Christine Milne want and support, would encourage and allow market rates for this so-called bank. The market rate is not going to be anywhere under seven figures. So I look forward to the brochure from the member for Melbourne talking about executive salaries. What hypocrisy! What utter hypocrisy! What an absolutely hypocritical thing for you to do, sir, when you claim that you stand by the low-paid in society and rail against high bank salaries. I bet you this salary will be nothing under seven figures. Why else would it be outside the Remuneration Tribunal? And those on the other side know it. They know it.

This is a terrible piece of legislation. It should not pass the parliament. It will inflict damage on our economy for years to come. They should be ashamed of themselves for supporting it. (Time expired)