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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3373


Mr CRAIG KELLY (Hughes) (12:26): I take great pleasure to rise in this consideration in detail stage of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (Abolition) Bill 2013, take 2. It is take 2 because this bill has already been to this House. It was debated in this House and it was passed on 21 November last year, and we did so to meet one of our election commitments. The coalition went to the last election with a very clear policy that we would abolish the Clean Energy Finance Corporation. We did so on the clear basis that we do not support taking $10 billion of taxpayers' money, actually borrowing $10 billion of taxpayers' money, putting the government further and further in debt, to spend on projects that the private sector has deemed too risky.

We heard the opposition leader in this chamber this morning whingeing about the government keeping our promises. But he, with his senators hand in hand with the Greens, has prevented the coalition government from keeping our promises. We know that the previous Labor government broke promise after promise. We know what they did on the carbon tax. In 2010 they went to the election with the then Prime Minister promising there would be no carbon tax under the government she led. Of course, they broke that promise. Then in 2013, only last year, they went to that election making out to the Australian public that they had abolished, terminated, the carbon tax. And now they come in here and whinge about the government not keeping our promises when we are keeping our promises in this House, the bill goes over to the Senate and they reject it. That is why we are here today.

I have heard many of the speakers on the other side and I see the good member for Rankin and the good member for Scullin over there ready to speak on this consideration in detail. I am sure one of the points they might raise is how wonderful this Clean Energy Finance Corporation has been and how it is actually making money for the government.

Dr Chalmers: Good point!

Mr CRAIG KELLY: Well, if it is making that money for the government, why aren't you investing your own money in it? If you think this is so good, how much of your own money are you putting in it? Why are you prepared to put taxpayers' money at risk when you won't put your own money in it? That is the ultimate question. That is the ultimate question, because they know as well that this scheme will waste and lose taxpayers' money. That is the reason they wouldn't put one cent of their own in it. They want the Australian taxpayer to wear a risk that they are not prepared to take.

We have seen an example of why the taxpayer is not needed with Mr Flannery's Climate Commission, which this government also abolished to the great howls and cries of members of the opposition. But what then happened? They then went and said: 'Look, this is terrible. This evil government has closed us down.' They were then able to receive donations from the public. So we in government today are able to receive the benefit of the wise, insightful opinions of Mr Flannery and listen to his predictions without it costing the taxpayer one cent, because it is funded privately!

Mr Fletcher: It's a win-win.

Mr CRAIG KELLY: It is a win-win situation, as the parliamentary secretary says. Any speaker that stands up and says how wonderful this scheme is and how it is returning a great return to the taxpayer should also state why they are not prepared to invest their own money in it.

We have seen examples overseas of the dangers and the risks to taxpayers. We have seen in the USA the massive $700 million failure of the Solyndra project—US taxpayers' money flushed down the toilet and wasted. That is what we should be learning from. We have also seen it here. Many people may remember the Bligh Labor government in Queensland's ZeroGen project in which they invested $100 million of taxpayers' money. They said how wonderful this was, how it was going to create all this renewable energy and why the taxpayer should put their money in—and anyone who objected to it was said to be on drugs. We know what happened. That project failed and $100 million of taxpayers' money was wasted. We are in such a dire financial situation that we cannot afford to put any more taxpayers' money at risk. (Time expired)