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Tuesday, 20 September 2011
Page: 10844


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (17:05): The less coal that is burned, the less tax we will raise and the less money we will have to spend. The more renewables we use, the higher the costs and the more compensation needed. It would appear that the government has not contemplated any level of success in this purported environmental policy. It can only be deduced that this government has become so used to failed policies that it is now creating policies that are actually designed to fail.

It is no wonder that the Copenhagen Consensus Center found that a carbon tax would be the worst policy solution to achieve real results in fighting climate change. Technical innovation was found to be the best policy response, and history has taught us that this occurs with relative speed. For example, the invention of the catalytic converter 30 years ago dealt directly with the onset of acid rain. This problem would not have been resolved had governments simply increased the price of petrol. We are better off implementing smaller-scale direct action mitigation strategies and investing our money in scientific development of technological ideas. Imagine a situation where the world's scientists combined their collective knowledge and creativity in the pursuit of technological innovation. This would be far preferable to a money-go-round to compensate for higher taxes.

With this legislation we are revisiting the Melbourne Cup syndrome of 1931, as we handicap our greatest champion to become very ordinary. Just as in 1931, the damage this will do to our economy will only lead punters across the country to a state of great depression. In this crucial economic race, this legislation is the policy that will stop the nation.