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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Page: 7982

Carbon Pricing


Ms JULIE BISHOP (CurtinDeputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:24): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to her statement before the last election with respect to a carbon tax that:

… first we will need to establish a community consensus for action.

Does the Prime Minister believe that she has established a community consensus for her carbon tax, or is her statement before the election as misleading as her promise that 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead'?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:24): In answer to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition's question, what I believe is that we have established a way of ensuring that this nation has a clean energy future. We have established a way of this nation tackling climate change. We have established a way that this nation will join 850 million other people around the globe who are covered by carbon-pricing schemes. We will ensure that in our nation, which is an emissions-intensive economy, we at the lowest cost possible begin a journey of change to a cleaner energy future.

Ms Julie Bishop: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker: the Prime Minister spoke of a community consensus on 13 occasions. How is that community consensus going? That is what we want to know.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. Points of order are not an opportunity to introduce debate.

Ms GILLARD: I was asked a very broad question about what I believe, and I am taking the opportunity to explain it to the House. I believe that it is important for our nation to protect our precious environment. I believe that climate change is being caused by carbon pollution. I believe our nation must address this challenge. I believe that pretending that this challenge will somehow fix itself is not only abdicating your responsibility to the current generation but also letting future generations down, our nation's children and grandchildren. Therefore I believe that it is important for our nation to start tackling this challenge, and from 1 July we will.

This is a need that was recognised very clearly by the former Howard government. The former Howard government did not seek to have the nation believe in denial of the climate change science. The former Howard government did not pretend to the Australian people that there was any other way of doing this effectively than carbon pricing. The former Howard government stood for a comprehensive emissions trading scheme—as did the Deputy Leader of the Opposition when she was a member of that government, as did the Leader of the Opposition when he was a member of that government, and as they have on many occasions since stood for carbon pricing.

But there was a moment of course when the opposition decided that their negativity was better for their politics than supporting a clean energy future. There was a moment when they decided their self-interest was more important than the nation's interest. There was a moment when they decided that the peddling of fear was more important than the statement of fact. There was a moment when they decided to let this generation of Australians down, the next generation and the generation beyond that. Well, the government has moved to put carbon pricing in place. The Leader of the Opposition's fear campaign runs into all of the facts on 1 July, and every hollow, irresponsible, negative campaign claim he has made will be exposed at that time as an untruth, always untrue and continuing to be untrue. (Time expired)