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Tuesday, 26 June 2012
Page: 7992

Carbon Pricing

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (15:03): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister that Labor's own carbon tax modelling assumes 'comparable carbon pricing in other major economies from 2015.' I also remind the Prime Minister that last week carbon market analysts at Thomson Reuters cut their forecasts for international carbon prices until 2020 by 59 per cent to just $4.30. Does the Prime Minister think $4.30 is comparable to the price that she is introducing at $23?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:04): I thank the shadow Treasurer for his question and I thank him for the fact that in the past he has very clearly said things like, 'Inevitably we will have a price on carbon, we will have to.' He has proudly talked about how the Howard government were the initiators of the idea of an emissions trading scheme and how they went to an election promising it and so on. I thank the shadow Treasurer for his fulsome support of carbon pricing and, no doubt, it drives his interest in internationally linked carbon markets.

When we look at carbon pricing around the world, we obviously see a variety of prices in different schemes. We have seen volatility in prices in Europe. That is unsurprising, given we have seen volatility on all markets in Europe, given the nature of the economic circumstances there. What the government has done in addressing the starting price for our carbon pricing scheme is to work out the appropriate price to drive a change in our economy to a clean energy future at the least cost. I am sure the shadow Treasurer is very distressed, given his support for emissions trading and carbon pricing, that instead of this most efficient, effective and least cost approach he is committed through the Leader of the Opposition—

Mr Hockey: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order on relevance: the question was about the government's price of $23 a tonne and rising versus international prices of $4.30 a tonne.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): Order! The Prime Minister is addressing the question. She has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Madam Deputy Speaker, thank you. I was making the point that having a mechanism of carbon pricing, as the shadow Treasurer well knows, is always the most efficient approach as compared to the wasteful policy with higher cost that the Leader of the Opposition has committed his political party to. On prices around the world, the average EU price over the past four financial years comes in directly at A$23 a tonne. Over the next few years the Climate Institute expects Britain will have a carbon price of $24 to $30 a tonne; Sweden will have a price of $130 a tonne; Switzerland, $30 to $60 a tonne; Norway, $53 a tonne; Ireland, $24 to $37 a tonne—and the list goes on. And of course, as the shadow Treasurer would well know, we are seeing moves to emissions trading schemes in our region, including the recent decision by the Republic of Korea to move to an emissions trading scheme, the trialling of emissions trading schemes in provinces in China, and the list goes on. I say to the shadow Treasurer: he ought not to risk his own reputation by joining the Leader of the Opposition in this stupid, cynical, negative fear campaign. He has in the past stood up for carbon pricing; he should have the integrity to do it now.

Mr Abbott: Who's talking about integrity!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition is warned! The member for Mackellar.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Madam Deputy Speaker, I have a supplementary.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, the opposition have used up their two supplementary questions. The member for Kingston has the call.