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Thursday, 1 March 2012
Page: 2514

Carbon Pricing

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:06): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind her of the statement of Don Argus that the carbon tax is 'badly designed, hurriedly implemented' and will not achieve its core aims. What is the Prime Minister's response?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:07): To the Leader of the Opposition I say the government has a very different view about the future of the nation. First, our nation has been debating the impact of climate change and the need for a price on carbon for the better part of a decade. Indeed, the former Howard government developed a plan for an emissions trading scheme which, had the former Howard government been elected in 2007, it would have legislated for to commence by now. If the former Howard government had been re-elected in 2007, under the platform the Leader of the Opposition took to that election as a senior minister, there would be a carbon price in place by now.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will return to the question.

Ms GILLARD: So any claim that this has been hurried in development of course does not stand the test of looking at that history.

In terms of the impact of carbon pricing, we know that the most efficient way of cutting carbon pollution is to put a price on carbon. That is what the legislation does. We know that it will cut the amount of carbon pollution—

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Don Argus said that it was badly designed and would not achieve its core aim. She should be directly relevant to that question in her response.

The SPEAKER: I am sure the Prime Minister is imminently about to address the substance of the question. The honourable the Prime Minister continues to have the call.

Ms GILLARD: I am answering the claim that the scheme is badly designed by explaining why the scheme is well designed and will achieve its purpose. A price on carbon will cut carbon pollution at the least possible cost to the economy. A price on carbon will reduce the amount of carbon pollution that is in the atmosphere by 160 million tonnes in 2020. A price on carbon will enable us to increase pensions, to increase family payments and to triple the tax-free threshold. What that means is that there will be better rewards for people to going to work, particularly second income earners who are perhaps making a choice to return to work part-time—overwhelmingly women. What this means is we will see our economy transform to a cleaner energy future whilst Australian families are supported. Millions of families will actually come out better off as a result of putting a price on carbon and seeing a pension increase of family payments or a tax cut.

Mr Van Manen interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Forde will remain silent.

Ms GILLARD: This is therefore a well-designed—indeed, the best designed—scheme.

It is a sharp contrast to the scheme advocated for by the Leader of the Opposition, which of course is the most efficient way to do it, would impose huge costs on Australian businesses and would require Australian—

Mr Simpkins interjecting

Ms GILLARD: families to stump up a payment of $1,300 per year each, having lost their tax cuts, family payment increases and pension increases. We stand by seizing a clean energy future. The Leader of the Opposition knows nothing except scare campaigns.