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Tuesday, 28 February 2012
Page: 2033

Carbon Pricing


Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:01): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister of her admission yesterday that she had made mistakes over the past 18 months. Was one of those mistakes telling the Australian people, five days before the election, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead'? Will she now apologise for this deception and rescind the operation of the carbon tax until after the next election?

The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the Opposition will retract the word 'deceive' because that is unparliamentary.

Mr ABBOTT: The word was 'deception'.

The SPEAKER: That is a derivative of the same word. It suggests a mental element of intentionally saying the wrong thing. It is disorderly. The leader will withdraw.

Mr ABBOTT: I will withdraw and I will ask her to explain.

An opposition member: You should repeat the question!

The SPEAKER: If I identified the member who did that interjection, he would be No. 1 for today. The honourable Prime Minister has the call.







Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:03): To the Leader of the Opposition's question: last year this parliament put a price on carbon. It did that because we want our nation to seize a clean energy future. The Leader of the Opposition himself has been in favour of putting a price on carbon. He went to the 2007 election on a platform of introducing an emissions trading scheme. On this side of the parliament, we have always said that the best way of tackling climate change—the cheapest, the most effective way—was to put a price on carbon—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop interjecting

The SPEAKER: The honourable member for Mackellar will restrain herself.

Ms GILLARD: and we have achieved that.

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on direct relevance. It was a simple question: was this statement one of the mistakes that the Prime Minister now regrets? She should directly answer that question.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will be directly relevant to the question.

Ms GILLARD: Putting a price on carbon was the right thing to do, and I stand by it. It was the right thing to do to seize a clean energy future. The Leader of the Opposition is on the public record saying that.

Ms Julie Bishop interjecting

Ms GILLARD: The deputy leader, who interjects, is on the public record saying that. The member for Sturt is on the public record saying that. They all went to the 2007 election pledging to vote for that in this parliament. When it comes to talking about deception on this question, they might like to explain to the Australian people why they were in favour—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order.

The SPEAKER: There is no point of order at this point because all the Prime Minister has said is that, when it comes to the point of deception, they might like to explain to the Australian people. If the Prime Minister were to accuse the opposition of deception, she would be compelled to withdraw. That could well be coming. It has not yet come. The Prime Minister has the call.

Ms GILLARD: Mr Speaker, I am more than happy to rephrase. It falls to the opposition to explain how the most senior figures of this opposition went to the 2007 election campaign saying that they believed in putting a price on carbon, that they would all vote for putting a price on carbon—

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Clearly, putting together the allegation of what happened in 2007 and the word 'deception' goes to intent, and she should withdraw.

The SPEAKER: Has the honourable member finished?

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop: Yes. There has to be one rule about this word.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has been asked about a statement made prior to the election and has been asked if she would apologise for that statement. The Prime Minister has the call to answer the question.

Ms GILLARD: The senior figures of the opposition should explain why they went to the 2007 election, hands on their hearts, saying, 'I will walk into the parliament and I will vote for a price on carbon.'

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will become directly relevant and will answer the question.

Ms GILLARD: I am asked whether or not carbon pricing is a mistake for this country, and I am pointing out that carbon pricing in this nation has had strong bipartisan support, and that is why it is not a mistake for the nation. It has been supported fulsomely by the Leader of the Opposition. He sought election in 2007 on the basis that he would vote for carbon pricing—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will return to being directly relevant.

Ms GILLARD: and he probably said that in 2007 because he believed then, as did Prime Minister Howard—

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister will resume her seat. Next question?

Ms GILLARD: that it was the right thing for the nation.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister no longer has the call. Next question? The honourable member for North Sydney on a supp—

Mr Hockey: On a question. You asked for questions: 'Next question?' I am standing, asking for the call, sir. No-one else was standing—

The SPEAKER: No, I was of the view that the honourable member for North Sydney was approaching the dispatch box seeking to ask a supplementary, and naturally I would have accorded him precedence had that been the case. The honourable member for Greenway.

Ms Smyth: For La Trobe.

The SPEAKER: La Trobe, sorry. Congratulations are in order for the honourable member for Greenway and her husband, Michael, on producing a young Australian. The honourable member for La Trobe has the call.