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Thursday, 21 June 2012
Page: 7492

Carbon Pricing

Ms JULIE BISHOP (Curtin—Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (14:10): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I remind the Acting Prime Minister that he ruled out Labor introducing a carbon tax seven days before the last election, saying, 'We reject this hysterical allegation that we are moving towards a carbon tax.' Given that this so-called hysterical allegation will be a fact of life for every Australian in just over a week, swinging through the economy like a wrecking ball and putting the python squeeze on every family budget, how can the Australian people— (Time expired)

Opposition members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The member's time has expired. The end of the question was invalid.

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:11): I thank the Deputy Leader of the Opposition for her question, because I, like everyone on this side of the House, have always believed in pricing carbon—in putting in place an emissions trading scheme to do that. That is what we are doing with a fixed price for three years.

Of course, there was once a time when those opposite believed in an emissions trading scheme as well—until the current Leader of the Opposition got rid of the former Leader of the Opposition, the member for Wentworth. We are getting these hysterical claims from the opposition about the fact that there will not be any investment, that the economy will not grow and that price rises will go through the roof, and they are disproved day after day after day. This is what the opposition leader had to say recently—

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. His own words were put back to the Acting Prime Minister that the carbon tax would be a 'hysterical allegation' before the last election. That is the question that he has to answer. Does he stand by that? How can he be trusted again?

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business is looking for a point of order on relevance. The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.

Mr SWAN: We have had many of these wild claims; one which in fact said that there will be no new investment. Well, what we have today is an announcement from Rio Tinto—an additional $4.2 billion to expand iron ore output. And we also have a pretty good statement from the head of Shell, which is investing more than $30 billion in Australia. This is what the chief executive has had to say:

Shell as a company is actually very much advocating that we need a price for carbon on the worldwide basis and we want that to be on a market mechanism.

So all of these predictions that a carbon price is going to kill investment, that it is going to wipe out Whyalla—all of these things are just untrue.

But what they do is talk down our economy. Those opposite talk down our economy every day, and that is an insult to the hard work of tens of thousands of small business people and millions of workers in this country. We on this side of the House understand that putting in place a price on carbon pollution will drive investment, particularly in energy efficiency and renewable energy. That is what prosperous economies in the 21st century need; that is why we are behind it. It is in the history of reform that makes us on this side of the House progressives and you on that side of the House reactionaries, because we understand what must be done for the future so we leave our country a better place for our children and our grandchildren.