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Wednesday, 12 September 2012
Page: 10383

Carbon Pricing

Mr SCHULTZ (Hume) (15:00): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer the Acting Prime Minister to this bill received by the Calvary John James Hospital here in Canberra that shows its off-peak electricity rate has increased by 66 per cent because of the carbon tax. Will the Acting Prime Minister apologise to its CEO, Shaune Gillespie, who stated:

Every dollar that we pay in carbon tax is a dollar less that we reinvest into our organisation. … So we are looking at $84,000 that could have improved patient care …

Why are patients bearing the brunt of your government's broken promise? (Time expired)

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (15:01): I thank the member for Hume for his question, because what we have seen in this House, day after day, are allegations of that nature, and they are generally always wrong. They are always exaggerated, they are always taken out of context, and there are a litany of them. So I am happy to examine the bill, but I want to make a couple of points.

The fact is that the fear campaign run by the Leader of the Opposition has now simply run out of steam. It has run right into a brick wall. And why has it run right into a brick wall? Because many of these allegations have been proven to be false. He even recognised this himself when he was down in Tasmania a few weeks ago, where he was forced to admit that the impacts he had been claiming the carbon price would have were not going to happen. He admitted that. Of course, that does not gel with all of the statements he and others from the coalition had been making that the carbon price was going to be a wrecking ball right through our economy—

Mr Schultz: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: the answer from the Deputy Prime Minister does not have any relation to the question that I asked. I ask you to request that the Deputy Prime Minister respond to the question.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The member for Hume will resume his seat. The Acting Prime Minister has the call.

Mr SWAN: It is very interesting that it is no longer the Leader of the Opposition who asks these questions. He no longer asks these questions, and I wonder why that is the case. I think he wants to separate himself from his immediate past, not just his past going back a decade or so—

Ms Julie Bishop: Madam Deputy Speaker—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Deputy Leader of the Opposition will resume her seat. The Acting Prime Minister will return to the question before the chair.

Mr SWAN: Certainly, Deputy Speaker. Hospitals do not pay the carbon price. Yes, there is an impact on electricity costs—there is no doubt about that—but there is no direct imposition of the carbon price on hospitals. And as the Treasury modelling estimates—

Opposition members interjecting

Mr SWAN: I guess they prove my point all of the time with this outrageous exaggeration. The Australian public has recognised it for what it is, which is outrageous exaggeration. But they are still in here trying to run the fear campaign when it has run into a brick wall. That is why the Leader of the Opposition is not going to come in here and ask these sorts of incorrect questions; the campaign that he has been running has simply run out of steam. That says a lot about those opposite—that they do not have any alternative policy framework for this country other than to put their stamp of approval on savage cuts to health and education in the states of Queensland and New South Wales. This is one of the reasons why there is radio silence now from the Leader of the Opposition. He is not out there talking about these things because he is not fair dinkum.

Mr Abbott: Madam Deputy Speaker, on a point of order: for the benefit of the Acting Prime Minister, there is a military funeral on today—a military funeral—and that is why I thought it would be best not to go out and do a party-political doorstop interview. The Acting Prime Minister has been informed via the Leader of the House, and he should not make those sorts of smears in this parliament.

Mr SWAN: Where has the Leader of the Opposition been for the past week?

Mr McCormack interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The member for Riverina!

Mr Schultz: Madam Acting Speaker, I ask leave of the House to table the document from the hospital which quite clearly shows that they pay carbon tax.

Leave not granted.

Mr Albanese: I table A tax to make the polluter pay by Greg Hunt.