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Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Page: 199

Carbon Pricing


Senator SMITH (Western Australia) (14:24): My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Senator Cormann, and I congratulate Senator Cormann on his elevation. Can the minister explain to the Senate why repealing Labor's carbon tax is so important to building a stronger Australia?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance) (14:25): I thank Senator Smith for that question. I know that he is very committed to the coalition's promise to scrap the carbon tax as swiftly as possible, because scrapping the carbon tax is very important for Australia's future. Scrapping the carbon tax will help families and pensioners across Australia. It will help workers and businesses across Australia. It will help strengthen our economy and, of course, it delivers on a clear and emphatic commitment that we took to the last election. Unlike the Labor Party, we stick to the commitments that we take to the election after the election.

Unlike the Labor Party, which went to the 2010 election promising that there will be no carbon tax under a government led by Julia Gillard—only to introduce one after the election—we are committed to delivering on the commitments that we took to the last election. Scrapping Labor's carbon tax will help families and will help pensioners because it will bring down the cost of electricity. In bringing down the cost of electricity it will bring down the cost of living. It will help businesses across Australia because it will help reduce the cost of doing business and it will help make the position of workers more secure. It will make jobs more secure because, of course, it will help businesses across Australia prosper.

It will help to strengthen the economy. Look no further than the former government's own economic modelling: the modelling released by the former government showed that as a result of their carbon tax our economy was going to grow by $1 trillion less in 2012 dollars between 2012 and 2050—a whopping $1 trillion of economic growth was taken out of our economy as a result of Labor's carbon tax. Scrapping the carbon tax will strengthen Australia. (Time expired)


Senator SMITH (Western Australia) (14:27): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. What support has the government received for its plans to abolish the carbon tax?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance) (14:27): Thank you, Senator Smith. The most important support we received was, of course, the support of the Australian people, and the Labor Party is in complete denial about the result of the last election—in complete denial. Today we have had support from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Australian Industry Group, the Business Council of Australia and the Minerals Council of Australia—all calling on Labor to help us scrap the carbon tax as soon as possible in the national interest.

Senator Wong: You didn't listen to them when they supported an ETS!

Senator CORMANN: We have these interjections, Mr President, because they say, 'Well that is of course obvious that they would support that sort of policy.' We have also had some support, I am pleased to tell you, from an unexpected source—none other than the Labor Party; none other than Senator Louise Pratt, who circulated a flyer at the last election: 'Carbon tax: abolished. Kevin Rudd and Labor have removed the carbon tax'.

Senator Pratt: I sure did!

Senator CORMANN: Perhaps Senator Pratt was thinking ahead! Perhaps Senator Pratt was thinking about the next election! (Time expired)






Senator SMITH (Western Australia) (14:29): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. What would be the impact on Australian families and businesses if the carbon tax is not scrapped?


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance) (14:29): The impact would be higher electricity prices for families, higher electricity prices for pensioners, higher electricity prices for business, fewer jobs, a slower growing economy. That would be the impact of Labor's plans to stop us from implementing our mandate to scrap the carbon tax.

There was no footnote, no fine print, no qualification, nothing whatsoever in this flyer that made the commitment here to scrap the carbon tax conditional. This is what it said, and I repeat it to the chamber. I was surprised to come across this flyer in Western Australia, but Senator Pratt distributed this flyer and she is nodding, she is confirming it: 'Carbon tax: abolished. Kevin Rudd and Labor have removed the carbon tax.' Nowhere here does it say that there will be some sort of additional tax, a different tax, another tax, a floating tax instead of a fixed tax. It says, 'Carbon tax abolished' and Labor should— (Time expired)