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Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Page: 6107


Senator RONALDSON (Victoria) (15:22): I also rise to take note of answers given by Senator Wong to questions asked by coalition senators about carbon pricing. It is not actually the question I was hoping to be speaking on, but, nonetheless, I am pleased to participate in this part of the debate. I note the comments of Senator Gallacher, who spoke earlier. I am sorry he is not here. If my memory serves me correctly, Senator Gallacher and, indeed, Senator Sterle made a big song and dance about the carbon tax and transport, but what needs to be remembered is that, if the Australian Labor Party is re-elected, in 2015 there will indeed be a carbon tax on transport. I did not hear Senator Gallacher talk about that today. I wonder why. He knows what effect the carbon tax will have on transport from 2015. I would have hoped that he would stand up today to defend and look after his constituency by viciously attacking the imposition of a carbon tax on transport. He knows what financial impact it will have on the sector; he knows the potential employment impact.

I want to talk about the greatest lie ever told in a deliberate attempt to mislead the Australian people, and that, of course, was the statement by the Prime Minister prior to the last election that there would be no carbon tax under a government that she led. That indeed has proved to be a lie. The opposition have said quite clearly that we will untie this lie. If we are elected we will abolish the carbon tax. I suspect I know what will happen in relation to the carbon tax after the next election if we win it. Those opposite will be sitting on the side of the parliament which is voting for the abolition of that carbon tax. They will be voting with us in relation to the carbon tax, so every single word uttered by Minister Wong and the conga line of people on the other side about the bonuses and positive impact of the carbon tax will be thrown out in about the time it takes to count the vote after the division, which will no doubt be called by the Greens, who no doubt will be Labor's bed partners at that stage.

In the time left to me, I want to go back to a question asked by Senator Nash of Minister Wong. I do not think anyone should underestimate the impact of the Prime Minister's comment in the past week on small business in this country. When the Prime Minister said that business should simply pass on additional costs to customers in full, she belled the cat on the impact of this tax on small business and on all Australians. It was an extraordinary statement from the Prime Minister of this country. It was a statement undoubtedly driven by the fact that she knows in her heart of hearts what impact this tax will have. She knows full well that she told the world's greatest lie in relation to the world's greatest carbon tax before the last election, to buy off the vote of the Australian Greens. We are now confronted with a tax that will do untold economic damage to this country, and the Australian Labor Party is going to vote to abolish it anyway after the next election if the coalition is elected.

I want to talk about the company that Senator Nash referred to, Geoffrey Thompson Holdings. They have been hit with a one-month carbon tax bill of over $10,000, or 15 per cent, and cannot pass that on. As Geoffrey Thompson Holdings said, they 'may have to reduce their workforce to save costs'. Another company, a food manufacturer from central Victoria, approached me in the last 24 hours. They said they had been told by the supermarket they supply that under no circumstances should they even contemplate passing on their increased costs, because they simply would not be paid and that order would go to another supplier who was prepared to try to absorb the costs themselves. This will have an extraordinarily damaging impact on our economy. (Time expired)

Question agreed to.