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Thursday, 10 November 2011
Page: 8830


Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (13:04): Senator Brandis is correct: I have come into the chamber during the debate on the Excise Tariff Amendment (Condensate) Bill 2011 and a related bill to hear what the Greens political party will say about them. I assume Senator Wright is here to speak on these bills, because they are important bills and, as Senator Brandis rightly points out, if the Greens have their way there will be no fossil fuels used whatsoever and these bills will be completely irrelevant.

This condensate bill is simply one part of the whole mix of fuel and energy and how we tax it and how we encourage it in Australia. I am very conscious that the Labor Party and the Prime Minister, Ms Gillard, went to the last election promising there would be no carbon tax in this term of parliament—a very, very solemn promise. She came to government after the election after doing an unholy deal with the Greens political party that caused her and every member of her party to break their solemn promise to the Australian people that there would be no carbon tax under a government Ms Gillard led. If it was that easy for the Greens political party to get the Labor Party and Ms Gillard to change their minds on something as fundamental as a promise not to introduce a carbon tax—a tax which will have very widespread ramifications for the Australian people, our economy and our way of doing business—one wonders how easy it will be for the Greens to get Ms Gillard to go along with their harebrained, crazy scheme to ban all fossil fuels from Australia. You could not imagine that even the Labor Party would be involved with that, but, then, who could have imagined that a once great political party would give a serious commitment before the last election to introduce no carbon tax and then break it with impunity? I am very worried about that.

The Greens political party could get up tomorrow and say: 'Look, Ms Gillard, we know you like the Lodge. We know you like the planes. We know you like flitting around the world stage and telling everyone who is prepared to listen'—I understand there are not too many who do—'how Australia is leading the world with greenhouse gas reductions. We know you like that, Ms Gillard, but we, the Greens, are thinking of withdrawing our support for you unless you start the process of reducing Australia's reliance on fossil fuels.' Ms Gillard has shown that she will do anything to stay in the Lodge, so it may well be that the scenario that Senator Brandis suggested is not just fantasy but is in fact what will happen.

As I say, I do not want to delay this debate too much, but I am very keen to hear what the Greens political party have to say on this issue. Are they in favour of the bill? I would be interested in hearing that, of course, but I would be more interested in having the Greens political party assure us that it is worth our while debating this bill at length or that it will be irrelevant into the future. I am very worried that this call by the Greens political party to reduce or even ban fossil fuels from Australia will be heeded by the Labor government under Ms Gillard. As I say, 13 months ago you would not have believed that the Australian Labor Party could even contemplate that; but, then, 13 months ago you would not have believed that the Australian Labor Party would make a commitment not to introduce a carbon tax and then just break that solemn promise to the Australian people without any consideration.

I know the Lodge is nice. I know it is lovely flying around the world in your own plane—or I imagine it would be; it has never quite happened to me and is never likely to happen to me. I know Ms Gillard likes being Prime Minister. I know she likes telling all Australians, particularly Indigenous Aust­ralians: 'You don't know what's good for you. You don't understand what needs to happen for your wellbeing, so we'll do it for you. Big Brother will look after you.' It is that typical socialist outlook on life. Individual Australians are not competent to look after themselves. They are not competent to use their money to make donations—

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Ludlam ): Senator Macdonald, I wonder if I might draw your remarks to the bill before the chair.

Senator IAN MACDONALD: Yes, thank you, Mr Acting Deputy President. You will notice, if you happen to read the Hansard, that I have been referring to the bill. The bill is about a tax on condensate and is very relevant to the issue of fuel and energy across the board. I am just saying, if you hear me, Mr Acting Deputy President, that this bill is very relevant to whether Australia is going to be a user of fossil fuels in the future. I am just saying it would be unthinkable that anyone would think that Australia might ever get to that position. But, when you see the influence the Greens political party has on the Australian Labor Party, led by Ms Gillard, anything could happen. That is what I am very concerned about.

I do not want to delay the Greens political party. I am sure they will be making a contribution to this bill next so that we can get an assurance from them that there is some worth in proceeding with this debate.