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Thursday, 12 December 2013
Page: 1645


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Government in the Senate, Vice-President of the Executive Council, Minister for Arts and Attorney-General) (14:21): If the Australian Labor Party were not in such deep denial about the result of the election not 14 weeks ago, then the carbon tax would be gone by Christmas.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Brandis, resume your seat. Order on my left!

Senator BRANDIS: Let me say it again: the carbon tax would be gone by Christmas if the Labor Party were not in denial about the result of an election that took place not 14 weeks ago.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Brandis, resume your seat. Order on my left! Order!

Senator BRANDIS: If the Australian Labor Party were prepared to honour the promises that they themselves took to the election not 14 weeks ago, the carbon tax would be gone by Christmas. Let it never be forgotten that the Labor Party tried to deceive the Australian people at the recent election and actually said, 'One of our promises is to repeal the carbon tax.' We have seen the flyer that Senator Louise Pratt distributed in Western Australia announcing, 'We have repealed the carbon tax.' This is not just the policy that we took to the last election; it is the policy that the Australian Labor Party represented that they were taking to the last election.

Lastly, if the Australian Labor Party and their Greens allies were prepared to do the work that the Australian people sent them to Canberra to do, then the carbon tax would be gone by Christmas and every Australian family would be, on average, $550 a year better off and electricity prices would begin to fall. I think the Australian public would be appalled to learn that it is just too hard for those opposite, the Labor Party and the Greens, to do one more week's work in Canberra before they go on Christmas holidays.

Let me remind you, Mr President, that this parliament adjourned at the end of June this year, and since we adjourned this is only the 10th day on which the Senate has sat to consider public business. We might ask ourselves: why is that? Because there was a political coup on the other side of the parliament. There was a leadership change that instated a new Prime Minister, Mr Rudd, and then there was a long election campaign and a change of government. If the Labor Party and the Greens get their way, we are going to adjourn today after only 10 days in the second half of 2013, and we will not be back for another nine weeks. Yet it is too hard for the Labor Party to sit.

Senator Cormann: You are lazy bastards!

The PRESIDENT: Senator Cormann, you need to withdraw that.

Senator Cormann: I withdraw.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! It will help the conduct of this debate if senators on both sides refrain from calling across the chamber.

Senator Jacinta Collins: The first day of parliament was still a sitting day, you dill!

The PRESIDENT: If you wish to debate it, there is time in this debate still remaining. You are entitled to be heard in silence, Senator Brandis.

Senator BRANDIS: I heard Senator Collins's interjection. In fact, the first day was a day for ceremonial business. I said, 'to deal with public business and deliberation'. This is the 10th day on which this chamber has debated in the whole second half of 2013, but it is too hard for those opposite to give the government the opportunity to do what—

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Senator Brandis, resume your seat. When there is silence on my left and my right we will proceed.

Senator BRANDIS: Everybody in this chamber knows that for nearly three years, since the former Prime Minister Ms Julia Gillard broke her promise not to introduce a carbon tax, we on our side of politics said, 'We will make the next election a referendum on the carbon tax.' That was the central issue in Australian politics for all of the last three years, and nobody can be in any doubt that, when we won the 2013 election, we won it on a promise, supported by the Australian people, to repeal the carbon tax.

As the first order of business, we introduced legislation to repeal the carbon tax. Now, on the 10th day on which this Senate has sat since the end of June this year, all the Australian Labor Party and their Green allies want to do is to go home, stop working and prevent the government doing what the people gave us a mandate to do—to repeal the carbon tax and to repeal the mining tax. You have contempt for the Australian public. You have contempt for the result of the election. You have contempt for your own role as legislators. Why don't you get out of the way and give the people what they voted for?

The PRESIDENT: There is time left in the debate. Senator Fifield, you have the call.

Senator Wong: What?

An opposition senator: We jumped!

The PRESIDENT: No-one jumped.

Honourable senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT: Order! On my right and on my left, order! When there is silence, we will proceed. I looked to my left and I looked to my right. I saw no-one jump. There is time for two more speakers in the debate—two lots of five minutes. Senator Fifield.