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Opposition running 'scare campaign' on emissi -

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Opposition running 'scare campaign' on emissions trading

The World Today - Wednesday, 25 June , 2008 12:10:00

Reporter: Alexandra Kirk

TANYA NOLAN: The job of trying to head off dangerous climate change is getting tougher by the day
for the Federal Government.

The Federal Opposition is playing on what it says will be added stress on the family budget if fuel
is included in the carbon emission trading scheme earmarked to start in 2010.

It's warned motorists could pay up to 30 cents a litre more for petrol and including petrol in the
scheme could costs jobs and spark energy price rises as well.

But the Government says it's just a fear campaign.

From Canberra, Alexandra Kirk reports.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Professor Ross Garnaut hands down his emissions trading report to the Government
next week. The Government's promised to outline the design of its plan by the end of the year -
ready to start in 2010. But some in the Opposition want that deadline extended.

DENNIS JENSEN: In my view yes. I don't believe that you can do a comprehensive analysis of all of
the impacts of an emissions trading scheme in that time frame.

PETER DUTTON: I suspect that the Government will have some sort of a delaying tactic themselves.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Coalitions pre-election promise of a 2011 introduction now appears to be up in
the air. Environment spokesman Greg Hunt won't specify a start-up date.

GREG HUNT: We have a very clear and unified view. We believe in emissions trading. We believe in
the importance, the fundamental importance of climate change, but we do say, we will look at the
timing following Garnaut.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Opposition is also warning motorists the price of petrol will go up
significantly if fuel is included in an emissions trading scheme. Greg Hunt says everything
possible should be done to keep petrol prices as low as possible.

GREG HUNT: Is government policy for petrol prices to go up or down? Our position is very clear. We
want petrol prices to go down. We think that is the right thing by the economy. That is the right
thing to do by Australian families, by pensioners, by low income earners and that we can also, and
that we can also ...

Keiran, one sec, I will come to you Keiran ... and that we can also make real inroads into the
efficiency of vehicles. We can do the right thing by an emissions trading scheme.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Treasury spokesman, Malcolm Turnbull has raised the prospect of a policy change,
cutting the excise on petrol to offset the effect of a carbon tax. The Coalition's positions on
these two matters have angered the Government.

Treasurer Wayne Swan says the lack of bipartisan support for the central plank of the Government
strategy to cut greenhouse gases is another case of an Opposition scare campaign and cheap

WAYNE SWAN: Reducing carbon emissions over time is a significant economic challenge for the nation
and for the globe. We are determined to address this challenge. I think what we are seeing from the
Liberals is that they are completely incapable of dealing with economic challenges and dealing with
the environmental challenge of climate change.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Do you need their support though for your plan to go ahead?

WAYNE SWAN: Well, certainly as we go through our green paper process and take decisions, we will
need their support because this is a very significant economic reform which goes to the heart of
our future economic prosperity and having one side of politics involved in such a negative scare
campaign, is damaging to the long-term economic interests of this country.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Treasurer's dismissed the Opposition's stance on petrol as outrageous.

WAYNE SWAN: We are going to publish our green paper which will discuss the design of the scheme. It
will be comprehensive and when that is in the public domain, we can have an informed discussion
about all of the issues in the emissions trading system.

But for Mr Hunt to engage in such outrageous lies about the potential impact of a scheme, the
design of which he hasn't seen just shows how desperate the Liberal Party has become.

ALEXANDRA KIRK: Can you say categorically that including petrol in an emissions trading scheme
wouldn't cost an extra 30 cents a litre?

WAYNE SWAN: Alex, as I said to you before - all of these issues will be canvassed in the design of
the emissions trading scheme, the subject of which there will be a green paper at the end of next

ALEXANDRA KIRK: On climate change and everything else the Government will have to negotiate to get
its legislation through the Senate.

After Parliament rises tomorrow, the Coalition loses its Senate majority. The Government's alcopops
tax hike is a case in point.

The Opposition is against it. The Greens and others have big concerns. Labor will have to get the
support of the Greens, and two other senators, Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding. Senator Bob Brown,
the Greens leaders has some simple advice for Labor.

BOB BROWN: The Government is going to have to bargain and so are we and so is everybody else in the

ALEXANDRA KIRK: The Australian Democrats will have their last day in Federal Parliament tomorrow.
Senator Natasha Stott Despoja has some parting advice too.

NATASHA STOTT DESPOJA: Well, welcome to the Senate post-July 1. Of course the Government is going
to have to bargain and negotiate and compromise and do deals with the cross-bench Senators. Steve
Fielding has indicated what he, unsure about what he wants to do and certainly after July 1 any one
senator can kill a bill or kill a government policy.

The Government won't have the Democrats and all that consistent corporate history to work with, so
welcome to a very unstable place.

TANYA NOLAN: That is outgoing Democrat Senator Natasha Stott Despoja ending Alexandra Kirk's