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Abetz renews demand for delay to ETS -

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Abetz renews demand for delay to ETS

The World Today - Tuesday, 28 October , 2008 12:42:00

ELEANOR HALL: The federal Opposition is stepping up its attempt to have the Government delay the
introduction of a carbon trading scheme for Australia.

The shadow industry minister Senator Eric Abetz says the government risks mugging the Australian
economy, if it pushes ahead with the scheme in 2010 given the global financial crisis.

The Government says it will release long-awaited Treasury modelling on the scheme later this week.

But Senator Abetz says that modelling won't have factored in the current financial circumstances.
And he told Sabra Lane that it would be "economic madness" to act on the data.

ERIC ABETZ: We should delaying it as we as an opposition have been calling for. And that delay is
now made all the more important given the economic circumstances in which we find ourselves in.

The disturbing point is that at Senate Estimates we were told that the current financial situation
is not being taken into account at all in pushing forward with the emissions trading scheme and to
us that seems like economic madness.

SABRA LANE: News Poll figures out today showed that more and more people are saying the scheme
should be abandoned.

ERIC ABETZ: I think more and more people are now coming to grips with what an emissions trading
scheme actually means.

Kevin Rudd sold it on the basis that if he signed Kyoto the world would be a different place the
next day. People are now realising that there's a lot more to an emissions trading scheme and that
is why the Howard government policy of doing it by the year 2012 was a lot more reasonable and
sensible because we had to get all the parameters right.

We can't afford to get it wrong and that of course has made all the more so in this time of
economic uncertainty.

SABRA LANE: You're saying now definitely 2012?

ERIC ABETZ: We are saying as soon as possible of course but 2012 I believe is a sensible period of
time for us to be considering it given the circumstances in which we find ourselves.

SABRA LANE: Isn't this at odds though with business? Earlier this month we had the Business Council
of Australia and the Minerals Council saying that the Government should stick to its 2010
implementation because they were both saying that business needed certainty.

ERIC ABETZ: Business clearly does need certainty, but one thing that they don't need and I've seen
the aluminium sector, the steel sector, the pulp and paper sector and the list goes on and on in my
capacity as Shadow Industry spokesman.

And the one thing that they all are agreed on is that we have to get this right and in time of
great international economic uncertainty, we don't want to place a greater burden on the Australian
economy and on the potential for Australian investment which of course translates into jobs and if
we start seeing investment going overseas to countries that don't have an emissions trading scheme,
we will mug our economy, we will lose jobs for a worse environmental outcome.

And that's the double whammy that we will lose economically as a nation and the globe will lose

SABRA LANE: Given the growing number of people who say they're now uncomfortable with an ETS,
Senator Abetz isn't that one of the roles of being a good leader, that you take people with you on
unpopular decisions?

ERIC ABETZ: It is not leadership to doggedly stick with a policy that Kevin Rudd by now must know
what stupid and silly policy that he cannot reasonably implement. Leadership is telling the
Australian people there's a problem, there's new storm clouds on the horizon, lets delay this, we
were a bit pre-emptive with our 2010 start.

We believe it would be reasonable to protect Australian industry, to protect Australian jobs, to
delay the implementation and all that Kevin Rudd would do is eat a bit of humble pie and say that
he shouldn't have made the promise that he did.

ELEANOR HALL: That's Opposition industry spokesman Senator Eric Abetz, speaking to Sabra Lane in