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Opposition wants ETS delay -

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Opposition wants ETS delay

Reporter: Emma Griffiths

PETER CAVE: The Federal Opposition is threatening to vote the Government's emissions trading scheme
down unless it gets two amendments.

The Coalition party room meeting this morning has decided to press for the scheme to be referred to
the Productivity Commission for analysis of alternative options.

It also wants the legislation delayed until after the global talks on climate change in Copenhagen
at the end of the year.

From Canberra, Emma Griffiths reports.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Emissions trading is a continuing trial by ordeal for the Government but the
Treasurer Wayne Swan has painted today as a test for the Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull.

WAYNE SWAN: We'll find out whether he's got any conviction at all. He used to support an emissions
trading scheme when he was in government and the Environment Minister but the fact is that, as you
know, the Coalition doesn't have a Budget policy and it suddenly appears they may not have a
trading scheme policy at all. This would be craven weakness from Mr Turnbull if they were to fudge
it and to try and delay.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: That was exactly what a chorus of Opposition MPs called for as they walked into the
Coalition party room meeting.

Here's the Liberal member for Canning Don Randall.

DON RANDALL: The Labor Party is putting the cart before the horse. Why would Australia put itself
in a position of disadvantage to the rest of the world? Why wouldn't we go and see where the rest
of the world is going to be in terms of climate change rather than, as Mr Rudd likes to do, go and
tell the rest of the world how to behave.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: And the Nationals MP for Hinkler, Paul Neville.

PAUL NEVILLE: The research doesn't show exactly what people want to do and nor should we be
panicked into this until we see what other countries are doing. I mean, if China and Japan and the
United States don't come into this, then I think Australia's position has got to be tempered by
that.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: The Opposition's position certainly has.

The emissions trading scheme is due to pass the lower house of Parliament by the end of next week
and the Government has been pressuring the Senate to follow suit before MPs leave Canberra for the
winter break in late June.

That's always seemed unlikely, now it seems virtually impossible.

The Opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull has announced he will push for two key amendments - both
mean a delay.

The first is to search for alternatives through the Productivity Commission.

The second is to vote until after the United Nations Climate Change Convention in Copenhagen in
December.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Now I know that Mr Rudd, in his vanity, wants to go to Copenhagen with his own
legislation and he no doubt believes that the rest of the world will be so taken with his
cleverness that they will all line up and copy what he has done in Australia.

That is simply, that may be a dream of his but it is a fantasy. The reality is that the debate in
America is proceeding. The scheme that they adopt will be by far the most influential benchmark
around the world and it is a vital element in Australia's interest for us to take into
consideration when we finalise our own carbon emission reduction arrangements.

So that is the position on the legislation. We will vote to defer it until after Copenhagen.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: On that, Malcolm Turnbull has the backing of one crossbench senator, Family First's
Steve Fielding.

STEVE FIELDING: What is it with this Government that wants to stand there and beat its chest and
say "look at me, look at how good we are" and at the same time seeing jobs go offshore with no
great advantage at all? Now this is the real issue here.

So I am going to help the Coalition. If they want to delay the emissions trading scheme until after
Copenhagen then I am on that side at this stage.

EMMA GRIFFITHS: Even if they pass the Upper House, there is next to no chance the Government would
allow the amendments to go through. As it stands, the scheme looks set to be knocked back by the
Senate next month.

The Government could then reintroduce the legislation in October and tempt the Opposition into
voting it down for a second time - giving Labor a trigger for a double dissolution election.

The Labor Party has its ammunition ready to fire at Malcolm Turnbul,l like this shot from the ALP
member for Blaxland, Jason Clare.

JASON CLARE: He has been forced to change his position on everything. He's been forced to change
his position on everything. Next thing you know, we'll find out he is a monarchist.

PETER CAVE: Labor backbencher Jason Clare, ending that report from Emma Griffiths.