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Australia's new carbon tax

Australia's new carbon tax

Broadcast: 24/02/2011

Reporter: Matt Peacock

Today the government unveiled plans to introduce a price on carbon.


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: Prime Minister Julia Gillard today unveiled plans to introduce a fixed
price on carbon emissions by June next year, with a transition to an emissions trading scheme after
that. It's a move with big implications for the price of everyday staples, including power, petrol
and groceries. Opposition Leader Tony Abbott described the announcement as an utter betrayal of
Labor's election commitment not to introduce a carbon tax and vowed to fight it every second of
every day. Matt Peacock reports from Canberra.

MATT PEACOCK, REPORTER: All carbon emissions, including even cars and trucks, will be in this price
on carbon. An emissions trade across transport, energy, industry, but not agriculture, to be phased
in after an initial annual fixed rate.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: I'm determined to do it, because climate change is real. We have
never before lived with so many people on the planet emitting so much carbon pollution.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: Utter betrayal of the Australian people. And if the Australian
people could not trust the Prime Minister on this, they can't trust her on anything. She made a
solemn commitment to the Australian people before the election.

MATT PEACOCK: This is what Julia Gillard said.

JULIA GILLARD: There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.

TONY ABBOTT: Like some latter day Lady Macbeth, would consider this statement, "There will be no
carbon tax under the government I lead," and this latter day Lady Macbeth will be saying, "Out, out
foul spot! Out, out foul spot!" But she said it and she will be judged by it, Mr Speaker.

MATT PEACOCK: But that was then. A hung Parliament has led to this multi-party climate committee
and today's announcement, relying on independents and some apparently happy Green support.

JULIA GILLARD: If you put a price on something, then people will use less of it. At the moment it
is free to emit carbon pollution. If we price carbon pollution, then people will find ways of
emitting less of it because they won't want to pay the price.

BOB BROWN, GREENS LEADER: This is a hybrid process for a fixed price to move to a cap and trade
system, which we actually developed from Professor Garnaut's ideas some 12 months ago.

MATT PEACOCK: The fixed carbon price would last between three to five years before moving to a
market rate, but that move's by no means certain, subject to a review a year out and depending on
other international action and treaty targets.

It's Climate Minister Greg Combet whose job it is to negotiate all the details of what he admits is
effectively a tax.

GREG COMBET, CLIMATE MINISTER: Big polluters will be paying a carbon price for the pollution that
they emit, but the purpose here of course is to provide the incentive to cut their pollution levels
and to drive investment in clean energy.

MATT PEACOCK: It's a tax, though, isn't it?

GREG COMBET: Look, this is a carbon price through a market mechanism. With the first three years of
the market mechanism, at least between three and five years, being a period where there is a fixed
price, and in effect, that will operate like a carbon tax. But the clear intent is to move to
emissions trading as quickly as we can.

MATT PEACOCK: But three years on, if the international conditions don't square up, it could just
stay as a fixed rate?

GREG COMBET: Well it's important to have the opportunity a few years down the track to have a look
at the international circumstances and what obligations the Australian Government may have in any
international agreement that emerges.

MATT PEACOCK: It's lead in industry saddlebags, according to the Australian Confederation of
Commerce and Industry's Greg Evans.

GREG EVANS, AUST. CONF. OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY: We can assure the Government that none of our
members, our 350,000 members, are actually queuing up to pay higher energy prices, especially where
the environmental gain associated with the carbon pricing is negligible.

MATT PEACOCK: Industry compensation is yet to be agreed, so too is compensation for the poor. But,
if it's enough, Australian Council of Social Service to supports a carbon price.

AUST. COUNCIL OF SOCIAL SERVICE: It's very important that the country comes together at this time
to finally start to tackle carbon pollution in our country.

MATT PEACOCK: For the Government to pass this into law it will need crossbench support, and even
the two independents on the climate committee appear to differ.

ROB OAKESHOTT, INDEPENDENT: I certainly support the release of this document and if I had to vote
on it tomorrow I would.

TONY WINDSOR, INDEPENDENT: All options are on the table. This is a framework to work within. We've
made progress. Obviously there'd have to be agreement in both Houses of Parliament of a model that
we all agree with. We haven't seen that model yet, and I'm sure there'll be arguments and issues
raised. Nothing's settled in my view.

MATT PEACOCK: There'll be many more twists and turns before any carbon price becomes law. This will
be the Government's biggest battle, and it's only just begun.

HEATHER EWART: Matt Peacock with that report.

Gillard explains carbon scheme

Gillard explains carbon scheme

Broadcast: 24/02/2011

Reporter: Heather Ewart

The prime minister joins the program to discuss today's announcement.


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: I spoke to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard a short while ago.

Prime Minister, on the eve of the last election, you said there'd be no carbon tax. Were you wrong
to say that and what's changed your mind?

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: The Australian people voted for this Parliament and this Parliament
gives us an opportunity to price carbon, and we should; it's the right time to do it.

HEATHER EWART: The people didn't vote for a carbon tax though, did they, at the last election?

JULIA GILLARD: Well I think Australians voted for action on climate change. I believe Australians
are persuaded of the science of climate change. The science is in and they want to see us get on
with it. They want us to do the right thing and the right thing is to price carbon. So the
announcement I've made today is that we will price carbon from 1st July, 2012 and we announced
today the broad design of the mechanism to price carbon.

Now, Heather, I'm well aware there will be any amount of fear campaigning about this from the
Opposition and there'll be figures bandied around in tomorrow's newspapers about what this will
cost people. We've made a decision and an announcement about the price mechanism. We will continue
to work through on issues like the actual price, and none of the figures bandied around tomorrow
will be accurate, they'll be baseless and none of them will take into account the fact that from a
Labor government there will be a fair carbon price and there will be assistance for households.

HEATHER EWART: Well you've raised the point the Opposition Leader has predicted a people's revolt
and Tony Abbott says he'll be fighting against this for every second of every minute of every day.
Are you geared up for that? Is this a make-or-break issue for your government?

JULIA GILLARD: Tony Abbott's only got one speed and that's to oppose everything, and so of course
he will be clutching for all of his old slogans, great, big, new tax on everything and out there

HEATHER EWART: But there hasn't exactly been a ringing endorsement from business groups either?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, we were expecting and we will see a fear campaign from Tony Abbott. That's the
only thing he knows how to do. He will be out there actively misleading Australians with false and
baseless figures. He won't be talking to Australians about assistance from the Government to help
them through. I expect, Heather, this is going to be a hard debate, but I am determined that we
will be out there winning this debate and pricing carbon. It is the right time, it's the right step
for our nation's future. I don't want to see this country left behind with an old-fashioned high
pollution economy when the rest of the world has moved on.

HEATHER EWART: You baulked at this in the Rudd Government when the going got tough; will you baulk
at it again?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, Heather, I'm not going to canvass issues in the past ...

HEATHER EWART: But if there is overwhelming mounting pressure from the public and from voters about
this, would you be tempted to baulk at it again?

JULIA GILLARD: I'm here as Prime Minister leading a Labor government and we have a proud tradition
of doing tough things that have built prosperity for Australia. We've done them in the past. You
know, taking tariffs away for example. People said that'll cost jobs, it'll be unpopular, but we
did it because it was the right thing to do and those kind of economic reforms made a difference to
Australia and are part of the explanation for the prosperity we enjoy today. This is a tough
economic reform and I am determined we will get this done.

HEATHER EWART: Are you confident of getting this through the House of Representatives with the
support of the independents, because Tony Windsor for starters doesn't look as though he's
supporting it yet?

JULIA GILLARD: This Parliament gives us some unique opportunities and we've seized them through the
multi-party climate change committee, which the Australian Greens are on, Mr Oakeshott and Mr
Windsor. Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor are part of the process. They've certainly said today they
want to see the carbon price mechanism discussed by the Australian community. They were supportive
of us making this information available today. The Government has endorsed this mechanism, the
Australian Greens have endorsed this mechanism. Mr Oakeshott and Mr Windsor were content to see it
be announced so Australians could see it. We'll keep working together with good faith and good
will, the way we have to date.

HEATHER EWART: With this carbon tax - you do concede it's a carbon tax, do you not?

JULIA GILLARD: Oh, look, I'm happy to use the word tax, Heather. I understand some silly little
collateral debate has broken out today. I mean, how ridiculous. This is a market-based mechanism to
price carbon.

HEATHER EWART: Well with this carbon tax then, it does seem certain that fuel and electricity
prices will go up. How are you going to be sure that you can compensate for that, especially for
low income earners?

JULIA GILLARD: Well, can I say this is a market-based mechanism to price carbon. It has a fixed
price period at the start, a price that will be fixed. That is effectively a tax and I'm happy to
say the word tax. How will we know that we can support people? Well, every dollar that is raised
through this carbon price will go to assist Australian households, assist industry to help make the
transition and go to fund programs that tackle climate change. And I know there will be a lot of
discussion about electricity prices. The hard truth, Heather, is electricity prices are going to go
up - that's what everyone is saying - whether we price carbon or not. If we price carbon, we will
be able to assist people and move to a low pollution future. Otherwise electricity prices'll go up,
there'll be no assistance and no transition in our economy.

HEATHER EWART: Julia Gillard, thanks for joining us tonight.


Rescue efforts continue

Rescue efforts continue

Broadcast: 24/02/2011

Reporter: John Taylor

Emergency teams carry on the grim task of searching the rubble for survivors. The ABC's John Taylor
reports from the ravaged city.


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: In New Zealand, authorities today confirmed they've recovered 98 bodies
from the wreckage of Christchurch. But with more than 200 still listed as missing, there's a
growing dread that the final death toll will be much higher. Rescuers are continuing their hunt for
survivors two days after the quake struck, but those left homeless or bereaved by the disaster face
many more difficult days ahead. John Taylor reports from Christchurch.

JOHN TAYLOR, REPORTER: This would normally be the bustling heart of the CBD right now, but as you
can see, it's almost deserted. The military has been called in along with the police. They've
cordoned off this, about a four block area or even greater, of the Christchurch CBD. The risk to
the public from falling buildings is just too great. The only activity that's happening here in the
heart of this, New Zealand's second largest city, is that of the search and recovery effort at
those buildings where they believe people are still trapped and the co-ordination of how to get
this city back up off its knees.

In the early morning chill, a sombre group of experts is marshalled outside Christchurch's disaster
co-ordination centre. They've flown in from around the country.

NIGEL HARWOOD, RESCUER: I'm a chartered engineer, so we're just in the process of getting formed up
into teams with welfare and local government people and the like and they'll be just given tasks,
be it out in the suburbs or in the CBD or wherever we're required.

JOHN TAYLOR: Auckland building inspector George Little was last here in September for
Christchurch's earlier earthquake. He shares a disbelief with others in the ranks at what's
happened now.

GEORGE LITTLE, BUILDING INSPECTOR: It's terrible, it's terrible. I was down here at the first
earthquake and it was bad, but this is worse still.

JOHN TAYLOR: What does it mean to you to be part of this effort?

GEORGE LITTLE: Oh, it's just a matter of helping people that are in a bind, really.

JOHN TAYLOR: Rescue teams from around the world today continued through tremors to try and find
survivors. They only found the dead.

In an ominous sign, no-one has been rescued since yesterday afternoon.

At the CTV building, it's estimated up to 120 people could be inside. The police have said everyone
must be dead, but the searching is continuing.

The death toll is steadily rising to beyond even authorities' worst fears.

DAVE CLIFF, CANTERBURY DISTRICT AREA COMMANDER: We have 226 people who are reported missing. Now
we're gravely concerned about those individuals ... (long pause) .... for reason that these are the
people who have been reported missing by loved ones.

JOHN KEY, NZ PRIME MINISTER: I'm not sure words can do justice, actually, to such an enormous loss
of life, but this has been an incredibly devastating earthquake that's happened at the worst
possible time. There've been buildings that have been full of people. It's been impossible for many
people to escape the traumatic impact of that earthquake. And I think as all New Zealanders, we're
sickened to the pits of our stomach when we hear that sort of information.

JOHN TAYLOR: I'm outside one of four welfare centres that authorities have now set up in
Christchurch. These are places that provide food and shelter for residents that have been affected
by the earthquake. We're not allowed to go in because of privacy reasons for those people, but
authorities say about 760 people bedded down in such centres last night.

SHONA SPILLANCE: We'll get over it, but it's just the people that are missing that (getting
emotional) - yeah, that's all I've gotta say. Thankyou.

JOHN TAYLOR: Terry Gloistein and his family have spent two nights at a welfare centre that's
normally a school.

TERRY GLOISTEIN: At times you wanna just let go and just cry a wee bit, but you gotta stay strong
for your families and loved ones.

JOHN TAYLOR: Rajinder Sandhu and his family have lived in Christchurch for five years, but two
earthquakes and continuous tremors have pushed them to the edge.

So what's your plan now?

RAJINDER SANDHU: Can't say, but we want ...

WIFE: We're thinking about moving from another city and looking for job in another city.

RAJINDER SANDHU: Children are too frightened.

TUPA FILI: Had to come to my mother-in-law's house and there's about four other families with us.
We've just got no power, no water and our house is basically just not safe to live in.

JOHN TAYLOR: So you're thinking of the welfare centre?

TUPA FILI: Yeah, yeah. We're just coming to see if we can get some water and - that's what we need.

JOHN TAYLOR: People are steadily flowing in and out of these centres. Some need help, others want
to give it.

POKO CUMMINGS, SECURITY GUARD: Oh, you name it, from a place to sleep, offering their vehicle, you
name it, you know. Whatever's going. And I tell you what, I'm proud to be a Kiwi. I really am.

JOHN TAYLOR: Quite apart from the rescue and recovery efforts that are occurring in inner-city
Christchurch, authorities have today embarked upon what they call Operation Suburbs, where they're
now sending out crews into suburban parts of Christchurch to examine the destruction that's
occurred there. This is a perfect case in point: underneath this rubble is a car in which a woman
was crushed to death.

At this suburban home, firefighters dismantled a chimney that was in danger of falling. It may seem
a minor task, but with so many tremors, such action could prevent further deaths. Across
Christchurch, people are being told not to shower and boil their water for drinking. Power is out
in much of the city and the sewerage system has been crippled.

Michelle Marshall may seem fine, but says she's struggling to remember things and come to grips
with what has happened.

MICHELLE MARSHALL, RESIDENT: It just changes you, it's just surreal, really, today. Just the loss
of lives - I mean, this is nothing. We are just blessed - it's chimneys and it's just superficial -
we've just got superficial damage, really, and it's so much worse in the city. So we feel quite
blessed, to be honest.

JOHN TAYLOR: Authorities say that for the moment this is still a rescue operation, holding out
hopes of more survivors, but time is running out. An elegant city lies in ruins and the death toll
is steadily rising.

JOHN KEY: All we can do now is continue what we've been doing for the last 48 hours. Aggressively
try and work to get anybody out that may be still alive. Give the comfort and support that we can
to those families and for them to know that in their darkest moment, we are thinking of them and
they are in our hearts. But, look, this is a very, very tragic situation for the people of
Christchurch and the people of New Zealand and indeed for citizens from around the world.

HEATHER EWART: John Taylor with that report.

City in ruins

City in ruins

Broadcast: 24/02/2011

Reporter: Conor Duffy

While the world's attention has been focused on the heart of Christchurch, people living on the
city's fringes are counting the cost too. Conor Duffy reports from the outlying areas of


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: While the world's attention has been focused on the heart of
Christchurch, people living on the city's fringes are counting the cost too. The ABC's Conor Duffy
filed this report from one of the hardest hit areas in the outlying suburbs.

CONOR DUFFY, REPORTER: I'm here with long-time resident Robyn Judkins who's lived in the beachside
town of Sumner for 24 years. Robyn, what sort of things have you noticed in the area around you?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Oh, the collapse of cliffs for a start, so burying cars in Sumner, which is the
suburb I live right beside the sea here. And first of all there's that, and then I was actually,
when it happened I was driving and I was just approaching Ferrymead Bridge, 10 metres away when the
bridge lifted up in front of me and then the road just cracked in front of me and I slewed over to
the side, everybody else pulled in behind and then the rocks started to fall off all around us. And
it was most extraordinary. I've seen snow avalanches, but this is the first time I've ever seen
massive rockfalls everywhere. It's been devastating in this particular suburb.

CONOR DUFFY: And how are people coping?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Well, generally speaking we got warmed up to this last year when we had the first
big earthquake, which was 7.1 and we didn't get so badly hit then. So it's all relative and you
think, "Oh, I survived this 7.1." You get hit with this 6.4 or whatever it was, but it's so close.
The epicentre is just over here in Lyttelton, just over the hills and it's been mind-boggling for
everybody here.

CONOR DUFFY: And how are you personally coping? What's your situation at the moment? You look like
you got some pretty serious damage here?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Yeah, I think it's going to be touch and go whether the house will survive, whether
it'll have to be taken down or not. I've had two chimneys fall out completely here, but the
devastation inside the house has been quite dramatic and particularly at the front. But the reason
for that is that, bingo, I'm right on the faultline, the cracks run right through the centre of my
house, they run across the road outside and they run straight on out towards the cliffs at Sumner
Beach where all of those cliffs came down. You know, it's been - and this is a direct line through
to Lyttelton. I'm sitting right on it. So, you know, whether I'll be able to stay here or not, I
don't know.

CONOR DUFFY: So this is the inside of your writing room, Robyn?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Yeah, and this is where the earthquake struck first and it hit right on this corner
and smacked straight into my writing room and brought down the first chimney and then the second
chimney in the lounge. And I mean, this is what every room in my house looked like when I came back
and walked in the front door. I couldn't actually get from one side of my house and upstairs for
two hours. It took two hours to make a path so that I could happily go up and down again. I mean,
this is amazing, this is at least a day to fix it? - no, just to get the rubbish out. It's mostly
all rubbish now.

When the earthquake struck, it struck right through the corner point of the north - the south-east
corner of my property in a direct line from Lyttelton and tore these cracks, tore the concrete pad
apart, and the second aftershock widened it even further and then dropped this section here down.
It also separated the pad from the garage and it went straight through and on and up and through
the corner of my house and then on and over onto the cliffs above Sumner Beach.

CONOR DUFFY: And how are the people here coping in the community? Do you think people'll stay after
two quakes in six months?

ROBYN JUDKINS: Two quakes in six months - hell, everybody's really, really shocked. No-one thought
it would happen again and they just - people, they can take so much and then they just get brittle
and irritable. And at the moment we've got no power, no sewer, no telephone. We have to walk down
or drive down to collect water, don't have any sewerage, so you've got to - you dig a hole in the
ground or you keep it in a pan at home. And, um, you know, I haven't had anything hot to eat. Oh,
yes, I have! I got two pies yesterday. I lucked out. There was a shop open. You drive through
Christchurch - I was looking for water, and suddenly there was a guy - I see a guy walking out of a
convenience store. What! Slam on the brakes, inside, two pies, straightaway. Dead set. Oh, two
pies! Australian pies even! Can you believe it? Australian pies! Good old CER!

CONOR DUFFY: Good on ya.

ROBYN JUDKINS: Conor Duffy with that report.

Rescue workers race against time

Rescue workers race against time

Broadcast: 24/02/2011

Reporter: John Taylor

The ABC's John Taylor says rescue teams are continuing to search for survivors and more teams are
expected to arrive from overseas to help with the recovery effort.


HEATHER EWART, PRESENTER: Reporter John Taylor joins me now live from Christchurch with the latest.

John, sadly there was no good news today. What are the authorities telling you there tonight?

JOHN TAYLOR, REPORTER: Well, Heather, the mayor of Christchurch Bob Parker has described today as a
dreadful day for rescue workers. I mean, he says they're working under a pressure cooker
environment. There's a weight of expectation from the community, a hope that they will find people,
but alas they're not. About 75 per cent of the city has now been covered by searches, and, ah,
(getting emotional) ...

HEATHER EWART: It's clearly a terrible time there for everyone, including reporters who have to
cover this. Are you being told that the rescue operation will go right through the night, John? Do
they just keep on working at this?

JOHN TAYLOR: Oh, absolutely. It's cold, it's dark. There was still a tremor a little while ago, but
rescue operations are continuing throughout the night and indeed more teams are arriving from
overseas this evening. And I'm outside the main disaster co-ordination and recovery centre and
there's a lot of activity happening here.

HEATHER EWART: Is there any sense there of some return to normality? Are people able to go about
their daily lives in any way that they used to?

JOHN TAYLOR: Look, there is - a little bit. I mean, you see more cars now on the roads. I mean,
electricity has been restored to 50 per cent of this city. There are port-a-loos that are popping
up in parts. But water is still out to a large part of this community. Sewage is still flowing into
rivers. You only have to look around to see the devastation and to realise that it's going to take
a very, very long time for this community to get back onto its feet. I mean, with the figures that
we're hearing today, this is perhaps on track to be New Zealand's greatest ever natural disaster,
surpassing the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake.

HEATHER EWART: And of course John, it's not all over yet; there's a lot of work to go. How do you
think that people are coping with that being what lies ahead of them, as well as dealing with the
death toll?

JOHN TAYLOR: I think with some grim acceptance and just shock. I think people haven't realised what
- really come to terms with the tragedy that's occurred.

HEATHER EWART: They're shocking image for all of us to see, John, and I'm sure very shocking for
you when you're there on the ground. So, thankyou very much for speaking to us tonight and we'll
leave it there.

And for those looking forward tonight to their weekly dose of John Clarke and Bryan Dawe, due to
the tragedy in New Zealand, they'll be back next week.

That's the program for tonight. See you at the same time tomorrow, except in NSW, where 'Stateline'
will continue its coverage of the lead-up to the next month's State election. Until next time,