Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant the accuracy of closed captions. These are derived automatically from the broadcaster's signal.
ABC News Breakfast -

View in ParlView

(generated from captions) anyway. Back home and the quasi-election campaign over

the carbon tax continues with

claims and counterclaims from

both sides. Yesterday a group

of leading economists attending

a conference came out in

support of the Government's

move to price carbon with 60%

saying the plan is good policy.

Greg Shunt the spokesman for

climate action and joins us

from Canberra. Clearly if you

believe the polling the public

is on your side quite well in

the carbon tax debate but it

seems the experts, both climate

scientists and economists are,

are even more emphatically against you. Why is that? It

feels like the home insulation

program where I did speak to

the author of the survey last

night, Bruce Chapman, I respect

his crudeafenles, he's a form

political adviser to Paul

Keating and I did ask whether

any of those surveyed had

spoken out against the home

insulation survey and there was

a stony sile sons the public

got it right there and on this

occasion I also note that the

survey was taken without any

rechBs to the fact that there's

a $4.3 billion fiscal hole in

the Government's package. The

fact that 75% of emissions

reduction under the

Government's package would

actually come from a direct

action approach which would

bring down emissions. Only 25%

of emissions reduction comes

from the tax itself and that by

2020 we'll be buying 100

million tons from off shore,

including basically 3.5 billion

dollars going off shore avenue

year and now we know from

today's papers that that will

rise to an off shore pch of $57

billion in 2010 terms by 2050.

In other words, a massive

national black hole. None of

those fact were given to the

economists before they were

asked to vote Are you

suggesting they don't know the

tax is giving out more in

compensation and programs than

it's taking? They didn't know

that when they were responding

to these question s? Well,

this question was given within

24 hours of the detaz being

released. Sure but even someone

like me knew those it tails

about 10 minutes after the

details were released so I'm

sure some economists would

know. Did you know we'd be

purchasing $3.5 billion of

foreign carbon credits within

10 minutes of the package being

released? I'm talking about -

you referred to a $4 billion

black hole. I assume what you

mean is the Government is

giving out more than it's

receiving to the tune of $4

billion and it outlined in the

announcement that it was doing

that and where it would fall

within the Budget cycle I

hardly think these were

esoteric details that weren't

available to economists. I

think both economists and the

Australian public would be

surprised to know that the

foreign carbon credit purchases

will be 60% of Australia's

total emission s reduction in

2020. $3.5 billion in 2020,

rising to a massive national

black hole of purchasing $57

billion in count terms from

phone carbon traders by

2050. These are points you made

probably an hour after the announcement of the Government.

The economists would have known

this and yet when they were

asked they voted overwhelmingly

to say that they prefer the

Government's package to yours.

The statistics are pretty

damning.ened a 85% of those

surveyed thought your policy

wasn't good economic policy.

What this leads me to is

wondering whether or not there

are any circumstances in which

you'd actually listen to these

economists. I will put it in

these terms, I did ask whether

any of those surveyed managed

to make the comment in advance

of the home insulation program,

the green loans program or the

school hall programs all going

bad because the public

identified those problems, we

identified those problems and I

could encourage you to ask Bruce Chapman when you

interview him later today as to

whether a single one of the

economists surveyed publicly

stated that these programs were

badly constructed. It's a good

commonsense test. You're

comparing apples and oranges

because here they were surveyed

about their response to a

particular issue. You're comparing it to whether or not

they voluntarily spoke out

about a particular program. If they were surveyed on the

program and reached a

conclusion at odds with the

public and the public were

right you may have the ghost of

a point but it seems that's not

the case here and what I'm

interested is that this seems

to be a repeated pattern. Every

time economists are asked their

opinion on the subject they

come up with something close to

an ETS. That is not true

because let me tell you this,

with great respect, three Nobel

economic laureates , Finn

Kidland, Vernon Smith, Thomas

Shelling, did a full analysis

and these are all - like myself - strong believers in climate

most economically sensible change. They looked for the

policies, they examined the

full range. The carbon tax out

of the 15 they analysed was the

worst, the second worst, the

third worst and the fourth

worst, which is why there's no

other country in the word which

has a remotely comparable

system to the one which has

been announced on the weekend

in Australia. I mentioned an

ETS, you've just mentioned

carbon tax. They're carbon tax. They're slieptly

different things Let me give

you an example. Sometimes people talk about the United

States. The cap-and-trade

system, which is their

equivalent of a carbon tax, is

dead. Japan, it off the table.

Canada, it's gone. Korea, it's

been deferred. What we see in

Europe - and this is a

fascinating point - is the

European system has raised

revenue of about $1 per person

per year over the last five

years. The Australian system

will raise $400 per person. It

is about 400 times heavier per

person than the European

system. It is the difference

between a bowling ball and is a

pea. They are planets apart. Of course the European system

is in the process of being

reviewed and we'll have to see

what can ams out of that

review. I want to go to the

political side of your campaign

against the carbon pricing plan

for the moment. So far the

emphasis has been on suggesting

there aredition with divisions

in the Labor Party over this,

particularly in seats with

steel and coal manufacturing.

Isn't this a difficult argument when there are divisions in

your own party, here I note

Malcolm Turnbull's not so subtle swipe at Tony Abbott

yesterday. I haven't seen his

material directly but why

understanding is that he

reaffirmed support for the

policy. End of story. Now the

fascinating thing though- It

wasn't the end of the story.

We've seen Anna Bligh, John

Robertson, Lara Giddings, we've

seen union leaders such as the

head of the transport Workers'

Union all call into question

the Government's policy so we

are very, very strong and

committed to action but in a

way which doesn't involve 57

billion to foreign carbon

traders and in a way which

doesn't involve $515 for

starters erfamily and

increasing the Madginal tax

rates from 15 to 19% and 30 to

33%. Marginal tax rates not

effective tax rates. There's a

sleight of hand there. If

you're so united on this, if

Malcolm Turnbull's position on

this is completely solid with

you, are you prepared to give

MPs a conscience vote on this

and see if they'll cross the

floor against your position?

This is a policy issue.

Conscience votes are about

issues such as abortion or

capital punishment. This is an

economic policy issue. As I

say, it's about $3.5 billion to

foreign carbon traders in 2020

and 57 billion to foreign

carbon trades in 2050. Greg

Hunt, thanks for your time and

all the best getting over that cough. Sorry about that. Thanks. No need to apologise.

It there's a lot of material