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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1023


Mr BUTLER (Port Adelaide) (12:57): Since your ruling, Madam Speaker, I have had the opportunity—

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Is the member for Port Adelaide seconding the motion?

Mr Butler interjecting

Mr Pyne: He needs to say so.

The SPEAKER: Is the member seconding the motion?

Mr BUTLER: I second the motion. Since your ruling, Madam Speaker, I have been able to read your written statement. As the Manager of Opposition Business pointed out, the statement appears to rely particularly on standing order 179(a) and 179(b)—

The SPEAKER: As I said.

Mr BUTLER: but does not refer expressly to the provisions in 179(c), which provides:

A Member who is not a Minister may move an amendment to the proposal which does not increase or extend the scope of the charge proposed beyond the total already existing under any Act of Parliament.

What is the question here at issue? The question here at issue is what is the effect of the amendment moved by me on the existing act that is proposed to be amended or repealed by the government? The effect of the amendment proposed by me is to change the way in which carbon pricing works in the financial year 2014-15. What is the way in which it will change? The way in which it will change is that it will move from the fixed price that is currently set out in the legislation, described by the opposition over a long period of time as the carbon tax, to a floating price. So it moves to an emissions trading scheme. It does not bring in any additional liable entities. There is no change to scope. The only way 179(c) can be activated is an argument that it increases the charge—the charge currently set, I think, at $24.15 per tonne. That is a judgement to be made and it is a judgement that you have made, Madam Speaker, from which we greatly dissent.

This is not a new set of amendments. These are the set of amendments that we released when in government as an exposure draft before the 7 September election. The draft was subject to public consultation, and it was released with very clear statements—from then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, from then Treasurer Bowen and from myself—about Treasury's advice on the impact in 2014-15 of moving from a fixed price—the carbon tax, as the now government like to call it—to a floating price under an emissions trading scheme. Treasury's advice was very clear. Treasury's advice was that the price would move from around $24 to around $6, that it would be reduced by 75 per cent. It seems to me, although the now government refuses to release any information about the basis of their current policy; they will not release the incoming brief, which Alan Kohler has told us this morning apparently indicates that Direct Action, their policy, will cost $10 billion per year—

A government member interjecting

Mr BUTLER: Release your incoming brief and we will know whether or not it is false. The only thing we have to go on is articles from Alan Kohler.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The member for Port Adelaide needs to be arguing why your ruling should be dissented from. He should not be arguing about the substance of the amendment or the bill. He has had that opportunity, and in consideration in detail he could have the opportunity again.

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the House makes a very valid point and I would ask the member to return to the substance of the motion.

Mr BUTLER: The point I was trying to make, with the greatest of respect, was that your ruling has sought to make an assessment about the financial impact of the change in 2014-15—

A government member interjecting

Mr BUTLER: No, not the scope, the financial impact. There is no change to the scope, there is no change to the liable entities. What is changed is the way in which the price per tonne is fixed. Treasury's advice was that that price would reduce by three-quarters—

The SPEAKER: You are now not debating the question as to why my ruling should be dissented from—

Mr BUTLER: I am directly debating it, because—

The SPEAKER: No, you are not—

Mr BUTLER: Madam Speaker, with the greatest respect, your ruling makes an assessment that a change from a fixed price to a floating price in 2014-15 will increase that price. That is the only way in which standing order 179(c) cannot apply and cannot cover my amendments.

Mr Pyne: Madam Speaker, with the greatest of respect, the dissent motion is about your ruling that the House is not capable of considering this amendment. You have made no assessment at all about the financial implications of any of these matters. To accuse you of doing so is quite out of order

Opposition members interjecting

Mr Pyne: You need to study exactly what you are dissenting from and then you will be in a position to argue it more successfully.

The SPEAKER: I simply ask the member to continue to address the motion.

Mr BUTLER: It is based on an assessment that the impact of our amendments would increase the charge. The only advice in the public realm is that it would reduce it by 75 per cent. (Time expired)