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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1033


Mr McCORMACK (RiverinaParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance) (13:33): I am glad the shadow minister opposite, the member for Port Adelaide, has raised the subject of sunshine because when the last parliament started we all heard that we were going to let the sunshine into this place. There was going to be a clean breath of fresh air in this place. With the minority government, the Independents suggested we were going to sing Kumbaya and let the sunshine in.

Indeed, we did, but it was not for very long because the member for Melbourne, along with his Greens mates, wanted to have a carbon tax, the carbon tax that the then Prime Minister—that is three prime ministers ago—said prior to the 2010 election would never be enacted under a government she led. 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead,' were her infamous words. Yet, despite the fact that we were going to let the sunshine in, despite the fact that we were supposedly going to be gentler, sing Kumbaya, get on with things and respect the people's wishes, not many months later, at the behest of the Greens, we had the carbon tax imposed upon us that the former Prime Minister, the then member for Lalor, said would never happen.

The Abbott-Truss government was elected on 7 September with a mandate to scrap the carbon tax and reduce costs for businesses and households, something that those people on that side would not understand—that businesses are under great pressure. I could name any number of businesses—in fact, I could name all of them—in the Riverina who do not want this toxic tax, who do not want the increasing power prices brought about by this toxic tax, who just want to get on with the job of doing what they do very well. That is producing and providing services for good, hardworking, taxpaying Australians. Families did not need the carbon tax imposed upon their family budgets. That is again something that people on that side would not understand—living within your means, keeping to a budget.

We promised that the carbon tax would go, that it would be the first item of legislative business for this the 44th Parliament. Indeed, it is. But all we hear from the other side is their endless negativity. They just want to stop it. They just want to stop the will of the people.

Mr Conroy interjecting

Mr McCORMACK: Here they go! We are hearing from a new member of parliament that they are just government change deniers, as the Minister for Agriculture quite correctly pointed out the other day in question time.

Labor knows that the carbon tax hurts families and businesses. The quarterly CPI figures released on 24 October 2012, the first since the carbon tax was introduced, saw a 15.3 per cent increase in electricity prices, with household gas and miscellaneous fuel prices seeing a 14.2 per cent rise. This was the largest quarterly increase ever—two thirds of which, on average, came from the carbon tax. Labor knows that families and businesses will be better off once the carbon tax is repealed. They know that. They know in their heart of hearts that that is correct. The removal of the carbon tax in 2014-15 will leave average costs of living across all households around $550 lower than they would have been otherwise, according to Treasury modelling. That is a substantial amount of money for people doing it tough. That is a substantial amount of money for people battling with the rising costs of grocery items and fuel. It is because we have had six long years of hard Labor, who have done nothing to help the economy, nothing to help families and nothing to help businesses.

It is time that Labor got with the program, accepted the result of the 7 September election and actually did something right for a change. It is time that they agreed with the government and said, 'Okay, we accept 7 September. You guys won; we lost. You need to get on with the will of the people. You need to get on with what the people wanted'—that is, to get rid of the carbon tax.

It is estimated that retail electricity prices will be around nine per cent lower and retail gas prices around seven per cent lower than they would otherwise be. Business compliance costs are expected to fall by around $87.6 million per annum as a consequence of repealing the carbon tax. We have to get on with the job of repaying the debt and the deficit that we have been saddled with unfairly, that the people of Australia have been saddled with, by that mob. (Time expired)