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Thursday, 26 June 2014
Page: 4018


Senator CORMANN (Western AustraliaMinister for Finance) (12:05): Here we go again—Labor and the Greens are still playing games, still wanting to abuse the processes of the Senate in order to act in defiance of the will of the Australian people. The Labor Party might still not have got used to the fact that they lost the last election. At the last election the Australian people voted to get rid of the carbon tax, and Labor are playing procedural games in order to frustrate the process, in order to slow down the process, in order to slow down the opportunity for the Senate to deal with important legislation efficiently, effectively and swiftly in order to provide necessary and important certainty to businesses, to families, to pensioners and to people right across Australia who are waiting for this parliament to get on with it, who are waiting for the Senate to get on with it, who are waiting for the Senate to pass legislation which will reduce costs for average households by $550 a year.

People across Australia, businesses across Australia, are waiting for the Senate to get on with it and here we have the Labor Party and the Greens continuing to play games in direct defiance of the will of the Australian people expressed at the last election. They come in and they speak with forked tongues. This is the party that went to the 2010 election saying there would be no carbon tax, only to introduce one. This is the party which went to the last election saying that they would remove the carbon tax, only to vote in this chamber again and again to keep it.

On the very day that the Labor Party was voting in this chamber to keep the carbon tax, to keep $550 in costs for the average family in place, the senator-elect from the great state of Western Australia—the only senator representing the Labor Party in the half-Senate election, Senator-elect Bullock—was out there saying that Labor is voting to scrap the carbon tax. In here today, the Labor Party is still joining with the Greens to frustrate the process to ensure the Senate can deal with it. You do not even want us to deal with it. You want to put roadblocks in place. Everybody knows the games you are playing. You cannot get over the fact that you lost the last election or that the Australian people have roundly rejected your broken promise on imposing a carbon tax which pushes up the cost of electricity, the cost of living and the cost of doing business and which makes it harder for businesses across Australia to employ people. You are using procedural games to frustrate efforts to build a stronger, more prosperous economy where everyone can get ahead. You are trying to have your cake and eat it too, to have it both ways. You were trying to send a message out there into the community in the lead-up to the election by saying, 'No, we are not in support of the carbon tax. Either we are not going to introduce it, or we will have already removed it'. Whenever an election is on, the Labor Party joins us in a bipartisan way and says: 'We are as against the carbon tax as everybody else,' and as soon as the election is out of the way it plays these sorts of games to prevent the Senate from dealing with important legislation for our economic future. We want to deal with it efficiently and effectively. This is our job. There is absolutely no reason this process should be delayed until October and no reason it should be delayed until 14 July.

Senator Milne is saying, 'People who come in on 1 July will not know what they are voting on.' But this debate has been taking place across Australia and across the community for years. Anybody who comes into the Senate on 1 July and does not know what we are dealing with must have been living under a rock. Maybe some of the Greens have been living under a rock and do not know what is happening, because they are now the party that is promoting regular reductions in taxes on fuel. But anybody who is joining this Senate after 1 July will know what they are voting on. Of course they should have an opportunity to deal with this issue swiftly; it is in the national interest for us to do so. And it is in the interest of families and pensioners across Australia that we take the cost burden of the Labor-Green carbon tax off their shoulders. Frankly, people deserve the $550 saving a year in the cost-of-living expenses, and businesses across Australia should be encouraged to employ more people. (Time expired)