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Monday, 13 February 2012
Page: 844


Mr TRUSS (Wide BayLeader of The Nationals) (14:12): My question is also to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to the fact that Queensland Alumina's parent company is reviewing its Gladstone based operations and to the comments from its chairman, John Hannagan, who said, 'Queensland Alumina will be the highest taxed industry in the country and that is a significant impact on our operations.' Why is the Prime Minister proceeding with a carbon tax when the government's own modelling says that it will reduce the industry's output by 61.7 per cent?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:13): Let me point out the following facts. The Leader of the National Party is misusing the modelling completely. He is ascribing a cause and effect here which the modelling does not—a continuing part of the opposition's fear campaign on carbon pricing. The one thing you always know about the opposition when it comes to carbon pricing is that whatever they say is not the truth. Let us just look at the scoreboard. They said the coal industry would be shut down. Not true. They said Whyalla would be wiped off the map. Not true. The Leader of the Opposition wrote to the Auditor-General disputing the government's claims that nine out of 10 households were receiving assistance and he was repudiated because his approach was not true. At every stage in every way, the Leader of the Opposition and the team he leads have been out there spreading fear and not telling people the truth. It is time that the Leader of the National Party and the opposition generally actually respected working people enough to say to them what the truth is for their industry. The truth for this industry is that we are seeing a high Australian dollar with all of the pressure that that brings to bear. The Manager of Opposition Business might be bored by that, but the one million Australians who work in manufacturing are not bored by it. They understand the pressure of the high Australian dollar on their shoulders. Those working in the aluminium industry also understand that we have seen the price of aluminium fall by over 20 per cent since May last year. We are seeing reduced global prices. Those who work in the aluminium industry—

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the government's own modelling shows a 61.7 per cent reduction in output in this industry—

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will resume his seat. The Prime Minister will direct herself to the substance of the question.

Ms GILLARD: In response to both the original question I was asked and what the Leader of the Opposition has just said, let me use the words of Alcoa. They would know about aluminium, you would think. Their review of their own industry, their own business, says:

The review has not been prompted by a future price on carbon. The present situation is a result of low metal prices, a high Australian dollar and input costs.

That is what Alcoa have said. No amount of twisting and turning and spreading of fear actually changes those facts. To the Leader of the Opposition and the Leader of the National Party, who are keen to quote modelling here, let me quote this part of the modelling:

For aluminium to 2020 output is expected to remain at about current levels with or without a carbon price.

Try telling Australians the truth.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has concluded. Is there a supplementary question?

Mr Abbott: Mr Speaker, I ask that the Prime Minister table the statement from Alcoa—

The SPEAKER: Order! The leader does not have the call. Is the leader asking a supplementary question?

Mr Abbott: I seek the tabling, as I am entitled to do, of the Alcoa document from which she was reading, which shows that the carbon tax is an issue in the problems of their plant at Point Henry.

Ms GILLARD: Mr Speaker, I was relying on notes which have confidential sections. If the Leader of the Opposition has not done his homework on this issue before coming into this parliament, that is not my problem. He pretends to care about jobs and he cannot even be bothered about reading Alcoa's statement before he comes in, apparently.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister is relying on confidential notes.

Mr Truss: Mr Speaker, I seek leave to table the Treasury modelling on carbon pricing. It makes it absolutely clear that there will be a reduction—

The SPEAKER: Order! The Leader of the National Party will resume his seat immediately. He has sought leave. I am asking if leave is granted. Leave is not granted.