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Wednesday, 31 October 2012
Page: 12803

Carbon Pricing

Mr BRIGGS (Mayo) (14:15): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer him to the fact that the government has granted $550,000 to the Clinton Foundation's carbon accounting scheme in Kenya. Why has the government given over half a million dollars of taxpayers' money to fund a carbon accounting scheme in Kenya while at the same time it is presiding over a fast-disappearing surplus? Why can your government not get its priorities right?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:16): I am really pleased I have been asked a question about priorities and am delighted to get a question when it comes to carbon pricing. I am delighted to get a question that follows a discussion on the Asian century and how the path forward is the high-wage, high-growth path that is plotted for us in the white paper, because one of the foundations of growth in the 21st century is putting a price on carbon—putting a price on carbon so we can drive investment in renewable energy. Driving investment in renewable energy is the key to prosperity in the 21st century for a developed economy. So we do not apologise, for one minute, for putting in place a fundamental reform that drives investment in renewable energy. But what we get here—day in, day out—is all of this negative talk, all of this exaggeration, all of this approach which simply trashes public policy.

We do not apologise for what we have done with carbon pricing. It is absolutely essential to the jobs of the future. You can ask as many questions like that as you like; you will have no impact. I will tell you this: the public of Australia are no longer listening to this negative approach. They are sick of the harping. They are sick of the carping that is coming from those opposite. They are absolutely fed up with the approach of those opposite.

Mr Briggs: Madam Speaker, on a point of order on relevance: we would like to hear an answer about the Kenyan century rather than one about the Asian century.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! As it was virtually impossible to hear anything, it does seem highly farcical that you would be taking a point of order when you are not allowing a word to be heard by the Treasurer.

Mr Hockey interjecting

The SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney is warned.

Mr SWAN: We do not apologise for any of the investments that we make in reducing carbon pollution. We do not do that at all.