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Wednesday, 26 June 2013
Page: 7138

Carbon Pricing

Mr FLETCHER (Bradfield) (14:37): My question is to the Prime Minister. I remind the Prime Minister that, when the carbon tax was introduced, Treasury assumed that a coordinated international regime would ensure a harmonised world carbon price by 2016. Given not one of China, the US, India, Russia and Japan have enforceable abatement commitments in place and it is now clear that the carbon tax was introduced based on a false assumption, why won't the Prime Minister rescind the increase in the carbon tax next Monday?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:38): I thank the member for his question. I am very interested in the nature of the opposition's questions today, because we are scrambling around again now that the fear campaign is running out of any factual content. They used to come into this parliament and say no-one in the world was acting; now they come into this parliament and use examples of nations that are acting. They used to come into this parliament and complain about the whole of carbon pricing; now they seem to be narrowing their opposition down to scheduled increases in carbon pricing. That is a little bit interesting, isn't it? I wonder where that is going to lead to under the opposition, I genuinely do.

Let me assure you, there are many Australians who listen to the Leader of the Opposition on carbon pricing and his plans to say that he will repeal carbon pricing. They look at him and they wonder about his intentions. They should watch this question time today.

Mr Fletcher: Speaker, on a point order of relevance: the assumption was a harmonised world carbon price by 2016. Where is it?

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister has the call and is being relevant to the question.

Ms GILLARD: The opposition is obviously in a state of movement about what it thinks about carbon pricing. But against that let me say to the member: the same Treasury people—the people of the same professionalism who advised the Howard government that an emissions trading scheme was the best way and least-cost way of reducing carbon pollution—have advised this government of that fact. It is a fact that carbon pricing is the best way and least-cost way of reducing carbon pollution. John Howard knew that. The Leader of the Opposition knew that when he was on the government benches. The Leader of the Opposition has said that even when he has been opposition leader, and people around the world know it.

To the member's question: because the rest of the world is addressing carbon pollution, we as a nation must act too, we are acting and, as we act, we act in the least-cost way. That is the responsible thing to do. Why would you want our nation to pay more than it needs to pay to reduce carbon pollution? Prime Minister John Howard did not want to do that; he wanted the least-cost approach. We have taken the least-cost approach.

The problem for the member is he is handcuffed to a policy of subsidising polluters which increases the costs to our nation of addressing carbon pollution. What he is really asking is that every family and every business in his community says yes to the nation paying more than it needs to pay to reduce carbon pollution. It is an absurdity, a policy absurdity—a mendacious claim that has led to a policy absurdity. We on this side of the parliament stand for the stability and certainty which come from pursuing carbon pricing as legislated into Australian law, because it is working. (Time expired)