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Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Page: 8152

Carbon Pricing


Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (15:16): My question is to the Prime Minister. How is the carbon tax helping the federal budget to get back to surplus since it will cost the budget an additional $4.2 billion? Does the Prime Minister now subscribe to the view that, if you break one promise, you might as well break a few?


Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (15:17): When we announced our carbon pricing package we put before the Australian people all of the figures that go with it. We indicated at the time that we would make appropriate provisions at the time of MYEFO to make savings and of course we will do that. We made savings in the lead-up to the budget, we will continue to make savings and we will continue to adhere to our fiscal rules.

Mr Dutton interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Dickson.

Ms GILLARD: What I would say to the shadow Treasurer—something that he may want to consider about carbon pricing—is that, in my understanding of the current position of the opposition, they say somehow that they can decline the revenue source but still engage in the expenditure. When you determine to do that, that is what ends up giving you a $70 billion black hole.

Mr Hockey: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order going to relevance. The Prime Minister was asked about her policies—

The SPEAKER: The member for North Sydney will resume his seat. Again, this is a question where the occupant of the chair might have assisted himself if he had ruled out the last part of the question because it opens the door wide as a debating point allowed in the question, as I have said before, and allows great more latitude in the response.

Ms GILLARD: In answer to the shadow Treasurer's question, clearly the government accounts for its budget through the budget in May and through the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook, and we will in the mid-year outlook provide a further accounting in relation to carbon pricing. The figures are there for people to see from the announcement we made shortly after parliament rose.

What I would also say to the shadow Treasurer is that, and perhaps he will want to do it on the same time frame, he may want to provide full accounting to the Australian people about how he will account for his plans on pricing carbon and particularly how he will fill the $70 billion black hole.

The shadow Treasurer raised the question of honesty. There are some things that the opposition does not talk about. For example, I doubt that when the Leader of the Opposition addressed the rally today that he talked about his $1,300 slug on families. I doubt when he addressed the rally today he talked about the fact that, under the government's plan, more than four million households will be better off and he intends to take that money away. I would be interested to know whether the Leader of the Opposition, when he addressed the rally today, indicated to the people at the rally that his target to cut carbon pollution is the same as the government's at minus five per cent or did he, as he has been known to in the past, find this a convenient occasion to dump his target and not back it in? The shadow Treasurer talks about honesty and talks about being held to account. I believe that the opposition has an obligation in all circumstances to be honest about its $1,300 slug on families and I believe it has an obligation to account for the $70 billion black hole.