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Tuesday, 5 July 2011
Page: 7587

Carbon Pricing


Mr EWEN JONES (Herbert) (14:46): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer the Prime Minister to her promise that the government will exempt petrol from her carbon tax because 'I know what it's like for people to have no choice but to jump in their car and go places'. With electricity prices rising 44 per cent since June 2008, will the Prime Minister now exempt electricity prices from the carbon tax or has she forgotten what it is like for most Australians who turn on a heater,—

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Herbert will be very careful.

Mr EWEN JONES: the lights or the air-conditioning.

The SPEAKER: The member for Herbert will be very careful. He should read Practice about certain matters.

Mr ALBANESE: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: one of the things that is in House of Reps Practice, is, of course, that you cannot ask the same question two days in a row. That has been fully answered.

Mr HARTSUYKER: Mr Speaker—

The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Cowper can resume his place. The question is in order. The Prime Minister has the call.








Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:47): Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I did answer a remarkably similar question yesterday, but let me direct my answer to the question that has been asked today in comparable form. To the member I would say, yes, I have taken a decision about petrol and I think it is the right decision for Australian families. On further right decisions for Australian families, I think it is the right decision for Australian families for this nation to tackle climate change. I think it is the right decision for Australian families to do that in the most efficient way possible. I do not believe it is in the interests of Australian families that we go around abusing Australian economists. I think we should listen to their views. I believe, having taken the best possible advice, that the best way of cutting carbon pollution is to put a price on carbon. As other members—the Deputy Prime Minister and the minister for climate change—have answered questions today, we have had the opposition fronĀ­tbench yelling out: 'How will this cut carbon pollution? How does this work?' It seems to me these are all very odd questions from people who sat around the cabinet table of the Howard government and voted for an emissions trading scheme. Presumably, when they sat around that cabinet table they said to the Prime Minister—Prime Minister Howard—'How will this work?'

Mr HARTSUYKER: Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the Prime Minister is far from being relevant to the question and I would ask you to draw her back to the question.

The SPEAKER: The Prime Minister is responding to the question.

Ms GILLARD: The carbon pricing regime that I am committed to is largely like the carbon pricing regime that Prime Minister Howard was committed to—the carbon pricing regime that had the support of the Leader of the Opposition, the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the shadow Treasurer, the shadow NBN minister, being the shadow minister for the National Broadband Network, the current leader of the National Party, and the list goes on—so exactly like the scheme that they supported when they sat around the cabinet table. The way in which this will work is it will put a price on carbon that polluters will pay. They understood that when they sat around the Howard cabinet table. And because you put a price on carbon and polluters pay it, polluters innovate—they understood that when they sat around the Howard cabinet table; they also understood that price impacts would flow through—

Mr EWEN JONES: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order as to relevance.

The SPEAKER: Order! The point of order has already been raised. The Prime Minister has the call. She will be directly relevant in her response. I remind her again that the change in standing order narrowed the way in which responses can be framed.

Ms GILLARD: Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. I was asked about electricity price impacts and I was just explaining that, exactly in the same way that the whole scheme worked when the Howard cabinet sat around the cabinet table, prices do flow through. There are some price impacts for consumers, including users of electricity; that is right. It was true when the Leader of the Opposition sat around the Howard cabinet table and agreed with it; it is right now. In respect of those price impacts, of course we will provide assistance to nine out of 10 Australian households. The objective of the exercise is that it makes dirty energy more expensive and cleaner energy cheaper; that is, it helps our transition to a cleaner energy economy. They were the economics when John Howard was Prime Minister and the opposition frontbench agreed with emissions trading. They are the economics today.