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Tuesday, 13 September 2011
Page: 9935

Mr PYNE (SturtManager of Opposition Business) (18:22): I support the amendment moved by the member for Flinders, and I think it is important to explain exactly the newest ruse of the government with respect to the inquiry into the carbon tax legislation. We have already traversed this debate at some length this afternoon. The original reporting date of 4 October is the first day of the tax summit. Clearly, the government set that date for its joint select committee because it wanted to ensure that, whatever this report from the Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Clean Energy Future Legislation finds, the tax summit would obliterate any media coverage of it.

The Leader of the House is very good at these tricky mechanisms which are designed to protect the government from its very bad decision to break the election promise it made before the last election and to introduce a carbon tax. We, on the other hand, believe that when this joint select committee reports, the media should be given the full opportunity to view and report on the scrutiny that this joint select committee will give to the 19 pieces of legislation—over 1,000 pages—that the government has introduced today.

We in the opposition have already expressed our grave disappointment at the handling of this matter by the government and the fact that they intend to gag the debate on this important legislative package—and, in an unprecedented way, they are, I believe, being supported in that, unfortunately, by the crossbenchers. They have already this afternoon established a joint select committee with proportions that give the government, the crossbenchers and the Greens a tremendous advantage, far beyond the proportions that they enjoy in both chambers of this parliament. Just to highlight the decision that has just been made: of the 14 members of the joint select committee, nine are in favour of the carbon tax and five are against. I hardly believe that that represents a fair proportion of the views in this parliament, where the coalition is represented in more seats and more Senate places than the Labor Party, which forms the government.

So the reason that I support the amendment moved by member for Flinders is that, in my view, the government should not be given the opportunity of (1) gagging the debate; (2) avoiding the selection committee process; (3) stopping the scrutiny of these 19 bills by the five specialist committees of this House of Representatives that I outlined before; and (4) burying, on the same day as the tax summit—that is, 4 October—the report of this joint select committee. Therefore, I commend this amendment to the House.

Question agreed to.

Question put:

That the motion (Mr Albanese's), as amended, be agreed to.

The House divided. [18:30]

(The Speaker—Mr Harry Jenkins)

Question agreed to.