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Thursday, 27 March 2014
Page: 3381

Mr IRONS (Swan) (12:57): I see the member for Melbourne rose. I am sorry to take from you this opportunity to speak, but I just thought that I would like to continue with my comments. One of the things that the member for Makin—and it is good to see him quoting Tory politicians—talked about was changes of promises. If we go back to pre-2010, we can remember the changes of promises that every Australian remembers. The Greens and Labor broke the promise not to introduce a carbon tax. The people in Western Australia will remember that next Saturday when it comes to the election. The Greens-Labor alliance lied to the Australian people about the carbon tax that they said they would never introduce under their government.

Of course, this bill was part of the carbon tax repeal bills. This bill sits within that context. The coalition went to the election with the clearest possible position on the subject of the carbon tax. We announced a policy many months—if not years—out from the election. The policy was communicated in budget reply speeches, in press releases, in debates during the campaign and in the election material of every single Liberal and National candidate across the country. The leader of the coalition at the time, Tony Abbott, was bold enough to declare that the 2013 federal election would be a referendum on the carbon tax. This was an accurate description of what the election turned out to be. But the people on that side of the chamber want to ignore the will of the Australian people.

Mr Bandt: Mr Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. This bill is not about the carbon tax. This bill is about the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Craig Kelly ): There is no point of order.

Mr IRONS: As I said, the leader of the coalition, Tony Abbott, was bold enough to declare that the 2013 federal election would be a referendum on the carbon tax, and this was an accurate description of what the election turned out to be. Again, as I said, people on that side of the chamber just seem to have totally ignored what the will of the Australian people indicated on 7 September 2013.

Kevin Rudd recognised that it was a referendum on the carbon tax, because, during the campaign, he said he had terminated the carbon tax. What a misrepresentation that turned out to be! And now we see the WA Senate candidates in Western Australia saying that they are going to terminate the carbon tax. They are not. They have been here and they have voted against terminating it. The Western Australian people need to know that when they go to the polls next Saturday.

Most members in this place would agree that, for better or for worse, the carbon tax became the key issue of the 43rd Parliament. It was the major issue, because the Labor Party made it a major issue. It became so the moment the Labor Party decided to break the infamous promise that there would be no carbon tax under a Gillard government. The 43rd Parliament did not have to be about the carbon tax. If Labor had showed some spine and not been jelly-backed and had stood up to the Greens and said, 'No, we will honour our commitments,' the last parliament could have been about better things. It could have been about the welfare of the Australian people. It could have been about delivering the infrastructure of the 21st century. It could have been about rebuilding our national finances, about stopping the boats, about delivering on broadband for the Australian people or even paying for a national disability insurance scheme.

We heard the member for Charlton say that he wants Australian companies to be able to compete internationally. But, if we talk to most manufacturers in Western Australia—particularly in the concrete sector—the carbon tax and the mining tax are the things that are stopping them being competitive internationally. We are seeing concrete products being imported into Australia and into Western Australia because of the deficiencies of the carbon tax and the negative aspect it has on business for people in Western Australia.

We also heard comment about providing a return on investment from the CEFC, but what about the NBN? The Labor Party also said that the NBN would provide a return. Well, we know that is not true. What about the $64 billion black hole that the Labor Party have left with the Australian to pay off? They have taken a disgraceful attitude towards this bill. It is the second time that we have presented it. They need to tell their people in the other chamber to get onboard and vote for the repeal of this bill.

The SPEAKER: It now being two minutes past one, the hour set aside for this section has concluded. In accordance with the resolution agreed to earlier, the time allocated for the consideration in detail stage has concluded. I now put the question that the bill be agreed to.

A division having been called and the bells having been rung—

The SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business has informed me that he is prepared to call this division off on the basis that they will vote against the third reading rather than this motion now. So I declare that the bill is agreed to.