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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9200

Mr CHAMPION (Wakefield) (21:13): It is not for me to respond, but I would point the member for McMillan to the experience in the United States of market based mechanisms to reduce pollution. In the United States, they used a market based mechanism—a trading scheme—to eliminate acid rain. Deputy Speaker Leigh could give the member various articles about how that was done through a trading system, and that would be proof that such systems work.

Earlier, we heard the member for Longman complain about business confidence. He talked about how small businesses in his electorate were complaining about business confidence and were worried about the future. The main reason they are worried about the future is that we have an opposition that is not playing the role of the loyal opposition but rather playing the role of the tea party in Australia.

They are running around the place, increasingly shrill and unbelievable—as this motion demonstrates—in this Henny Penny fashion saying: 'The sky is going to fall. You've got to be scared. You've got to be frightened. It's just around the corner.' We got to 1 July and it was: 'It's just around the corner. Wait until the power bills come in.' After that it will be: 'Wait for this. Wait for that.'

Mr Perrett: It's a python, not a cobra.

Mr CHAMPION: It's a python, not a cobra. We have seen Whyalla survive. Whyalla is still there. We have seen the opposition leader previously describe the lifts in the cost of living as 'unimaginable', and yet the TD Securities inflation figure for July was 0.2 per cent. We have heard the Leader of the Opposition say that every Australian job would be less secure, yet unemployment remains low. Wages continue to grow. Australians in all walks of life continue to get on with their daily lives. What we have seen over the last year is the most irresponsible scare campaign in this nation's history.

I have been out to my electorate and talked to people. I used to do the piece-of-steak test. I knew that the average piece of steak would rise by half a cent under the carbon price. I would go out there and ask people, 'How much do you think it's going up?' Because of the scare campaign of those opposite, you got anywhere from 15c to $2 a piece. People have fertile imaginations these days. Of course members opposite have played upon those imaginations and turned them into an incense burner to their own political vanity. Unfortunately, this all has to stop. At some point, reality has to set in. And of course it has set in.

What this price is all about—and it is a price, and it is a market based mechanism—is a transformation in our economy, mainly to drive efficiency. That is what this price does: it mainly drives efficiency. Sure, some costs are passed on. That is why consumers—particularly consumers on fixed incomes—are compensated. But what this price really is designed to do is drive efficiency in business.

I have seen that in my own electorate, in a big bottling plant. Obviously it was energy intensive. They were fearful of what Europe might do in terms of trade barriers. They were fearful that wineries might ship their wine over there and bottle in the United Kingdom rather than bottle here. So they halved the amount of glass in the bottles. They invested in a very efficient manufacturing plant and reduced the amount of glass they used. Because they reduced the amount of glass they used, they reduced their energy intensity. Because they reduced that, they pump out less carbon. That is what market based systems do: they promote efficiency. Members opposite know this. But they just do not want to talk about it.

Mr Hunt: I'll talk about it.

Mr CHAMPION: You did your whole thesis on it. You should know it back to front. We are waiting for you to tell us.

Mr Hunt: I know a bit about this.

Mr CHAMPION: You claim that your own scheme is a market based mechanism. I wonder how you are going to justify that.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Dr Leigh ): Order! The member will direct his comments through the chair.

Mr CHAMPION: It is going to be the greatest public subsidy for heavy industry since Stalin was around. State based socialism is what you are proposing.

Mr Christensen: Did you get your car subsidies?

Mr CHAMPION: The member opposite should not knock Holdens. Holden is a great Australian brand. You should not knock them in this place. I will leave it to the other side to explain their policy and the merits of it. (Time expired)