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Monday, 20 August 2012
Page: 9256

Mr CHEESEMAN (Corangamite) (12:46): I take great pride in rising today to speak on this motion. We have heard all sorts of claims coming from the opposition about what impact the price on carbon will have. They have said that this will create devastation. It will create massive price rises and lead to massive job losses. According to their claims, it will lead to Whyalla being wiped off the map. Tony Abbott has said that the impact on the cost of living will be almost unimaginable. Joe Hockey has said it will drive up the price of everything. Barnaby Joyce said that it would force working mothers to pay up to $100 for a roast. And we have heard all sorts of other claims coming from the coalition.

The reality, of course, is completely different. Despite the fear campaign being waged by Tony Abbott and the Liberal and National parties, the reality is that 1 July has come and gone and the python is not squeezing the economy. The wrecking ball has not created mass destruction and devastation on our economy. Indeed, the Treasury modelling is shaping up to be spot on, suggesting that the impact on our economy will be less than 0.7 per cent. The reality is that Tony Abbott has spent the last 12 months running a fear campaign—a fear campaign not based on fact but designed to scare working families.

Meanwhile, this Labor government has continued to argue the case around why polluters must pay for their pollution and why it is important to put in place household compensation packages, to ensure that Australians are shielded from the costs of a price on carbon. Indeed, we have provided compensation to nine out of 10 households, a very Labor thing to do. We put in place compensation that equates, on average, to about $10.10 per typical family, with the impact being passed on by those that generate the pollution being substantially lower than that. We have also been able to use this opportunity to lift family tax benefits and put in place increases to pensions and other government payments, ensuring that Australians can live comfortably with a price on carbon.

The reality is that Tony Abbott, for the last 12 months, has been running a scare campaign. As I said earlier, 1 July has come and gone, the wrecking ball has not struck the Australian economy, the python has not started squeezing the economy and the cobra has not struck. Indeed, I am sure that, when electricity bills start arriving in the next few weeks, Australians will see straight through the fear campaign, which Tony Abbott has been running, as a deceitful campaign and a campaign based on fear mongering and scaring Australians rather than on the facts. I know the coalition do not like hearing the facts, but the reality is that putting a price on carbon is the right thing to do for our economy, it is the right thing to do for our planet and it is reform that only Labor will deliver in a way that will protect Australians from unnecessary price increases.