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Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Page: 8509

Senator IAN MACDONALD (Queensland) (12:58): 'There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead'. They are the words that the Leader of the Australian Labor Party took to the last election. It was that commitment that every Labor Party candidate ran on in the election. I think it is instructive to look at why Ms Gillard made that commitment. She made that commitment because she knew that, if she told the truth at that last election, her party would have been annihilated. She also knew that the introduction of a carbon tax would not make one iota of difference to the changing climate of the world. She understood that the only thing a carbon tax would do would be to send Australian jobs offshore, send Australian workers into a state where unemployment would become rife. She knew that this carbon tax was bad policy and, because of that, she lied to the Australian people. She promised the Australian people she would not have this tax and then, as soon as it depended upon the keys to the Lodge, she changed her mind.

No Australian will ever forget that commitment, which Ms Gillard deliberately broke, and no Australian will forget the dishonesty of every single Labor member of parliament who campaigned in the last election against a carbon tax. A mere 12 months later, those Australians who believed the Labor Party and accepted that they would not introduce a carbon tax now find themselves with a job-destroying tax that will change the face of Australia. Australians will not forget. The way the Australian public was lied to is something which, regardless of political affiliations and regard­less of your belief or otherwise in climate change and man's contribution to it, people will never forget. Australians will never forget that this is a policy based on a lie.

It has been raised before and we continue to ask Labor Party politicians: if you have changed your mind and now think that this tax is so good and that Australians actually want it, then why would you not do the honest thing, as John Howard did, and take this particular policy initiative to the people of Australia? If you are so confident it is good, if you are so confident it is what Australians want, then why would you not take it to an election? Why would you not give the Australian people a say in this new policy, which you promised not to introduce? Again, the answer is clear. Mr Acting Deputy President Furner, I ask you, Senator Ludwig and anyone else from the Labor Party who is in this chamber—and I see that none of them are terribly interested in this debate—if it is so good, why would you not go to an election? The answer again is obvious.

The motion of Senator Abetz should be supported. I think the Senate should be debating the duplicity of Australian Labor Party members who before the last election promised their constituents one thing and immediately they got in did another. The important part about this is that for all the promises we are getting about compensation from Ms Gillard, promises of help to every family, no Australian believes her. And why would they? Everything Ms Gillard says henceforth will not be believed by the Australian public because they have had one experience of her. She promised never to bring in a carbon tax and she has done it. Anything else she promises the Australian people will be treated with disdain by them, and rightly so.