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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 4901

Senator JOYCE (Leader of the Nationals in the Senate) (3:13 PM) —It is interesting to hear Henry V being quoted, but I do not think there is going to be any modest stillness or humility given to us today from the Labor side. It is very interesting to see that the stiffening up of the sinews came from this side of the chamber. It was not only from this side of the chamber; it was also from the Greens and the Independents because your plan for the emission trading scheme was so patently ridiculous. It was something that was obviously going to send regional Australia into a complete tailspin, looking at about a 20 per cent reduction in regional economies. We are worried about a recession; we are talking about two quarters of negative growth. How would you look with a 20 per cent reduction in your economy? This was modelling paid for by the Labor Party. So it comes from a reliable source! It comes from the sort of reliable source that may be the sauce bottle that Mr Rudd likes to shake.

The obvious issue here is: why would we put our nation in a position where there is only one outcome—that is, an economic suicide note for us? This was never going to do anything to the temperature of the globe; it was never going to change the climate, and because of that it was merely a gesture. You cannot make it so that the price of this gesture is the jobs in the coal mining industry not only in Central Queensland but in the Illawarra, in the Hunter Valley, in Mackay in the Surat Basin, in the Bowen Basin and in the new Galilee Basin that is going to open up. You cannot put all these people at risk for something that does not actually achieve anything.

But the part that really resonated with the Australian people—and they are coming on side in wanting to reject the ETS flat out; it is occupying talkback and the airwaves—is the effect of what happens when agriculture is included. If agriculture is included it could bring about the demise of the beef and sheep industries—both industries. If you cause the demise of both those industries you will not just have caused completely immoral destitution in rural Australia, it will also work its way up through every suburban street in our nation. Every suburban street will have to deal with the price of imported goods. How ridiculous it is that a country the size of Western Europe and with a population slightly bigger than Belgium will have to increase the importation of food because our beef industry has become unviable.

I can see Senator Hurley writing notes, so I will tell you exactly how we come to that point. The National Australia Bank modelling talks about the price of carbon being between $10 and $100 a tonne. We know that a bovine ruminant emits about 70 kilograms of methane, which is about a tonne and a half equivalent of carbon. For an ovine ruminant it is about 200 kilograms of carbon a year. If we say $50 a tonne we are talking about $75 per beast per year for cattle and about $10 per sheep per year. That is the end of the industry. There will be no industry. There is no point in talking about what you are going to offset it against. You are not allowed to offset it with soil sequestration because you have signed the Kyoto protocol, which specifically outlaws it.

You also mentioned the demise of the Great Barrier Reef. Everyone is concerned about that—if that is what you believe. But first of all you have to believe that what you are doing will change the temperature of the globe, which it will not. Some very worthwhile sources, such as Professor Peter Ridd of James Cook University, a well-noted oceanographer, have completely debunked that idea. Professor Ridd said that the Great Barrier Reef is vastly more versatile and robust than you seem to give it credit for.

With all of these moralising arguments that the Labor Party trotted out one after the other, it was a case of: the world is going to end, so we are going to tax you; teenagers drink too much, so we are going to tax them. Every time there is a problem their solution is a new tax. And this is a supertax; it is a supertax that people have to pay whether they are making a profit or not. This is a tax that people are going to have to pay merely by reason of the fact that they exist. You can go into some houses in rural Australia, and I did, where people are doing it so tough and life is so hard. They basically have none of the quality of life that we have. They almost live in poverty. And you are going to deliver upon them another tax. Why? Because it helps Mr Rudd’s ego. (Time expired)