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Thursday, 13 August 2009
Page: 4902

Senator HURLEY (3:18 PM) —The agricultural rump of the party has just spoken and delivered typical arguments that rely on outright inaccuracies and wild hypothetical imaginings in order to concoct an argument against doing something about climate change regardless of the concrete fact that climate change is, and has been for some time, affecting the agricultural industry more than most industries in this nation and that primary industries need to do something effective about climate change in this country. Their representatives are here in this parliament arguing wildly and improbably about what we should do about it instead of what most far-sighted people in primary industry have been doing for many, many decades over all sorts of changes, which is looking at the facts, looking at how the primary industries sector may deal with those facts and presenting them in an effective manner while being prepared to compromise. That is what primary industry needs, not the flights of fancy that we hear from Senator Heffernan and Senator Joyce.

As Senator Wong explained, the fact of the matter is that the agricultural sector is not included in the emissions trading scheme. The facts and figures cited by Senator Joyce about beef emissions may or may not be factored into what we achieve when and if the agricultural sector comes into the emissions trading scheme. But rather than addressing in an effective way what we have before us—

Senator Heffernan —So why not come and plead the case with us?

Senator HURLEY —Because basically you have no coherent response. The agricultural rump opposite prefers to think in wild conjecture and talk about issues that have no relevance whatsoever to the bill we voted on today. Climate change—

Senator Joyce —Are you going to disagree with Combet? Are you going to say that agriculture is out?

Senator HURLEY —Agriculture is not part of the emissions trading scheme bill that we considered today.

Opposition senators interjecting—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Hurley listened in silence and I suggest senators on my left do the same thing.

Senator HURLEY —Climate change affects primary industries more than most other industries in Australia at the moment. That is true. We are going to have to deal with that in an effective way—climate change consisting of both pollution and the change in climate. Pollution—carbon pollution in particular—has been a matter of interest to countries around the world for decades. It is not a recent phenomenon. Carbon pollution was a matter of great interest to the United Kingdom. London dealt with the pea-souper fogs and the dreadful carbon pollution that it had by regulating against domestic coal and wood fires—principally coal. The resulting turnaround in the climate has been astounding. It has impelled the London and UK authorities to act further. In Europe, similar action was taken to combat acid rain which was affecting agriculture and other industries. European authorities started acting against carbon and other pollution decades ago, and that is why Australia is behind. That is why Australia is still a great pollution emitter, despite the natural advantages we have. This government and this minister are attempting to do something about that and it is being rejected.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! Are you taking a point of order, Senator Heffernan?

Senator Heffernan —No, I am getting ready.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Please obey the standing orders of the Senate.

Senator HURLEY —The government is trying to do something about Australia’s response, but the opposition and the Greens are rejecting it.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Before I call you, Senator Heffernan, could I also remind you of standing order 185, which says that a senator shall not pass between the chair and a senator who is speaking, which you did while Senator Joyce was speaking.