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Monday, 7 July 2014
Page: 4184

Senator ABETZ (TasmaniaLeader of the Government in the Senate, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Minister for Employment) (13:35): I seek leave to move a motion relating to government business.

Leave not granted.

Senator ABETZ: Pursuant to contingent notice standing in my name, I move:

That so much of standing orders be suspended as would prevent him moving a motion to provide for the consideration of a matter, namely a motion to give precedence to a motion relating to the consideration of the Clean Energy Legislation (Carbon Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [No. 2] and related bills.

In moving that motion, we show yet again our resolve as a government to ensure that this Senate has the first available opportunity to rid the Australian economy, Australian households, the Australian environment and indeed Australian businesses of the blot which is the carbon tax—a carbon tax that has a perverse environmental outcome, a tax that is destroying jobs in Australia as we speak, a tax that is imposing on everybody's cost of living as we speak, a tax that Labor promised us we would never have in 2010, a tax that Kevin Rudd and Labor promised us in 2013 courtesy of this brochure they had removed. Of course that never occurred, but we are now trying to achieve it nine months after the Australian people voted for the removal of the carbon tax—a carbon tax that is that toxic that Labor promised never to introduce it and, having introduced it, said they had somehow removed it themselves.

Of course, they have not removed it. It is still on the legislative books of this nation, and each and every day that it continues to be on the legislative books of this nation the Australian people are reminded of that great deception perpetrated by the Australian Labor Party on the Australian people, not only in 2010, that they would not have a carbon tax, but also in 2013, that the carbon tax had been removed. If the carbon tax had been removed, why on earth would we need to have a discussion in this place to actually ensure its removal?

This tax ratcheted up yet again on 1 July this year, increasing the impost on households, doing further damage to our economy and—the perverseness of it all—doing further damage to the environment as more manufacturing, cleaner manufacturing, that occurs in Australia has had to go overseas. When it does, it does not operate in the environmentally sound legislative environment in which it needs to operate in Australia.

What the Australian Labor Party have been seeking to do is use the dead hand of the old Senate—the unrepresentative Senate—to reach out, stop and block discussion of this legislation so that the impost and the damage being done by the carbon tax can linger on for just that little bit longer and for that little bit more. Why on earth the Australian Labor Party would be associated with such a move I have no idea. I can understand the Greens' position. At least it is consistent—absolutely wrong, but at least it is consistent—whereas the Labor Party have flip-flopped, flip-flopped and flip-flopped so much that I do not think they actually understand what their own policy is.

We as an opposition were very firm. We said that, if we were elected, if we were given the privilege of the confidence of the Australian people, we would put up the repeal of the carbon tax as the very first item of business for the new parliament. That is exactly what we did, and the House of Representatives happened to agree with the government that the carbon tax should go. Of course, the former Senate, dominated as it was by Labor-Green senators, in their absolute resentment of the will of the Australian people on 7 September 2013 demanded that the carbon tax—which they promised would never exist and then promised they had repealed—remain.

We now have a new Senate and I say to those opposite that this is not a rushed piece of legislation. Everybody knows what this is about. It has been on the national agenda for well over three years. And it is not surprising, having said to the Australian people that the first item on our agenda would be the repeal of the carbon tax, that we should then do exactly the same with the new Senate and put it up as the first item of business for the new Senate. So I invite honourable senators on all sides, from all parties, to give due consideration to their duty to the Australian people to have this blot on the economic landscape removed. Reduce the cost of living, support Australian jobs and, to boot, support the world environment.