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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8335


Senator FARRELL (South AustraliaParliamentary Secretary for Sustainability and Urban Water) (15:10): It does come as a bit of a surprise that Senator Johnston would be talking about credibility after the backflip by his party last week on the issue of superannuation. We had Senator Cormann assuring Phillip Coorey only last Friday that there was no way that the Liberals would not be reversing superannuation. When Mr Robb found out about this, it was of course the end of that policy. I can see that you are laughing, Mr Acting Deputy President, because it is funny. And it is funny that Senator Johnston would even raise the question of credibility. What we know is credible is what Senator Wong was saying about this government's progressive policies in relation to—

Senator Cash: Leadership.

Senator FARRELL: Leadership, yes. We have got great leadership.

Senator Cash interjecting

Senator FARRELL: Yes, Senator Cash, we have got great leadership. We have got great leadership in the Senate and we have got great leadership in the lower house. It is that leadership—

Senator Cash interjecting

Senator FARRELL: You can laugh about this, Senator Cash. I know that you can laugh about it.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order on my left!

Senator FARRELL: Thank you, Mr Deputy President. I appreciate that protection from Senator Cash. What was senator Wong talking about today? She was talking about the importance of this government's policies with respect to pricing pollution. One of the great misconceptions, particularly as outlined by Senator Johnston, is that other countries are not going down the track of pricing pollution. The reality is that 90 countries representing over 80 per cent of global emissions and over 90 per cent of the global economy have made pledges to tackle climate change. It is true, as we saw last week in Europe, that other countries recognise the fact that Australia is leading in respect of dealing with the issue of pollution. But the reality is that a whole host of other countries accept, as this government does, that we must act on climate pollution.

The European Union has had an emissions trading scheme for six years and it will be expanding this scheme from the year 2013.

Senator Bernardi: They are going broke.

Senator FARRELL: Senator Bernardi, you talk about going broke. We cannot afford to ignore the price of pollution in our own country or in the rest of the world. This government is taking on the challenge that John Howard—your great hero, Senator Bernardi—went to the 2007 election on. He said that this was a problem and that he was going to do something about it. What happened to that?

Senator Ian Macdonald: They voted him out.

Senator FARRELL: Yes, that is true. They voted him out. They voted him out for lots of reasons.

Senator Bernardi interjecting

Senator FARRELL: They voted him out for lots of reasons. If only Senator Bernardi's other great hero, Senator Minchin, had got his way and you had got rid of Mr Howard, then things might have been different—

Senator Ian Macdonald: We'd probably still be in power!

Senator FARRELL: That is right; you might have been. But that was not to be, Senator Macdonald. The reality was that both political parties went to that election with a proposition to deal with carbon emissions. But the difference between your party and our party is we are delivering. The difference—

Senator Bernardi interjecting

Senator FARRELL: You had a leader, Senator Bernardi—

Senator Cash: So did you!

Senator FARRELL: Temporarily, you had a leader—

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order! Senator Farrell, two matters: firstly, direct your comments to the chair, not across the chamber; and, secondly, I think it would assist listeners and certainly the people in the sound booth if you did not hit the desk with your fist. It does cause problems with the sound. Thank you. Senator Farrell, you have the call.

Senator FARRELL: Thank you for those two observations, Mr Deputy President. I will calm down my behaviour. But I cannot resist making the point, with or without a fist, that what this government is doing is what we went to the 2000 election to deal with— (Time expired)