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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8427


Senator BIRMINGHAM (South Australia) (21:37): Very briefly, I did not want Senator Milne's last contribution to go unanswered. If you looked at it in isolation in the Hansard you would be forgiven for thinking the Climate Change Authority was going to set emissions reduction targets for the entire world. Of course, its role is to set emissions reduction targets for Australia. Senator Milne talked about the only consideration for the Climate Change Authority to be that of the science. Yes, of course, that is important; but, equally, as we on this side have argued time and time again, that has to be considered in the context of what everybody else is doing. Perhaps to do as Senator Milne has done on occasions in this debate, I will simply refer her to clause 289( 2) of the Clean Energy Bill, which outlines that, whilst the science is a relevant factor for the Climate Change Authority to consider when looking at Australia's future targets, there are a range of factors, not least of which are the economic and social implications associated with various caps.

Chair, I do not want to detain the chamber any further on the amendment proposed by Senator Xenophon. As I stated before, the opposition stands by its commitment to a five per cent target by 2020. If we ever see any fair dinkum process in the international fora towards higher and better action around the rest of the world, we will stand ready to look at higher targets for Australia.