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Monday, 7 November 2011
Page: 8432


Senator BIRMINGHAM ( South Australia ) ( 21: 44 ): Senator Xenophon, can I acknowledge firstly, as Senator Wong has, your continued commitment to the policy of a benchmark and trade type scheme. Can I equally acknowledge that it is certainly better policy than what we have from those opposite. Those opposite's policy is a veritable 'money-go-round'. It is simply a tax-and-spend churn. As I have highlighted before, it is remarkable that they can bring in around $9 billion a year, churn it around through the bureaucracy, spit it back out in a variety of ways and means and then end up with a deficit at the end of it. There is really nothing more inefficient than that type of activity.

Your policy, Senator Xenophon, does at least seek to minimise that churn. It does seek to provide a policy framework that does not unduly apply unnecessary costs. The coalition believes that the target that Australia is looking at at present can be achieved through measures where you do not have to apply the type of cost, tax, price et cetera on to generators as discussed. But I do acknowledge that your contribution is a valuable one to this debate and the policy that you continue to advocate is something that certainly should continue to be discussed if for no other reason than to ensure that there is a demonstration that there is a far more efficient way of discussing pricing options, if that is where you want to go, than the government's pricing options on the table.