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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Page: 6665

Carbon Pricing

Mr TUDGE (Aston) (14:58): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer to the statement of Alan Vickery of Vicpole, a manufacturer on the edge of my electorate, that a carbon tax 'would not be the end of Vicpole, but it would be the end of the 40 jobs', as he would cease being a manufacturer and may instead import the same product. Will the Treasurer guarantee that no manufacturing jobs will be lost as a result of the carbon tax and that global emissions will not increase as a result of importing steel from countries like China? Why will the Treasurer not support giving the people a say rather than being guilty of all hypocrisy and no democracy?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:59): I thank the member for Aston for his question. This is simply part of the continuing scare campaign being run by those opposite because they do not have the wit to put forward an alternative policy for this country. They do not have an alternative economic policy and they most certainly do not have a policy to deal with dangerous climate change. He raises the question of a plebiscite. I can tell you that there is certainly one 'yes' vote in this parliament for such a plebiscite, and that is from the member for Wentworth. We know that they on that side of the House are bitterly divided over climate change. We have the position of the Leader of the Opposition. He is a climate change sceptic. And we have the position of the member for Wentworth, who actually believes in the science and believes in a market based price.

Mr Dutton interjecting

The SPEAKER: Order! The Treasurer will resume his seat. Despite the intervention from the member for Dickson, I indicate to the Treasurer that under the previous standing order of relevance the Treasurer might have been allowed the response that he is giving, but there was a change at the start of this parliament. He must directly relate his material to the question.

Mr SWAN: I am talking about climate change. I am talking about its importance to jobs. I am talking about its importance to future prosperity. It is very important that this very big challenge is one that is dealt with in this parliament. I was making the point that those on that side of the House are not up to the challenge of dealing with this very important issue and in fact are bitterly divided between the Leader of the Opposition and the member for Wentworth. Then of course there is the position of the shadow Treasurer.

The SPEAKER: Order! The Treasurer will directly relate his material to the question.

Mr SWAN: My answer to that question is very simple. There is only one way we can guarantee future prosperity. That is by putting a price on carbon pollution. If we do not act, the cost of not acting will be far higher. We have to move to a clean energy future.

Mr Tudge: Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order on relevance. The question was, 'Will he guarantee that no jobs are lost in the manufacturing sector?'

The SPEAKER: There is no standing order on relevance. There is a standing order on direct relevance. That was part of the question. But I remind the Treasurer of his obligation to relate the material that he is using directly to the question.

Mr SWAN: The second part of the question was about a plebiscite. I was referring to the fact that they are so divided on that side of the House that they did not even take the proposal for a plebiscite to their shadow cabinet. That is what I was asked about. That demonstrates how unqualified they are to deal with the very big challenges that we must deal with in this country to support prosperity and jobs.