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Tuesday, 25 February 2014
Page: 762

Carbon Pricing

Mr BROUGH (Fisher) (14:07): My question is to the Minister for the Environment. Minister, many Sunshine Coast businesses, including trawler operators, dairy farmers and grocers, have expressed to me their real concern about the impost of the carbon tax. Minister, can you inform the House of the progress being made to repeal the carbon tax?

Mr HUNT (FlindersMinister for the Environment) (14:08): I am delighted to receive this question from the new member for Fisher, who brings a certain decency, diligence and dignity back to the parliament. Long may he reign.

Opposition members interjecting

The SPEAKER: There will be silence on my left.

Mr HUNT: He asked me: what progress are we making on repealing the carbon tax? We are making progress. We made a very important first step today, when the opposition finally began the crab walk away from the long held belief in the carbon tax. What occurred was this. In the last few days I signed a determination to scrap the carbon tax auctions. These auctions were a critical part of the floating price period of the carbon tax. It does not work without the auctions, and they know it. What we saw was that, instead of standing up for their beloved carbon tax, they did the right thing. They stood back. They allowed the auctions to be revoked.

The significance of this moment in this parliament should not be underestimated in any way. We see that overnight the ALP has begun the journey to allowing full repeal of the carbon tax. By allowing the auctions to be axed, they know that, through the life of this parliament, you cannot have the floating price period operating in any effective way. What does this mean? It means that they have taken the first step, but we still have to finish the job. At this moment in the Senate the Leader of the Opposition has his senators out on strike. They are on an industrial go-slow in the Senate. We have the bills backed up, and everything they can do to delay repeal of the carbon tax is being done. This is the moment when, if you take the first step, you have to finish the job and repeal the carbon tax.

Why do we need to do that? It is a multibillion dollar tax—$4.1 billion on electricity alone and $1.1 billion on Australian manufacturing alone. Whether it is a food maker such as Simplot or an airline such as Qantas, who has a $106 million carbon tax, the costs are mounting for each and every Australian. If you want to repeal the carbon tax lock, stock and barrel, the message to the Leader of the Opposition is: listen to what the Australian people voted for, bring your senators back to work—end the industrial go-slow, end the strike, in the Senate—call them in on Monday and get them to vote for repeal of the carbon tax. Get them to honour the election mandate and vote for lower electricity prices.