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Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Page: 10180


Mr BRIGGS (Mayo) (14:22): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. If the Treasurer is serious about finding savings to fund his $120 billion black hole by cutting back on waste, why has the carbon tax regulator just spent $20,000 on eight new Nespresso machines, while the government will deck out just two office buildings in Canberra with $500,000 worth of plants? Treasurer, why should the Australian people believe the government will be any more successful at funding its $120 billion black hole than it was at giving away roof batts, the abandoned cash for clunkers scheme or building overpriced school halls?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:23): This is an opposition which is constantly at war with the facts, which is why we constantly get all these aggressive questions with all of the exaggeration. We constantly get this from them because there is no real alternative policy framework on the other side of politics. Of course, they are always changing their story about this. Why is it that every living Liberal leader, except the current Leader of the Opposition, has supported a market price on carbon?

Mr Briggs: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The Treasurer should have a look in his brown paper bag to see whether he has an answer.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The member for Mayo will leave the chamber under standing order 94(a) and the member for Mayo can withdraw before he leaves.

Mr Briggs: I withdraw.

Mr SWAN: There is an inconsistency in the approach of the opposition when it comes to emissions trading, which they supported for many years. There is a very interesting revelation today in the Australian Financial Review from Christopher Joye. He said:

In November 2009 , Nick Minchin and Tony Abbott privately offered Hockey the party leadership on the proviso he dropped his advocacy of an emissions trading scheme. Hockey said no.

He was committed to emissions trading. After that, he took that straw poll on twitter and then suddenly found out that maybe he ought to flip-flop on this critical question of an emissions trading scheme.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, I rise on a point of order. This could not possibly be relevant to the question that was asked. It was a very specific question about waste and the Acting Prime Minister should be required to answer the question.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat.

Mr Albanese: The opposition have already had one—

An opposition member: Oh, boo hoo!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat. For the edification of the House, the previous one was ruled out of order, so I am going to give the Manager of Opposition Business the ability to be relevant—because the other one was a complete abuse. It is a note of caution to anybody else who uses a point of order as a complete abuse that they will be joining the member for Mayo outside the chamber. The Acting Prime Minister has the call and will answer the question before the chair.

Mr SWAN: I was asked about implementation of a clean energy package and about the emissions trading scheme. I was asked about expenditure in our relevant authorities.

Opposition members interjecting

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: Order! The Acting Prime Minister has the call and will be heard in silence.

Mr SWAN: The government thinks it is very important to put in place a market price on carbon, to get a reduction in carbon pollution at the least possible cost to our economy. We are committed to that and there are many over there who used to be committed to that but of course now they have changed their story. It is not infrequent for the Leader of the Opposition to change his story. He is doing it all the time and I am sure he could change it back, because we know that in their heart of hearts they are committed to market principles and they want to keep a price on carbon.