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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11397

Carbon Pricing

Mr HOCKEY (North Sydney) (14:26): My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to concerns in financial markets about the risk of a sovereign debt default in Europe, the weak growth outcomes recorded in the United States, Japan and many European countries, and the IMF's downgrade of the growth forecast for Europe and the United States stating that:

The global economy is in a dangerous new phase.

I ask the Treasurer: isn't this the worst possible time to introduce the world's biggest carbon tax, which will slow economic growth in Australia, increase inflation in Australia and cost Australian jobs?

Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:27): I thank the shadow Treasurer for his question. Whilst it is true that there is uncertainty and it is also true that there is volatility in the global economy, it also true that the Australian economy remains relatively strong. The shadow Treasurer quoted a number of authorities before. Indeed, he quoted the International Monetary Fund. The International Monetary Fund has been to Australia. It has produced what is called its article IV report. That has come out in the last couple of weeks in full. Do you know what the IMF does in that report? It gives a big tick to carbon pricing.

The very report that the shadow Treasurer quotes to seek to say that we should defer carbon pricing is the one that gives it a very big tick. It is a comprehensive report on the Australian economy but he did not read the report. He is just that sloppy all of the time. The fact is that the IMF have given carbon pricing in Australia a big tick—indeed, as they have given the government's economic management a very big tick. What I need to do now is to quote from that report. It is only a couple of weeks old. It says:

Australia's performance since the onset of the global financial crisis has been enviable.

That is, it says the Australian economy is strong and it says the Australian economy is in good shape—and it says it is strong and in good shape for a couple of reasons.

First of all, it says what a good job this government did during the global financial crisis to support our economy and avoid going into recession. Then it points to the fact that over the years fundamental economic reforms have been implemented by governments from both sides of politics to strengthen our economy. It talks about the big reforms of the past in IMF report after IMF report: the floating of the dollar, the bringing down of the tariff wall, national competition policy, national superannuation—all of the big reforms that have strengthened our economy.

It is in that context that the International Monetary Fund supports putting an overall price on carbon. The hide of the shadow Treasurer to come into this House and quote the International Monetary Fund, which has given the government's economic policies a big tick and which supports carbon pricing, is just so typical of those opposite. They are so negative. They have their heads stuck so far in the sand they cannot see the wood for the trees. These people are completely and utterly impossible.