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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11402

Carbon Pricing

Mr ABBOTT (WarringahLeader of the Opposition) (14:46): My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer her to global economic uncertainty, dwindling consumer confidence, the higher costs of living faced by Australia's forgotten families and widespread job insecurity, all of which will be made worse by the government's toxic carbon tax, and I ask: with the government increasingly paralysed by disunity over leadership, why should the Australian people have any confidence that the Prime Minister is protecting their jobs rather than her own?

Ms GILLARD (LalorPrime Minister) (14:47): The kind of question we often get from the Leader of the Opposition—it is always heavy on the drama. What it has never got in it is any facts and what we never hear is any alternatives that make any sense. The Leader of the Opposition never campaigns on his so-called direct action plan, a plan to subsidise polluters, because he knows it will not work and it does not add up.

The Leader of the Opposition is here today with all of this dramatic carry-on because he knows once a carbon price is legislated and commences to operate then the fear campaigns he has been engaged in will be exposed as absolute nonsense. He knows that he will not ever repeal carbon pricing. He will go running around like a headless chook in hyperactive mode trying to pretend to everybody that he will, but he knows this: that significant figures in the Liberal Party support putting a price on carbon—every living Liberal leader except this Leader of the Opposition. He knows that once it is in place money will start to flow to pensioners and to families and to providing workers with tax cuts. He knows that in the past he has been incredibly in favour of putting a price on carbon, and so his rhetoric about repealing the carbon price will be seen through by the Australian people.

The Leader of the Opposition has the temerity to come in here and talk about jobs. I say to the Leader of the Opposition: in the carbon-pricing package we are providing literally billions of dollars to work with Australian industry to support Australian jobs. We will be there working with Australian industry to support those jobs, in manufacturing, in steel, as well as seizing the clean energy opportunities of the future and the jobs that come with that. The Leader of the Opposition, who has been in and out of factories trying to associate himself with working people—the same working people he ran a mile from during the days of Work Choices—is now saying to those steelworkers that he stood alongside: 'I could help your industry by voting for a $300 million steel transformation plan but I won't do it. The politics is more important to me than supporting your job.' We, in the votes today and tomorrow, will be supporting the jobs of steelworkers. The Leader of the Opposition will sit in that chair and vote against their jobs.

On the question of jobs, last week we had the Future Jobs Forum. The input of the opposition? Apart from cutting assistance to the automobile industry, apart from having no plan for skills except cutbacks to apprenticeships, apart from having no plan for the economy except desperately trying to cover up their planned $70 billion of cuts to services, what does the opposition stand for? It certainly is not jobs. No plans for the jobs of Australians at all, and they are bored by the discussion of it.

Every time we have talked about carbon pricing in this country, figures in the opposition have thought up a new reason to delay. Well, history is marching on. We are going to get this done. This House of Representatives is going to get this done tomorrow. We will be there voting on the side of history. The Leader of the Opposition will be writing his name into history as the biggest wrecker to ever serve in a leadership role in Australian politics.