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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11461

Mr CIOBO (Moncrieff) (18:43): As I was saying earlier, there are some facts about this debate that simply cannot be ignored. First among them is the fact that, at its core, Labor's policy, which would effectively penalise the Australian economy vis-a-vis other industrialised economies, will see a five per cent reduction in emission levels when Australia currently contributes around 1½ per cent of global emissions. So we are talking about imposing a multibillion-dollar tax on the Australian economy. We are talking about imposing a significant burden, which must be shared by households and by small and large businesses across the Australian economy, to make a five per cent reduction to global emissions of 1.5 per cent. The lunacy of Labor's approach on this—I heard it from the speaker immediately prior to me, and this is the great con job that lies at the core of this debate—is that it is a choice between positives and nothing. This is an approach that forces Australians to choose between the economic benefits that might flow from this policy and nothing. Can I put it unequivocally on the record that I believe there are benefits flowing from a shift to renewables—and I have already indicated that. But the key difference between my perspective and Labor's approach is that I say it must be done in lock step with other developed economies because there are costs associated with this reform that cannot be ignored. While it might suit the arguments of Labor members to claim that it is only ever filled with positives, there are significant and real economic disadvantages that will directly flow from Labor's imposition of this tax.

I am very willing to concede that there are benefits that will flow in time as well, and I say let us embrace these benefits. But we should embrace these benefits in lock step with other developed economies because, by doing that, we will ensure that the disadvantages that are felt immediately, as opposed to the longer term benefits that will flow in due course, are not done in a unilateral way.

I will speak about my own electorate of Moncrieff on the Gold Coast. There can be no clearer example of the difference between long-term benefits and short-term costs than the tourism industry. Under Labor's proposal before the House, which has now been passed in terms of the second reading speech, we have a situation where international tourists coming to Australia will pay more as a result of Labor's carbon tax with no compensation. There is no international compensation for tourists travelling to Australia. So, for the 70 or 80 per cent of the Australian economy who will be facing increased costs—the service side of the economy—there will be no global compensation. They will pay more to visit Australia than other countries that are not doing this. What will their choice be? If you believe in the basic laws of supply and demand, when the price goes up, fewer people will demand the product. That is point No. 1.

Mr Combet: Should we compensate them for movements in the Australian dollar too?

Mr CIOBO: The minister at the table interjects. He concedes that the tourism industry is already being battered by a sky-high Australian dollar. He says, 'Oh well, they've already got that problem, so why would we worry about this other problem?' This is the lunacy of this government. This is the lunacy of an approach that says, 'We're already doing it tough because of this factor, so what's one more nail in the coffin?' So there is no compensation for international tourists.

In addition to that, under Labor's policy there will be no carbon tax payable on a flight overseas for an Australian but there will be a price payable to holiday domestically. So, in addition to there being a disadvantage for Australia vis-a-vis other countries around the world, under Labor's policy it will cost you more to holiday domestically but it will not cost you more to holiday internationally—and that in some way makes sense to the Labor Party as well! So, using that one industry as an example, we can already see the immediate upfront economic disadvantages that will flow to the Australian economy versus the long-term benefits that will flow to the Australian economy—which are largely qualitative and perhaps even unquantifiable—as a result of Labor's changes. The simple issue is that these reforms must be done in lock step with the rest of the world. (Time expired)