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Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Page: 11486

Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (20:37): I thank the member for Canberra for her contribution. I invite her, like I invited the Prime Minister, to come to the Riverina and talk to the hardworking farmers, families, businesspeople and all the industries who will be affected by the carbon tax that she and her Labor colleagues are going to foist upon our people. The Prime Minister said she would wear out her shoe leather talking to people across Australia, but she certainly did not respond when I wrote to her to invite her to come to the Riverina to wear out some of her shoe leather talking to my constituents. I am sure that when I write to the member for Canberra—which I will do in the morning—to invite her to the Riverina, she will respond. She may not come to the Riverina, but I am sure she will give me the courtesy of a response.

The costs and job losses from this carbon tax are going to be compounded in regional Australia and certainly in the Riverina. The member for Canberra will find that out if she goes down the highway to meet the good people of the Riverina and if she talks to them about what the carbon tax will mean to them. When the Prime Minister announced the big new tax on 10 July—carbon Sunday—she said that nine out of 10 households would receive compensation. But millions of middle-income families will be worse off. For those who will receive financial assistance, the government cannot or will not say for how long. How could anyone trust this government, which is being told what to do by the Greens? It is being led by the nose by the Greens. How else could you explain that the PM's office allowed Senator Milne to announce the government's $3 billion renewable energy package on 8 July? How else could you explain that the Greens—and there are only 10 of them out of the 226 elected upper and lower house MPs—not only knew about the carbon tax but also had significant input into its planning over many weeks, while 103 Labor backbenchers were told about the details of the tax during a teleconference on the morning of carbon Sunday? That is why Labor is so divided.

Professor Ross Garnaut revealed what could aptly be described as an inconvenient truth in his updated climate review report when he said, 'Australian households will ultimately bear the full cost.' In the European Union, its emissions trading scheme raised $2.6 billion to $2.9 billion between 2005 and 2011. The Gillard government's proposed carbon tax will raise $9 billion a year—more money in the first three months than the European scheme has raised in 5½ years. Already Gillard Labor has foreshadowed, courtesy of these bills, three new bureaucracies: the Australian Renewable Energy Agency, the Climate Change Authority and a $10 billion Clean Energy Finance Corporation. We will eventually become little more than a nation of coffee drinkers and paper shufflers. Be forthright, honest and fair dinkum. Allow the people to have their say. Your constituents deserve to have their say. They will not be silenced; at the very least they will respect you a whole lot more for it.

I received an email this morning from Alan Perman of Forest Hill, a suburb just east of Wagga Wagga. He said:

We do not want the proposed carbon tax without an election on the issue.

That is gone. But he also added:

Please vote against this tax or at least for a delay until after the next election.

So I ask the members opposite to at least please defer this legislation until the 44th Parliament. At least the constituents in your electorates—maybe your electorates were once safe; they will now be very marginal and, if the polls are anything to go by, they will be very, very marginal and very, very loseable—deserve to have their say. The coalition has a policy, the direct action policy—

Ms Rishworth: You're mentioning it! Finally!

Mr McCORMACK: The Labor-Greens government has no mandate to introduce the carbon tax legislation. The Prime Minister said, 'There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.' She has failed to honour her promise to the Australian people. She has failed to honour her promise to those hardworking backbenchers who are now extremely worried about their political futures. The next election will be a referendum on the carbon tax which will drive up the cost of living for all Australian families and will cost local jobs. The $9 billion carbon tax means a 10 per cent hike in electricity bills in the first year alone—and on and on and on. Support this amendment and at least do the right thing by your constituents.