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Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Page: 8497

Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (11:41): Before my final remarks on this legislation, let us go to the amendment at hand. The Electricity Supply Association makes it crystal clear that, if this amendment is not passed, if electricity suppliers must pay billions of dollars upfront for permits needed in years to come, it will be a windfall for bankers and a burden on consumers and will push up prices an additional 10 per cent on top of what they will increase already. That is why this amendment is essential.

Unlike others, I do not believe that Prime Minister Julia Gillard lied when she said just days before the last election that there would be no carbon tax under any government she led. But you do not have to lie to mislead and the Australian people have been mislead. This scheme is such a massive change. As economic changes go, you do not get any bigger than this. Leadership is about bringing the people with you and honestly and openly communicating with them, engaging them, and convincing them of the merits of your case is key to this. And the best and most transparent way to engage with the Australian people is to let the people have a say on such a fundamental reform. That is the primary objection, but, added to that, this scheme is a scheme that will churn and burn many billions of dollars for a minimal environmental impact. I cannot support these bills.