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Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Page: 48

Senator IAN MACDONALD (3:25 PM) —If ever you want to see a political party run scared over an issue, have a look at the Labor Party over the Emissions Trading Scheme, the so-called Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The speakers in this debate from the Labor Party do not even believe what they are saying. We happen to know that many Labor senators would dearly love to have had the courage to vote with us the last time it came before the Senate. The last thing they want to do is have to sit through another debate in the Senate on the same piece of legislation that most of them do not agree with.

The only thing that Copenhagen achieved—apart from proving what we on this side of the chamber had all been saying for months—is that it showed that Senator Wong and Mr Rudd and 114 other various bureaucrats and hangers-on had a lovely little holiday in Copenhagen for two or three weeks visiting the mermaid and having a jolly good time around the halls of some six-star hotels. It achieved absolutely nothing, as we predicted it would in the debate in this Senate in December.

What is worse for the Labor Party is that their policy is now in tatters—it is an absolute shambles; people are dropping off it as quickly as they can. To make matters worse for the Labor Party, today we had the next Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, releasing a practical, down-to-earth, direct action policy which will reduce carbon emissions by five per cent. It will cost the Australian people $3.2 billion over the next four years as opposed to Mr Rudd’s ETS—his big tax on everything—of $40.6 billion over the same period. Compare that! I will re-emphasise it. Our scheme, to get a five per cent reduction—$3.2 billion in four years. The Labor Party’s scheme to get a five per cent reduction in the same period—$40.6 billion.

Not only am I excited about the Emissions Reduction Fund, which we will talk about at length when we have a lot more time, but I am very excited that the other elements of our policy released by Mr Abbott today are great for those of us who live in Northern Australia. There is a lot of sunshine up my way. Under our policy, there will be $1,000 on top of what is now made available—a grant by the government for solar power and solar hot water. The solar towns and schools program—an initiative of the Howard government—is being enhanced under Mr Abbott’s policy. The significant tidal movements we have up in the north-west of Australia, particularly along the Kimberley coast—that tidal energy that has been spoken about for years—will now get a $50 million fund to fully investigate the initiative of tidal renewable energy and geothermal energy.

There is a $5 million fund, to be matched by the industry sector, to allow the testing of algae energy. I am pleased to say that is being pioneered at James Cook University in Townsville. This fund will be set up to confirm and ensure that that algal energy process does reduce CO2 emissions and does not impact on food production.

Our policy released by Mr Abbott today has 31 pages of detail and the Labor Party’s ETS policy that was released before the last election had three lines of detail—three lines of detail as opposed to 30 pages of detail. I re-emphasise in concluding that our policy will reduce emissions by five per cent by 2020 at a cost of $3.2 billion over the next four years and the Labor Party’s proposal, the carbon emissions trading scheme, will also reduce emissions by five per cent by 2020 but at a cost of $40.6 billion over the next four years.

Question agreed to.