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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 2457

Senator FEENEY (VictoriaParliamentary Secretary for Defence) (15:10): These are dark days indeed. The air is thick with conspiracy. We heard earlier from the spiritual leader of the Liberal-National Party, Clive Palmer, that the Greens party has in fact become a CIA front. We learnt the extraordinary news that the Greens are a CIA front that have been engaged to attack the coal industry in this country for the betterment of the US economy. This extraordinary revelation was fresh in the political debate when we also learnt from Laurie Oakes this morning that the US faked the moon landing.

The immediate thought I had upon this extraordinary news was that, if the Greens are a CIA front and not the reservoir of Marxist-Leninist thinking that the Liberal Party tell us they are, where did all the Marxist-Leninists go? Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, the next conspiracy theory for me to reveal is that the Marxist-Leninists have all gone to Menzies House, where they are busy writing the Liberal Party's policy. When one looks at the policy proposition that those opposite are putting to the people of Australia, one sees that they have immediately eschewed any notion of using market forces and any notion of using modern economic thinking in their policies. What they are offering to the people of Australia is a command economy model of which North Korea would be proud. So perhaps there we find a hint of where all the Marxist-Leninists we thought were hiding in the Greens have actually migrated to.

Senator Joyce talked to us for the last few moments about the carbon tax. Upon listening to his words—empty of fact but occasionally witty—I thought to myself: 'Goodness gracious me! What a wonderful thing it would be if Senator Joyce were to read his own policy on carbon abatement.' As he mocks the Labor Party's policy, he also mocks his own. Is Senator Joyce aware of the fact that our plan to abate carbon has a target that is the same as that of the coalition policy? Has anybody told Senator Joyce that he himself has signed up to a policy whereby he says carbon should be abated? Has anybody revealed to Senator Joyce that his strategy for reaching the same target as ours is rather than having the cumbersome, dreadful notion of a market of supply and demand—of an emissions based scheme, a cap-and-trade scheme which engages the entrepreneurialism and the incentivation of the market—instead we have in the Liberal-National Party corner the plan of Chairman Abbott? It is a plan that Castro would be proud of, a plan which is to dispense with these old-fashioned and irritating notions of supply and demand, to get rid of this idea that the private sector can unlock the thinking and the investment that is required. Instead, the plan that Senator Joyce has signed up to, apparently without his own knowledge—the conspiracy deepens—is that the carbon tax will be repealed and $24 billion will be used to refund the big polluters for the carbon permits they have bought. But $3 billion of taxpayers' money will become a giant command economy scheme where Chairman Abbott and his inner circle will nominate those grand plans that they say will abate carbon, perhaps attract a command in the Urals or a five-year plan in the Gobi Desert. Who can imagine what Chairman Abbott and his inner circle will come up with? The point is this: the National Party cannot come into this place and rail about the carbon tax, and denounce and vilify and make nonsense of the fact that carbon pollution is a real danger to this country. They ignore the fact that they have a policy that says those very things.

Somebody on the other side of the chamber desperately needs to introduce Senator Joyce to his own policies. This is not a new problem. This is something the coalition has confronted for many years. Getting poor old Senator Joyce up to the starting point where he has read the policies and is able to talk about them has always been difficult. We on this side of the chamber understand the enormity of your challenge, but you must take it on. You must introduce the National Party to your own policies or else you run the continuing risk of having them and their spiritual leader, Clive Palmer, speaking for you. Personally, I welcome it; I think Clive Palmer brings a refreshing sense of honesty to the nonsense that is the coalition. (Time expired)