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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 2460

Senator BOYCE (Queensland) (15:26): As my coalition colleagues have pointed out, there is an election taking place in Queensland on Saturday. One might normally expect in the course of the political toing and froing in this chamber that there would be Queensland Labor senators in this place supporting, defending and encouraging votes for the Bligh Labor government come Saturday. But there is not one here at the moment. There is not one of them to support—

Senator Cameron: Mr Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I do not understand how what the senator is now putting to this chamber has got any relevance to the issues that we are debating. It has absolutely no relevance whatsoever and she is out of order.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Cameron. I will draw your attention, Senator Boyce, to the motion before the chair, which is to take note of the answers of Senator Wong.

Senator BOYCE: Let me come to that, because time to take note of answers given in question time would generally be given to members of the government who have something relevant to say on the subject. Clearly, there is no-one here who can say a relevant thing, not one Queensland senator who can speak on the record of the Queensland Bligh government. That just follows on from—

Senator Cameron: Mr Deputy President, I rise on a point of order. I have to indicate that this senator has got five minutes; she has spoken for more than one minute and she has not for one second dealt with the issues that are before the chamber. You must draw her attention to the issues before the chamber.

Opposition senators interjecting

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT: Order on my left! Senator Cameron, thank you. There was some leniency shown to Senator Feeney, who commenced his contribution in exactly the same manner. Senator Boyce, I draw your attention to the question before the chair. You have three minutes and 42 seconds remaining.

Senator BOYCE: Could I point out, Mr Deputy President, that the clock only just stopped at the end of the point of order, not at the beginning; there was some time missed there. I certainly want to speak about the answers given on carbon tax. The evil twins of tax—carbon tax and mining tax—will hurt my state of Queensland worse than any other state or territory in the country. There is a Treasury analysis by the Bligh Labor government which found that Queensland's gross state product will be 0.4 per cent lower by 2019-20 than it would be without the carbon price. The net cost over the forward estimates period to the Queensland economy and, therefore, the Queensland people will be between $351 million and $360 million a year. That is what it will cost our economy to have a carbon tax. And heaven forbid that the Bligh Labor government or any shade of Labor government should still be in power in Queensland with the evil taxes in place by 2049-50, when gross state product in Queensland would be 3½ per cent lower than it currently is. And these are figures from the Queensland Labor managed Treasury. In Queensland it is going to cost everyone an absolute fortune. We have one business owner with a chain of stores across Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria who says that it will add $250,000 a year to his costs. That will include an extra $100,000 a year in rent. Lease agreements being drawn up right now for the badly struggling commercial sector and the industrial sector in Queensland all have a new clause in them that allows the landlords to pass on carbon and greenhouse gas emission related charges and to get those back from the lessee. These are people who are already struggling. Retailers know that the carbon tax in Queensland will add thousands of dollars to their annual rent, power and outgoings.

The reason that it will affect Queensland more than any other state—why these evil twins of tax, the carbon and mining taxes, will affect us more—is that we are the highest users of coal fired power. That is where the carbon tax will desperately affect us. In the mining area—nine per cent of the state revenues come from royalties from the mining industry—a growing, developing industry, we still have this government desperately trying to rip as much of that money out of the system as it can, to slow down investment in that area when you already have businesses being very seriously targeted in the other.

There is likely to be a court challenge around the mining tax. Certainly, we would hope that Queensland, with an LNP government in place after Saturday, will join that challenge and will try to stop at least one of those evil taxes. We have referred to these taxes as the 'evil twins of tax'. I would hope that come next Saturday we will get rid of the first of the 'evil twins' of Labor. Ms Bligh will be gone, and one hopes—certainly the mood of the Queensland voters is such—that Ms Gillard will soon follow her.

Question agreed to.