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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 2871

Senator BERNARDI (South Australia) (15:14): In hearing Senator Crossin's speech, and Senator Wong's statements earlier during question time, I am reminded of the great showman PT Barnum who said something like, 'You can fool all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time.' Senator Crossin and Senator Wong are clearly part of that group that can be fooled all of the time. They are defending what this government cannot defend with any strength or temerity. The reason is this government was elected with a promise not to introduce a price on carbon and, more specifically, not to introduce a price on carbon dioxide—that odourless gas which we all expire when we talk and exhale. Senator Crossin will repeat the myths and the suggestions that carbon is pollution when actually we are talking about carbon dioxide. She will repeat the assurance that business wants certainty. Well, they had certainty at the last election when her Prime Minister promised not to introduce a price on carbon dioxide.

But that is conveniently forgotten in their self-perpetuating infliction of misery on the Australian people. Make no mistake, Mr Deputy President, the Australian people are struggling with cost-of-living pressures right now. They are worried about hanging onto their jobs and they are worried about how they are going to pay their electricity bills and their gas bills. They are worried about the cost of fruit and vegetables. They are worried about the cost of transport. And this government is only worried about taking more money out of Australian families' pockets. That is an absolute disgrace. The reason they are doing it is because they are sending this country broke, unfortunately quite rapidly with $50,000 million worth of additional debt to be incurred in the next 12 months alone. Many people will say that is the government living for today by mortgaging the future. This government does not care about that. I glance around this chamber now, look up in the gallery and see the future of Australia having a look at what is happening. The children up there do not realise that the myths being pedalled by this government are going to result in all of them paying much more tax for the next several decades. This is an appalling indictment on the management of Australia.

It is also dressed up in that cloak of environmentalism in which it says, 'We're going to save the planet from climate change or global warming.' And yet when pushed, when this government is asked how much this massive new tax, which is going to start at around $12 billion next year and grow every year after that in perpetuity, is going to change the temperature, it will not answer. It cannot answer. Even its self-appointed climate change spokesman, the man who has a reputation for creating more myths than anyone else in the country, is getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to peddle nonsense—even though it has been proved incorrect time and time again. So when it cannot answer the questions, when it will not provide the detail, when it is putting enorĀ­mous pressure on Australian families simply through a self-indulgent reluctance to reduce its expenditure and to live within its means and to cut its cloth, like every family in this country does, we should be appalled. The Australian people should be appalled. Indeed they are, because most Australians today do not buy what this government is peddling. They do not buy it because there is no credibility attached to it.

The minister, Senator Wong, today in answering the questions is on the record as saying a carbon tax is less efficient, that it is not a silver bullet. She tried to put forward all of the same sort of rhetoric and nonsense once before in getting up her emissions trading scheme, which would have destroyed the economy and the country. Then she went off to Copenhagen, proclaimed it a great success, came back and ditched her policy. Why should we believe her now? It is the same Penny Wong who is lecturing us on fiscal conservatism and being responsible economic managers as she spends $50,000 million more of taxpayers' money than they are going to take. That is what this is all about: a government that cannot control its spending; it cannot control its tortured distortion of the truth in order to peddle its ideological and obsessive regime to indoctrinate and get itself involved in everyone's lives.

They want both of their hands in our pockets, and the Australian people cannot afford it. They cannot afford it and they cannot afford to put up with more of the myths and lies masquerading as policy that this government continues to generate. They should stand condemned, and the Australian people will render their verdict at the next election.