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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1069

Mr CHRISTENSEN (DawsonThe Nationals Deputy Whip) (15:51): After the hot air that we have heard on this it is time for some clarity, time for some common sense and time for some understanding of exactly what this debate is. There has been a lot of confusion that was born in the creation of the carbon tax, because the Labor Party played the hokey-pokey game on this. Before the 2010 election the carbon tax was out, then after the 2010 election the carbon tax was in, and then before the 7 September election the carbon tax was out again, but now they are here telling us it is in. So you can understand why there has been a lot of confusion about this debate.

In essence, what we are debating is a very simple premise, and that is that this carbon tax is going to help save the planet by raising costs. It will not surprise you to know that I dispute that premise on many levels, but I think it is vitally important that we realise from the start that it is confusing two very different debates. The first involves science and the second involves economics. First, there is the debate on science, which I believe has created an extraordinarily unscientific reaction around the globe. Science is always about ongoing inquiry and understanding, whereas the global warming debate has been characterised as one between good and evil—and we have heard that here today from the members opposite. That fits in perfectly with their hokey-pokey, kindergarten approach to politics, but for the grown-ups in the room it is certainly not objective. And from where I stand the greatest crime in this debate has been the demonisation of anyone who has the temerity to question any aspect of the theory of man-made climate change.

Just as those who subscribe to the anthropogenic climate change theories cannot be 100 per cent sure of their belief, I also cannot state categorically that I know there is no link between emissions and the climate. I do have doubts, and those doubts stem from the well-publicised antics of some of the climate scientists out there that were exposed in 'climategate', where they expressed private concerns over the negligible increase in global temperatures—in fact, there has been no increase statistically in global temperatures over the last 15 or 16 years—but then set about altering their statistics to try and prove the opposite.

The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, which is not influenced by the need to secure government funds, has published a report called Climate change reconsidered. That report showed that the science is nowhere near to being settled. They were reputable scientists—

Mr Zappia: It wasn't peer reviewed.

Mr CHRISTENSEN: Just like the IPCC report is not peer reviewed—it is not, mate. The reports that come out are not peer reviewed. This is a document by real climate scientists who say that there is doubt about the science and the so-called science that we hear that is out there. But I want to get onto the economics because this is an area where the facts really are indisputable, and we do not need peer reviews to know that. The member who spoke before mentioned Professor Garnaut. Well, Professor Garnaut had an interesting quote from his report when he dreamed this whole mess up for the Labor Party. What he said was:

Regional communities and industries are likely to be more vulnerable to these impacts than urban centres, due to their reliance on agriculture and other natural resource-based industries.

He is right because in my electorate there is mining, agriculture and tourism, and this tax is suffocating all three industries. In mining the picture is very bleak. We have had 9,000 jobs cut across Queensland and New South Wales, many of them in the Bowen Basin, over the last 18 months. There is an undeniable link between the carbon tax and those job losses. Rio Tinto called it an unfair tax on Australian exporters. It is equally devastating for farmers in my electorate. Cane growers have come out against it, saying it adds significantly to the bottom line costs of cane farming businesses. The Queensland horticulture based body Grocom also predicted that a carbon emissions trading scheme—which these guys want this carbon tax to evolve into—could raise farm costs by about 1.15 per cent by 2020. Any addition to the bottom line of farms is not a good thing and it risks farmers going to the wall. Tourism is equally at risk. A new study by AEC Group research, commissioned by Tourism Accommodation Australia, estimates that the carbon tax will add $115 million in costs to hotels and motels. So three industries in my electorate are going to be hit, and hit hard.

Labor's carbon tax is just wrong. It is probably wrong on the science. It is definitely wrong on the economics. I urge every member of the House to distinguish between the two. Enough of the hot air. Let's get rid of this dreadful carbon tax.