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Thursday, 24 February 2011
Page: 1421

Mr HOCKEY (2:14 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister now finally concede to the Australian people that, in the first year alone, the carbon tax she ruled out in August and ruled in after the election will increase electricity prices for struggling Australian households by an additional $300 each year above any other increases?

Ms GILLARD (Prime Minister) —This is an attempt to mislead and to engage in a fear campaign. What the shadow Treasurer knows is that today the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee announced a carbon-pricing mechanism—

Honourable members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —Those on my left will come to order.

Ms GILLARD —The shadow Treasurer knows we did not announce a carbon price today—

Honourable members interjecting—

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister will resume her seat until the House comes to order.

Mr Hunt —Prime Minister, do you have any idea what you announced today?

The SPEAKER —The member for Flinders is warned.

Ms GILLARD —The member for Flinders—there’s a man of conviction, Mr Speaker.

The SPEAKER —The Prime Minister will go to the question.

Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: given that we are debating the Prime Minister’s broken promise, I ask her to withdraw that statement.

The SPEAKER —There is not point of order, but I indicate to the Prime Minister that she will ignore interjections and get directly to the question.

Ms GILLARD —What the shadow Treasurer well knows is that we announced a mechanism today; we did not announce a dollar price today. Any attempt by the shadow Treasurer to make assumptions about figures is an attempt to cause fear, an attempt to mislead. Every Australian should recognise the opposition for what it is: an opposition with no policies or plans to make a real difference to climate change.

Let me say this to the shadow Treasurer: I understand pricing carbon will have price impacts and I want to be very upfront about that with the Australian people. Indeed, the reason you price carbon is to have price impacts, so that high-pollution commodities cost more and low-pollution commodities cost less. Then the market will adjust, people will innovate and there will be change to a clean energy future with more low-pollution solutions for our Australian economy and for the people of Australia. There will be price impacts. Because we are a Labor government, because we believe in fairness, we will ensure that this carbon price mechanism works fairly—

Mr Ewen Jones interjecting

The SPEAKER —The member for Herbert is warned.

Ms GILLARD —Every dollar that is raised by pricing carbon will go to assist Australian households and businesses make the adjustment and go to funding programs that tackle climate change. But, if we are going to talk about impacts on Australian households, then let’s see some political honesty from the opposition for the first time. The opposition came into this parliament today and they voted against a $1.8 billion flood levy, saying that they did not think that the Australian people could afford to pay that. What they did not tell you today is that they stand for $10.5 billion of expenditure on climate change programs that will not work. That is $10.5 billion that the Leader of the Opposition, if he were Prime Minister, would be ripping out of the purses and wallets of hardworking Australian taxpayers.

Mr Pyne interjecting

The SPEAKER —The member for Sturt is warned.

Ms GILLARD —Over on that side they stand for $10.5 billion of expenditure which would be ineffective; pollution would continue to rise and there would be no compensation. On this side of the parliament we stand for the most effective mechanism to price carbon which will transform our economy at the lowest cost. It will start on 1 July 2012, compensating Australian households so that the carbon price works fairly.

Mrs Bronwyn Bishop —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: in accordance with standing order 78, I ask that an extension of time be given to the woman of no conviction to try and answer the question.

The SPEAKER —The member for Mackellar will leave the chamber for one hour under standing order 94a.

The member for Mackellar then left the chamber.

Ms GILLARD —We will be working to deliver a price on carbon. We know those opposite have no courage, no convictions and no plans for the future, except to rip $10.5 billion off Australians to pay for their ineffective programs. We will leave them mired in their divisions as we get on with the job.