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Thursday, 24 February 2011
Page: 1427

Ms GILLARD (Prime Minister) (2:40 PM) —What we have seen on display from the Leader of the Opposition today is why Australians do not trust him to be Prime Minister—a performance of hysteria, a performance of the ultimately hollow man, the man who believes in nothing and does not want to do anything to benefit the nation in the future. People come to this parliament wanting to work hard, wanting to make a difference, wanting to ultimately leave this parliament saying to themselves, ‘I did that; I created that; I built that—that is only in Australia today because I was in the Australian parliament.’

The Leader of the Opposition is the only man I have ever met who came to this parliament saying, ‘I want to leave the parliament with people able to say about me, “I destroyed this, I stopped that, I ended something else.”‘ What he wants to do is destroy the capacity of this nation to deal with climate change. What he wants to do is destroy the capacity of this nation to have the jobs of the future through the NBN. What he wants to do is destroy the capacity of this nation to have health reform. What he wants to do is destroy the capacity of this nation to properly manage the mining boom and to get a proper return on the mineral wealth in our ground. What he wants to do is destroy the ability of Australians to even move from one bank to another freely—he would rather have them charged unfair exit fees. What he wants to do is destroy all of these things because in his hollowness and in his bitterness he has no positive ideas for the future.

On this side we know why there is all this hysteria today—because the Leader of the Opposition has clutched to his old slogans like a drowning man to a passing piece of wood. We watched the member for Wentworth on Lateline last night and we could read between the lines. Yep, it was on—back to their old days of chasing each other around about the leadership, the member for Wentworth trying to distinguish himself as a man who believes in the future, who believes in positive propositions like a multicultural and tolerant Australia and who wants to leave the Leader of the Opposition like a dying man clutching onto his One Nation emails. That is what is happening in the opposition today. So, faced with that politics, the Leader of the Opposition has come in here and he has clutched to his old slogans like a dying man. But the problem with his old slogans is that every time he says them they ring less and less true, and every time he says them they have less and less force in the Australian community. He is like a boy who has cried wolf too many times. He is no longer believed by the Australian community. Let us take away the hysteria, the carry-on and the assaults that the Leader of the Opposition has on any facts in this debate and let us go through them calmly, rationally and with some reason. I know that is not the Leader of the Opposition’s strong suit, but let us just try and do it.

No. 1: do you believe in climate change? We do; we believe it is induced by human activity. What do they believe over there? They have no idea, and I can see the ones who are dropping their heads now because they are embarrassed by the position of the Leader of the Opposition. No. 2: if you believe climate change is real, then what is happening around the world? People are moving to create clean energy economies. Should we be stranded on the sideline with a high pollution economy? Should we continue to be the biggest emitters of carbon pollution in the world or should we act as the world acts, as that wave of change for clean energy goes through the world economy? I say we should get on the right side of history and we should act now. Then once you have determined to act you bring to the task your market based principles. How can we best do this? I believe we can best do it through a market based mechanism that will give us the biggest transformation in our economy for the lowest cost.

I believe we should do this fairly by looking after Australians who are impacted by the change. We will do that. I believe we should do this by making sure businesses have certainty. We will do that too. I believe we should do this understanding that we are a confident nation, that we have made big changes before, that we have made big changes even when there have been hysterical campaigns against them and those big changes have led to the prosperity that we have today. The proud record of reform of the Hawke and Keating governments was something that transformed our economy for the future. That is what carbon pricing is about. It is the reform that we need now.

Here we see the opposition wandering around like Brown’s cows because they are actually so scared of this debate, so scared of their hysteria and hollowness being on display that they are desperately hoping they can distract from their shameful failure in this debate.

Increasingly, Australians understand that the Liberal Party, under the Leader of the Opposition, is part of the past with no real policies or plans for the nation’s future. What would the Leader of the Opposition have the nation do? Devote $10.5 billion of more tax to climate change programs that would not work. Any abatement through those programs would be at a higher cost than a market based mechanism. Waste on an epic scale is what the Leader of the Opposition wants to do. He wants to engage in that waste and that $10.5 billion of new tax, extra tax with no compensation for Australian families. He wants to stand by idle as power prices go up, providing no compensation to Australian families. That is the low road of more tax, of higher prices for families, higher electricity prices and no compensation. That is the low road of having a high-polluting economy where in the years to come we can no longer compete and keep our place in the global economy. We will not go down the low road. You get judged ultimately in this parliament by what you decide to do and what you deliver.

The SPEAKER —Order! The member for Cowan has been warned and he will be very careful. The Prime Minister has the call. The member for Hughes should be very careful and take his place.

Ms GILLARD —On this side of the parliament we are determined that from 1 July we will price carbon. We are determined we will have a prosperous, low-pollution economy of the future. We are determined that we will have the jobs of the future. We are determined to make a contribution to tackling climate change. We are determined to do that efficiently, fairly and with certainty for Australian business.

The Leader of the Opposition can engage in his scare campaigns, he can engage in his politics of the past and inevitably we will see him do that. The Leader of the Opposition is so little interested in climate change that he is not even paying attention to this debate. He is, as always, all about the politics and not at all about the policy. I say to the Leader of the Opposition: we will have this debate and we will win it every day. We will contest every proposition and we will correct every attempt to mislead. We will have this debate and we will win it.

If any Australian is wondering what the Leader of the Opposition actually stands for, if they listened to this debate, if they have listened to his hysteria, if they have listened to his carrying on, if they have listened to his misleading claims, if they have read his motion with misleading claims in it, then let me summarise what the opposition is on about. Let me use the words of the member for Wentworth:

Tony himself has, in just four or five months, publicly advocated the blocking of the ETS, the passing of the ETS, the amending of the ETS and, if the amendments were satisfactory, passing it, and now the blocking of it.

His only redeeming virtue in this: his remarkable lack of conviction …

Never a truer word spoken. A hollow man out of his depth.

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, standing order 62 is very clear:

A Member in the Chamber must:

(a)   take his or her seat promptly;

…            …            …

(c)   not remain in the aisles …

Opposition members interjecting—

Mr Albanese —We know that those opposite have turned their back on the future—

The SPEAKER —Order! The Leader of the House will resume his seat. On the point of order, that is why the member for Cowan is very lucky. It is what I was reminding the member for Hughes of. I assume, naively perhaps, this was individuals’ actions and not orchestrated, but if it was orchestrated it will be remembered and there will be action taken on the next occasion.