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Thursday, 24 February 2011
Page: 1429


Mr HUNT (2:51 PM) —This Prime Minister talks about conviction, but who said, ‘I rule out a carbon tax’? She did. This Prime Minister talks about conviction, but who said, ‘There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead’? She did. And this Prime Minister today delivered a carbon tax, and that means three very simple things. Electricity will go up by $300 a year—and she knows it. Petrol prices will go up by 6½c a litre—and she knows it. Her credibility will go down and will stay down—and she knows it. What we have had today is a fundamental breach of faith with the Australian people. There is no question as to whether or not this Prime Minister ruled out a carbon tax, and there is no question that what she delivered today is a carbon tax. There is a question about courage, because she does not have the guts to call it a carbon tax, but to make it absolutely clear, we have a carbon tax in every single element. She has broken her election promise, she has breached faith with the Australian people and she has betrayed the Australian people.

The simple question is: why did she make the promise on election eve? Why was she so ashamed of the concept of a carbon tax that her one leading pitch to the nation in the last 24 hours before the election was to rule out a carbon tax? Why was that the single thing that she went to the Australian people with in the last 24 hours? It was because she knew that the Australian people did not want to face higher electricity prices and they did not want to face higher petrol prices. That is why she also tapped the member for Griffith on the shoulder when he was Prime Minister and said, ‘On this whole ETS thing, I care so much about climate change; let’s just put it off.’ She made sure that it was postponed. There is a fundamental issue before the House today, and that is why this motion is important. It is about truth and honesty with the Australian people in your most sacred pitch for their support in order to form a government. It was dishonest, it was deliberate, it was deceptive, it was dishonourable and it was a betrayal of the Australian people which has reached its point at the moment today when she announced a carbon tax but did not have the courage to use the term ‘carbon tax’ because she is ashamed of her breach of promise and she is afraid that the Australian people will discover that this means higher prices for electricity and petrol.

Let us look at this question of higher prices for electricity and petrol when there is a better way available, not just in Australia but around the world. Electricity prices will rocket up. We saw that this week with the Australian Industry Group report. That report made it absolutely clear that over and above every other additional impact on electricity prices there would be an increase of $300 per family in the first year alone. And from there it goes up: $300 per family is the price of perpetuity for this Prime Minister. What we also know from the work of Professor Garnaut—not us, but Professor Garnaut—is that if a $26 per tonne price were introduced, there would be a 6½c per litre increase in petrol prices. If you are honest, if you are serious, you will acknowledge those price rises today. You are raising the price of electricity for families who are already facing electricity price rises. For a Prime Minister who has an argument about markets, you must answer this point: if you add a 62 per cent price rise—


The SPEAKER —Order! The time allotted for the debate has expired. The member will resume his seat. I remind the member that he should address his remarks through the chair.

Question put:

That the motion (Mr Abbott’s) be agreed to.