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Monday, 28 February 2011
Page: 1577


Mr HOCKEY (2:31 PM) —My question is to the Treasurer. I refer the Treasurer to his statement on 15 August last year, when he said:

Well certainly what we rejected is this hysterical allegation that somehow we are moving towards a carbon tax from the Liberals in their advertising. We reject that.

Treasurer, why have you changed your mind? And, Treasurer, are you the first Treasurer of Australia not to attend a press conference announcing a nationwide and an economy-wide tax?


Mr SWAN (Treasurer) —I really do thank the shadow Treasurer for that question. There is a very basic reason why I take the position that I take and the government takes the position it takes: it is in the national interest. It is in the interests of a prosperous economy. What those opposite are doing is putting their political interests, through a scare campaign, ahead of the need to reduce carbon pollution and make our economy more prosperous for the future. The populism of those opposite is evident in the question from the shadow Treasurer. The shadow Treasurer used to believe, once upon a time, in markets. The shadow Treasurer, I know, goes around the place saying he is a great man of principle. In fact, he made this statement about what a great man of principle he was shortly after he was defeated in the Liberal Party leadership contest: ‘I believe in a market mechanism’—


Mr Pyne —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the question was very straightforward, and the Treasurer’s answer is bearing no resemblance at all to a relevant question. I would ask you to draw him back to the question.


The SPEAKER —The Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. The Treasurer is required to directly relate any statements that he is using to the question, and he should consider that in making his response.


Mr SWAN —Like the shadow Treasurer says he is, I am a believer in a market mechanism. What we are going to do is move through a fixed price to a market mechanism, and that was made very clear the other day. But, when the shadow Treasurer was defeated in the leadership contest, he made this point, because he said then that he was a believer in a market mechanism:

I’m a believer. I want action for not only this generation but for my children, grandchildren.

So he, like the Leader of the Opposition, is a hollow man. He says he believes in a market mechanism and opposes it in this House. He says he is a believer in the science of climate change—


The SPEAKER —The Treasurer will come back to the question.


Mr SWAN —and opposes it in this House. The government have moved, in the national interest, to make sure that we can protect jobs, direct investment into renewable energy and protect the prosperity of our economy, and every step of the way we are opposed by those opposite, who would rather see the country fail than see us succeed in battling climate change and investing in renewable energy. It just shows that all of those opposite would say anything and do anything to win a political action, but they will not stand up for the political interests of this country. They are only looking after their own.