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Tuesday, 1 March 2011
Page: 831

Senator KROGER (3:14 PM) —The question time we have just sat through demonstrates how those on the other side have absolutely no appreciation of the magnitude of the effect that a carbon tax will have on this country. How surprised I was to hear the question from Senator Bishop to Senator Conroy suggesting that the planet was going to be saved by the introduction of the NBN and that there was some relationship, some strong connection, between the rollout of an expensive NBN program and climate change. It is a poor reflection on those on the other side that they would seek to trivialise such an important debate.

But I guess I should not be surprised at all, because in the past week we have seen a disgraceful and outrageous abuse of the democratic rights of Australian citizens by this alliance government of Labor and the Greens. Let us call it what it is, and that is exactly what it is: an unholy alliance between the Labor Party and the Greens. In the very words of the Prime Minister before 21 August 2010, when we had the federal election:

There will no carbon tax under a government I lead.

Let us reflect on this for a moment. This was no quick response to a doorstop. Again, days later—and we saw reports of it in the Australian—the Prime Minister confirmed that she was ruling out a carbon tax, period. But let us remember the context in which she made that statement and that pledge to the Australian people. At the time, the Labor Party was on the nose. The Labor government was on the nose because its own supporters were absolutely appalled at the way in which former Prime Minister Rudd was stabbed in the back. They were absolutely horrified. If they could not trust the gang of four—if they could not trust caucus with the numbers men wielding the power, and a couple of them share this chamber here with us: Senator Feeney and Senator Farrell—who could they trust? It is good to see that they were both promoted for their actions.

Prime Minister Gillard, in response to that, sashayed around trying to demonstrate her fitness for the job and in the process—surprise, surprise!—was not seen to be that real. In fact, she was seen to be stage managed and fake. Then we heard from the Prime Minister herself that the ‘real Julia’ would stand up—not the one who had been turning up to the contrived media opportunities but the real Julia. And so it was presumably the real Prime Minister Julia Gillard who made that pledge that there would be no carbon tax under her leadership. To be honest, I am staggered that she does not blush at the absolute hypocrisy implied by this backflip, but we have all seen that no lack of principle or honour seems to worry this government. Embarrassment certainly is not one of those things that the Prime Minister seems to suffer from.

We all saw, in the photo shoot of that carbon tax press statement, just who was in control of this particular policy. We had Senator Bob Brown at front and centre of the photo. In fact, I am reminded of The Addams Family, for those of you who watched that television program a couple of decades ago. As I looked at that photo I wondered which one was Uncle Fester, the one who could put the light globe in his mouth and set it alight. Looking at Senator Milne, who was standing beside Senator Brown in the centre of the photo, I thought it might be Senator Milne, because she had a radiant glow. If one was in doubt of what was behind this policy, that photo should attest to it. This carbon tax is a disgrace, this government is a disgrace and the Australian people should boot them out sooner rather than later. (Time expired)