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Wednesday, 2 March 2011
Page: 959

Senator BERNARDI (3:14 PM) —It is extraordinary to listen to Senator Furner. My only advice to him would be to go back to reading his speeches, because when he gets fired up and is trying to extemporaneously talk he makes a complete and utter fool of himself and his entire policy. I say that not in a personal sense. Senator Furner said, ‘We will fix the climate.’ What a load of poppycock; what a load of nonsense. These people do not even know what the detail of their policy is, and yet he is promising to fix the climate. Gee, how are you going to do that when Australia acts on 0.038 per cent of emissions? This claim by this government that they are going to fix the climate is an extraordinary claim; an egotistical claim; a narcissistic claim. On the other hand, Senator Furner said that they are for climate change. Quite frankly, I am against climate change. I would rather that the climate stay as it is so that we do not have more extreme weather events and so forth. But Senator Furner is for climate change.

Let me turn to the matter of substance, which was, in asking Senator Wong about compensation, trying to find out how that was going to change their behaviour. Senator Wong, quite frankly, played right into our hands. She dealt a straight bat to it and said, ‘We’re going to make sure that we compensate families.’ And yet Ms Gillard, the Prime Minister, said that there has to be a price impact on families; otherwise, it is not going to have any effect. And yet Senator Wong told us that they are going to fully compensate families. This is a catch-22; a tautology. It is a complete round robin of nonsense from this government.

There is no question at all that the government is going to take billions of dollars out of the economy from businesses and sequester it in the government coffers and then distribute it as they see fit. This is the redistribution of wealth. It makes an absolute mockery of the Australian people for this government to suggest that if a company pays $600 million worth of extra tax—which is what some research indicates that an electricity generation company will pay—that they are not going to pass that on to consumers. Then the government is going to compensate consumers. So how is this going to reduce emissions at all?

Senator Wong has been damned by her own statements in this regard. She has said that a tax will not guarantee a reduction in emissions. This is a great con—a carbon con. In fact, even the term ‘carbon’ is a con, because what we are talking about is reducing carbon-dioxide emissions, not carbon. Carbon is that thing that is in every living creature. Acting Deputy President Trood, you are about 18 per cent carbon—very good quality carbon; there is no question about that. Apparently, this government want to tax you, just like they want to tax every Australian taxpayer.

The real issue—what they have neglected—is that they are putting in place a tax on carbon-dioxide, that odourless, colourless gas that we all respirate whenever we exhale. This is a tax on humanity. This is a tax on hot air. Why wouldn’t a government that is intent on reaching deeply into the pockets of Australian family, that is so far out of its financial depth that it is absolutely drowning—and taking the taxpayer with it—and that is financially incompetent and broke tax something like hot air? They are desperate, and they can tax it to their heart’s content and claim that they are fixing the climate, as Senator Furner said. This is an absolute nonsense. It is not going to make one bit of difference to the climate, despite Senator Furner’s assurances. It is not going to make one bit of difference to the global temperature. But it will make a difference to every Australian family. It will make a difference to Australia’s competitiveness.

And it has made a difference to the Australian people already, because this government lied about it. When Ms Gillard said, ‘There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead,’ she did not tell the truth—just like she did not tell the truth to the Labor caucus when she said that they were going to support the bill from the Greens that is going to give rise to same-sex marriage in the ACT and maybe the Northern Territory. She did not tell the truth then. She did not tell it to the Australian people when she said that there would be no change in the marriage laws. Now she has given in to the Greens. She did not tell the caucus. They slapped it through in one line. It did not even go to the cabinet. That shows the hopelessness of this government. The broken promises—the carbon tax promise and the territories promise—go the heart of this government: the Greens tail is wagging this dog of a Labor government.